Guard Force Management

 

 

https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/Guard-Force-Trends-Multipliers-and-the-Market.aspxGuard Force Trends: Multipliers and the MarketGP0|#cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8;L0|#0cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8|Physical Security;GTSet|#8accba12-4830-47cd-9299-2b34a43444652019-04-01T04:00:00Z<p>​Security guard forces, ​and the methods used to manage them, have seen transformational change in recent decades. Twenty years ago, the tools of the trade were a notepad and a pen, and the required technical skills peaked with the ability to use a handheld two-way radio. Guard force security was not viewed in a professional manner; guard jobs were often considered “no specific skills needed” entry level positions. Recruiters frequently told applicants, “If you can stay awake, you can do this job.”</p><p>Now, advances in technology and market forces have significantly changed how a guard force works and is managed and have also changed the role of the individual guard. These changes, which in turn have helped transform the employment economy at large, have ushered in a new business model for many guard forces. ​</p><h4>Transformed by ​Technology</h4><p>Security guards are no longer limited to positions like overnight officers conducting patrols in empty buildings, Checkpoint Charlies sitting in booths, or watchmen hidden away in a back room monitoring security cameras. Many security guards are now stepping into the light to serve in more customer-facing positions. </p><p>This trend is due in part to the spillover effects of market growth. The frequency of mass shootings in public places, continuing concern over terror attacks, and increasing crime rates in some major cities have all spurred growth in the security guard force industry. Due to this growth, guards are more commonplace in corporate offices, residential facilities, and schools.</p><p>With more guards in these settings, it’s not unusual for security guards to fill in as receptionists or concierges—often the first point of human contact for visitors. This new role brings with it a new set of skill requirements, such as customer service ability, proper phone etiquette, and a certain level of computer proficiency. Requirements for the latter continue to rise as the available technology continues to develop. </p><p>Guards serving as concierges and receptionists will typically be responsible for access control and visitor processing. But the visitor processing protocol has changed. Today, most access control systems offer a visitor management option or the ability to interface with a third-party visitor management system. </p><p>Rather than record visitors in a log book and issue paper passes, the technology is now available for visitors to be registered and recorded in a database. Guards may need to use digital cameras to capture photos and print temporary passes. Scanning IDs to perform instant background checks is becoming more common. These tasks require the guard to have a higher level of technical proficiency than was needed in the past. </p><p>These access duties are just one example of how technological advances have transformed guarding. Token-based touring systems, which record data electronically into hand-held units that are downloaded into a central database upon completion, have been the industry standard for decades. But with new technological innovations, hand-held downloadable tour systems are quickly being replaced by smartphone-based tour systems.</p><p>These new systems allow for real-time reporting and have enhanced reporting features, providing greater detail than the download systems. They use either QR codes that interface with a smartphone’s camera or near-field communication (NFC) technology, which allows the smartphone to scan tokens around the facility.​</p><h4>Management Ch​allenges</h4><p>With these changes in technology, managers must realize that not every guard will be able to gain the needed skill sets. For instance, after starting in his current position in early 2018, the author began to evaluate the tasks being performed by contracted security staff. At the time, they were still almost exclusively providing pen and paper reports and logs.</p><p>The author implemented some modest changes such as moving to typed and emailed incident reports and allowing the guards use of the access control system to check employment status of individuals, issue temporary badges, and do some low-level troubleshooting.</p><p>Most of the guard staff were able to take on the new tasks, but two individuals ended up lacking computer proficiency to adapt to the changes. Although the guards were reliable, well liked, and had other positive traits, their inability to adjust to the new technical requirements forced a change in staffing. This was not a decision made lightly, but in the end the guard service provider recognized that requirements now exceeded the individuals’ abilities and that changes were necessary.    </p><p>Technological advances can also create other types of challenges for those managing a guard force. Take, for example, the diverse smartphone touring systems, many of which incorporate GPS tracking and geofencing to ensure that the guard conducting the tour is in the proximity of the token (or QR code) being scanned. </p><p>In one instance, a guard force manager set up a QR-code-based tour for a client site.  Unfortunately, the manager did not fully understand the functionality of the system, so he did not activate the GPS features. A resourceful security guard working for the manager realized that he could conduct his entire tour by taking photos of all the QR codes and then printing them onto a single page. Using that single page, the guard then scanned the codes one at a time—all from the comfort of the office. </p><p>Since the reason for the tour was to inspect the areas of the facility for hazards, including potential chemical leaks, the guard’s decision to improvise and skip the tour was risky. As it happened, a leak did occur at the site, which is how the guard’s malfeasance was discovered. Fortunately, the leak was minor, and no damage occurred. Still, the guard company was penalized and required to pay the cost for the modest cleanup. </p><p>Once the problem was discovered, the manager came up with a solution. The QR codes were all replaced with NFC tokens, which require the smartphone to be placed just inches from the token to record the scan. This eliminated the possibility that another guard might conduct stationary tours.