4 FM quick reads on security
1. Threat and Risk Assessment, and Security for High-Profile Events
Today's tip is about four ways to prepare facilities for high-profile events.
First, become an expert at communication. Work with first responders to develop a standard communications protocol so that everyone is speaking the same language. If, for instance, fire and police and building management all use different descriptions or naming conventions, response times could be delayed, and that can be extremely costly. Additionally, keep in mind that the rumor mill is the worst enemy of a streamlined risk management and emergency preparedness plan, so ensure that all building occupants are up to date with current, accurate information about the event and about items such as road closings, public transportation shut downs, etc. Additionally,
Secondly, assess risk and plan for worst-case scenarios. The key to assessing risk is to look at the building through a fresh set of eyes – to pretend as if you've never seen it before, say a security experts. Look at risks such as crowd control and trespassers in the building - the most common possible risks. But don't forget to plan for the worst-case scenario as well - like an extended building lock-down. Have plenty of food available. Contract with a disaster recovery firm. And make sure local law enforcement is familiar with the building's layout.
Third, update your visitor management policy. One best practice is to institute the night and weekend visitor policy during the day while the high-security event is happening. One security expert suggests that it would be irresponsible to the point of negligence to allow the building to remain open during a high-security event. Every visitor should badge in and out. And occupants should be informed that they must let security know if they see someone in the building who doesn't belong.
Finally, do a review of your physical security and security vulnerabilities that you may not think about as frequently. For instance, make sure you can do an immediate shut down and reversal of the HVAC system if someone dumps a pathogen into air intakes. Indeed, check the air intakes to ensure that they're secure. Make sure cameras and access control devices are functioning properly, and that door locks do engage properly.
2. Video Surveillance Technology Expands Options For Security Monitoring
Traditionally cautious, the security industry of late is starting to fully embrace the capabilities made possible by technology innovations like storage in the cloud and mobile devices. This leaves facility managers with a healthy menu of options when it comes to selecting video surveillance components for their facility. Luckily, they can do so one byte at a time.
To begin with, the shift to IP technology and the ubiquity of mobile devices means that security video data streams are accessible in the palm of your hand, wherever you are. Not only is this convenient for facility managers, but it also allows facility managers to more easily share access to video surveillance with higher-ups in their organizations.
An interesting advancement in IP cameras is the capability for meta tagging that the camera itself does. For example, if something happens in your facility and you know it involves someone in a red shirt, the cameras can detect when they're picking up something red that that's the size of a human being. The camera itself tags, or labels, the data stream without having to go through a video management or analytical system.
Other camera-level innovations include on-board heating and cooling, even wipers, which allow the units to be deployed in different environments. As well, the megapixels now available on IP cameras are creating ever-clearer video streams filled with useful and intelligible detail.
As amazing as the capabilities of IP video surveillance cameras might be, fully retrofitting a system from analog to IP is out of reach for most facility managers, mainly due to cost. Security systems manufacturers are well aware of budget limitations, so options exist for migrating systems over a little bit at a time. Encoders available from most camera manufacturers can take an analog data stream and turn it into a digital network stream.
3. Outsourced Security Can Augment Campus Police Department
Outsourced service providers, such as security personnel, can often be subject to the hiring trends of the time. Whether a department should be in-house or outsourced changes due to factors beyond budget, though that always plays a role.
At the recent ASIS Conference in Chicago, there was a session on improving the safety of university campuses. The presenters discussed the trends and strategies they've experienced and employed. For example, where once the trend was to wholly outsource the security department to a third party, due to the recent upswing in shootings on campuses, the pendulum is swinging back in the other direction. As one presenter put it, "The president said, 'Let's get some coppers with guns on campus."
While the trend is to establish a sworn officer department for the campus, the presenters recognized that many of the outsourced security personnel they had worked with had been with the account for many years and offered a depth of knowledge and loyalty they were not willing to loose. In order to retain these seasoned individuals, the presenters discussed negotiating to offer a small annual raise, beyond the stipulations of the contract.
While a sworn department might have strengths in partnering with outside agencies during a crisis, outsourced security personnel offer their own benefits. First, they're not hardened former street cops, and so don't have to be trained out of the harsher postures and tactics that would be overkill on campus. They also can perform functions a sworn officer can't, such as searching patrons entering a sport venue.
One strategy for keeping key outsourced personnel while still building an in-house police department is to redeploy the outsourced security personnel to serve as dispatch, running plates and pulling records for the officers, who are deployed out into the campus.
4. Keep An Eye On Heat To Avoid Security Trouble
Overheated components too often are a factor in the premature failure of security equipment. In some cases, the mean time between failure decreases exponentially as the heat increases beyond the operating range of the equipment.
It is important for managers to ensure that equipment enclosures provide effective thermal management for the longevity of security equipment. The enclosure must be able to dissipate heat or prevent heat buildup beyond the equipment's maximum operating temperature. In very cold climates, managers might need to provide additional heat to keep the equipment from operating below the equipment's minimum operating temperature.
But since electronic equipment tends to reject heat inside an enclosure, overheating tends to be the greater problem. Too often, equipment is installed in an exterior enclosure with no thought to the heat load the equipment will generate inside the enclosure. The size or surface area of the enclosure plays a role in the amount of heat it can dissipate without using vents, fans, heat exchangers, or air conditioning.
The enclosure's location also might be a factor. If the enclosure is located in direct sunlight, it will have a significant increase in internal air temperature, and calculations to determine heat buildup become increasingly complex. The enclosure's color also takes on greater significance. For example, white enclosures will reflect much of the radiant heat from the sun.
Video cameras can feature a sunshield that stands off from the camera housing 1 inch or so and acts to absorb and dissipate heat before it reaches the housing.
Cooling systems can be classified as open or closed loop and active or passive systems. Open-loop systems use outside air to cool the components. They are often passive, using convection and heat dissipation. Closed-loop systems use internal air to cool the components. They are often active, using an external device or system to cool internal air.
Some systems on the market include louvers, grills, exhaust fans, heat exchangers, and air-conditioning systems. Some manufacturers provide special software that helps in selecting an appropriate cooling system for the enclosure.
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