Campus Security: Re-Opening After the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic upended life as we knew it at the beginning of 2020. It forced everyone from employers to educators, and everyone in between, to find new ways of moving forward while maintaining public safety to limit community spread. However, we are now entering a new phase with society starting to reopen.

After closing your doors for a considerable amount of time, you will need to plan for your grand opening. Central to this planning should be safety and campus security. The pandemic has been an opportunity to learn new health and safety practices. Knowing how to apply them when you reopen will be key to keeping your employees and customers safe.

As a campus head, you should take the time to plan the security program for your operations after the pandemic. Here are a few tips to help you understand the security systems, policies, and procedures to consider for your reopening.

Campus Security Systems and Processes

Most workplaces are currently looking to leverage their existing security systems. This needs to happen to deal with the new health, safety, and security risks post-pandemic.  

Now more than ever, the following security measures are being examined in much closer detail:

  • Enhanced access control systems
  • Visitor management software
  • Human temperature detection systems

With more people working from home, employers are looking for ways to do campus security monitoring remotely. The increase in cloud-based technology use has also led to questions around network security

The pandemic has given them time to reflect on health, safety, and security issues. By identifying the existing gaps, you can understand what measures you need to take. Ensuring the safety of your teachers and your students is more important now than ever.

Revisiting Your Policies and Procedures

The pandemic will change how people interact with each other once your operation reopens. The best thing that you can do is set clear policies and procedures for your employees and customers. These can serve as guidelines on how they can protect themselves.

 Before reopening, you should address the following questions:

  1. Are you ensuring that any new policies and procedures are integrated with your campus security system? Have you included this as part of your draft plans to reopen your institution?
  2. As you revisit health, safety, and security protocols, have you developed policies and procedures that will correspond with these changes in the future?

You want to create a system where your campus security reinforces your campus policies. As such, changes to operating hours or visitor policies should be reinforced by your security. 

Here are some questions to serve as a guide on how you can leverage your current security:

  1. Are you going to revise your access control and door schedule policies?
  2. Does your visitor management software need to be updated by adding or removing screening questions?
  3. Can you get more out of your current surveillance system to help screen visitors or maintain social distancing?

Any changes that you make to your security procedures should be reflected by your security systems. 

Assessing the Impact of the Pandemic on Your Campus Security

Another key step to take is to understand how the pandemic may have affected your current campus security policies and procedures. 

Here are a few things to think about:

  1. Do you need to re-evaluate your security video retention policy?
  2. Have you developed standards around the use of your security systems?
  3. If so, how do you apply, maintain, and audit them?
  4. Who has permission to control and access these systems?

Instead of using completely new systems to ensure the health, safety, and security of your workplace, look at how you can leverage your existing campus security to keep everyone safe.

Looking Into the Future

The key to ensuring that your campus security is able to do what you need it to, you have to make sure that you create a flexible system. This pandemic has shown us how quickly things can change. Having security systems that are able to adapt to changing circumstances will definitely work to your advantage. Having robust, well thought out security in place will help you to address any challenges that may arise in the future. 

How All Campus Security Can Help You 

We specialize in providing customized campus security solutions. Regardless of the size of your company, we know how to help. Our passion lies in keeping businesses, schools, and organizations safe and secure – with the latest technologies. We offer a range of security services, which include:

  • Video surveillance installations
  • Access control systems
  • Structured cabling solutions
  • Fire alarm systems and inspections

Our years of experience in the industry give you the peace of mind in knowing that we can provide the campus security solutions that you need. So contact us today and let us help you keep your reopening safe and secure.

Is Video Retention Improving Texas School Security?

As the impacts of COVID-19 become more evident in the workplace, many employers are starting to re-evaluate campus and Texas school security.

They’re starting to pay attention to which divisions of their establishments are most at risk. Be it the employees themselves, HR, warehouse districts, or visitors. More companies are starting to seek new security measures. Not only to enhance their practical safety but the risk of illness and contraction too.

With so many security systems components up for improvement, safety is starting to change. Access control, recognition software, and data storage are becoming vital.