​</p><h4>Management E​nhancements</h4><p>As the prior example makes clear, innovative technology alone does not solve all issues. The technology must be understood and used correctly to bring about process improvements. </p><p>Many other areas of guard force management have seen advancements due to new technology. Software applications, smartphones, and various other pieces of hardware and software have all become essential management tools.</p><p>Timekeeping. Timekeeping apps for real-time attendance allow managers to know exactly when guards report to duty. This has several benefits. It is important for wage and hour compliance, and it helps supervisors manage cold start positions, positions where the arriving guard is the first on duty and is not relieving another officer, by sending an alert if a guard does not arrive on time. </p><p>For example, a guard company with a significant national presence in the high-end retail market operated cold starts at most of its locations. To avoid client-imposed penalties for late arrivals or open guard posts, the guard service company needed a system that would provide real time information.</p><p>Rather than having every guard individually call into a central dispatch, the guard services company decided to move to an automated system. In the new system, guards would call into an application and enter a PIN code, which allowed them to either check in or check out. The system verified that the guards were on location by using GPS and caller ID. This meant that dispatchers no longer needed to take dozens of calls at the start of each shift; they simply had to monitor the control panel to ensure that each post had a proper check-in. Late and open posts triggered an automated notification to management. </p><p>As a management tool, this system proved effective. Guards could no longer call into dispatch claiming to be on site, while they were still 10 minutes away from the location. Dispatchers were not bogged down for 15 minutes taking an onslaught of calls. Guard arrival times were recorded more accurately because they did not have to wait in a queue for the dispatcher to take the call. And in the event a guard did not report on time, management was able to respond faster to meet the clients’ needs. </p><p>Tracking vehicles via GPS is not a new practice. But now, with the use of smartphone apps, guards inside a facility can be monitored in the same way vehicles have been tracked. With accuracy within a few feet, GPS can track a guard inside a facility, and an app can report back to management if the guard remains stationary beyond a designated length of time. </p><p>Although this option is often used to detect if a guard has fallen asleep, it can also serve as a health safety tool. Since many guards work alone, an alert indicating that a guard has been motionless for a certain amount of time can be valuable in the event a guard becomes injured or incapacitated while on duty. </p><p>Inspections. Another management responsibility assisted by technology is guard inspections. Management can visually inspect guards when they are not physically on-site using apps such as Skype or Facetime.</p><p>The use of a webcam provides higher quality inspections versus simply checking in by phone. A guard’s appearance, uniform, and post can all be visually inspected to ensure compliance with company standards. This improves overall efficiency by eliminating travel time between facilities and allowing significantly more guards to be inspected during a shift. </p><h4>Recrui​ting</h4><p>In the past, guard force companies commonly took an assembly line approach to recruiting, with the next person in line assigned to the next available opening. But this put-a-body-on-a-post mentality didn’t significantly consider an individual’s abilities or the requirements of a specific job.</p><p>This approach often resulted in a security guard shell game, with guards rotated from client to client whenever problems occurred. Rath­er than separate from problem employees, guard companies would simply transfer them to fill a vacancy elsewhere. Some guards passed through half a dozen sites or more before the company finally terminated employment. </p><p>The mission of today’s recruiter is to be more selective in identifying the right candidate for the appropriate position. Often, it must be determined whether a candidate has the technical skills to use the needed hardware, mobile apps, information databases, and various software applications. Besides technical abilities, security recruiters are also looking for customer service and communication skills. Many openings seek candidates with at least an associate degree, or equivalent work experience. </p><p>Overall, the emphasis is on making sure the individual fits the job requirements. A candidate with outstanding customer service skills may make a great concierge. But if he or she does not have strong computer skills, that same candidate may not be a good fit for a security command center position.  </p><p>Complicating the security recruiter’s job is that other industries that have traditionally hosted many minimum wage jobs have begun changing their business models and increasing their base wages well above state mandated minimums. For example, Amazon has established a $15 minimum wage, Costco $14, and Target and Walmart are both at $11. This creates competition for employees as the wage gap between security positions and other entry level jobs closes. </p><p>Guard force recruiting is also affected by the low U.S. unemployment rate. In November 2018, the national unemployment rate held at 3.7 percent, the lowest jobless rate since December 1969. When unemployment rates drop to such historic lows, qualified personnel become more difficult to find and hire, especially with increased competition from other industries.  </p><p>To contend with these difficult conditions, security recruiters are more aggressively developing internal talent pools, holding onto applicant résumés longer, and using online resources to proactively seek out candidates. As the traditional candidate pool shrinks, recruiters are looking toward recent college graduates and returning military personnel for skilled job candidates. </p><p>The author experienced firsthand how tight the labor market was in the scenario cited previously, when the two guards were let go because the job requirements grew beyond their capabilities. The author recognized that the additional job responsibilities should come with higher compensation, so when the changes were rolled out the company also implemented a 25 percent pay increase for the remaining guards. </p><p>When the company advertised the two open positions at the higher pay rate, it could not quickly find qualified replacements. Although the company still maintained its contractual guard requirements and never dropped coverage, it did so by absorbing non-billed overtime for several months. It took a significant loss to its profit margin. </p><h4>P​ersonnel Management</h4><p>Guard force management is, at its root, personnel management. And so, management issues that arise from human resource-related concerns deserve serious consideration. </p><p>In U.S. states such as California, which has extremely stringent wage and hour requirements, mismanagement can expose a company to class action litigation. In recent years, several guard service companies have had multimillion dollar judgments awarded against them for violations. Technological solutions like the call-in system discussed previously can help, but like any other tool they must be managed and used properly to provide a benefit.  </p><p>In the #MeToo era, employees today are more informed and aware of their rights, and information and resources are just a Google search away. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and harassment complaints can bring with them significant financial penalties to the individual manager and company. In today’s business environment, good managers have a strong understanding of what behavior and conduct constitutes, or approaches, harassment from an HR perspective. </p><p>Just before the #MeToo movement made national headlines, one guard company was being served with an increasing number of EEOC and harassment complaints. In a meeting with the CEO and vice president of human resources, the CEO suggested increased training. This initially seemed like an excellent suggestion, because it would help managers in their interactions with employees and raise awareness of key HR issues. </p><p>But then the CEO clarified his suggestion: he indicated that the training he wanted was for the guards to understand “that it’s not illegal for your boss to be a jerk.” It became clear that there was a top-down management problem. The CEO’s attitude clearly did not fit with current thinking about sustaining a healthy workplace culture. </p><p>“The line between disrespect and harassment is very thin,” said Matt Verdecchia, a senior trainer with Health Advocate’s EAP+Work/Life division, during the Society for Human Resources Management’s 2017 annual conference. “We need to be more sensitive to insensitivity.”</p><p>Clearly the CEO of the firm was not being sensitive to insensitivity. Managers must understand that their attitudes have consequences, and the more senior a manager, the greater the impact. Complaints against that company continued.    </p><p>In the past, a guard force manager’s interaction with HR typically began and ended with recruiters. Today, a successful guard force manager should embrace the broader role that many HR managers have taken on in companies. EEOC education and antiharassment training should be a part of every guard manager’s core curriculum. Maintaining open communication with regards to employee coaching and performance evaluations can avoid costly situations.</p><p>Guard force operations and management will continue to change. New technologies are developed, the economic landscape evolves, and new challenges emerge. But at the end of the day, a guard force consists of individuals. For senior managers down to the on-site guard, change will be continuous. In response, education, training, and learning from experience should be, as well.   </p><p><em>Joseph Ranucci, CPP, is the U.S. manager of security for Almac. He spent 15 years working in management and executive positions for multiple guard service providers. Ranucci began his career in 1993 when he worked as a security guard while earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.</em></p><p>--</p><h2>The Business Side: Policies, Costs, and Compliance​</h2><p>Changes in public policy translate into cost factors that impact guard force management. In recent years, the trends of rising minimum wage, mandates regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and paid sick leave have all come into play when managing a successful guard force.</p><p>The average U.S. security guard earns $12–$13 per hour, according to the 2018 white paper <em><a href="https://www.roberthperry.com/uploads/2018_White_Paper1.pdf">U.S. Contract Security Industry</a></em> by Robert H. Perry & Associates. To attract quality personnel, security guard companies typically pay around $3 above the state minimum wage.</p><p>However, as expectations rise and deeper skill sets for guards become more commonly required, recruiting will become more challenging. Additional responsibility and higher caliber candidates will drive this base wage up, creating a wider gap between the minimum wage and average guard rates. The impact of this is already being reflected in higher bill rates.</p><p>Another factor in guard cost increases is the recent public policy trend of increasing minimum wages. In 2016, New York and California became the first U.S. states to mandate a $15 minimum wage, which is to be phased in over several years. Several cities have also mandated a $15 minimum wage, and many other U.S. states have initiated minimum wage increases.