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Security Technology for Today—and Tomorrow

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At last month’s ASIS International Annual Seminar and Exhibits in Dallas, technology dominated the showroom floor. Vendors showcased robots and drones, along with the ubiquitous access-control and surveillance systems. In the real world, however, even sophisticated organizations are waiting before taking the technological plunge.

This article highlights emerging technologies, as well as familiar systems that are doing more than ever—often for less money.

New Technologies

These advancements are emerging from science fiction novels and films into 21st century reality.

  • Robots. Several companies featured security robots as an alternative to human patrol officers. While these mechanical sentries offer cost savings and other benefits, such as the ability to capture video, they’re not likely to replace security personnel entirely. Robots may gradually find their way into corporate security forces, but they’ll ultimately report their findings to skilled humans. Still, continuing advancements in robotics will spark interesting debates in the coming years.
  • Drones. These unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are generating a lot of interest as the technology improves. While future restrictions inevitably will govern where, how and when these devices can fly, UAVs add a new dimension to surveillance, especially when conducting vulnerability assessments. Drones allow security teams to not only focus on their facilities, but also on potential threats beyond the site perimeter. Some companies are marketing drones that capture other drones, highlighting some of the privacy concerns created by these vehicles.
  • Facial Recognition. This technology recently went mainstream with the announcement of iPhone X. Apple’s $1,000+ smartphone will replace the familiar fingerprint reader with facial recognition, which is reportedly 20x more secure. Already, the technology is changing the security game. Last month, Chinese police used cameras equipped with automated facial recognition (AFR) software to arrest 25 wanted criminals at a beer festival, including one who had eluded authorities for a decade.

Improved Technologies

While not as exciting as the previous advances, the following technology improvements are transforming security in more subtle ways.

  • Investigative tools. Online proliferation of public data has enhanced investigations in recent years, while creating its own challenges. Consulting multiple sources for information consumes time, as does sifting through the results for relevance. New technologies are making it easier both to collect data in a single source and to narrow results for human analysis. Some of these tools remain prohibitively expensive for smaller organizations, but prices will fall as the technology evolves.
  • Access control. Today’s access-control systems offer increased security and efficiency, in addition to improving the user experience. Electronic systems can integrate with other and personnel management security systems. Plus, a missing access card can be quickly deactivated and replaced. New access-control technologies are amplifying these benefits, replacing cards with smartphones, mobile devices and biometrics.
  • Audio/visual recording. High-definition cameras, digital recorders and cloud computing have made it easier, and more affordable, than ever for businesses to upgrade their security systems. Many clients are replacing decade-old closed-circuit televisions with state-of-the-art systems that allow remote monitoring.

To discuss how these technologies can help your security program, call Sunstates Security at 866-710-2019 or email us.

Written by Sunstates Security

October 19th, 2017 at 4:05 pm

How Technology is Transforming the Security Industry

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Technology continues to evolve at dizzying speed, but don’t expect drones and robots to replace security personnel any time soon. Some of these new technologies, while exciting, remain impractical. Between 2008 and 2010, many security departments were cut to reduce costs, and their budgets were never restored. Consequently, most security directors have neither the resources nor the desire to overhaul their departments with the latest technological innovations.

That said, many companies are supplementing their existing security programs with technology. More clients ask us to find ways to provide smarter security by pairing technology with personnel. In many cases, the result is a reduction in manned hours and an increase in the skills required by the remaining team.

Sometimes the analysis identifies situations where a human touch is preferred. Tenants and clients often appreciate having a friendly security officer open the door and watch over them after hours. Technology excels at providing coverage, not comfort.

Not an Either-Or Scenario

Security rarely comes down to choosing technology over personnel, or vice versa. At Sunstates we continually evaluate new tools to help us better protect clients, and we adapt our offerings accordingly.

As a result, our organization is unrecognizable from a technological perspective, compared to 10 years ago. Many of our officers use smartphones in their daily duties: performing patrols, scanning checkpoints, recording shift details, and reporting incidents. Our paperless hiring process ensures that prospective employees have the necessary computer skills to succeed at Sunstates, from completing training modules in our Learning Management System to using the modern tools of the trade.