But one detail that has fallen under the radar is the importance of video retention policies.

Surveillance Storage Provides Easy Security Monitoring

Designed to be a data storage facility for video surveillance, retention specs allow for the storage of recorded footage. Because companies are able to access these records at any given time, it has often played an integral role in making the workplace more secure. And this can include:

  • Sorting out work disputes.
  • Providing evidence for crimes.
  • Generally inspecting the daily routine of an organization.

In most cases, you calculate retention capacities when campus security cameras’ systems are first installed. Security professionals take many factors into consideration, including:

  • The number of cameras installed.
  • The recording resolution used.
  • Which types of cameras to use.
  • And the type of campus that uses the system.

For the majority, video retention is well-planned. No real Texas school security complications surface.

But, system changes can have an effect on. Upgrades, hardware changes, and general use play a part and you should consider these for system management. As you add more cameras and features, retention and storage targets become smaller. While your system might improve, the original 30 days retention facility you installed can become 26 days, then 24 days, and so on.

Before you know it, you could find yourself needing specific video footage and not being able to locate it. Was it not stored? Or, was it deleted along the way?

Remote Operations Could See an Increase in Surveillance Needs for School Security

It is no secret that many companies have started investigating new remote access operations. As public restrictions become more stringent, many individuals are having to stay at home. Teams are shrinking and the levels of daily productivity in the school is showing the strain.

There are solutions to equipping your employees for remote work from home. But, taking the steps to install the camera and surveillance tools needed can be difficult and costly. There are so many factors to include, like:

  • How many of your staff will be working this way?
  • What kind of computer systems will they be using?
  • Can you upload the recorded footage to the company’s retention folders?

Simple Ways to Better Manage Your Security With Video Retention

Texas school security is becoming important. That is why it’s vital to understand all the requirements involved. Selecting a new system, or updating an old one to include new facilities, might be half the battle won. But, that does not mean you tick all the boxes.

There are many different ways to expand video retention and it is not always about the hardware you choose.

Auditing Your Camera Settings

As no two security systems are exactly the same, always check frame rate first. Systems need to get set up properly so that the resolution and motion sensitivity is correct. This way, you can get the best footage possible. However, this plays a role in what you can and cannot store. If the resolution is too high, the footage will take up more storage space, and you will get less retention.

Setting Up Your Archiving

Video archiving is not always used properly. In older cameras, things were far more manual and storage space was small and unimpressive. But surveillance systems have improved and technology is smarter. We are gaining the ability to view and store far more than ever before.

Surveillance systems now provide an easy archiving feature. So, setting up your storage has become relatively simple. You decide how many days you want stored at a time, program your system , and your camera will follow the instructions. 

But, if done right, you can have even more storage at no extra cost. If you have a SAN or a storage array that isn’t maxed out, you can create a volume on it and archive video to it. You can even use specific cameras to store more footage than the rest and take advantage of low-bandwidth times during off-hours. Simply by scheduling your storage times correctly.

Integrating Cloud Software into Your Texas School Security

As more of our technology is going online, the Texas school security industry has begun incorporating new facilities to accommodate us. By setting up an extra stream from your camera to a Cloud network, you can gain on-demand storage that you can access from anywhere.

In most cases, you can record many streams from the same camera on different platforms. So, adding critical camera streams to this platform for recording gives you a lot of flexibility to increase retention as needed.

Enhancing Your Texas School Security the Right Way

Video retention is important. Regardless of how you look at your Texas school security in relation to the risks we currently face. You should maintain it correctly at all times.

Organizations have less staff reporting to work, and schools are having to temporarily close. So, ensuring your security systems are properly set up is more important than ever. We should always try to reduce potential risks and liabilities where we can.

At All Campus Security, we believe that Texas school security is of the utmost importance. Not only in providing that needed peace of mind, but in successfully protecting your students and staff. Our team has decades of experience and we have worked with organizations of all shapes and sizes.

We offer a variety of services and solutions for your school. These include access control, structured cabling, alarm systems, and surveillance upkeep. There is no need to let your safety fall under the pressures of our current pandemic.