</p><p>With these increases, security companies will be forced to increase both pay rates and corresponding bill rates. For example, in New Jersey the minimum wage is $8.85 per hour, so a security guard making $11.85 is earning 34 percent above minimum wage. An increase to a $15 minimum wage would push that security guard up to a wage of $20.10 per hour if the company maintained the same 34 percent differential over the minimum wage. Assuming a 50 percent markup for billing, a customer’s costs would go from $17.76 to $30.15 per hour.</p><p>Other public policy factors also driving up cost for service are the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and a growing trend to mandate paid sick leave for all employees.</p><p>When the ACA required employers to offer health plans, the costs of this new coverage were ultimately rolled up and passed through to customers of guard companies.</p><p>Moreover, 11 U.S. states and the District of Columbia now have statewide paid sick leave laws, and five other states have laws on a city- or countywide basis. These laws have significant cost implications because they typically apply to both full-time and part-time employees.</p><p>When considering these factors, it is not surprising that customers are looking for solutions to keep costs in check. One approach is reducing staff and using technology to allow the remaining staff to work more efficiently.</p><p>In addition, some guard companies are rebranding themselves to offer more than traditional guard services. Mobile guarding, remote monitoring, integrated guarding, and autonomous robots are some of the services being offered by these service providers. A “do more with less” philosophy is moving the industry toward using technology to maximize efficiency.</p><p>For example, with proper camera placements and use of analytics and alarms, multiple locations can be monitored from a single workstation by one guard, or even possibly an off-site central station. A second guard roving between the facilities can provide any needed on-site response, tracked in real time.​</p><p>__</p><h2>Revised Private Security Officer Guideline ​<br></h2><p>The ASIS Standards and Guidelines Commission recently updated the <em><a href="https://www.asisonline.org/publications--resources/standards--guidelines#asis_releases_new_private_security_officer_pso_guideline/">Private Security Officer (PSO) Selection and Training Guideline​</a></em>. This document provides guidance for establishing and managing a program for choosing and training private security officers, and it is applicable to both proprietary and contract security. It provides a basis for an organization to develop or demonstrate that its private security officer selection and training policies, practices, procedures, and program are consistent with applicable legal, regulatory, and contractual obligations in the organization’s jurisdiction and where the security services will be performed.</p><p>The guideline points out that an organization must understand its mission, governance, and goals before hiring officers; then it should establish policies and procedures for officer selection and training that promote its mission. Managers must decide on minimum qualifications for officers and abide by those criteria. Background screening of personnel is critical. </p><p>Roles, responsibilities, and authorities relevant to the selection and training program should be assigned and communicated within the organization. Training should be consistent with legal, regulatory, and contractual obligations. Administrators should continually assess the training program for effectiveness and applicability, and to discover opportunities for program improvement.</p><p>The guideline also includes two valuable annexes that offer sample screening criteria and training topics. ASIS members are entitled to a free download of each ASIS standard and guideline. To learn more, visit <em><a href="https://www.asisonline.org/publications--resources/standards--guidelines/">asisonline.org/standards</a></em>. ​​</p>

Guard Force Management

 

 

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https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/December-2018-Industry-News.aspxDecember 2018 Industry News<h4>City Safety</h4><div><div>The borough of Runnymede, about an hour from London, contracted service provider Safer Runnymede to improve safety for the area. Working with Nottinghamshire-based systems integrator Central Security Systems, the experts installed a platform combining public safety technology with personal safety services such as care solutions for the elderly.</div><div><br></div><div>All connected solutions are consolidated in a control room where three operators monitor security feeds from more than 500 security cameras deployed around the district, as well as in schools, hospitals, and other public buildings.</div><div> </div><div>The video security system originally used hardware from several manufacturers. Aiming for a future-proof and scalable system, officials asked Bosch to design a fully IP-based security camera architecture. Because the system already included a Bosch monitor wall plus encoders, cameras, management system, and storage devices, integrators could leverage the initial investment into a full suite of Bosch solutions. Migrating to an integrated IP network has proven effective.</div><div><br></div><div><h4>PARTNERSHIPS AND DEALS</h4><div>ABP Technology is distributing end-to-end environmental monitoring and access control solutions from Kentix.</div><div><br></div><div>ACRE and its subsidiaries formed a strategic alliance with AlertEnterprise to expand and diversify technology options for customers.</div><div><br></div><div>Amika Mobile and Dell EMC announced an OEM partnership for critical and emergency communications relating to FirstNet.</div><div><br></div><div>AT&T and Ericsson are joining forces to help safeguard IoT devices from growing cybersecurity threats.