Sunstates Blog

A Proactive Security Partner

Fevers and Coronavirus: What You Need to Know about Taking Temperatures

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Fevers and Coronavirus: What You Need to Know about Taking Temperatures

As businesses begin to reopen, many are instituting temperature checks before employees or clients are allowed to enter. Organizations should understand the best practices before adding that type of policy. They should also understand that temperature checks are only part of a comprehensive health and safety strategy.

Understand the Limitations

Checking temperatures is a valuable tool to help ensure the health and safety of employees and clients, but it isn’t foolproof.

For one thing, not everyone with the coronavirus has a fever or an elevated temperature. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 83-99% of people with COVID-19 experience a fever, and people typically don’t show symptoms for 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

As many as 13% of infected persons show no symptoms, according to the CDC. People who are asymptomatic can still infect others. Also, other diseases can cause fevers as well; not everyone with a fever has COVID-19.

Choosing Equipment

Consumer-grade, handheld thermometers are widely available. Many of these devices cost less than $100.

Those products use one of three technologies: thermal, infrared and tympanic. A review of 16 studies by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, part of the National Institutes of Health, found that tympanic thermometers, which are inserted into the ear canal, are the most accurate. The other two types of thermometers varied in accuracy.

Inexpensive handheld scanners have other drawbacks:
• Increased exposure risk, as operators must violate social distancing guidelines
• Slow when scanning many people
• Risk of cross-contamination when scanning multiple people
• Labor intensive
• Faulty readings and errors triggered when ambient temperatures and conditions fall outside desired ranges
Put simply, inexpensive, handheld forehead scanners may be too inaccurate, slow and inconvenient for widespread business use.

Benefits of a System

For many organizations, particularly those that need to screen a significant volume of employees, tenants or visitors, a thermal camera system is a better solution than a handheld.

Commercial-grade temperature screening systems—those designed for human bodies, not industrial applications—have many benefits over handheld, consumer-grade units:
• Automated; no need for a human operator to get close to subjects
• Automatically find the subject’s face, forehead and eyes
• Much more accurate, up to within 0.3 degrees Celsius
• Alerts/Alarms to indicate fever
• Results are logged and saved
• Compensates for ambient temperature
• Compensates for distance
• Portable for use in different areas
• Fast; designed for high volumes
• Self-calibrating for minimal temperature drift
• Advanced analytics for minimal false alarms
Most temperature screening systems can be used as stand-alone systems or integrated with security or video management systems, and they can be networked.

Best Workplace Practices

Taking the temperature of everyone who enters a facility is one step in protecting occupants. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recommends that organizations and facilities managers also follow these practices:
• Develop policies and procedures for workplace health and safety
• Develop an infectious disease preparedness and response plan
• Promote frequent and thorough handwashing, and make handwashing stations and hand sanitizer widely available
• Encourage sick employees to stay home
• Encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes
• Establish policies that help workers distance themselves, such as remote work and staggered shifts
• Discourage workers or visitors from sharing equipment
• Maintain stringent cleaning and disinfecting practices
Training and Educating

Sunstates Security has added mandatory COVID-19 courses for all employees to its in-house Learning Management System, which tracks completion. Those courses include basic COVID-19 safety, how to use Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), how to properly conduct temperature checks, how to sanitize patrol equipment, and an employee pledge to uphold company guidelines, based on CDC and local government standards and regulations. All security personnel, whether supplied by a security partner or part of an in-house security team, should be specially trained to mitigate COVID-19 threats.

To learn more about how Sunstates Security can support your organization’s health and safety efforts, call 866-710-2019 or email us.

 

Written by Sunstates Security

May 19th, 2020 at 2:07 pm

COVID-19 Update: What Sunstates Security is doing

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Updated May 12, 2020

In accordance with the government’s “Opening Up America Again” initiative, Sunstates Security is taking steps to return to normal operations.

For employees:

  • Staying in communication with furloughed officers, assisting with funding options, checking on their well-being, and providing updated information as it becomes available on when their positions may return.
  • Continuous communication with active employees to check health, ensuring site safety protocol compliance, and collecting feedback on how we can best support their specific operation.
  • Preparing for gradual return to work in Phase 1, including employee training & screening, workplace modifications to accommodate social distancing, enhanced cleaning protocols, and limitation of visitors and contractors.