Give us a call today and let us assist you with your Texas school security needs. 

10 Ways to Enhance School Access Control

Schools around the world have to adjust to ‘the new normal’ brought about by COVID-19. This means modified operating hours, temporary closures, staff working remotely and changing visitor and occupancy policies. As school districts adapt, the need to keep in mind how their security systems can mitigate risks and reinforce district policies.  School access control is important.

For example, while organizations are increasingly concerned about managing who is on-site and when, access control systems can be critical.

Man Wearing Gray and Red Armour Standing on the Streets

Today we’ll be discussing 10 simple ways that organizations can enhance their school access control – both during this transitional period and beyond. 

1. Install door contacts at every exterior door.

Door contacts notify your security system when a door is open. Though this seems like a basic way to increase security, it’s actually less common than you think. While many organizations choose to install request-to-exit sensors and access control card readers, they often don’t include door contacts. These contacts ensure that your facility is properly secured. And, as they’re relatively inexpensive, they can be a cost-effective way to enhance your school access control.

2. Identify and limit entrances to ensure school access control.

One of the first things to pay attention to when discussing school access control is exactly where your entrances are. Each entrance is a potential vulnerability. Though for some organizations, like schools, it makes sense to have multiple entrances, each one literally opens the door to potential threats. 

Identify your main entry points and limit your entrances. You should only keep those that are absolutely necessary, as this will allow you to better monitor and control the flow of people entering and exiting your facility.

3. Remove entry hardware from all exterior doors not designated as an entrance.

After limiting your entrances, the next step is to secure all other exterior doors. Installing exit-only hardware  like cover plates on these doors is a simple and cost-effective way to do that. This is a relatively simple stick for organizations to take when they’re looking to increase their perimeter security.

4. Remove and dispose of any visible door props near exterior doors.

Prop objects, like a rock that props a door open for smokers, can significantly impact the effectiveness of your access control. Make sure you’ve removed any objects from the perimeter of your building which could act as door props. Installing door contacts on all exterior doors will also help to notify your security system when a door is open.

5. Modify your hours of operation within your access control system to reflect new COVID-19 policies.

In response to COVID-19, many organizations have either temporarily closed, or modified their hours of operation. These operational decisions and threat mitigation policies should reflect in their access control system. Closed schools and campuses should revisit their lock/unlock and alarm open/close schedules. This makes sure that the premisis is properly armed. Schools who have staff working from home should also suspend those individual’s access cards to reflect the change. 

6. Audit your access privileges.

Now is a good time to audit your access privileges. This way, you can make sure that the right people have access to the right areas of your facility, at the right time. Best practice for access control is to take a “Zero Trust” approach, which is exactly what it sounds like – organizations shouldn’t automatically trust anyone within their perimeter. While “Zero Trust” is a cybersecurity term, it is easily applicable to physical security. Basically, it means that no one should have more access than they need.   

Take the time to review exactly who has access to where. Revoke access for those who shouldn’t have it. Especially if you have any individuals whose cards should have expired but are still active in your system. These could be vendors, contractors or staff.

7. Collect spare keys, especially master keys.

Just as important as auditing your access control, you need to limit the number of people who have spare or master keys. Good key management is essentially for securing your property, assets and people efficiently. You should start by identifying what keys you have, where they are used and exactly who has access to them. Any requests for keys should be submitted and approved in writing – this provides a paper trail for your key records, which should be shared with your HR department. One of the biggest problems with key management is retrieving the keys of staff who no longer need them because they’ve left or moved to a different role. HR is the perfect department to deal with this.

Another important aspect of key control policy is outlining the process for reporting stolen or lost keys. You should encourage employees to report these immediately and provide a process for updating the key issuance log. 

8. Create custom and distinguishable alerts for sensitive areas.

Security and IT experts often receive hundreds of alerts every day. Alert fatigue, or becoming numb to these alerts, is extremely normal. One way to prevent this, and make sure no high-priority incidents go unnoticed, is to create a custom alert for specific doors or areas within your organization. All you need to do is add these sensitive areas to a group within your access control system and assign a higher priority alarm level and distinguishable color to these alerts. Then the security team will know that any alert of that color should be prioritized.