​</div><div><br></div><div>The Australian Transport Safety Bureau and the Australian Certified UAV Operators Inc. joined forces to improve transport safety as the unmanned sector of aviation grows.</div><div><br></div><div>Critical Response Group, Inc., and Capita Secure Solutions and Services formed a strategic partnership to bring Capita’s 911eye emergency video streaming service to the United States.</div><div><br></div><div>Exiger announced that Transparency International UK will adopt its artificial intelligence solution. </div><div><br></div><div>Kingston Technology Company, Inc., is partnering with Ontrack to offer data erasure services.</div><div><br></div><div>LaSorsa & Associates is partnering with Tony Scotti’s Vehicle Dynamics Institute for specialized driver training.</div><div><br></div><div>LumenVox LLC and SmilePass Ltd. are making voice-based biometric authentication available in the SmilePass Identity and Authentication Platform.</div><div><br></div><div>NetDiligence formed a strategic alliance with InfoArmor.</div><div><br></div><div>Artificial intelligence technology from Onfido is helping Remitly prevent fraud and financial crime.</div><div><br></div><div>OnSolve and RockDove Solutions are working together to improve secure crisis communications.</div><div><br></div><div>PSA is partnering with 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managed by Yunnan Airport Group.</div><div><br></div><div>Trumbull County, Ohio, has a new public safety call-handling solution from Total Response.</div><div><br></div><div>Valiant Integrated Services was awarded a key contract to support the U.S. Army National Guard and provide training services.</div><div><br></div><div>With support from the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, Veridos is building an identity document factory in Baghdad for electronic ID cards and passports.</div><div><br></div><h4>AWARDS AND CERTIFICATIONS</h4><div>ASIS International presented its Innovative Product Awards, formerly known as Accolades, at GSX 2018 in Las Vegas in September. Among the winners are MorphoWave Compact by IDEMIA; FaceDetect by Verint; UNG52 Speech Protector by Santor Security Inc.; IntelAssure powered by Viakoo by STANLEY Security; Halo IOT Multi-Sensor by IPVideo Corp.; Fortem SkyDome by Fortem Technologies; AXIS Device Manager by Axis Communications; PMN – 9000VQ by Hanwha Techwin America; Pivot3 Large-scale Surveillance Solution by Pivot3; and Verkada Security Cameras by Verkada.</div><div><br></div><div>Delta Scientific was awarded SAFETY Act certification by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.</div><div> </div><div>Edesix was named in <em>The Sunday Times</em> Hiscox Tech Track 100, which highlights the fastest-growing private technology companies in the United Kingdom.</div><div> </div><div>Nok Nok Labs announced that its award winning Nok Nok S3 Authentication Suite is FIDO2 certified by the FIDO Alliance.</div><div><br></div><div>Pivot3 infrastructure solutions for mission-critical IoT, safe cities and smart building environments are certified for operating with Milestone Systems video management software.</div><div>SCI Technology, Inc., announced that its AeroGuard CUAS (Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems) product was named the 2018 Drone Security New Product of the Year by <em>Security Today</em> magazine.</div><div><br></div><div>TruTag Technologies received the 2018 Best for Pharmaceutical Brand Protection award from <em>GHP Magazine</em>.</div><div><br></div><div>V5 Systems won the SSI Security Solutions Award for its V5 Acoustic Gunshot Sensor with Video.</div><div><br></div><h4>ANNOUNCEMENTS</h4><div>The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the American College of Emergency Physicians will jointly develop a mental health and suicide prevention national awards program.</div><div><br></div><div>ASSA ABLOY and its brands have launched a digital library for fast access to production information.</div><div><br></div><div>CenTrak, Inc., acquired select assets of Elpas Solutions Ltd., an indirect subsidiary of Johnson Controls International Plc. </div><div><br></div><div>Check Point and Dallas-based El Centro College will offer a free cybersecurity curriculum for more than 12,000 students.</div><div><br></div><div>The Cloud Security Alliance is opening a new CSA Europe head­quarters and creating a new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Center of Excellence for cloud computing in Berlin.</div><div><br></div><div>The Committee to Protect Journalists released a Safety Kit that includes safety notes to help journalists prepare for assignments, first aid videos, an updated <em>Journalist Security Guide, </em>and an expanded resource center. </div><div><br></div><div>The Electronic Transactions Association announced the ETA Self-Regulation Program, which seeks to improve security and reduce risk in the payments industry.</div><div><br></div><div>The FIDO Alliance announced its Biometric Component Certification Program.</div><div><br></div><div>G4S launched a new Security Risk IQ tool to help clients measure potential risk to an organization. The tool is part of G4S’ new online magazine, <em>Security Risk IQ.</em></div><div><br></div><div>Magos Systems is expanding into the North American market.</div><div><br></div><div>Marquee Security opened a new U.S. headquarters in Morris Plains, New Jersey.</div><div><br></div><div>The National Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center (NH-ISAC) changed its name to the Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center (H-ISAC).</div><div><br></div><div>Sevatec announced a new partnership with George Mason University to help prepare the next generation of students for careers in information technology.</div><div><br></div><div>TEAM Software announced a strategic investment from Accel-KKR, a technology-focused private equity firm.</div><div>Veratad Technologies, LLC, joined the New Jersey Tech Council. </div><div><br></div><div>VMD Systems Integrators has rebranded as VMD Corp to bring the company’s name in line with its current work.</div></div><br></div>GP0|#3795b40d-c591-4b06-959c-9e277b38585e;L0|#03795b40d-c591-4b06-959c-9e277b38585e|Security by Industry;GTSet|#8accba12-4830-47cd-9299-2b34a4344465