For clients:

  • Continued evaluation of federal, state & local government regulations by our legal & compliance team as it relates to shelter in place, stay at home, PPE guidelines, etc.
  • Actively recruiting and increasing our talent pipeline to ensure we have the resources to respond quickly to increased site coverage requirements as the economy begins to reopen.
  • Implementing automated processes for electronic issuance and approval of invoices and payment options for all clients.
  • Collaborating with client management teams on return-to-work processes and procedures to ensure the safety of their employees, clients, visitors, vendors and contractors while continuing to enforce security protocols.
  • Continued sourcing of new pipelines for procuring PPE and sharing resources with clients as necessary.

Sunstates Security continues to focus on the health and well-being of our employees and the safety of those we serve while fulfilling our service commitments.

On the following pages we have included a timeline of actions the company has taken since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis and which we continue to maintain as the scenario unfolds. 

Summary of Actions Taken to Date

For our employees…

Sunstates appreciates our employees, and our first and foremost concern is their safety and well-being. Our goal is to keep people employed, while providing a safe workplace and clear operating protocols in line with CDC guidelines.

  • Ongoing Safety Communications/Resources:
  • As needed, provisions of PPE, cleaning and sanitizing supplies provided for offices and posts while maintaining an updated inventory by region.
  • Ongoing and regularly scheduled conference calls including Legal & Compliance, Human Resources, Quality Assurance, Training, and Executive Management Team members to discuss COVID-19 updates, hygiene practices, evolving client requirements and operational processes.
  • March 16 – Sunstates began providing ongoing communication to educate employees, including COVID-19 Safety & Preparedness Bulletin, Hand Washing & Sanitizing Guidelines, and Social Distancing Strategies Protocol.
  • March 20 – CEO Kathryn Burrell communicated to all employees regarding safety and employee resources.
  • March 23 – Sunstates issued a bulletin regarding security employee classification as essential employees by the DHS and provided officers with a letter to carry, along with their state licenses, when traveling to/from work.
  • March 26 – Human Resources sent communication regarding medical coverage, including availability of Telemedicine visits and COVID-19 testing.
  • April 17 – Rolled out an employee pledge campaign asking all officers to commit to social distancing and other COVID-19 recommended safety guidelines; participation will be tracked through the LMS system.
  • COVID-19 Training: Sunstates launched a mandatory COVID-19 training module for all employees on March 16, easily accessible and tracked through our online LMS. 
  • April 1 – Released new training module regarding use of PPE with enrollments based upon management request; updated information released on April 10.
  • April 13 – Released new training module regarding vehicle cleanliness; managers send job numbers to the training department to auto-enroll officers with driving positions.
  • April 20 – Released new training module for conducting temperature checks including important guidance on maintaining proper social distance, utilizing permanent barriers and incorporating technology such as thermal imaging cameras that achieve safety, accuracy and efficiency.  This training is mandated for all employees performing this function.
  • Continued Employment: Sunstates is doing everything possible to retain employees who may have been affected by reductions in coverage by cross-training at other locations, refining schedules, adjusting to 32-hour work weeks, and offering opportunities to fulfill additional service requests through the Sunstates Mutual Aid Rapid Response Team (SMARRT) program.
  • Employee Benefits: On March 20, our Human Resources Department distributed information on government benefits. We have also expanded company policy to allow those whose positions are negatively impacted by COVID-19 to retain employee status with the ability to resume work at Sunstates without having to reapply or losing tenure once the emergent situation has passed. Continue to share information about virtual health care resources, EAP information, and communications from Empower for those enrolled in the Sunstates Security 401(k) program.
  • New Protocol for Recruiting & Onboarding to Ensure Safety and Social Distancing: 
  • Phone and/or video interviews, using multiple platforms, such as Skype & Facetime.
  • Staggered timing for hiring events, in-person interviews, sizing for uniforms, etc., to limit the number of people and to allow for six-foot distancing.
  • Changes in location or size of training classes to allow for adequate distancing; implementation of live-stream video training for state licensing (where approved by state licensing agencies) as well as Sunstates orientation.
  • Employee Recognition: Special recognition of officers who are going above and beyond the call of duty during this challenging time. 

For our clients….

Sunstates Security continues to serve our clients, adjusting coverage requirements as needed. As the situation evolves, Sunstates is exploring creative solutions to fulfill client requirements and to meet our internal quality standards, while ensuring safe social distancing and compliance with CDC guidelines.

