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Top 3 areas shutdown is hitting security the hardest

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Day number 26 … it’s the longest shutdown in U.S. history, and with approximately 800,000 federal employees out of work or working without pay, and three or more hours of wait time to clear security in some of America’s busiest airports—Atlanta, Houston, Miami and Washington—security-related vulnerabilities linger. Just by saying the U.S. is “shutdown” seems to give hackers, terrorists, criminals and such the impression that the whole country is weak and now is the time to strike.

Here’s some specific areas the shutdown is hitting security the hardest:

Government payment portals and remote access services: Sites such as NASA, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Court of Appeals, among others, are insecure or inaccessible, due to more than 80 expired TLS certificates used on .gov domains. What’s more, only 1 in 20 HTTPS servers implement the security feature that prevents visitors from making unencrypted HTTP connections to a server.
As more security certificates expire during the shutdown and with furloughed IT employees not renewing them, opportunities for a security hack increase.

Click the following links to see examples of expired .gov certificates as of January 16, 2019:
https://ows2.usdoj.gov/
https://rockettest.nasa.gov/

National cybersecurity: It seems “everyone” is furloughed…approximately half of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the employees who protect critical infrastructure, such as banking, water, energy and nuclear; 85 percent of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) employees and other IT professionals knowledgeable about the latest cyberattacks and how to deal with them most appropriately, according to CNBC.

Security operations, software patching and penetration testing are among the activities not getting done for government sites including but not limited to:
•    Departments of State;
•    Homeland Security;
•    Agriculture, Commerce and Housing and Urban Development;
•    Environmental Protection Agency;
•    Internal Revenue Service (IRS);
•    National Institute of Standards and Technology; and
•    National Park Service.

Weakened airport security: Not only is wait time increasing for passengers to get through security, but personal safety is quickly becoming an issue. On January 2, 2019, a Delta passenger successfully deceived TSA, sneaking a gun past agents and onto a flight headed to Tokyo from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

According to USA Today, TSA said they would “hold those responsible appropriately accountable,” as they rejected the assumption that low staffing was to blame. Either way, carelessness or low staffing, security was breached and could have led to dire consequences.

As we see the deterioration of security right before our eyes, what are you most concerned about when it comes to the partial government shutdown and security?

Let’s discuss! Looking forward to your responses.

Another step toward safer schools

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Creating safer schools is a major dilemma facing our nation today, but thankfully it is one that some of the best minds are coming together to solve. The Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) has taken a major step by creating safety and security guidelines and standards of practice that all schools can turn to and follow, guidelines and standards that come from lessons learned from past tragedies and ones that were averted, and from experiences and expertise from leaders in security and education, and from parents and students.

The fourth edition of its Safety and Security Guidelines for K-12 Schools provides school administrators, school boards and public safety and security professionals with guidelines for implementing a layered and tiered approach to securing and enhancing the safety of school environments.

Guy Grace Jr., PASS chairman and director of security and emergency planning for Littleton Public Schools, is leading this effort. The Security Industry Association (SIA) named Grace as the 2018 recipient of the SIA Insightful Practitioner Award, an honor recognizing excellence in promoting the implementation of innovative security solutions.

Grace began providing district services to LPS in 1990 and was soon promoted to patrolman, then lead officer and security facilitator before assuming his current role. He has created and assisted with developing many security-related projects, protocols and practices used today in school safety for both LPS and other school districts.

“The safety and security challenges schools face today are more multifaceted and complex than ever before, and protecting students and staff requires a comprehensive approach to these challenges,” Grace said in the announcement of the new PASS standards. “We are proud to build on the PASS guidelines, which present the most comprehensive information available on best practices for securing school facilities, an essential component supporting all-hazards approaches to school safety.”

The fourth edition of the guidelines is completely revised under a simplified structure and greatly expanded to now cover best practices on a district-wide level that relate to safety and security and additional areas such as school transportation, cybersecurity and network infrastructure, architectural features and emergency communications.

The PASS Guidelines identify and classify best practices for securing K-12 facilities in response to urgent needs for information identified by the education community. The guidelines aim to answer two key questions – “What should we do?” and “How do we prioritize?” – and include:

•    Specific actions that can effectively raise the baseline of security;
•    Vetted security practices specific to K-12 environments;
•    Objective, reliable information on available safety and security technology;
•    Assessment of current security measures against nationwide best practices;
•    Multiple options for addressing security needs identified; and
•    How to distinguish needed and effective solutions from sales pitches on unnecessary products.

