Sunstates Security

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Pandemic Preparedness

Pandemic Preparedness

The arrival of the Ebola virus to U.S. shores has revealed a number of chinks in the armor of disease control preparedness. While the epidemic was raging in West Africa, Americans generally gave it little thought, nursing only vague fears that the virus would hop the Atlantic Ocean and find new hosts here. But when it did, we found ourselves unprepared at almost every level.

A phenomenon like Ebola (or the Spanish flu of a century ago, or the bird flu, or the regular flu season) is not just a public health issue; it is also a security issue and a business continuity issue.

What happens to an organization in the short term when half of its employees stay home sick? What happens if employees bring their contagion to work and infect more employees? Who is going to guard your assets if your entire security staff is ill? How do you mitigate the long-term damage of having your business effectively put out of commission until the illness passes?

Do you have a plan in place to mitigate the damage of a pandemic to your organization?

A Unique Security Challenge

Sunstates works with a number of large, faith-based organizations in Dallas, where the first U.S. cases of Ebola occurred. Such organizations have unique security risks, in that their open-door policies and large gatherings could put thousands at risk if an infected individual sought solace there.

Sunstates recognized the potential catastrophe and, having done extensive research already, offered swift guidance for pandemic response to Dallas clients. Sharing this information provided tremendous peace of mind and allowed for adaptation to their own business continuity plans.

Glenn Burrell, President of Sunstates Security, says, “Business continuity comes from having the ability to backfill personnel if they are taken out of action.” For instance, one of the ways Sunstates handles this is with the Sunstates Mutual Aid Rapid Response Team (SMARRT). These specially trained and equipped team members are ready for rapid deployment at a moment’s notice to fill such personnel gaps and provide security.

The keys to maintaining continuity in your business in the event of a pandemic or other emergency include the following:

·       Cross-training personnel

·       Resource depth to bring in additional personnel, as needed

·       Top-down commitment to the business continuity process

·       Regular re-evaluation of procedures, modifying as necessary in the face of changing circumstances

·       Live and tabletop drills simulating emergency situations

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

December 18th, 2014 at 3:52 pm


without comments September 2008, thieves broke into an Alltel Communications warehouse in Fort Smith, Ark., via four of its loading docks. The intruders disabled the alarm and surveillance systems before helping themselves to four tractor-trailers loaded with an estimated $10 million worth of cell phones.

Furthermore, threats can go beyond theft.

In August 1982, Leonard Avery entered an IBM plant in North Carolina carrying a Thompson submachine gun, where he went on a shooting spree that left one employee dead. He came in through the unsecured loading dock.

Would you leave the back door to your house open while locking the front one? Probably not. Nevertheless, loading docks represent exactly that—a back door that is often left open in the hustle and bustle of normal business operation.

The Dangers Go Beyond Physical Security

Far less dangerous but far more prevalent is theft via the loading dock. The nature of the shipping industry often results in shipments and pickup drivers coming and going at all hours. Cybercriminals know that it’s much easier to have their victims hand something over than it is to sneak in and steal something. Today’s practice of brokering shipments makes this method of theft increasingly easy.

Many suppliers post loads on the Internet for pickup, and carriers bid on or schedule loads through these listings. Carriers receive the information they need to pick up the loads and then come to the facility. Sometimes, thieves will steal the identity of a legitimate carrier and use that to accept the brokered load via the Internet. They then arrive at the warehouse with the necessary information to pick up the load and drive away.

Loading docks are also the perfect place for employees to walk out with company property, or to facilitate theft by propping open doors or otherwise giving accomplices warehouse access.

Balancing Daily Business with Real Security

Insecurity at any loading dock results from several competing needs. Trash must go out. Supplies must come in. Shipments must go out. Employees and vendors come and go. It can be a hectic, volatile environment, one that requires a diligent balancing act.

Richard Tesauro, Vice-President of Security at NFI, a transportation and logistics company based in New Jersey, says that lax procedures or enforcement creates opportunities for bad things to happen. Based on his experience at NFI and 28 years with the New Jersey State Police, he offers a variety of measures that organizations can take to secure their loading dock areas.