By embracing technology and encouraging employees to do the same, we’ve empowered our personnel and created new opportunities for them. Our employees can confirm their schedules and their paychecks online, download benefits documentation, and complete professional development courses. We’ve seen a marked improvement in the capabilities of our security officers in the past decade—a trend that benefits employees and clients.

An Effective Partnership

A New Jersey client reported missing bronze bearings to the on-duty security supervisor. The client provided a description of the missing items, their location, and a suspected time frame for the theft. The supervisor reviewed security footage for the relevant period and immediately identified the responsible individual, who was subsequently terminated. Per policy, the officer searched the employee’s car before his departure and discovered a scrap yard receipt, which was dated several weeks earlier than the discovered theft.

Over the next several days, the supervisor reviewed six weeks of security footage and uncovered 12 additional thefts of bronze metals. He identified the items taken during each incident, exact time and date of each loss, and the thief’s methodology. He also interviewed client employees regarding accountability of materials and procedures for using, and accounting for, items.

This effective combination of security technology and skilled personnel helped the client recover more than $30,000 in stolen materials, while providing valuable recommendations for preventing future thefts and loss.

Like so many other industries, technology is transforming security not by replacing personnel with cameras or robots, but by helping humans to work more efficiently and effectively.

For information on how Sunstates Security can help your organization support security with technology, call 866-710-2019 or email us.

Written by Sunstates Security

October 19th, 2017 at 3:56 pm

Looking Ahead: Emerging Trends in Private Security

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Working with clients in a wide range of industries across the country, we encounter—and implement—a number of best practices. Technology seems to be the common thread uniting many of these innovations. As devices and software become more powerful and affordable, more organizations are investing in systems and tools to make their operations more effective and efficient.

Following are some of the top trends we’re seeing in security, based on internal operations, industry resources and professional experience:

• Increased video surveillance. While the use of camera surveillance in the U.S. is much lower than in Europe, we expect this technology to become more prevalent over the next five years. Video footage has proven valuable in investigating incidents, such as the Boston marathon bombing and recent incidents in England, and Americans are slowly accepting—and in some cases expecting—the use of video surveillance.

• Central monitoring. More companies are looking for centralized command centers, known as Global Security Operations Centers or GSOCs, that can control multiple facilities from a single location. Previously, the technologies used for various security functions—such as access control and surveillance—didn’t communicate well with each other, presenting integration challenges for a single facility. New software bridges that gap and makes it possible for organizations to consolidate their security systems.

• Real-time security reports. Smartphone apps allow our officers to monitor tens of thousands of checkpoints each day in real time. This information populates our quality control system, which allows management and clients to review site information at any time. Improvements in efficiency may reduce the number of security personnel, while freeing members of the security team for more sophisticated assignments.

• Insurance discounts for security.  On the personal side, some insurance companies offer lower auto premiums for safe drivers, as reported by devices that monitor and transmit information about a vehicle’s operation: speed, following distance, braking intensity. It makes sense that commercial insurers will reward those organizations that have taken extra steps to protect their people and property with video surveillance, employee education and security teams.

To discuss how your facility can capitalize on the above trends in security, call Sunstates Security at 866-710-2019 or email us.

 

Written by Sunstates Security

June 27th, 2017 at 6:14 pm

Security Lessons from British Terror Attacks

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The recent attack near a London mosque marked the fourth terror assault on British soil in three months. These incidents demonstrate continuing trends in terrorism, with sobering security lessons.

Today’s terrorists have shifted tactics from well-organized, large-scale attacks to super-efficient strikes executed by small groups and individuals. This change presents the dual challenge of more potential attacks and decreased likelihood of law enforcement infiltration.

In addition, the attackers are methodical and smart, applying the same sophisticated planning as career criminals. Their ability to study and surmount security measures requires consistent creativity from protectors.

Challenges of Concentric Circles

For decades, law enforcement and private security have safeguarded property and individuals by creating multiple layers of protection, like an onion. This same approach is used for the White House and Buckingham Palace, as well as for special events, like concerts and award ceremonies. Each successive layer is more secure than the previous perimeter, with the greatest attention naturally focused on entry points.

