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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

Posted in Sunstates News

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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

Compassionate Leadership

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Image for Compassionate Leadership PostAt Sunstates Security, we strive to embody our mission and vision statements day in and day out. We make every effort to hire individuals who will reflect those statements in the work they do. We have a mantra: ”Service First”. Everyone from the President & CEO of the company to the Operations Managers believe that we are here first and foremost to serve our officers protecting client facilities. Operations Manager Ralph Nemo recently demonstrated this mindset, and we couldn’t be more proud.

An employee relatively new to the Sunstates team found herself in a dire situation – facing homelessness. She shared this information with her Operations Manager, Ralph during a routine check-in meeting. Ralph not only listened, he cared, and he acted. He, along with the site supervisor, assisted her in locating and securing affordable housing. The officer shared the following about her experience:

“I was able to find an apartment with his assistance and avoided a desperate situation. It’s easy to sit behind a desk and bark orders at people. It’s not so easy being compassionate and showing empathy when someone is going through a rough time. I’m thankful for his help and follow-up with me. This company is simply the best, period!”

When recognized for his compassionate leadership, Ralph humbly said, “Although appreciated, I never asked for nor expected any recognition for assisting her in this dire situation. Helping your neighbor is something that we all should strive to do if we’re in the position to do so. I would’ve done this for anyone. Our folks are more than just employees and are our greatest asset.”

We agree! With our customized structure of smaller and manageable portfolios, our Operations Managers have the opportunity to be genuinely involved in their people’s success. Ralph emulates our mantra of Service First and we are ecstatic to have recently celebrated his 10-year anniversary with the Sunstates family (pictured above).

Part of our mission statement is this: “Our goal is to change the way clients think about safety and security by going ‘above and beyond’ every day, basing all decisions on honesty, integrity, and trust”.

  • Honesty towards our clients, employees, vendors and partners
  • Integrity to honor our commitments and always do what we say
  • Trust, ensuring that our clients and employees can count on us

We are thankful to have exceptional people like Ralph on the Sunstates team who truly go above and beyond.

Written by Sunstates Security

June 20th, 2019 at 9:16 pm

Quality Assurance: Consistent Support for Security Officers

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Sunstates Security has always focused on providing consistent, high-quality service. For clients, that means Sunstates officers are professionals they can count on.

Behind the scenes, what clients don’t see is the high level of training, support and oversight our security officers receive. With double-digit growth for the past several years, we’ve recently promoted one of our own to a new position: Ryan Moran, formerly Sunstates regional manager in Raleigh, is now the director of quality assurance. He’s been in the industry 18 years, starting as a security officer when he was in college, and he knows the demands that challenge clients daily.

His job is simple: to make sure we live up to our principles with every client, and to help managers and officers live those principles every day. He demonstrated that as a regional manager, managing the biggest portfolio of clients in Sunstates.

Sometimes he’ll be an extra expert, dropping in wherever he’s needed. Other times, he’ll be working with regional offices to help officers and managers continue to deliver the high level of professionalism our clients expect.

“What better person to have in the quality assurance position than someone who knows what to look for?” said Sunstates President Glenn Burrell, CPP. “He knows our system so well, and he knows and embraces the Sunstates culture.”

Here’s what to expect with this new role and resource:

• More support. The expanding quality assurance program will help managers and officers collaborate and support each other.
• More services. We’ll continually add new ways to support our clients, such as site vulnerability assessments and other services.
• More customization. We will expand on our custom quality-assurance checks for specific sites, to ensure we always do what we say we’re going to do.
• More sharing. With Ryan’s new position, we’ll be better able to share insights, strategies and best practices among multiple regions.
• More communications. Ryan will be another point of contact and resource when needed for our clients.

The Game of Work
Every manager at Sunstates receives a book called The Game of Work. The main principle of the book embodies our philosophy: work should be fun, and work teams should succeed together as sports teams do.

Great teams work together: All members know the plan and their role in it. And everyone knows the critical measurements that define success for their team. Those Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, vary by client and region. Our quality assurance initiative will help you identify and achieve the ones that are more important for you and your team.