  • Record truck and driver identification—driver’s license, identification, license plates, phone numbers. Make sure they are who they say they are, and verify their contact information.
  • If possible, use your own carrier or one third-party carrier. Having a consistent system in place reduces the chance of theft. Familiarity with carriers can help alert you when anything is amiss.
  • Use a Dock Lock System, where a hook locks onto the ICC bumper at the back of the trailer. Designed as a safety mechanism, it can also serve as a security feature. Until released from the inside (by someone at the facility), the trailer can’t be pulled from the dock door.
  • All personnel or man doors should be closed, locked and alarmed, 24 hours a day, with a limited number of doors designation for entry and exit. Limit the ease of people walking in and out.
  • When not in use, all dock doors should remain closed, latched and have a padlock attached through the latch.
  • The driver’s entrance at the Shipping and Receiving office should be separated from the warehouse floor by a fence to limit drivers’ access to the warehouse. Drivers should only be allowed access to dock area under escort.
  • Install interior and exterior cameras for surveillance of all doors, drivers and workers.
  • Maintain strict supervision and oversight. All the security measures in the world are useless if not supported and followed by every level of the organization, from top to bottom.
  • Perform security audits of loading dock procedures to identify and correct weaknesses.
  • If loaded trailers are left in an unsecured yard, apply kingpin locks to prevent anyone from hooking up to the trailer and driving away.

For more information about eliminating vulnerabilities in your loading dock security, call one of our specialists at Sunstates Security today.

Sources: Canfield, Amy. “Hospital loading docks rival ERs for security concerns,” Security Director News, 25 November 2013.

Paul, Lauren Gibbons. “10 Steps to Loading Dock Security,” CSO Online, 5 October 2008.

Written by Sunstates Security

April 9th, 2014 at 8:23 pm

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Sunstates places great value on employee recognition and client partnerships.

The security industry has long been one of mergers and acquisitions, with larger firms swallowing up their smaller competitors. Industry consolidation has been the norm for decades. Comparatively small companies are finding competition more and more difficult.

In spite of this trend, Sunstates Security has achieved phenomenal organic growth throughout the 15 years of its existence. With average annual growth of more than 20%, the company has almost doubled in size in the past four years.

The Right Person for the Right Job

One of the ways that Sunstates has been able to achieve such phenomenal growth is by retaining talent, not only management, but also top-quality security officers.

The key to finding and retaining quality officers and support staff is screening applicants thoroughly. Sunstates has launched a state-of-the-art vetting program that allows applicants to apply online. Application questions establish personality traits, which are then used to assign applicants to the positions for which they are best suited.

A high proportion of Sunstates employees have been with the company longer than five years, many of them more than 10 years.

Sunstates President Glenn Burrell says, “We treat employees like we treat customers—with respect and a positive, professional attitude. We’re planning for the future,” Burrell says. “I want people to stay with us for 10 years or more, not just to get through next week.”

Professional Respect and Attitude

After an auditor recently visited the Sunstates offices, her firm offered a tremendous compliment: “Great job to all of you for treating her according to Sunstates’ company morals: professional respect and attitude.” She departed feeling how Sunstates Security wants everyone to feel – from the UPS driver, to security officers, to the client – that they feel better about Sunstates than when they arrived.

Burrell credits this philosophy with Sunstates’ outstanding client retention rate, which exceeds 95%. This philosophy also allowed them to beat employee retention goals last year. In fact, the company has reduced employee turnover in each of the last five years, coming in at roughly 25% of conservative industry estimates.

Why Is This Better for Clients?

Burrell says, “Our number one goal is to treat our employees better than any other security company. In the world of conglomerates and board meetings, the folks at the bottom of the totem pole tend to be snowed under by numbers on the bottom line. The simple truth is that happy employees stay longer and perform better, and in the case of the security industry, it means that they do a better job for our clients.”