“We’ve created our own security problem,” says Glenn Burrell, CPP, president of Sunstates Security. “These perimeters do a great job of keeping out attackers, but they create a secondary target.”

In addition, the May bombing at Manchester Arena revealed another weakness, changing the security game.

“Typically, few security personnel are posted at the exits,” says Burrell. “Now we have to think long and hard about managing exit strategies. For instance, we may need to create another perimeter at the exit to stop anyone from going in after an event.”

Additional Takeaways

Responding to this ongoing threat requires less reaction and more analysis, supported by training and increased situational awareness.

Understand the enemy. Security teams need to put themselves in the shoes of the perpetrators to detect and shore up vulnerabilities. These individuals prepare attack strategies. They study the protective measures in place and adapt their plans to minimize risk and maximize the impact. Security personnel should follow the same practice on a regular basis and revisit policies and procedures to curtail weaknesses.

Look for patterns. During Burrell’s service with Scotland Yard, he participated on surveillance teams that followed bank robbers for weeks as they conducted dry runs in preparation for a heist. Security teams need to watch for patterns and unusual behavior, calling attention to such individuals. This type of analysis allowed the FBI to thwart an attack against a Southeastern synagogue last year. The would-be assailants had been captured on camera and recognized during repeat reconnaissance trips.

Expand training and education. Both security and non-security personnel need to learn about the tactics of would-be attackers. The insidious and pervasive nature of this threat makes security everyone’s responsibility. Employees must also look for and report unusual behavior. Security teams, in turn, need to respond to, and communicate, with such informants to encourage such information sharing.

For information on how Sunstates Security can help your organization review and adapt its security procedures, please call us at 866-710-2019 or email us.

 

Written by Sunstates Security

June 27th, 2017 at 6:09 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

Civil Unrest: How to Prepare for Uncertain Times

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From the Baltimore riots of 2015 to the political protests that continue today, such disturbances are emerging as “normal” threats with which American businesses must contend. In Sunstates Security’s home state of North Carolina, demonstrations related to police shootings and women’s rights have disrupted commercial operations, requiring additional security coverage.

Part of the reason for this unfortunate trend comes from increased polarization. Data from respected organizations like the Pew Research Center shows that the ideological center is shrinking, while those occupying the right and the left are growing farther apart.

Social media has made this volatile situation even more dangerous by making it easy to coordinate pop-up protests. Although relatively small, these gatherings form quickly and drive away customers, so even peaceful demonstrations have a negative effect on local businesses.

Crimes of Opportunity

Beyond the obvious disruption caused by these events, businesses in the surrounding area also need to guard against crimes of opportunity. Statistics show that minor crimes—such as break-ins of vehicles and buildings—spike during public disorder as opportunists take advantage of the diversion.

During President Glenn Burrell’s days with Scotland Yard, he dealt with hundreds of public order events, including policing picket lines. Video cameras proved effective as deterrents because they removed anonymity from the situation; people didn’t want to be identified. To maximize their deterrent value, he recommends making the cameras as conspicuous as possible, while protecting the equipment against tampering. Facilities should post prominent signs announcing the use of recorded video surveillance.

Similarly, businesses need to do more than keep an eye on a civil disturbance. They also need to look for, and shore up, any potential weaknesses that might be exploited while the main event holds the spotlight.

Steps to Consider

Effective protection against these threats starts with awareness, recognizing the potential for such events and evaluating the specific danger to an organization.

Threat assessment. Security teams should analyze the likelihood of a civil disturbance at or near their operations. Some threats are external, such as physical proximity to a courthouse or other government structure, or to public gathering space. Internal threats may arise from negative events, like layoffs, or ideological differences. A threat assessment should include all these factors and analyze both physical and operational vulnerabilities.

Early warning. In addition to maintaining relationships with local law enforcement, companies may consider commercial solutions to monitor social media chatter. Such programs can be customized with keywords and dates to help alert organizations to protests during the planning stage.

Employee education. Enlist personnel in the security effort through training programs. Teach them to recognize warning signs and to communicate this information along an established chain of command. For additional support, a skilled security partner will likely already have courses to teach officers crowd management and nonviolent conflict resolution, which can be adapted for non-security employees.