What Clients Will See
With so much of what we do going on behind the scenes, how will quality assurance help our clients?

The answer comes from a long-time client, who’s been with Sunstates for 20 years. He said he’s never considered going anywhere else because we’ve consistently given him the same high level of service since day one.

“We always want to make sure that we’re doing what we say we are going to do,” said Ryan Moran, Director of Quality Assurance. “It takes oversight to make sure that’s happening.”

We value the trust our clients have in Sunstates, and we always want to live up to that trust. By leveraging Ryan’s operational expertise, we can continue to provide outstanding service to our clients, and continue to support Sunstates’ officers and managers as they provide that service.

Do you want to know what Sunstates’ quality assurance will mean for you and your site? Please contact Sunstates Security at 866-710-2019 or email us.

Written by Sunstates Security

January 10th, 2019 at 8:19 pm

Posted in Sunstates News

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4 New Year’s Resolutions for Security Directors

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4 New Year’s Resolutions for Security Directors

As we start the New Year, most of us have personal and professional goals to which we aspire. For security professionals, we recommend the following resolutions to help make 2018 a successful, uneventful one for your organization.

  1. Update and test the business continuity plan (BCP). Beyond the dangers of a national emergency, every organization needs a current, robust plan to recover from a crisis. In recent years, companies across the country have experienced disruption from weather emergencies. Advances in cloud computing and increasingly remote workforces are two developments that can have a dramatic impact on a BCP. The breakneck pace at which technology continues to transform business practices makes annual review and testing of BCPs more important than ever. Today, the plan should include procedures that apprise organizations of employees’ whereabouts—particularly when key personnel are traveling. Putting a plan on paper is not enough; companies need to conduct a tabletop exercise and drill at least annually.
  2. Establish (or enhance) an active shooter policy. Every company should have at least a basic policy that is communicated to employees. The U.S. Department of Homeland Safety publishes a guide that organizations can use as a starting point. In reviewing the active shooter policy, security directors need to keep in mind that the threat has increased. More shooters are forgoing handguns in favor of assault weapons. By the time police arrive, the assault is typically over. Contingency plans should include safe rooms where employees can retreat. In addition, organizations need clear guidelines regarding who closes and locks the door and when. Similar to BCPs, active shooter plans should also be tested annually with a combination of tabletop and live drills.
  3. Ensure vendor compliance with internal screening standards. Many organizations have strict background screening standards for their employees but don’t extend those requirements to vendors that provide contract or temporary personnel. As some companies have learned through repeated incidents and infractions, external partners may perform minimum screening to fulfill a vague contractual obligation. Outline the basic requirements for vendor background screenings in the security policy. At a minimum, service agreements should include this specific language. Preferably, the host organization should identify a trusted third party to ensure consistent screening standards for all on-site personnel.
  4. Perform penetration testing at key locations. While security protocols may appear iron-clad on paper, most are surprisingly easy to overcome. Resolve this year to put access control to the test: inspect perimeter fencing, check for blind spots in CCTV monitoring. Internal personnel can conduct preliminary testing, but organizations should consider contracting a qualified third party for unbiased reporting. Testing should focus on vulnerable entry points, testing the physical, human and technological aspects of the security program.

For information on how Sunstates Security can help your organization implement these resolutions, call 866-710-2019 or email us.

Written by Sunstates Security

January 26th, 2018 at 7:40 pm

Security Operations Centers: More Accessible Than Ever

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Security Operations Centers: More Accessible Than Ever

As technology becomes more sophisticated, more affordable and more compatible, an increasing number of organizations are developing security operations centers, or SOCs, to support their security programs. In fact, Sunstates Security has partnered with companies to manage these command centers both locally and internationally.

Benefits of GSOCs
No longer restricted to spy thrillers and global mega-corporations, SOCs allow small-to-medium enterprises to leverage technology in expanding their security capabilities, while reducing headcount.