Though this won’t decrease the overall number of alerts the receive, it will help them to prioritize incidents, ultimately improving security.

9. Check all mechanical hardware of your doors.

Make sure that all doors, frames and hardware are both structurally sound and code-compliant. Clean the surfaces of your door hardware with non-corrosive solvent and make a note of whether physical or opening hardware – including the frame, threshold and hinges – are in need of repair.

10. Update your access control software.

Your access control system should stay up to date, in order to unlock security patches and new features and functionality. The importance of doing so was highlighted this year when Mercury Security issued a notice that a few of the LP intelligent controllers would not be able to properly handle leap year time calculations. This is a problem that would have “unknown effects on the functionality of the access control system.”

Though this seems scary, the solution is simple. Keep your firmware up to date. In most cases, simple updates can address many security vulnerabilities and ensure your system is functioning properly.

As your organization navigates the continued impact of COVID-19, these tips can help you identify opportunities for improving your perimeter security and enhancing your school access control.

Identity Management for Schools in a COVID 19 World

With the emergence of the global pandemic, there has been a call for schools to increase their safety and security measures. From identity management for schools to sanitization, every aspect of daily operations needs reviewing.

But, how can you know what you must change when the policies themselves are constantly shifting? It’s your responsibility as an administrator to make sure your premises are safe. How do you know what ‘safe’ is?

With this gap in policy, there have emerged new stakeholders in the safety and security discussion. For a thorough plan, you need to consider compliance regulations and legal implications to the policy-making processes. The effects reach further than traditional security, operations, and facilities functions. For instance, you now need to involve HR and executive environmental health and safety (EHS) sponsors.

Moreover, you will need to include screening regulations dictated by the WHO, CDC, federal, state, and local government. This calls for a bit of a balancing act. You have to meet both the health and safety standards, but you also need to be aware of laws surrounding data privacy, employee rights, and students’ rights. This is particularly the case when you look at identity management for schools as part of your plan. On top of this, you have to abide by any updates to the guidelines of the EEOC, ADA, OSHA, and other state regulatory bodies.

But, what could make this process easier?

Scrambling for Health and Security Technology 

In fact, to find answers, schools are starting to look for digital solutions. The good news is that technology manufacturers have begun providing tools to help. And, as more options become available, schools are snatching them up to secure their own establishments. Here’s how:

  • Digital touchless thermometers are being mass-produced to check human temperatures.
  • Thermodynamic camera technology is continuing to become less cost-prohibitive to scan body temperatures.
  • Video recognition software is being designed with advanced distance-factor analytics included.
  • Contact-tracing and occupancy counting systems are being implemented into existing identity management for schools systems.
  • And the security landscape is driving a unified COVID 19 detecting initiative.

Will This Technology Work?

For the most part, several of these technologies are rather “young”. Adaptations and updates are frequent, and the costs vary from system to system. But regardless of the price tag attached, some of these software systems have yet to be fully proven.

No matter how critical our situation becomes, quality and effectiveness are still vital – now more than ever.

For such systems to be truly effective, there are factors that need to be considered while planning. After all, technology is not without limitation.

At any rate, there are environmental factors to think of, including:

  • The working space available.
  • The school’s employee and student count.
  • The community in which a school is located.

In truth, opting for smaller, standalone solutions can be cheaper. But, by only solving short-term needs, you limit your identity management for schools system and safety solutions. This makes them one-dimensional. Moreover, taking the chance of relying on one or two simple steps to protect your team will never be enough.

Thus, it all comes down to which factors you choose to concentrate on. But, to do this correctly, we need to start asking the right questions.

  • How well do physical technologies fit in our current school/campus structures?
  • Who should you choose to install your identity access management systems?
  • What should  professional identity management for schools cost?
  • How are we going to manage the data they generate?

An Identity and Access Management System is Vital

Data management has always been a challenge for many companies in any industry. Screening visitors and employees is more vital now than ever, to make sure the virus is contained. And campuses are having to look into their own systems and inefficiencies. Especially when they rely on visitor registration and credential management for operations.