Additional resources. For known events that could trigger a disturbance—such as a potentially unpopular court verdict—organizations at risk should speak with their security provider about backup personnel, if needed. A larger firm should have additional staff available. Some firms also offer trained special-response teams that can travel where needed for emergencies. Such efforts should address not only threats related to the primary demonstration, but also crimes of opportunity.

For information on how Sunstates Security can help your organization prepare for social disturbances, please call us at 866-710-2019 or email us.

Written by Sunstates Security

March 21st, 2017 at 6:47 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

Sunstates Security Announces Promotion of Denis Kelly to Chief Operating Officer

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Sustained, double-digit organic growth creates expanded C-suite for regional security leader

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RALEIGH, N.C., August 15, 2016—Effective immediately, Denis J. Kelly has been promoted to the role of chief operating officer at Sunstates Security, based in Raleigh, N.C. His promotion from executive vice president reflects

Denis Kelly, Chief Operating Officer

Denis Kelly, Chief Operating Officer

his expanding leadership responsibilities in a larger organization, the result of sustained annual organic growth averaging an impressive 24% over the past five years.

“Denis has been a key member of Sunstates management since he joined us in 2010 as Vice President,” says CEO Kathryn Burrell. “Not only does he bring extensive industry experience and sound business acumen, but he also shares our commitment to improving the image and reputation of the contract security industry.”

As COO, Kelly will maintain oversight of companywide operations, sales and marketing, and human resources for Sunstates, which provides uniformed security services to a diverse client base throughout the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Southwest regions of the United States. During his tenure, Kelly has led the firm’s business development efforts and helped create the operational strategy that allowed Sunstates to triple in size without sacrificing service quality.

“I’m honored to step into this role and excited about the future opportunities for Sunstates,” says Kelly. “I joined the company because I believed in, and shared, the leadership’s vision for the firm and the industry. Together we’ve come a long way toward making that vision a reality, and it’s a testament to the people we serve, both clients and employees.”

Kelly’s 24-plus years of experience in the private security industry spans entry-level operations management to executive-level leadership. He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and criminal law from Eastern Connecticut State University.

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).

Written by Sunstates Security

August 18th, 2016 at 7:46 pm

USING TECHNOLOGY FOR MAXIMUM SECURITY EFFICIENCY

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Technology is everywhere. It fills so many facets of our daily lives that we barely notice it. It has made our lives more efficient, more productive in often surprising ways. This is especially true for the security industry.Image for USING TECHNOLOGY FOR MAXIMUM SECURITY EFFICIENCY Post

Metal detectors, door access controls, remote cameras, and various types of sensors have been security mainstays for years, but they are only part of the picture. New and innovative applications make security officers more efficient and improve customer service.

Advances in security technology

The capabilities of technology have increased by leaps and bounds, even as the cost of technology has decreased, sometimes drastically. Sophisticated remote cameras and controls, automated systems, and complex command centers are available now at a fraction of their previous cost. This makes that technology attractive to companies seeking the most favorable ratio of cost to security coverage. However, proper operation requires skilled personnel with special training.

Today, smartphone technology and applications can streamline important but time-consuming administrative tasks previously associated with security patrols and incident reporting. Smartphones can now log and time-stamp a security officer’s rounds automatically via WiFi and GPS, as well as help create timely, and more accurate, incident reports. These tools not only reduce the potential for error, but also minimizes the time spent writing and filing logs and reports.

This same officer now has more time available to provide a security presence.

Augmenting other duties with security presence

Integrating security services with other personnel duties is an increasingly common practice.

Rather than a receptionist, for example, whose job is to answer phones and greet guests, a security officer skilled in public relations can fill that role, bringing additional security expertise to that front-line position. Similarly, using security personnel for mailroom or concierge responsibilities can create additional efficiencies,

“At the end of the day, technology means better tools,” says Denis Kelly, Executive Vice President of Sunstates. “Someone still needs to use it. The right technology can make existing personnel more productive and more accurate. The key is finding the right balance of people and tools.”

Sunstates Security can help you integrate state-of-the-art security technology and trained security officers into your organization. We’ve been doing it since 1998. Contact us today to find out how.

Written by Sunstates Security

January 19th, 2016 at 8:07 pm