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Pop Quiz: 3 Questions to Ask About Your School Security System

Posted by Dan Ryan on Aug 31, 2017 1:00:00 PM

Summer is slowly drawing to a close, and that means one thing: it's back-to-school time!

Many districts across the country have already resumed classes for the year, and the majority of those still on summer vacation will return to school after the upcoming Labor Day holiday.

Back-to-school season is a time to stock up on supplies, sharpen those pencils, set up lesson plans and ensure that facilities are ready to handle another year's worth of activity.

However, back-to-school season is also the perfect time to reflect on and assess the state of an essential part of school operations: your school security system.

For most schools, decisions on capital expenses (like a new security system) are made in the late spring. However, that doesn't mean that taking a closer look at a security system should be limited to those spring months.

Back-to-school time is a season of the new: new students, new teachers, new staff members, new policies. 

This "newness" is a great way to assess the systems and procedures you already have in place, and to determine if there are areas in which you need to make improvements.

Acing this quiz helps lead to a safer, more secure school

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Topics: Visitor Management, school visitor management, school safety, school security, building security, school access control, access control for schools, school security systems, lockdown

Lockdown/Lockout: The Feature a Modern Access Control & Security System Needs

Posted by Dan Ryan on Aug 18, 2017 1:00:00 PM

In the event of an emergency or some kind of intrusion, every second counts. It's frightening, but a few seconds here or there can be the difference between a close call and a tragedy.

During these emergencies, one of the easiest ways to minimize the amount of damage that occurs is to isolate the threat.

Isolating a thief, an active shooter or any other troublemaker helps prevent the threat from moving around or hiding, while also making it easier for an organization to direct first responders to a specific area.

Again, because seconds count, time spent running around locking or unlocking doors to seal off a room, wing or building puts people at risk, both from doors not getting locked in time or from potentially coming into contact with whatever the threat may be.

For these reasons, lockout/lockdown capabilities are an essential feature for a modern access control system.

The lockdown feature helps isolate threats and protect personnel

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Topics: access control, building access control, school safety, building security, access control software, access control for schools, lockdown

The Hospital Dilemma: Balancing Security & A Welcoming Atmosphere

Posted by Dan Ryan on Aug 11, 2017 1:00:00 PM

On the surface, it seems like the ultimate contradiction: you want to welcome guests and make it easy for them to visit while also having security measures, like a Visitor management system, in place that are strict enough to keep your facility safe.

It seems impossible, like you're asking to go swimming without getting wet. Some things simply don't go together.

This is the safety dilemma faced by many large organizations on a daily basis, but one industry finds this to be a particularly vexing problem: healthcare.

Running a successful hospital comes with a long list of requirements, among them two that directly clash: welcoming guests and patients while also keeping security tight.

As we've discussed before, hospitals are, unfortunately, fertile grounds for violent incidents.

Whether it's a disgruntled spouse, a former patient holding a grudge or a family member blaming a doctor for the death of a loved one, hospitals are filled with a powder keg of emotion on a daily basis.

With an environment that is so emotionally charged, it would make sense to strictly limit the number of people allowed on site; however, a facility that discourages guests is a facility that isn't going to have much success.

The solution is clear: hospitals must find the happy medium between security and easy visitor access.

But how?

Security and welcoming guests don't need to be mutually exclusive

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Topics: Visitor Management, healthcare, healthcare Visitor Management, building security, healthcare security

Data Protection & the Need for a Modern Server Rack Security Solution

Posted by Dan Ryan on Jun 30, 2017 12:00:00 PM

Nowadays, cybersecurity and data theft are two of the hottest topics in the world of technology.

The rise in the importance of and interest in cybersecurity has been driven by a number of high-profile incidents that have occurred over the past several years:

  • There have document and data dumps perpetrated by individuals like Edward Snowden and Reality Winner that have revealed sensitive government information.
  • There has been ongoing discussion about the involvement of Russia in "hacking" the United States Presidential Election.
  • There have been massive global malware attacks, like Petya and WannaCry, dedicated to stealing personal or customer data and holding it for ransom.

To put it simply, data security is a big deal in today's technology-focused world, and it's only going to get bigger.

Organizations around the world, terrified by the prospect of becoming the next company that has its customer data stolen and by having to deal with the ensuing PR fallout, have responded to these threats by ratcheting up their data protections.

These attempts have included things like two-factor authentication, biometric authentication and varying levels of encryption. 