https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/Building the Control Room of Tomorrow.aspxBuilding the Control Room of Tomorrow<p>​At the center of an enterprise organization’s security op­eration stands its nucleus, arguably one of the most important pieces for overall functionality and efficiency: a command center or security operations center (SOC). A place where a variety of systems and solutions come together, the command center exists to provide a common operational picture, mitigate threats, and promote enhanced communication during an incident.</p><p>The goal of any command center is to monitor, assess, and respond to a variety of threats and incidents. As technologies advance and trends develop, so too do the strategies in place to meet this goal. There are several considerations that must be made when designing the control room of the future. </p><p><strong>Space</strong>. For many companies, a control room may be allotted space in a basement or small windowless room chosen as an afterthought. While some companies are limited by space, many decide the SOC’s location is unimportant. This can be a big mistake when designing a control room that will serve the company now and into the future. It’s critical for this space to be large enough to house important equipment that allows operators to view the relevant incoming data and make informed decisions, but it’s also necessary for the space to be scalable as needs change, technology evolves and coverage increases, and a company grows.</p><p><strong>Operator comfort</strong>. Space isn’t the only consideration when designing an SOC or control room. Central to the success of any organization is the ability for security operators to quickly and efficiently take information coming into an SOC and act on that information to identify risks and mitigate threats. Operator comfort, as a result, should be central to the design of a control room, taking lighting, console comfort, ergonomics, ambient noise, and temperature into careful consideration. If operators are uncomfortable or distracted, in pain with a sore neck due to bad viewing angles, or too warm in a room without proper ventilation, they can miss out on critical events or emergencies. Addressing these before they become problematic is crucial in the design stage of an SOC.</p><p><strong>Technology. </strong>When it comes to building a mission-critical SOC, there's a reason why large-scale video walls that showcase a number of incoming data points are dominant. Uniform and integrated visual elements are imperative to the success of an SOC or control room, because operators and first responders require the most up-to-date and complete information regarding incoming security-related events. Additionally, the technology needed to bring multiple data streams together in a single-pane-of-glass view is an important consideration to make, and hiring a control room integrator that specializes in this technology can streamline the process and result in better situational awareness across the board.</p><p><strong>Data convergence</strong>. Command centers today combine a number of security components, but as end users demand an emphasis on the full umbrella of security rather than small silos, facilities are focused on including additional pieces, such as risk and threat assessment, employee travel, and social media monitoring. Data incorporation is also a critical element, and command centers must be able to collect any number of data points for effective data aggregation. Dashboards that can make sense of a large amount of information can streamline decision-making and response.</p><p><strong>Innovation</strong>. While words like artificial intelligence and machine learning are often whispers around the industry, for innovative companies, these terms are becoming more commonplace as they enter a new frontier in how data is collected and analyzed to deliver information to security operators. The control room of the future brings innovative software and systems to the forefront, taking existing sensors that are providing a wealth of information and layering an additional method by which to understand what is happening and make decisions about the organization’s health. </p><p>Enterprise organizations rely on their SOC for business operations. In times of an emergency, and as risks become more severe, a complete situational picture is necessary. Taking into consideration the space, operator comfort, technology, data convergence, and future innovation can set security managers up for success in protecting their enterprises.  </p><p>Dan Gundry is director of national control room sales at Vistacom.</p><p><br></p>GP0|#69b4a912-eafa-43d2-b6a4-8aed47f69245;L0|#069b4a912-eafa-43d2-b6a4-8aed47f69245|Security Technology;GTSet|#8accba12-4830-47cd-9299-2b34a4344465
https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/School-Security-Trends.aspxSchool Security Trends<p>School security often involves response tools, from mass notification to surveillance to reporting. However, experts note that trends are moving away from technology as a single solution to prevention-based programs centered around information sharing, all-hazards training, and public-private partnerships.