  • March 16 – Implementation of Virtual Quality Assurance Checks.
  • April 9 – introduced new COVID-19 specific virtual QA check to ensure proper use of PPE and compliance with social distancing and hygiene guidelines.
  • Scheduled and impromptu video meetings and calls with clients.
  • Continued consultation with clients to develop protocol and share best practices regarding new pandemic-related requirements such as social distancing measures, use of PPE, sanitary standards, temperature checks, etc. in ways that mitigate risk for our clients and our officers.
  • Provide PPE, cleaning & sanitizing supplies for officers at client sites when needed.
  • Proactive planning for additional coverage requirements through expanded recruiting and enrollment with the Sunstates Mutual Aid Rapid Response Team (SMARRT). In the past 60 days enrollment has increased substantially, providing an enhanced emergency coverage resource for Sunstates clients.

Such strategic changes to our processes and operating procedures will allow us to continue taking care of our employees and clients, while stimulating the economy by creating new employment opportunities throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Please reach out to the Sunstates management team or search for employment opportunities on our website.

Written by Sunstates Security

May 12th, 2020 at 12:11 pm

The Decade in Review and Looking Ahead to the Future of Security

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More skills and expertise, more training and knowledge, more technology. The 2010s saw profound changes in the security industry. The advancements, if anything, will accelerate in the decade we’ve just begun.

More Security Guards Than Police Officers                                                                                                                                                                                                             

As global threats increase, so does the need for security. In the past decade, the number of security officers surpassed the number of full-time, sworn police officers. By 2018, the number of police officers in the U.S. stood at 686,665, according to Statisa.com. By comparison, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported more than 1.1 million security guards and gaming surveillance officers during the same year.

That trend is worldwide. Many countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia report that they employ more security officers than police officers.

Not only will those numbers continue to grow, but the skills of security officers will become increasingly sophisticated. The security officer of the 2020s will have a greater understanding of using technology to enhance security capabilities. There’s no substitute for human eyes, ears and analysis, but augmenting humans with high-tech tools will be a major shift in the industry during the coming decade.

Technology: What’s Here, What’s Coming

When the past decade started, a minority of security employees used technology as part of their day-to-day duties. Today, the vast majority do.

Much of that is technology we now all take for granted, such as using smartphones to track patrol officers and to report incidents. Clients, too, are using more technology, because of a drastic change in the industry.

Specifically, there’s been a global move away from proprietary hardware and software to plug-and-play equipment, which is much easier to install, upgrade and expand. With new capabilities being added so quickly, systems and equipment go out of date within two or three years, and upgrading quickly and economically has become critical.

In addition, the coming years will see greater use of technology in three areas:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Drones
  • Robots

What Artificial Intelligence Can Do

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly adding more analytical and observational capabilities. It can be very expensive to have multiple human operators constantly monitoring the perimeter of a corporate campus to watch for a vehicle driven by a dangerous, disgruntled former employee. But AI can monitor and analyze the images from multiple high-resolution cameras in real-time and then alert a security officer if a vehicle matching the description is spotted.

AI can also, say, flag a vehicle that’s been spotted in an area where it shouldn’t be, or flag a suspicious vehicle that’s been seen in the same area multiple times over a short period. If the same person has been seen behind the building three times after midnight in one week, are they casing the facility and planning a break-in? AI can alert officers before the break-in occurs.

Many secure government buildings are already using AI to enhance perimeter security, and that same technology will be increasingly used in the private sector during the 2020s.

Drones on Patrol

Whether backed by human operators or artificial intelligence, drones can monitor every square inch of a campus, office park or other group of buildings much more efficiently than security officers on patrol. Drones can easily monitor areas such as rooftops that are difficult for humans to watch.

Drones can also be mobilized to quickly respond to any potential incident, providing high quality, real-time audio and video to security officers and others. They can be programmed to track heat sources or detect smoke to provide early warnings of fires.

The Human Touch

We have a logistics client who needs to ensure food safety. The client’s facilities process the contents of over 950,000 vehicles a year, and we employ advanced technology to ensure that every truck arrives in perfect condition, sealed correctly, so the client knows its contents are safe when the vehicle arrives at a grocery store.

Thanks to technology, our analytics shows that the number of potential issues has been slashed by almost 80%.

But humans will always be important and critical. Cameras and artificial intelligence can confirm that a seal is on a handle, but only a security officer can determine whether that seal is actually snapped closed. Trained personnel can spot signs of tampering and know what they’re seeing, while a camera cannot.