But in the world of impersonal spreadsheets and all-powerful profit margins, do employee incentive programs siphon away profit margins?

According to Burrell, the bottom line is not the only measure of success. “I base decisions on what is going to be good for my grandchildren—even though they’re not even born yet—not what our would-be shareholders want for the next three months.”

Sources: “Turn Away Turnover,” Security Magazine, 1 September 2004.

Written by Sunstates Security

April 9th, 2014 at 8:10 pm

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Sunstates Security

The International Foundation for Cultural Property Protection recently highlighted Security Officer Dorrian Williams in its February 12 newsletter.  Officer Williams’ quick response helped avert significant property damage from a fire, caused by a cigarette.

“We at Sunstates are proud of Officer Williams and his performance,” said Sunstates President Glenn Burrell. “Employees like Officer Williams truly form the backbone of this company.”



Written by Sunstates Security

April 9th, 2014 at 7:55 pm


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If the Sandy Hook gunman had gone into the school and pulled the fire alarm, the number of victims could have been far higher. He would have had ample confused targets as studeSunstates Security Appnts and teachers evacuated the building. A simple fire alarm is not sufficient anymore and may, by itself, be a safety hazard.
Organizations of all sizes must be able to communicate quickly and effectively with all personnel in more types of crises than a simple fire alarm. Mass shootings, bomb threats, terrorist attacks, amber alerts, and on-site disasters are facts of life in today’s world.

Lessons from Community Policing
Sunstates president Glenn Burrell says that the key to effective security is to make all personnel invested and participatory in their own security. From his experiences as a police officer on the beat, he says, “I was good at getting people in the community to trust me and give me information. I was only as effective as the people I was policing would allow me to be. If windows were drawn and doors locked when I passed, then my job was impossible. Being fed information from numerous sources allowed me to see the big picture. The same thing goes for an organization—it’s a community.”
Organizations must trust their employees or partners to watch over everyone’s safety. Don’t assume that someone else will report something amiss. This kind of cooperation does not happen overnight, but only through training and education, from top to bottom.

Mass Notification Systems: The Fire Alarm of the Future

According to Burrell, the future in workplace crisis management lie in Mass Notification Systems (MNS) that incorporate the community-minded approach and take advantage of all existing communication channels.

“Many schools already use mass text messaging to notify parents of any issues,” Burrell says. “Parents want to know if there is a crisis event. However, those systems rely on cell phones. This is fine unless excessive traffic—as in the case of crisis or natural disaster—crashes the network.”

Mass Notifications Systems, therefore, cannot be tied to one channel of communication—e.g., cell phones, text messaging, email—because of a wide variety of contingencies, such as power or cell network outage. During the Boston marathon bombing, for example, the cell phone network was shut down to prevent any further detonations that might have been triggered by cell phones.
The key is to include Wi-Fi as an additional communication channel, and in situations where seconds count, this is a huge advantage.

Good Communication Equals Business Continuity
Many incidents can be mitigated or negated by an early tip. Organizations must have the ability to stand everyone down from evacuating a building if an alarm is false or a ruse to clear a building. Having the ability to tell everyone in mid-flight to “stand down” and “take cover” is critical to saving lives. Furthermore, Sunstates’ own research shows that employees or associates feel more valued by organizations that allow them to communicate freely and openly with the security team. It’s a powerful way for a company to tell its employees, “We take your safety so seriously, we’re investing in it.”
The average workers’ compensation claim costs an organization $43k in lost time and compensation. Everyone in the organization should share tips on safety information—a picture of a malfunctioning door, a tripping hazard, a dangerous equipment problem—so that the problem can be fixed proactively. Organizations can save themselves significant time and effort by empowering their employees.
Nowadays, MNS is crucial to any business continuity plan. These systems give organizations the ability to notify all employees of a threat, fire, etc., with instructions about where to go and what to do—instantly. Glenn Burrell says, “Companies should incorporate MNS as a critical part of their business continuity plan.”