The guidelines describe approaches within five physical layers for school facilities: district-wide, the property perimeter, the parking lot perimeter, the building perimeter and the classroom/interior perimeter. Within each layer, the resource outlines key safety and security components, such as policies and procedures, people (roles and training), architectural components, communication, access control, video surveillance and detection and alarms.

“We believe this approach provides a simplified way for administrators to effectively evaluate their security infrastructure, prioritize investment and maximize security in ways that are consistent with longstanding security practices and ensure a baseline of facility security measures appropriate for school facilities,” Mark Williams, PASS vice chairman, said in the press release.

Established in 2014, PASS brings together expertise from the education community, law enforcement and the security industry to develop and support a coordinated approach that can assist school administrators in making effective use of proven security practices specific to K-12 environments, including elementary, middle and high schools.

The latest guidelines are available at no cost on the PASS website, and PASS encourages education professionals, public safety personnel and security solutions providers to take advantage of these free resources.
 

Let’s meet at Cyber:Secured Forum 2019 in Dallas

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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

It’s good to see registration is open for the second annual Cyber:Secured Forum, and that it’s in my “neck of the woods.” The Westin Dallas Park Central will welcome this conference that helps connect cybersecurity, physical security and systems integration, hosted by ISC Security Events, PSA Security Network and the Security Industry Association (SIA). It’s to be held July 29-31, one of the hottest times in Dallas might I add, so plan on drinking lots of water! Hydration is key during our hot, Texas summers.

(Tip: Walk or Uber over to the Circle K convenience store at 12950 Coit Rd., which is right beside the Westin, and buy water for your hotel room. Usually our convenience stores will have 2 bottles for $2, or some sort of sell.)

According to the SIA website, attendees can look forward to topics including global cybercrime trends, tools and technology for better cybersecurity of physical security systems, monetizing cybersecurity services, cyber-hardening of security systems and more, presented by IT and physical security professionals. The goals of the conference are to connect and share information on risks and liabilities, learn how to respond to cybersecurity threats and work toward establishing security control standards across IT systems.

Plan on attending the July 29th welcome reception, plugging into sessions and strolling around the exhibits displaying various solutions related to cybersecurity, and don’t forget to find me buzzing around. In fact, reach out now, gschlueter@securitysystemsnews.com, and let’s get something on the calendar – a booth visit, coffee, lunch – I’m open to pretty much anything. And of course, I can help you figure out the best places to eat and visit during your stay in Dallas.

I’m excited to attend the forum, meet with you, learn more about cybersecurity trends and what’s going on in that world, and how cyber and physical are successfully merging to keep people and infrastructure safe.

 

ADS Security surpasses $4m RMR mark

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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

ADS Security, a regional electronic security and automation company based in Nashville, Tenn., has revealed they surpassed $4 million in RMR in 2018, including a record-setting eight companies in 2018, surpassing the previous record of seven acquisitions in 2016.

ADS achieved this mark through strong organic growth driven by a focus on providing legendary service and by maintaining a large acquisition pipeline.

 “2018 was the best year in ADS’s history,” John Cerasuolo, president and CEO, swaid in the announcement. “We have built a strong culture and team of people who care about providing legendary service to our customers and to the security company owners we acquire. We are not slowing down and expect 2019 to be another record-setting year.”

After its inception in 1990, ADS achieved $2 million in RMR in 2012 and now has doubled that monthly revenue in about a quarter of the time. ADS Security’s $4 million in RMR is made up of more than 100,000 residential and commercial customer sites spread over 25 branch locations throughout the southeastern United States.

With a UL-listed monitoring center located in Nashville, ADS Security offers a full range of burglar, fire alarm, video surveillance, access control, and automation systems.

Cerasuolo told Security Systems News after the company’s latest acquisition back in December, that he us excited for similar growth in 2019.

“We have very high expectations for 2019. We’ve got a good number of deals that are in various stages along the process. So, we expect to come out of the gate pretty strong in 2019, in terms and acquisitions,” he said. “There’s no reason not to expect that we’ll have similar kind of results in [2019] that we had this year.”

Video surveillance trends push global market into the billions

 - 
Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Look around in any public place, be it a hospital, stadium, park, retail outlet, bank and even on the shoulders of police officers, and you are likely to see at least one video camera. This sophisticated piece of equipment is recording and retaining data on the activities in its coverage area to ensure safety to people and infrastructure. Over the past 10 years, video cameras and surveillance systems have become a permanent fixture, perhaps so much so that some people don’t even realize the presence of cameras, and according to BIS Research, there is no evidence of this trend slowing down.