All of that means that human beings will still need to be an integral part of the security process. But over the next decade, security officers will be more educated, better trained, and more comfortable and familiar with how to use security technology. Clients will still want the human touch.

To discuss the impact of these trends on your organization, please call Sunstates Security at 866-710-2019 or email us.

 

Written by Sunstates Security

February 10th, 2020 at 8:38 pm

From Boots to Bots: Supporting Advanced Technology with Skilled Humans

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Increasingly, providing the highest levels of security and peace of mind for clients requires more than boots on the ground.

It requires technology.

While human beings will always be at the core of our security strategy, we increasingly use technology to extend our security and threat mitigation capabilities.

Human beings can do many things technology cannot, such as sizing up certain types of threats. But technology can also outperform humans in certain tasks, such as monitoring the Internet to identify potential security issues in real time.

Day-to-Day and Global Security Technology

We use two basic types of technology in serving our clients.

First, we use many tech tools to manage and enhance our security officers. We track activities, ensure that all security checks are done as they should, and provide reports and analysis for clients to demonstrate that we’re meeting and exceeding their expectations.

In addition, some members of our security staff are gaining the skills required to operate Global Security Operations Centers (GSOCs). More and more companies are using GSOCs to:

  • Monitor potential threats in real time
  • Protect people and assets
  • Predict and mitigate emerging risks
  • Monitor and protect threats to corporate operations and reputation

As an example, a large church with missionaries around the world wants to analyze threat levels and potential issues in every location with church personnel, to mitigate threats and to ensure their safety. Companies with executives who are travelling to other countries for business want the same. Many areas where companies might want to set up operations, open a manufacturing facility, or visit potential partners have such threats as political unrest, terrorists or kidnappers.

Here in the U.S., one client GSOC continuously scans the internet to see if the company or its executives are mentioned anywhere, including on the Dark Web. This company, for instance, could be affected if a pending strike in Argentina threatens to affect the power grid. Skilled Sunstates analysts review compiled intelligence around the clock to not only spot potential threats, but also to judge how likely and severe they are. The most credible risks are immediately flagged for further action.

The growing use of technology offers almost infinite opportunities for Sunstates’ security officers to advance their careers and to take on new challenges.

Upgraded Training

Another area where Sunstates uses technology for ongoing upgrades is training in general. Sunstates has a rapidly expanding library of online training courses and materials for officers and supervisors, including both general and site-specific programs. Many client sites have specific security needs and challenges, which are carefully documented for all officers and supervisors to understand.

As a client-driven organization, we continually meet with clients to gain insights into the skills our security officers need to have, and our corporate training department develops materials to ensure Sunstates employees have the necessary competencies.

To discuss the impact of these trends on your organization, please call Sunstates Security at 866-710-2019 or email us.

 

Written by Sunstates Security

February 10th, 2020 at 8:31 pm

The Coronavirus Pandemic: Is Your Organization Ready?

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Recent pandemics, such as the Ebola virus, bird flu and others, have revealed many vulnerabilities in our ability to prepare for the effects of a large-scale pandemic. When epidemics begin overseas, as the coronavirus has, we watch it with a detached, “hope it doesn’t get here” mentality.

China’s attempt to lock down the travel of 11 million people to contain a virus that has already killed nearly 1,000 (as of this writing) and sickened thousands has only been partially successful.

Cases have already been reported outside of mainland China, including in the U.S. No doubt many more are coming.

The situation with the new coronavirus, officially known as 2019-nCoV, is rapidly changing. Things are so fast-moving that it may already be out of date. But, as with any pandemic, there are three key strategies to mitigate threats to personnel, security and operations:

  • Stay informed
  • Develop a plan
  • Prepare for contingencies

Stay Informed

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is confirming new cases of this sometimes-deadly respiratory disease almost daily. As this is being written, the CDC has told travelers to avoid all nonessential travel to China, while monitoring possible coronavirus cases in 26 U.S. states.

We recommend monitoring authoritative sources, such as the CDC and other government health agencies. Please do not give credence to unknown sources on social media, which can spread disinformation and panic.

Plan and Prepare

Some actions are obvious: curtail all corporate travel to areas where cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed, and urge employees to take the same medical and health precautions they would to guard against the flu or any serious, contagious disease.