</p><p>Preventing a tragedy often starts with getting critical information into the right hands. </p><p>Take the case of two teens in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, who were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit murder in October 2015. The two had plans to phone in a bomb threat to their school, then shoot people as they evacuated, CNN reported. A school resource officer discovered that one of the boys had threatened violence on the Internet, and the resulting investigation uncovered the plot. </p><p>In December 2015, an anonymous tip was sent to a Denver school district’s “Text-a-Tip” threat reporting hotline. Based on that information, two 16-year-old girls were found with plans to commit a mass killing at Mountain Vista High School. They were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, reported Reuters. </p><p>These stories, and many like them, have a common thread throughout: critical information was reported and acted upon in a timely manner, stopping any plans to commit harm. While some security experts do not like to classify tragedies as preventable, they say there are key threat indicators that pointed to the mass shootings and other attacks before they occurred. If communities, schools, and law enforcement work together to identify and connect these dots, future threats could be stopped. </p><p><em>Security Management </em>speaks to experts about their experience conducting threat assessments in schools and communities. ​</p><h4>Connecting the Dots</h4><p>After the December 2012 Sandy Hook shooting that killed 20 elementary-age children and six educators, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy created a 16-member panel to review policies pertaining to school safety, gun-violence prevention, and mental health. The panel recommended in a 277-page report that all schools create safety committees that include police, first responders, administrators, and custodians. The report also urged each school to take an “all-hazards” approach to safety and security training for faculty, staff, and students. </p><p>Furthermore, the panel recommended that schools form threat assessment teams that “gather information from multiple sources in response to indications that a student, colleague, or other person’s behavior has raised alarms.” The report cites the U.S. Secret Service’s behavioral threat assessment model, which has been adopted for educational institutions, the workplace, and military settings. </p><p>“Once a team has identified someone who appears to be on a pathway to violence, the team ideally becomes a resource connecting the troubled child, adolescent, or adult to the help they need to address their underlying problems,” states the report, which goes on to say that such multidisciplinary teams can conduct risk assessments when questionable behaviors arise. “These would not only identify students at risk for committing violence, but also serve as a resource for children and families facing multiple stressors.” ​</p><h4>Partnerships</h4><p>As outlined in the Sandy Hook report, it is critical for organizations, schools, and communities to take an all-hazards approach to assessing and preparing for threats. If there is a dedicated platform or channel where they know they can report pertinent information, those dots can be connected in a meaningful way to prevent tragedy. </p><p>Two security experts share best practices with Security Management based on their experiences with threat assessments. These programs were bolstered by building partnerships with law enforcement and the community. </p><p>Working with stakeholders. Sometimes a threat assessment reveals an obvious problem that needs fixing, while other issues are uncovered only by working and communicating with stakeholders. Such was the case for school security professional Gary Sigrist, Jr., CEO and president at Safeguard Risk Solutions. </p><p>He tells Security Management that when he first started working at the South-Western City School district in Ohio, there were some obvious changes that needed to be made. “We had building principals who told their staff members they weren’t allowed to call 911 [in an emergency], that they have to call the office first,” he says. “We changed that.” </p><p>There was one building principal who told the cafeteria cooks that if there was a fire in the kitchen, not to pull the fire alarm until they had notified him first. “I brought the fire marshal in, and we had a conversation about that,” he notes. </p><p>Sigrist explains that working with law enforcement isn’t always a seamless process; sometimes schools and police in his district differed on their vision for a safe and secure environment. </p><p>“It’s not that the police were wrong, it’s just that some of their goals and objectives didn’t sync with the goals and objectives of the school,” according to Sigrist. But establishing regular meetings with law enforcement and other first responders was key to successful collaboration. “The police would say, ‘we think you should do this,’ and the school could say, ‘that’s not a bad idea, but let’s look at it from the point of view of the school,’” he notes. “Fire drills became better because we involved the fire department in the planning of our drills, where our command posts would be, and how we were going to check students in.” </p><p>He adds that first responder collaboration should go beyond just police and fire; schools rely on medical professionals when faced with health epidemics, for example. “When the Avian Flu and H1N1 sprang into effect, we worked with our county and state boards of health, and were able to develop a pandemic plan,” he says. “We had those subject matter experts.” </p><p>Over the course of his career at SouthWestern City Schools, Sigrist twice helped secure the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Grant, in 2008 and 2010, from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. These funds helped him establish many safety programs around the district. “Those are things people say, ‘wow, you must be a wonderful person to be able to get all of this done’–no, we had grant money,” he says. “It’s amazing what you can do with half a million dollars in grant money, and also the right support from the superintendents.” </p><p>No matter how prepared a school is for an emergency, those plans are truly put to the test when disaster strikes. Such was the case for South-Western City Schools when an explosion occurred at an elementary school. </p><p>“We had a building in a rural area, and the water table shifted, causing methane gas to build up in the basement. When it built up to a certain level with the right oxygen mix, there was an explosion,” Sigrist says. A custodian was injured, but everyone was able to evacuate the building safely as they had in many drills before. </p><p>The staff had been trained on how to function as a crisis team that was three members