BIS recently released a new market intelligence report, “Global Video Surveillance Market – Analysis and Forecast, 2018-2023,” indicating the global video surveillance market is estimated to grow over $77.21 billion by 2023. This increase is driven by the rising demand for IP cameras, video content analytics (VCA) and Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaas) to help mitigate rising security concerns as well as the need for the security industry to provide highly efficient, time-saving surveillance systems at an affordable price, pointed out by BIS in their press release.

BIS also noted the camera market seems to be acquiring major market share within the video surveillance industry as seen by a proliferation of IP camera-based surveillance systems in response to increased consumer demand for more physical security.

Taking a global look with BIS, Asia-Pacific (APAC) led the global video surveillance market last year and is expected to maintain dominance within this five-year time frame, accounting for approximately 41.5% of net revenue generated by video surveillance equipment, in addition to enormous investments in future security-related projects in India and China. A rise in video surveillance demands is also expected from Europe, specifically from the UK and Germany.

The majority of end-users seek three important aspects when deploying a video surveillance system—cost effectiveness, increased safety and convenience. To fulfill these three demands and create a robust surveillance system, in my opinion, IP cameras, intelligent video analytics, video management systems (VMS), VCS and VSaaS must be incorporated.

Of course, with such technology comes issues of concern. Let’s discuss data protection, data surveillance laws, unskilled security professionals and more:
•    Do you believe the industry is creating ways to protect the data produced by the high-capacity storage required by IP-based video surveillance systems?
•    Do you feel there is a lack of data surveillance laws? If so, what laws should we consider passing?
•    Do you think there is a shortage of skilled security professionals available to manage the operation and software of IP-based surveillance systems?
•    According to this report’s executive summary – “Cameras are the most important part of any surveillance system.” Do you find this statement to true or false, and why?

I look forward to receiving your thoughts and opinions to get the conversation started, and to continue to explore the rapidly growing and expanding world of video surveillance.
 

ASSA ABLOY introduces Preferred Installer Program

 - 
Wednesday, January 2, 2019

ASSA ABLOY recently announced its new Preferred Installer program to help streamline deployments for installers and systems integrators.

Building on decades of experience in the higher education market, ASSA ABLOY has developed a national network of Intertek certified hardware installers who are highly skilled in providing physical installation of its integrated electronic locking devices.

“Systems integrators, who often face staff shortages, can take advantage of this network of installers to maximize their efficiency,” the company said in the announcement, noting that the ability to outsource this skill helps improve productivity, ensure a quality installation, and create a competitive advantage. “What’s more, when contracted through ASSA ABLOY, an additional year of warranty is provided for products installed by Preferred Installers. This program also helps end-users meet their deadlines, provides peace of mind with high-quality installations, and protects their investment with an extended warranty.”

Preferred Installers go through a rigorous, four-day hands-on training course given by ASSA ABLOY instructors.
 
“We have attended many a training class, and this is hands down the only class offered that is truly a hands-on course with an instructor that is more than qualified to teach,” Chad Smith, chief of operations at ACME Security Solutions, LLC, said in the announcement. “We had an amazing learning experience, and this is all owed to the instructor, who took this training above and beyond our expectations.”

ASSA ABLOY Preferred Installers are third-party certified by Intertek, which means the technicians are qualified to field prep Warnock Hersey labeled fire doors for the installation of specific ASSA ABLOY integrated locks and accessories while retaining the door’s fire resistance rating and compliance with NFPA 80. In addition, Intertek Qualified Personnel may apply supplemental serialized labels to doors they’ve prepped and after ASSA ABLOY hardware has been installed. This signifies to Authorities Having Jurisdiction and Fire Door Inspectors that the installation was completed in accordance with NFPA guidelines.

“The Intertek Qualified Personnel (IQP) ASSA ABLOY Hardware Installer program provides assurance that personnel conducting work in the field are fully qualified and that the work is done correctly each and every time,” Justin Hendricks, program manager - Openings Building & Construction, Intertek. “Participation in the program is also crucial to maintaining the door’s Intertek fire resistance rating and subsequent compliance with NFPA 80 guidelines.”