Beyond that, make plans that you’ll hopefully never have to implement, including:

  • Develop policies and operations to screen and identify potentially infected individuals before they enter your building, campus or area.
  • Prepare contingency plans in case key personnel are sick and unavailable, such as cross-training other employees.
  • Prepare contingency plans to ensure the continuation of key operations, such as cross-training or moving resources.
  • Educate employees about the symptoms of the coronavirus.
  • Ensure that possibly sick employees stay home to lower the risk of infecting others.

If your organization already has existing security or business continuity plans, review and update them as new information about the coronavirus and its spread develops. Even plans that were developed just a few years ago may no longer be up to date. We know more about the spread of disease than we did before. We also have new security and access-control technology available.

Whether security is provided in-house or by an outside partner, make sure there’s a plan to backfill personnel and support operations in the event of widespread absences.

At Sunstates, the foundation of our business continuity plan is the Sunstates Mutual Aid Rapid Response Team (SMARRT) program. Specially trained and equipped team members are ready to fill any personnel gaps and provide security at any client’s site at a moment’s notice.

One final note: It’s better to have spent time and resources training for a pandemic that doesn’t happen than being caught unprepared by one that does.

Sunstates Security has been helping clients create customized emergency and business continuity plans since 1998, including pandemic contingencies. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

Written by Sunstates Security

February 4th, 2020 at 3:25 pm

It’s a Family Affair

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Sunstates recently got a new addition to its Corporate HR team, and she knows Sunstates through and through. Karen Rice, Office Administrator received an internal promotion from her previous position as Security Officer at a client site in the Raleigh, NC region. When the job opened up, her Operations Manager Sam Valencia was quick to recommend her for the job. He believed she was the perfect embodiment of Sunstates mission and vision. But the story doesn’t end there!

Karen’s daughter Tywanda stepped into Karen’s old role at the same client site. Karen says of her promotion, “I was extremely humbled to be thought of for the role and am excited to grow further with Sunstates.” We love the opportunity to advance our loyal employees professionally and are excited to watch both Karen and Tywanda shine in their new roles. At Sunstates, we treat one another as family – and in this case, it couldn’t be more true!

Written by Sunstates Security

January 28th, 2020 at 7:39 pm

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Challenges and opportunities in the contract security industry

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Challenges and opportunities in the contract security industry

Technology, social trends and budgetary constraints are driving opportunities and challenges in the contract security industry. Increasing consolidation is also changing the industry landscape, especially among the larger companies.

Sunstates Security has been preparing for many of these challenges and opportunities by taking a different path when it comes to growth and consolidation.

 

Challenges and Opportunities

A recent white paper by Robert H. Perry & Associates, Inc., outlined several trends that will affect the industry in the near future:

Opportunities

  • Many municipalities are upgrading their security by outsourcing to security firms.
  • Recent crime increases in public places are also leading to increased needs for security firms and services.

Challenges

  • There is growing pressure on the industry to provide higher wages, especially as minimum wages rise.
  • There is growing pressure to provide more benefits, such as sick pay and other paid time off (PTO).
  • Several alarm and technology companies are racing to develop electronic security systems to replace or supplant security officers.

Growth and Consolidation

To meet those challenges, the biggest companies are getting bigger, often by merging with or swallowing up competitors.

A recent report by Security ProAdvisors shows that the top 10 firms account for half of all industry revenues. Six of them acquired, merged with, or formed partnership agreements with other firms in 2018. Others did the same in previous years.

Sunstates Security, which was listed as the 11th largest in the industry, has followed a different strategy.

Unlike other firms, our growth has been entirely organic: no mergers, no acquisitions, no takeovers of other companies to bulk up our employee count and revenues. Starting with $0 in 1998, Sunstates Security has grown by going above and beyond for clients. Period.

We’ve also proactively met many of today’s industry challenges by the way we take care of our security officers and other employees:

  • A culture that provides opportunities and promotes from within
  • Many industry-leading employee benefits, including medical, PTO, 401(k) plan with employer match, and others
  • Education and other resources to help employees improve skills and earn raises and promotions
  • An employee recognition program that rewards employees at every level
  • A level of service that helps Sunstates achieve client retention rates well above the industry average

Benefits of Organic Growth

Growing a company organically may be slower, but it has a lot of benefits:

  • Controlled growth. Companies can manage their growth, ensuring that infrastructure and operations keeps up with the increase in the number of employees.
  • No culture clash. Employees aren’t coming from different corporate cultures; everyone understands and follows the same policies, procedures and value.
  • More opportunities. Employees have more opportunities to grow and learn, as well as earn promotions. Smart organic growth promotes from within whenever possible, ensuring that managers understand the needs of the rank and file.
  • Orderly succession. As employees move up into more responsible positions, other employees are trained and ready to take their places.
  • Higher morale. As employees see the opportunities available, morale stays high.