  • Universal protocols. Managing security operations from a SOC makes it easier for large companies to apply security standards across their organizations. Controlling access from a central location, for instance, reduces the need to rely on individuals to follow company protocols. SOCs can help ensure that every facility adheres to the same procedures and benefits from the same level of security expertise.
  • Improved asset control. Many companies use these centers to provide additional layers of asset control. Local employees are trusted to do the right thing, and technology provides verification. For example, some companies track high-value shipments with GPS technology. Geo-fencing the route sends an alert if the vehicle travels a specific distance off course, and SOC personnel can contact the driver and offer assistance, if needed. Similarly, SOCs can support employees traveling to high-risk countries by providing information on demonstrations or other incidents that could affect their safety.
  • Remote monitoring. Technology integration has significantly increased the capabilities of SOC operators. In addition to monitoring an airplane hangar, for instance, to prevent tampering with corporate aircraft, security personnel can interact with individuals on site. In some cases, SOCs have allowed the remote identification of intruders, who ultimately left the facility before causing damage. Other operators have witnessed medical emergencies and directed responders to provide assistance.
  • Real-time intelligence. Some sophisticated organizations have built briefing rooms adjacent to the command centers. If a major incident affects a company or one of its operating regions, executive teams move to the briefing room, which duplicates many of the monitors and other equipment in the SOC.

Additional Considerations
In developing and supporting SOCs for client companies, we’ve seen some common misconceptions. Frequently, organizations tend to overestimate cost savings from reduction in security personnel, while underestimating the risk of information overload.

  • Lower headcount, higher skill level. Beyond the expense of creating the SOC, these sophisticated centers require highly skilled operators with specialized training. Security departments are “doing more with less” in terms of personnel, but these positions command higher pay, better benefits and increased training. At some locations, for instance, operators complete between 80 and 120 hours of one-on-one training before they enter the SOC.
  • Less is more. Many organizations want to fill an entire wall with monitors, allowing command-center personnel to view more areas at once. However, operators can only absorb so much information. A more efficient practice is to support primary monitors with secondary monitors. If an incident occurs, the relevant images are transferred to the primary screens.

Thinking of creating a SOC at your organization? Sunstates Security can help you optimize a control center from a security perspective, in addition to arranging tours of active SOCs. Call us at 866-710-2019 or email us.

Written by Sunstates Security

January 26th, 2018 at 7:32 pm

Sunstates Security Expands with Key Management

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Sunstates Security Expands with Key Management

Continued Double-Digit Organic Growth Drives Expansion of Management Team

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RALEIGH, N.C., November 8, 2017—Sunstates Security’s commitment to their Mission and Vision of Honesty, Integrity and Trust continue to drive the company’s double-digit, organic growth. Sunstates is pleased to announce the additions of key management team members.

Travis Miller has joined the Sunstates Security management team with a comprehensive background in the contract security industry. During the past 13 years in the industry, he has served in several multi-faceted roles. Beginning his security career in a business development role, he successfully established a new client base in the Orlando area while building and expanding existing partnerships. As natural leader and motivator, he began to take on more operational and management responsibility as a Branch Manager, a role in which he developed a cohesive management team and achieved significant branch growth. He was promoted to Regional Manager, an expanded role in which he assumed responsibility for a team of 400+ employees and a portfolio of clients across the state of Florida. The combination of Travis’ adaptability, leadership style, and experience with every aspect of the security business make him a valuable member of the Sunstates Security team, and an excellent resource for Sunstates clients in the Florida market. Travis holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Central Florida, and has attended numerous leadership and customer service training programs through a variety of organizations to include Dale Carnegie, Ty Boyd, and Miller Heiman. He is active in several professional organizations to include ASIS International (at the national and local level) and the Orlando and Gold Coast Chapters of the Community Associations Institute (CAI).

Virginia Lumsden has more than 20 years’ experience as a Facility Security Officer (FSO), Office Administrator, Task Manager, and Human Resources representative for various defense contractors. She has successfully created and maintained multiple security management programs for several defense contractors that were not only compliant with numerous government agency’s policies, but also received Superior ratings from those agencies during yearly assessments. Virginia has provided logistical support to multiple teams of security personnel who were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as to emergency relief teams during Hurricane Katrina. She has also provided support to the instructors of the U.S. Air Marshals after 9/11, as well as instructors providing counter-terrorism training at U.S. embassies worldwide. Virginia received her B.A. from UNC-Greensboro and is currently pursuing a degree in Cyber Security.