Lester LaPierre, director of business development, Electronic Access Control, ASSA ABLOY Door Security Solutions added: “ASSA ABLOY has provided installation services for many years across the country at our largest installations incorporating thousands of electronic access control locksets. We’ve learned that the outcome of each of those projects was quality workmanship and high productivity. This resulted in timelines being met, site issues and product returns being reduced, and, most importantly, satisfied integrators, general contractors, and end users. That’s why we’re expanding and formalizing this program so those same benefits can be applied across all opportunities.”

ASSA ABLOY Certified Integrators interested in using a Preferred Installer can simply log on to the Partner Area of www.IntelligentOpenings.com to find the Installation Services Quote Request form to begin the process. For dedicated hardware installation professionals interested in joining the ASSA ABLOY Preferred Installer network, please contact Lester LaPierre (lester.lapierre@assaabloy.com).
 

A (Re) Introduction and Homecoming

 - 
Wednesday, December 19, 2018

“It’s good to be back.” This phrase has been running through my mind since I joined SSN’s editorial team as managing editor just a few days ago. I have fond memories of the security industry, and although a lot has changed and I have some re-learning to do, I’m refreshed and ready to take it on.

Having served the security industry previously for three years, and after about a four-year hiatus, I’m back to doing what I love: meeting industry professionals, writing and editing, being part of the security industry “family,” and shaking things up a bit with fun, conversational yet professional, honest and authentic commentary.

I am excited to engage again with industry leaders, build strong relationships, and share and report on newfound industry knowledge as well as establish and retain rapport with readers. I hope to inform, educate and inspire in my role at Security System News by assisting with editorial content, providing thought-provoking blog posts, participating in trade shows and chatting on social media.

I feel like I’ve returned home. I’m ecstatic to be a part of the SSN team and returning to an industry that truly impacts the world for the better.
 

Security Systems News hires new managing editor

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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Security Systems News is excited to announce the hiring of Ginger Schlueter as the new managing editor of the publication. Ginger brings three years of prior security industry reporting experience, as well as a proven track record in both print and online media, with particular expertise in social media.

As Ginger says in her first blog post today, she is happy to be back in the security industry after spending a few years away as a freelancer.

“I have fond memories of the security industry, and although a lot has changed and I have some re-learning to do, I’m refreshed and ready to take it on,” she said.

As I have been told by many in the industry, and as I told Ginger, “Once you’ve worked in the security industry, you can’t leave—it keeps pulling you back in.” Many in the industry I am sure can relate to this sentiment.

And while SSN is forever grateful to former managing editor Spencer Ives for the outstanding work he did here at the publication (good luck Spencer in your next endeavor!), we here at SSN are excited to have Ginger joining the team!
 

Mission 500 trip to Puerto Rico brings aid to families

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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Mission 500 recently hosted a service trip in Ponce, Puerto Rico, where volunteers from the professional security industry worked on repairing the homes of two families still suffering from the effects of hurricane Maria in October of 2017.

Hurricane Maria caused $92 billion in damage, leaving millions of families without everyday necessities. Volunteers spent several days repairing roofs, siding and plumbing; installing new windows; and removing trees capable of causing additional damage to the affected structures. Additionally, Mission 500 volunteers bought food, supplies and toys for the children.

“Our team of Mission 500 volunteers, including several of our children were able to not only improve the living conditions of these two families, we also helped to restore their sense of dignity with a little happiness and hope for a brighter future,” Alan Forman, president of Altronix Corporation, said in the announcement.

This year’s service trip to Ponce, Puerto Rico took place from Oct. 31 through Nov. 4 and raised $12,000, which was used to provide two families with extensive home renovations.

“The trip to Ponce, Puerto Rico was Mission 500’s third service trip, which aim to help families in need whether located here in the United Stated or abroad,” George Fletcher, advisory board member of Mission 500, said in a prepared statement. “In providing assistance to people in crisis, Mission 500 continues to bring together the growing community of security industry professionals who are looking to give back and make a difference.”

Tom Nolan, director of Strategic Partnerships for Mission 500, told Security Systems News that these trips end up being very rewarding for those who volunteer.

“At our first team meeting in Puerto Rico we instructed the team that as you participate in the work of helping those in desperate need it is very likely that the experience will have a greater impact on your life, personally, than on those you seek to help,” Nolan told SSN. “In our daily end of the day debriefing time we heard many personal stories from our team about the effects that serving had on their lives. One great story came from Stephanie Mayes from Synectics. As she spoke at the SIA night of Honors dinner, Steph stated that participating on the past Mission 500 Service Trip was the most impactful experience of her life.”
 