The Sunstates Difference

As the industry giants get bigger, many are looking to cut costs by trimming or eliminating benefits.

At Sunstates Security, we look at our security officers and managers as more than just employees. They are partners in our growth and success, and they deserve paid time off to recharge their batteries. Sunstates provides benefits that are above average because we want people who are above average. That’s also why we have a robust employee referral and recognition program—because we want to attract and retain the best.

The Future of Security

The security industry faces a changing landscape over the next few years, from an increase in electronic surveillance and other technology to new opportunities in outsourced security from government agencies. Municipalities are increasing security in schools and other public places, adding to the growth of the industry.

How will security firms meet those demands? We think organic growth is better for employees and clients, and that’s the way Sunstates Security plans to continue to grow.

To discuss the impact of these trends on your organization, please call Sunstates Security at 866-710-2019 or email us.

Written by Sunstates Security

December 10th, 2019 at 3:08 pm

How to get the most from your security partnership

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How to get the most from your security partnership

In many organizations, managers aspire to certain perks. The corner office. The big desk. The fancy furnishings. Power lunches and high-level meetings where important decisions are made.

Sunstates Security managers are a different breed.

They practice project-based management, a simple idea that yields better service for clients. With project-based management, Sunstates operates more efficiently, provides competitive pricing, and delivers more hands-on service to clients.

Simply put, Sunstates security officers and managers go above and beyond every day. The results: Our client retention rate is 95%, significantly above the industry average.

With project-based management, managers spend more time out in the field, visiting client sites and talking to security officers and clients, than they do in their own offices. This has a number of advantages for clients and Sunstates:

  • It develops closer relationships between managers and security officers, as well as between managers and clients. Managers can listen to concerns, solicit suggestions for improvement, and make decisions on the spot.
  • It gives security officers and clients the opportunity to discuss concerns, issues, and suggestions that might not make it into a formal report, but are important enough to address.
  • It ensures that our employees follow the security plan that is custom-tailored to each client and site.
  • It provides opportunities to improve those plans, as well as other security policies and procedures, immediately on-site.

Those site visits and conversations can be fruitful. When a client mentioned that no one routinely checked fire extinguishers to make sure they were operational and up to date, we added that to our operations manual. Now, every fire extinguisher has a bar code and is checked regularly. When a client casually mentioned to a visiting manager that a door was defective (and replacement was delayed), we added an hourly check of that door to the duties of every patrolling security officer.

These minor items might have never been mentioned in a formal report. But they help make a facility and employees more safe and secure.

Best Practices in Working with Sunstates

When a Sunstates manager visits a client site, here’s how to take advantage of that visit:

  • Offer or brainstorm ideas for improvement to processes or services, no matter how small. We are always willing to learn new or refined processes.
  • Share ideas or ask questions. Ongoing communication is critical.
  • Point out items or situations, even temporary ones, that can increase safety and security.
  • Don’t feel reluctant to bring up any concern or issue; that’s why our managers are on-site.

Sunstates managers are trained to ask for suggestions and to recognize good ideas. Please take advantage of this opportunity to upgrade your security program continually.

For more information on how Sunstates Security manages on-site security, or for an evaluation of your existing security, please call 866-710-2019 or email us.

Written by Sunstates Security

December 5th, 2019 at 2:54 pm

Smart Cameras, Smarter People

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Smart Cameras, Smarter People

New technology, especially security cameras with analytics features, are adding new capabilities and providing more reactive and proactive options. Today’s systems have capabilities previously seen only in the movies: pattern-based analytics, self-learning and AI (artificial intelligence) that can find security threats and suspicious patterns incredibly quickly and accurately. The new technology won’t replace security officers, but it will enable them to provide even greater security.

 

 

Spotting Potential Security Issues

Scenario 1: Looking Back for Clues

For example, you know a white van with green stripes was involved in an incident, or is suspected in an incident, on a corporate campus with 200 security cameras. Analytics software and a skilled security officer can find every instance that van was recorded by a security camera over the past few hours, days or weeks, typically in less than an hour. The security officer can build a timeline of the vehicle’s movements on the campus, as well as identify when anyone entered or left the vehicle.