Contact Sunstates Security today for more information about Mass Notification Systems. Our specialists will be happy to assist with your business continuity needs.

Sources: Nacelewicz, Tess. “High Profile Bombing, Shootings Drive MNS Market.” June 10, 2013. Security Director News.

Written by Sunstates Security

September 18th, 2013 at 8:30 pm


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According to a February 2013 report released by the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, Chinese hackers are engaged in a massive, ongoing cyber-espionage campaign targeting U.S. companies. The systematic campaign targets nearly every sector of the U.S. economy, from aerospace and automotive to finance, energy, media and technology—even breaking into the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Estimated losses are tens of billions of dollars in compromised intellectual property.

Other countries’ cyber-espionage programs cited in the report—France, Russia and Israel, among others—are less widespread but just as dangerous, and all for economic gain. American intellectual property and business secrets—perhaps yours—are worth billions of dollars.

Sunstates president Glenn Burrell says, “This is not a plot from an action-thriller film; it is real and happening right now.”

Is your company doing all it can to prevent cyber-attacks and protect valuable assets? Burrell offers the following best practices to enhance your security.

Best Practices for Cyber-Defense 

  • Assess network infrastructure and identify risks. Organizations must assess their network infrastructure and make sure that their IT staff has the support from management to build a successful security program. Then, they need to establish a system for identifying and analyzing security risks.
  • Create and document cyber-security policies. Companies need to identify every segment of their infrastructure and place everything under the governance of their security policy. Look for vulnerable or unprotected devices or access points, and define the process by which these vulnerabilities are to be removed or brought into compliance.
  • Implement and test firewalls. Firewalls are the first line of defense in any network. While they are common practice nowadays and not to be overlooked, they are not always sufficient, however, particularly with laptops, which may have outdated anti-virus software or firewalls.
  • Secure remote access with strong authentication techniques and quarantine technology that identifies vulnerable remote devices.
  • Control access to high-level risk points such as servers, back-ups and administration systems with stringent security policies.
  • Establish password policies that make passwords harder to break. Mandatory password resets, password requirements such as using both upper and lower case characters, special characters, numbers, minimum length, etc., are all techniques that increase password security. The majority of hacked passwords consist of names, birthdays, all the things that most people will have as their passwords. Cyber-security audits still routinely find computers with passwords taped to the underside of keyboards, a practice that should be strictly forbidden by any security-conscious organization.
  • Conduct annual third-party security audits. Audits can identify hidden or overlooked vulnerabilities in an organization’s infrastructure. Companies should not wait to be attacked before performing a security audit. Auditors have the resources to test—and strengthen—an organization’s cyber-defenses.

 For assistance with your cyber-security needs, contact Sunstates Security today. Our specialists can help you develop a security plan tailored to your unique situation.

Written by Sunstates Security

September 18th, 2013 at 8:24 pm


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Sunstates Security Executive Vice President Denis Kelly

Executive Vice President
Denis Kelly

Denis Kelly and Robert Rogalski Accept Increased Responsibility in Key Leadership Positions

 While many companies have reported increased business activity in recent months, few can compare to Sunstates Security. Since 2010 the Raleigh, N.C.,-based security firm has attained a compounded, organic growth rate of 30%. This achievement stands out in the private security industry, which typically relies upon mergers and acquisitions to fuel growth. 

“I am very proud of what we have been able to accomplish,” says President Glenn Burrell, who joined Sunstates Security after serving 20 years in Scotland Yard. “In our industry, companies all too often lose sight of what’s important: the customer. A consequence of that short-sightedness is the need to grow via mergers and acquisitions, which often has a negative effect on customer service by diluting the corporate culture and philosophy.” 

Further evidence of the company’s success can be seen in Sunstates’ client retention rate of 97% over the past decade—one of the highest in the industry. 

To meet the demands of this growth, Sunstates has made two key structural changes, as of July 1, 2013:

  • Vice President Denis Kelly has been promoted to Executive Vice President. In this new position, Kelly will oversee the firm’s operations, sales and marketing, as well as human resources.