While they're effective at addressing certain types of threats, these methods don't address a central vulnerability: your servers and data centers themselves.

Don't ignore the physical when you focus on the digital

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Topics: access control, Rack Armor, data security, two-man rule, building security, hacking

Should You Integrate Surveillance Video with Your Access Control System?

Posted by Dan Ryan on Jun 28, 2017 1:00:00 PM

If you ask ten people to give you the first image that comes to mind when hearing the word "security system," chances are you'll hear "surveillance camera" or some variation of that term pretty frequently.

And it makes sense: to most people, a surveillance camera is the very symbol of security, whether it's looking over busy city streets from atop a utility pole or stuck up in the corner of a local convenience store.

Surveillance cameras are a powerful security feature for a pretty simple reason: they provide irrefutable record of whatever is going on at a site. 

With today's technology, audio can be somewhat misleading and still images can be doctored. However, "let's go to the tape" is still worth its security weight in gold.

For this reason, many organizations shopping for an access control or door security system have surveillance cameras on the brain when comparing and contrasting various systems.

Because access control systems and surveillance cameras are, on their own, pretty complex pieces of hardware and software, it's no surprise that the level of compatibility between the two varies so wildly.

Some access control systems integrate flawlessly with surveillance video equipment, while others have trouble or just barely scratch the surface of the camera's capabilities.

However, before you go looking for a system that can handle high-powered surveillance cameras, there's a basic question: should you bother?

"Let's go to the tape" or take things off-camera?

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Topics: access control, building access control, building security, access control software, surveillance video, video integration

"Why Bother?" How to Get the Internal Buy-In For a School Security System

Posted by Dan Ryan on May 31, 2017 1:30:00 PM

Every school administrator has a vested interest in making his or her school or school district as secure as possible.

Besides the obvious reason of wanting students and staff to be safe at all times, no administrator wants to look like he or she was caught unprepared in the event of an incident.

Oftentimes the people "on the ground," so to speak, are aware of the shortcomings of school infrastructure, whether those shortcomings are outdated security equipment or leaky spots in the roof.

These people see, experience and are inconvenienced by these shortcomings and issues on a daily basis, coming to and leaving from the building or campus.

If you tell these people that an issue needs to be fixed, chances are they're already well aware.

However, in today's school districts, there's usually an off-site entity making decisions on large purchases, whether it's a county education chair, superintendent of schools or the head of a school board for a town. 

These people aren't likely to be as familiar with a school's security needs as the students, teachers and staff.

This means that when they see "new school access control system" for Johnson Elementary School on the budget request form, they're going to need some convincing to sign on the dotted line.

Help the higher-ups understand the need behind the need

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Topics: access control, education, school security, building security, access control for schools, school security systems

4 Questions to Ask When Choosing Access Control Software

Posted by Dan Ryan on Mar 31, 2017 2:00:00 PM

Choosing the right access control software is an important decision. After all, this software is going to be trusted to keep your facility safe from trespassing, burglary and other unwanted actions.

Simply put, "I'll take whatever" isn't going to cut it when it comes to choosing the right solution.

Purchasing an access control solution is an involved process filled with lots of research, which can lead to customers feeling a little overwhelmed by the scope of what they're encountering.

"Surveillance? Controller boards? Wireless locks? I don't know, I just want something to keep the bad people out!"

It's enough to make even the most vigilant building manager or security official want to give up on the whole endeavor. 

The key to buying the right access control software is to ask yourself a series of questions designed to filter out the options that don't meet your needs.

By focusing on what you want in a system and eliminating the features that don't matter to you, you're able to zero in on the right solution, without all the stress.

Cameras, doors, reporting and more

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Topics: access control, modern security, building security, access control software

5 Ways an Access Control System Can Help Increase Safety in Schools

Posted by Dan Ryan on Sep 2, 2016 3:00:00 PM

In a perfect world, schools would be places where teachers could focus on educating young minds and students could focus on learning, unbothered by external threats or concerns.

Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world.

Today, having a plan for school security is of the utmost importance, whether at a neighborhood elementary school or a sprawling college campus.

We've touched on school security before, discussing how Visitor Management helps make schools safer by keeping certain threats outside. 

However, there's another way to increase safety in schools, keeping threats out and monitoring potential threats inside: installing an access control system.

How does access control lead to a safer school?

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Topics: access control, building access control, school safety, school security, PremiSys NDE, building security

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