Scenario 2: Looking Forward Proactively

Today’s cameras and software can also reverse-engineer that scenario. The security officer can use the software and camera system to be on the lookout for a white van with green stripes, and send an alert as soon as a vehicle matching that description is spotted.

If, say, a recently terminated employee is deemed a potential threat, and the security officer knows what type of vehicle that person is driving, the system can alert security as soon as that person drives onto the corporate campus.

Building and Managing a Complete System

Most importantly, software can now bridge different systems and different cameras from multiple manufacturers to build a complete, seamless system. Even older cameras can have the same capabilities as the latest generation, albeit possibly with lower resolution. Even if the images aren’t as sharp and clear, those cameras can still be an integral part of an early warning system, saving the costs of replacing equipment.

Cameras and Access Control

With facial recognition technology, the future won’t rely on keys, badges or card swipes, but on cameras and software that “recognize” employees and flag intruders and anyone not known by the system. This technology will be both more secure—an intruder could steal an employee’s badge or key card, but not an employee’s face—and more cost-effective.

The Human Element

Security cameras, software and other technology won’t replace security personnel. Instead, security officers will be more highly skilled in using that technology to provide higher levels of both reactive and proactive security.

For information on how Sunstates Security can combine technology with skilled personnel for a higher level of security, please call 866-710-2019 or email us.

Written by Sunstates Security

September 10th, 2019 at 6:31 pm

Security by Design: Best Practices in Secure Environments

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Security by Design: Best Practices in Secure Environments

Most commercial buildings begin with an architect and a designer. Outside, a landscaper or landscape architect will usually be tapped to provide the esthetic surroundings.

Open floorplans. Glass walls. Lots of windows. Outside, beautiful plantings.

These features may be pleasing to the eye. But they also can significantly compromise safety. Security would be greatly enhanced by including a security expert on the initial design team.

 

The Four Aspects of Designing for Safety

There are four key elements to corporate security:

  • Access control, especially in shared spaces
  • Landscape design that emphasizes security
  • Interior design that mitigates potential threats
  • Security-minded policies and procedures

Element 1: Access Control

Access control can be challenging when a building or campus is shared by different organizations. But there are several best practices that can mitigate the potential for security issues:

  • Individual access control for each office or tenant
  • A centralized communication system, such as a PA, to warn all occupants of potential or actual threats
  • Building-wide access control, so only those who belong in the building can enter
  • Security systems or personnel that can flag unusual activity

Consider, for example, the auto mechanic who was terminated at a West Coast auto dealership after weeks of poor performance, threats to co-workers, and other red flags. He went to his vehicle, retrieved a gun and returned, killing two former colleagues before committing suicide. Incidents such as this highlight what many businesses are now following as a best practice:

  • Have employees park in a secure area with controlled access
  • Restrict employees from visiting their vehicles during the workday or monitor employees who do so

Element 2: Exterior Design

Parking areas, pathways and landscaping should be designed with two goals in mind: perimeter security and elimination of hiding places.

Perimeter security means establishing layers of security, typically with multiple checkpoints and many opportunities to spot potential security issues. Ideally, this strategy positions the initial access control so that a would-be intruder would be stopped before being able to enter or penetrate a facility or campus.

For landscaping, the key is to eliminate not only hiding places for intruders attempting to enter the building, but also places where someone could attack or otherwise harm employees and visitors heading towards or away from the building.

Element 3: Interior Design

The same glass walls and bullpen-type seating areas that give a space a light and airy ambience have a serious drawback. In the event of an active shooter or other incident, employees have nowhere to hide. Walls, offices and secure doors make it possible to hide from an intruder.

Employees have three options when confronted by an active shooter: run, hide or fight. Interiors should be designed to maximize all three of those options. In addition, entrances should have a holding area that can be secured to prevent an intruder from entering the inner offices.

Element 4: Policies and Procedures

None of these steps, of course, will effectively mitigate potential security threats without employee training in the proper policies and procedures to spot and react to security issues.

For organizations without an internal security chief, a security consultant that offers employee training can be an invaluable resource. Security training should be part of every new employee’s orientation, and refresher training should be mandatory and regularly scheduled.

For information on how Sunstates Security can use technology and personnel to provide greater security, or for an evaluation of your existing security systems and strategies, please call 866-710-2019 or email us.

 

Written by Sunstates Security

September 4th, 2019 at 3:22 pm