    Sunstates Security Vice President of Operations Robert Rogalski

    Vice President of Operations
    Robert Rogalski

  • Director of Operations Robert Rogalski has been named Vice President of Operations, responsible for all field operations. Rogalski will also manage the corporate training and safety department.

“I am delighted to announce these promotions to key leadership positions,” says Burrell. “Both Denis and Robb have played an instrumental role in establishing Sunstates as one of the fastest-growing security services companies in the United States, and they will continue to provide quality leadership in the years to come.” 

About Sunstates Security
Based in Raleigh, N.C., Sunstates Security provides uniformed security personnel and security consulting services to clients throughout the Southeast, as well as in the Northeast and Southwest regions. The company is certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Greater Business Women’s Council, a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

Contact Glenn Burrell at 919-398-6445

Written by Sunstates Security

July 9th, 2013 at 9:51 pm


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Aaron Anderson Branch Manager Greensboro, N.C.

Aaron Anderson Branch Manager Greensboro, N.C.

Sunstates Security has promoted Aaron J. Anderson to Greensboro Branch Manager. As Branch Manager, Aaron will assume the responsibility of the administration and efficient daily functioning of a full service branch office, including operations, budget, new business development, customer service, personnel management, security and safety in accordance with Sunstates’ objectives for the regions supported by the Greensboro, NC and Roanoke, VA Branch offices.

Aaron has been involved in the security industry for the past 20 years and began his security indoctrination while stationed at Fort Bragg. During his time in the US Army, he trained with the Marine Force Recon and was awarded numerous medals and accommodations, including; Good Conduct Medal, Army Accommodation Medal, Expert Marksman badge, and the National Defense Service Medal for his service during the first Desert Storm. After his time with the US Army, Aaron began a career in Nuclear Security industry as an Armed Tactical Response Team Leader in 1996 and after the events of September 11th 2001, Aaron was part of a group of Nuclear Security experts that were responsible for the design and implementation of a new Defensive Strategy on how to properly protect a Nuclear Power Facility.

Aaron began working with Sunstates Security in 2004 and has been with Sunstates Security in various capacities, including Operations Manager, Sunstates Mutual Aid Rapid Respond Team (SMARRT) Coordinator, Account Manager, Patrol Manager, Corporate Recruiter, and Fleet Manager and he is a licensed Firearms & Special Weapons Instructor for the State of North Carolina Private Protective Services Board. In addition, Aaron is a certified instructor for handcuffing techniques, concealed carry handgun, use of OC Spray, CPR/AED & First Aid with American Red Cross, Defensive Driving, and Defensive Tactics. Aaron also attended and completed a Surveillance Detection course with the Department of Homeland Security and is able to teach security forces to practice and implement how to use “Surveillance Detection” techniques.

 “Aaron’s diverse military and security experience along with his formal education are a great combination to provide exceptional support for our clients” says Sunstates Security’s Director of Operations Robb Rogalski. “Aaron is well deserved of his promotion and I am very pleased to have Aaron as part of the management team.”

About Sunstates Security
Based in Raleigh, N.C., Sunstates Security provides uniformed security personnel and security consulting services to clients throughout the Southeast, as well as in the Northeast and Southwest regions. The company is certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Greater Business Women’s Council, a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

Contact Robb Rogalski at 919-398-6445


Written by Sunstates Security

June 11th, 2013 at 7:17 pm

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Museum Security Challenges

Tens of thousands of works of art are stolen every year. In 1998 alone, according to Interpol, more than 60,000 works of art were stolen. In January 2013, two men were sentenced for attempting to sell a stolen Matisse painting. Last December, a woman pled guilty to transporting a stolen bust of Benjamin Franklin. In September 2012, a Renoir painting stolen in Houston was added to the FBI’s Top Ten Art Crimes list.

ABC News quotes Interpol as saying, “Art theft is a crime exceeded in dollar value only by drug trafficking, money laundering and arms dealing. Estimates have put the losses at $4 to 6 billion worldwide.”