Nolan pointed out that while in the past Mission 500 scheduled one service trip per year, in 2019 and beyond it would like to schedule two per year. “After the trip to Puerto Rico we all realize how important it is to join together from many different organizations as one industry to get involved with some of the tragic situations we see happening around the U.S.,” he said. “As we pulled our team together, we were all amazed at how much work we accomplished in a short one-week experience.”

Mission 500 extends a big thank you to the individuals who donated their time, financial support and gifts to ensure the success of this trip, as well as to corporate sponsors including: Aiphone, Altronix Corporation, Axis Communications, BRINKS Home Security, ESA, Hikvision USA, Milestone Systems and Synetics Global.

Mission 500 is a nonprofit organization that works closely with the security industry to serve the needs of children and communities in crisis. Mission 500’s primary goal was to focus security industry efforts on sponsoring more than 500 children through World Vision’s humanitarian outreach.

For more information on Mission 500 or on how to become involved in supporting Mission 500, contact Tom Nolan at tnolan@mission500.org, or call 516-903-7291. For more information on contributions or sponsorships, please visit mission500.org or contact Jeff Eichenlaub at jeichenlaub@mission500.org.
 

Rick Caruthers named Galaxy Control Systems president

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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Board of Directors of Digital Systems Corporation, the parent company of Galaxy Control Systems, a leading provider of integrated access control and security solutions, announced the appointment of Rick Caruthers to the position of president at Galaxy Control Systems. Effective immediately, this appointment reflects the company’s long-term planning and succession strategies.

“Rick has essentially been working in the capacity as president of Galaxy Control Systems for the past several years, and with this appointment will be able to execute his vision and goals for the company,” Robert Laughlin, chairman of Digital Systems Corporation, said in the announcement. “After 17 years of proven service and dedication to Galaxy Control Systems, we are most confident that Rick is the person best suited to be at the helm of this organization moving forward.”

Caruthers’ extensive experience and proven track record in the professional security industry spans over 28 years, where his career was initiated on the integration side of the business then migrated into the manufacturing space. Over 17 years to date, Caruthers has risen through the ranks in positions ranging from regional sales manager, government sales director, vice president of sales, executive vice president, to his current role as president of Galaxy Control Systems.

“I am extremely honored with the Board’s decision to entrust me with the continued expansion and growth of Galaxy Control Systems,” Caruthers said in the announcement. “There are so many exciting opportunities that lie ahead for Galaxy as we continue to evolve and supplement our portfolio of on-premise based and cloud access control solutions, and expand internationally. And we will maintain our focus on the core values that have propelled Galaxy Control Systems over the years, including exceptional customer service and outstanding quality hardware and software offerings that will remain designed, developed and manufactured in-house in the USA.”

The Galaxy Control Systems portfolio is centered on the company’s System Galaxy v11.02 and Cloud Concierge access control platforms, which accommodate the latest reader technologies and technology trends, as well as holistic VMS integration. The versatile offering provides resellers and users with the unique ability to implement the access control solution that best fits their specific needs and budget.

Caruthers told Security Systems News that some of his short-term goals for the company include bringing both the on-premises and cloud solutions together to provide one platform.

“Early on, our cloud development team worked to get the product up and running so I had two engineering efforts—our on-premises team and our cloud team,” he explained. “What we are doing now is merging the two together, so our focus is to let everyone know that the Galaxy product can be used on premises and in the cloud. We are basically building a platform around the philosophy that the only thing you need to decide is where your database is going to reside: Is it going to reside on a server on site, or is it going to reside in a hosted cloud environment, or in a hybrid set-up?”

He continued, “So all of the tools, the web interfaces, the client stations—every bit of the software behind that—works simultaneously and seamlessly with both. So we are moving those two platforms to one starting in 2019 and hope to have our software in at least a beta format by ISC West, along with a couple of new mobile apps.”

A key long-term effort is “strengthening our core intelligence inside our technology group to reflect that next generation of developers that is going to take us to the next 20 years,” said Caruthers, who noted that more and more clients are embracing cloud-based solutions.

“While SMB companies are certainly embracing cloud, some of our bigger corporate clients are adopting cloud for all of their applications,” he noted. “And many are doing it for cost savings, especially when considering the continual investments in refreshing servers and hardware that are required with on premises data centers or server rooms."

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