 

 

Myketa “Keta” Mitchell joined Sunstates Corporate office as the new Staff Accountant on September 1st. Keta graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a degree in Finance and brings 3 years of accounting experience to the team. As a Staff Accountant, Keta’s role is to support corporate and field staff by processing accounts payable and receivable transactions. These processes will also require her to liaison with our clients and vendors. Keta’s organizational skills and positive attitude have already made an impact and we look forward to her development within the Corporate Finance team.

 

 

 

David “Dave” Kleiman brings over 10 years of legal expertise to corporate headquarters as our Legal, Compliance and Risk Management Director. He obtained his Juris Doctor from The John Marshall Law School and licensed to practice in the state of Illinois.

For several years Dave owned his own practice focusing on consumer, corporate, criminal, real estate, workers’ compensation, and personal injury matters. He later transitioned to the corporate world taking on large roles with two international companies. The first company sponsored the Manchester United soccer team and is a global leader in human resources, insurance and risk management. The second company produced many household items that many of us know and love such as Oreos and Sour Patch Kids.

“We are pleased to welcome new leadership talent to Sunstates,” says President Glenn Burrell, who founded Sunstates Security after serving 20 years in Scotland Yard. “We look forward to the contributions of each of these individuals in their new roles.”

About Sunstates Security
Based in Raleigh, N.C., Sunstates Security provides uniformed security personnel and security consulting services to clients throughout the United States. 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).

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Written by Sunstates Security

November 8th, 2017 at 8:40 pm

Case Study: House of Worship Responds to ISIS Threat

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At eleven o’clock on a Thursday night, the local Department of Homeland Security (DHS) office contacted a house of worship protected by Sunstates. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had issued a public threat directing followers to burn this institution to the ground.

Sunstates President Glenn Burrell, CPP, discussed and analyzed the threat with the client contact. They concluded that the multimillion-dollar annex faced little risk, due to its state-of-the-art fire suppression system. However, the original sanctuary—more than a century old and constructed entirely of wood—could present an attractive, symbolic target.

Targeted Security

“Such an attack would send shock waves throughout the country,” said Burrell. “We couldn’t add resources to their budget, so we identified the most vulnerable areas and redirected security there.”

The site was already using a mobile management system to monitor inspections and issues. Sunstates immediately increased patrols around the historic sanctuary and added more checkpoints to confirm thorough inspections of the area.

In addition, Sunstates reinforced anti-surveillance techniques with security personnel. While conducting their duties, officers keep an eye out for anyone who appears to take special interest in the building and/or its security. Officers politely offer assistance to such individuals, a gesture that also conveys the vigilance of the security team.

Creative Partnership

By coincidence, the Sunday following the DHS alert saw the launch of a pilot program that Sunstates had developed with the client several months earlier. Sunstates trained ushers at the church as part of the security team. These volunteers completed rigorous security courses, including firearms training and licensure. Moving forward, these individuals will adhere to the Sunstates training requirements for armed personnel—quarterly refresher training, in addition to the annual qualification required by states.

“Even though they’ve volunteered their services, they are part of the security team,” said Burrell of the ushers. “In their role as greeters, they serve as the first line of defense in a potential situation.”

For information on how Sunstates Security can help your house of worship or organization prepare for such threats, please call us at 866-710-2019 or email us.

 

 

 

Written by Sunstates Security

March 21st, 2017 at 6:54 pm

Antoine Worsley of Sunstates Security Receives 2016 Ralph Day Award

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ASIS International Recognizes Sunstates Officer for Heroism

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RALEIGH, N.C., September 14, 2016—On September 11, the ASIS International Security Services Council presented the 2016 Ralph Day Security Officer Heroism Award to Officer Antoine Worsley of Sunstates Security. The ceremony took place in Orlando, Fla., at the ASIS International 62nd Annual Seminar and Exhibits.