The most spectacular art heist in modern history occurred at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston on March 18, 1990, where two thieves dressed as Boston Police officers talked their way inside, subdued the staff, and walked away with $300 million in Degas, Rembrandts, a Vermeer and a Manet. The thieves still have not been caught.

Museum Security Challenges
Theft is not the only threat faced by museums. In addition to art theft, damage to inventory, much of which may not even be on public display, is another concern.

In a North Carolina museum, a Sunstates security officer recently discovered a serious water leak in a storage area. Had this leak not been discovered quickly, it could have caused millions of dollars of damage.

The purpose of art is to stoke people’s passions, and this occasionally happens in the negative. Vandalism to works deemed “offensive” to various sensibilities also presents a threat.

Best Practices for Museum Security
Museums are typically quiet, low-activity environments, making it easy for security officers’ vigilance to wane. Contrast this with occasional periods of high activity, when large crowds are passing through. The contrast creates unique security challenges.

To address these challenges, Sunstates President Glenn Burrell identifies these best practices for museum security:


  • Recruit security officers who have a real interest in the museum itself, such as art or history aficionados. Encourage a sense of participation and vested interest in keeping the exhibits safe.
  • Educate security officers about the exhibits, and cross-train personnel in various positions. Visitors often assume that officers are guides or regular museum staff. As part of their PR responsibilities, they should know the fundamentals of the pieces themselves.
  • Quickly identify individuals of interest. Then, have officers trade coverage to provide discreet visual surveillance. This practice requires efficient communication between security officers.
  • Move security officers around the facility to create the impression of a larger staff, which is a useful deterrent.


Contact Sunstates Security today to discuss your unique security needs.

“Art Theft.” Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Chang, Andrew. “Art Theft: Big Money, Big Problems”. ABC News. March 19, 2013.


Written by Sunstates Security

May 10th, 2013 at 3:06 pm


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Armed Security: Is It Necessary?After the Sandy Hook catastrophe, a local high school contacted Sunstates Security about providing armed security or police at every possible entrance. Such a system would not only be expensive, but also ineffective. Instead, Sunstates recommended implementing early warning mechanisms, communication, buffer zones, and safe rooms.

Lockdown protocols and safe rooms prevent attackers from accessing potential victims. The key is to build communication and early warning systems, and have those protocols in place before an incident occurs.

The presence of armed security officers could, in fact, provoke violent responses, potentially resulting in even more victims.

Best Practices for Armed Security

Sunstates President Glenn Burrell worked for 20 years in Scotland Yard, during which he served on the security detail for Great Britain’s Royal Family. Studies at Scotland Yard, which is mostly an unarmed force, revealed that armed officers were more prone to aggression and confrontation, which escalated the likelihood of violence.

More than 98% of Sunstates’ security coverage is unarmed. In the rare instances where armed protection makes sense, the firm recommends the following best practices.

  1. The right person for the job. In cases where an armed security force is necessary, recruit individuals with extensive firearms training, such as former police officers or military personnel. These individuals should also be screened for the correct psychological profile and temperament. “Simply giving a security officer a firearm and putting him or her out there is a recipe for disaster,” Burrell says.
  2. Verbal and non-verbal de-escalation skills. Defusing tension and conflict is critical to avoid violence, even if the officer is armed. Sunstates Security officers undergo extensive training in defusing conflict through verbal and non-verbal communication. This approach has proven effective in managing threats and reducing the threat of violence.
  3. Risk management. Certain assignments – like cash-based establishments in high-crime neighborhoods – are better left to police. Assigning private security officers would only place those individuals at risk. With private security personnel currently outnumbering public law enforcement by three to one, the best practice is to protect the private sector with proactive security, while freeing police to deal with criminals.

For consultation on your security needs, contact Sunstates Security today. Our specialists can help you develop a security plan tailored to your unique

Written by Sunstates Security

May 10th, 2013 at 2:57 pm