The vetting and entrance facilities found at most schools have never been an exact model. And, if not much thought is put into it, it continues to be a manual and time-consuming process.

From employed security staff to sign-in forms and ‘honesty’ systems, visitor access management can be a difficult task to achieve. Not to mention that, in today’s environment, every physical touchpoint introduces the risk of infection. Finding better identity management for schools could help you to work through all the health and safety requirements. 

Securing Your Identity Management and Health With a Professional Team 

Now is the time to make some drastic changes, and All Campus Security is here to assist you every step of the way. We are able to redefine your identity management and security with professional technology solutions.

There are some practical and reliable security technologies available to meet your needs. 

We have been working to identify flexible middle-ware solutions your school can use. Seamless security integration has become the new benchmark. Whether it involves automated employee screening procedures or visitor identity management. We are now able to help you create a system that can do everything you need in a few seconds. 

Bridging the gap between physical and digital security has always been important. And now, in a time where every detail counts, professional security has the potential to truly flatten the curve. 

Our solutions include:

  • Video surveillance with recognition software.
  • Access control through entrance screening with identity and access management tools.
  • And preventative measures like smoke and intrusion alarms.

There is no need for you to rush to the first idea that seems like the perfect solution for identity management for schools. Give our team a call today and let us help you secure your employees, families, and assets the right way.

Is Your Access Control System Secure?

Your access control system might not be as secure as you think it is. 

white and red sedan on road during daytime

It was once complicated and expensive for people to make copies of access control cards. But, people can now defeat access control systems with tools they find online. Even with a widely available product that costs only $20. Now, only access control systems making use of edge-to-edge encryption are truly secure.

Despite the awareness of these risks in the industry, it’s becoming easier and cheaper to defeat access control systems.

Most access control systems make use of contactless RFID proximity cards, which have historically used 125 kHz unencrypted communication. Unfortunately, these unencrypted cards are easy to duplicate. Most home improvement stores now have key duplication kiosks with RFID proximity card cloning capabilities. Just tap an encrypted card and the machine spits out a duplicate. 

This means that it is relatively simple to access facilities and assets that are ‘protected’ by a physical security system. 

Older access control readers that make use of the Wiegand communication protocol can be easily compromised. This is done through the same processes used by criminals to skim bank cards at ATMs. 

Over the past couple of years, the issues around access control and card readers have come to light. With advancements in modern technology, now anyone can buy a card duplicator online and clone unencrypted RFID cards to access a building. To keep operations safe, businesses will bolster encryption measures within access control systems to prevent these threats in 2020.” – Brad Konkle, Director of Integrated Solutions at STANLEY Security

Excerpt from STANLEY Security’s 2020 Industry Trends Report

Which Industries Use Access Control Systems?

Some industries have taken a closer look at the security of these devices. The banking and finance sectors use encryptions for access cards, as well as the control readers, panels, servers, and databases. Unfortunately, many campuses either don’t know or don’t care about the risks. This applies to both SMBs and larger enterprises. 

This is where security integrators come in. It falls to integrators and other security providers to educate consumers on the risks. They help them to take the necessary steps to protect themselves against potential threats. 

Nobody really took cybersecurity seriously until multiple high-profile data breaches had taken place. We would rather not see the same kind of indifference towards the potential weaknesses in physical access control. 

What Does This Mean for Campuses?

While it’s good that there is a focus on cybersecurity, campuses should be just as vigilant about their physical security. After all, an access control breach can be just as damaging as a cybersecurity breach. Especially given that access control systems secure sensitive assets. These include data centers, servers and infrastructure critical to maintaining data and finances.

It is for this reason that campuses should upgrade their access control technology. They must use encrypted credentials that aren’t copiable. Most access control systems already support edge-to-edge encryption. Even when specified on a new installation, it doesn’t cost significantly more.

Ideally, campuses should have an integrator who can educate them on the need for this newer technology. 

While it’s now easier and cheaper to defeat access control systems, protecting against these threats is just as simple. Talk to us today about encrypted access control technology.