Antoine Worsley of Sunstates Security

Antoine Worsley of
Sunstates Security

 

Named for Ralph D. Day, CPP, a long-time member and supporter of ASIS International, the award recognizes security professionals who perform outstanding service. Worsley, who joined Sunstates in July 2015, embodies the spirit of this honor, as demonstrated by his actions on January 12, 2016.

That evening, Worsley responded to a fight in front of the office building in downtown Raleigh, N.C., where he is assigned. Three men were punching and kicking a fourth man, on the ground, who had previously attempted to rob one of his attackers. Worsley went outside and advised the individuals to “go their separate ways.” As the group dispersed, the person on the ground pulled out a knife and pursued one of the other men, stabbing him multiple times.

The man with the knife continued to threaten the other individuals, even after learning that police were en route. Worsley approached him from behind and grabbed his arm, forcing him to drop the weapon. The man was detained until police arrived and EMS provided medical assistance. Medics later revealed that one of the wounds was near fatal and that additional injury could have resulted in death.

Upon recovering, the victim returned to the site to thank Worsley, saying, “If it weren’t for Officer Worsley, I might not be here.”

Worsley received a check for $5,000 and a plaque at the Orlando ceremony. He was recognized in May 2016 as Security Officer of the Year at the Sunstates Security Annual Managers Conference in Raleigh.

“We are proud of Officer Worsley and thrilled to see him recognized by ASIS International, the leading global organization for security professionals,” says President Glenn Burrell, who founded Sunstates Security after serving 20 years in Scotland Yard. “In addition to his actions on this occasion, he represents exemplary service in his daily commitment and work ethic.”

Based in Raleigh, N.C., Sunstates Security provides uniformed security personnel and security consulting services to clients throughout the United States. 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).

Written by Sunstates Security

September 14th, 2016 at 4:57 pm

Sunstates Security Partners with Punch Technologies to Enhance Client, Public Safety

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North Carolina firms collaborate in shared mission to promote community safety

Punch Alert

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RALEIGH, N.C., September 6, 2016—Sunstates Security has partnered with Punch Technologies to offer the Punch Alert emergency communication platform to clients as part of its expanding technology arsenal. The system crowdsources safety and security by allowing individuals to report emergencies and safety hazards via a smartphone app. In addition, the platform permits two-way communication during an incident, enabling users to submit information and responders to deliver mass updates.

“We’re excited to introduce the Punch Alert system to our clients,” says President Glenn Burrell, who founded Sunstates Security after serving 20 years in Scotland Yard. “Not only is the system easy to use, but it can also be customized to fit the specific needs of each organization and location.”

The enterprise platform includes geofencing to restrict tracking to on-site users. The system uses GPS, WiFi and optional iBeacon/Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to capture the location of the initial report and actively monitor the position of all community members for the duration of an incident.

“Both Punch Technologies and Sunstates share a common vision for an inclusive, interactive approach to community safety. Standard one-way mass notifications and physical panic buttons for employees are not enough,” says Greg Artzt, CEO of Punch Technologies. “Safety is best achieved when anyone in the community can easily report an incident or submit information. And fast resolution occurs when on-site responders can manage situations with real-time intelligence.”

Designed to fit any organizational type—public facilities, educational institutions, healthcare or corporations—the platform also allows designated personnel to send announcements about closings or safety hazards. These alerts can target specific groups or go out as mass notifications.

“This type of proactive technology could prevent a terrorist event or save a life during a medical emergency,” adds Burrell. “Supporting the platform with a skilled security team enhances its effectiveness, making this a true strategic partnership.”

Based in Raleigh, N.C., Sunstates Security provides uniformed security personnel and security consulting services to clients throughout the United States. 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).

Punch Technologies is a mobile software company based in Charlotte, N.C. They are the creators of the Punch Alert mobile security and communication platform. The Punch Alert Platform is the only all-in-one emergency communication platform leveraging both GPS and iBeacon location technology.

 

Written by Sunstates Security

September 6th, 2016 at 9:09 pm