Sunstates Blog

A Proactive Security Partner

Archive for the ‘security services’ tag

Security Lessons from British Terror Attacks

without comments

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

without comments

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

without comments

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

HOW MANAGEMENT SUPPORT IMPROVES CUSTOMER SERVICE

without comments

As corporate conglomerates keep growing and local firms get ever smaller, customer service seems to suffer. Razor-thin margins force many companies to cut corners, especially when it comes to personnel. Tasking a shrinking workforce with maintaining service and production levels creates a losing proposition for all:Customer Service

  • >Managers and employees burn out quickly, unable to succeed under impossible circumstances.
  • Customers receive disappointing service from overworked support staff.
  • Companies must replace a continuous outflow of customers and employees.

That’s why Sunstates Security continues to follow a more traditional approach to business operation and growth. The company invests resources into recruiting and supporting the right people, who in turn take care of Sunstates’ employees and clients. Double-digit organic growth in each of the past five years bears out the success of this strategy.

Prioritizing personal service

Sunstates Security managers are responsible for much smaller portfolios than their counterparts at national firms—typically one-third the size. The lighter work load frees them to spend more time with clients, as well as with security officers, in person. Sunstates managers are able to visit accounts and discuss client needs as part of their daily responsibilities—not only during an incident. The result is high customer satisfaction, as evidenced by monthly client surveys and a client retention rate that exceeds 95%.

“We’re growing our business the old-fashioned way,” says Sunstates President Glenn Burrell, CPP, “through rock-solid customer service. We want every interaction with Sunstates to create a positive impression. This philosophy applies to our dealings with everyone, from clients and employees to vendors and visitors.”

Burrell leads Sunstates management by example, visiting client sites to talk not only to the client, but also to employees. “We stay in touch with what employees need,” says Burrell. “If a branch manager isn’t on a first-name basis with everyone at a site, we’ve got a problem.”

Retention and reward

Workforce retention and continuity are another key part of customer service. Sunstates empowers managers to act and gives them the tools and the personnel they need to succeed. In an industry that’s notorious for high turnover, Sunstates takes the opposite road. “We hire the right people for the right job, and we make sure they’re invested in staying with us,” says Robb Rogalski, Vice President of Operations.

The Sunstates Learning Management System includes courses on leadership and management skills, as well as security and safety practices. Rogalski says, “Rather than looking outside for talent, we have found it’s more effective to develop it and promote from within. It’s good for us, certainly, but more importantly it’s good for our customers, because having officers and managers who know their job and the customer is the best way to meet clients’ needs.”

Sunstates Security has been providing premium customer service since 1998. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

Written by Sunstates Security

January 26th, 2016 at 7:55 pm

LATEST CLIENT TESTIMONIAL-EFFECTIVE TRAINING PRODUCES RESULTS

without comments

February 21, 2011
“A recent robbery incident at our corporate headquarters has resulted in arrests. After many interviews and a good vehicle description the suspects were identified and arrested for armed robbery. I want to personally thank employees at our corporate headquarters and our Sunstates Security Officers for their time and diligence in helping police detectives solve this case with good, detailed and accurate information.”

See more Sunstates Security client testimonials on our website.

Written by Sunstates Security

February 21st, 2011 at 2:32 pm