deep. Because the principal was not present at the time of the explosion, the building secretary assumed the role of incident commander, safely evacuating everyone from the building. “And it’s just evacuation training,” he says. “We never trained her on what to do when a building blew up.” </p><p>There were some key takeaways from the event that the district saw as areas of improvement. “Did we have lessons learned? Yes,” says Sigrist. “This happened almost right at dismissal, and we had school buses parked right in front of the building. Well–they didn’t move.” </p><p>These buses prevented fire trucks and other emergency vehicles from pulling right up to the scene. “And so one of our lessons learned is, if you have an incident, how are the buses going to pull out of the parking lot so the fire equipment can get in?” </p><p>Hometown security. Schools are a major focal point of the community, but they are not the only one. Societies are also made up of private businesses whose security is paramount to the overall environment of safety. Marianna Perry, CPP, a security consultant with Loss Prevention and Safety Management, LLC, explains that because about 85 percent of critical infrastructure in the United States is privately owned, “it makes sense that these businesses and communities partner with law enforcement to address problems.”  </p><p>Perry has more than 20 years of experience in conducting threat assessments for private businesses, as well as communities, including school districts. She recounts examples of how these reviews helped strengthen those localities, businesses, and law enforcement alike. </p><p>While Perry was the director of the National Crime Prevention Institute, there was a particular community with high crime rates, homelessness, and drug problems, as well as health-related issues. “There were abandoned properties, rental properties in disrepair, homes that had been foreclosed,” she says. “We were looking for a solution to help fix this community.” </p><p>Perry helped form a team of key stake­­holders and partners, including law en­forcement, a local university, security consultants, area churches, and the local health department. The public housing authority was also a major partner, as well as some local residents and business representatives. Initially, everyone came together for a week-long training program. The goal was to involve all partners in helping to develop strategies to improve the overall condition of the neighborhood, which in turn would help prevent crime. She says that much of the training was centered on crime prevention through environmental de­sign (CPTED), which predicates that the immediate environment can be designed in such a way that it deters criminal activity.  </p><p>She adds that the training wasn’t just focused only on preventing crime, but on several aspects of the community. “The goal was to improve the overall quality of life for everyone who lived or worked in that neighborhood,” says Perry. </p><p>The training also helped the partners learn to speak a common language. “We had all of these different people from different professional backgrounds and business cultures, and we needed them all on the same page,” she says. “They needed to be able to communicate with each other.” </p><p>A critical outcome of the training program, she says, was facilitating interaction among stakeholders, as well as developing and building trust. “It was a really successful partnership, and a lot of good was done for that community because everyone worked together to achieve common goals.” </p><p>Businesses also benefit from such assessments. Perry recently conducted a security assessment for one organization that was located in an area with one of the highest violent crime rates in the city. “Management was very concerned about the safety of their employees,” she notes. </p><p>During the assessment, Perry recommended that the company install additional cameras on the perimeter of their property for added surveillance and employee safety. The company could also share camera footage with law enforcement by tying their camera system into the citywide surveillance program. Perry worked with a local vendor to install IP cameras to cover a 10-block area. A control center operator would then monitor the cameras, and if he or she saw suspicious activity, either a security officer would be dispatched to respond, or 911 would be called. “I think people are now embracing the concept of public-private partnerships because they’re beginning to realize that they work,” Perry says.</p><p>Training. Preventing and detecting threats, while challenging, is possible when stakeholders share critical information. Having a centralized place for reporting such information is key, as well as training students, employees, and the community on how to use those platforms. </p><p>However, if the threat remains unde­tected or cannot be stopped, organiza­tions should conduct all-hazards training that covers a range of possible scenarios to ensure minimal damage and loss of life, says Kenneth Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services. </p><p>“Active shooter is one concern, certainly, but it’s just that–one concern,” he says. “There’s a much greater likelihood that school employers are going to deal with a noncustodial parent issue multiple times during a school year than that they will ever deal­­—during their entire career working in the school—with an active shooter incident.” </p><p>Sigrist adds that having a laser-like focus on active shooter training can be a drawback for schools, because they lose sight of issues that have a greater likelihood of occurring. </p><p>“I asked one of my clients at a Head Start school how many times they have had a drunk parent show up to pick up a child, and they said, ‘it happens all the time,’” he says. “We still teach active shooter, but by teaching how to respond in an all-hazards approach, they will know how to take action.” </p>GP0|#cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8;L0|#0cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8|Physical Security;GTSet|#8accba12-4830-47cd-9299-2b34a4344465