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.

Taking Your Access Control Systems from Good to Great

It is no secret that access control systems are akin to a new age in the integration of technology and security. They took what was and enabled us to move in greater more adaptable directions. To the point where security has gone beyond the simple lock and key methodology. In today’s world, everything down to your very identity is stored and secured in multiple ways to ensure complete safety.  

Synonyms with a well-functioning campus, a well placed and maintained access control system is like a healthy nervous system in the body. But like all things in life, if you don’t upgrade and maintain it, it can and will fail you sooner or later. 

Five Ways To Properly Improve Your Access Control Systems 

Regardless of whether your campus has been using the same access control system for years or just a few months, keeping a clear cut idea of what is essential. And evaluating your system’s functionality is beneficial in the long run. 

There are numerous ways to assess the procedures and processes of your access control systems. Starting from the technological components to how your staff interacts with them on a daily basis. 

Determining Your Access Control Level Requirements 

Before you can work on implementing a strong access control system, your first step will always be assessing your security needs. In the event that you already have a system in place, you must see if it offers the coverage you need.

This is also important when it comes to who will be using the system and what level of access they should have. A great way of doing this is looking at the building’s layout and assigning different zone levels to each class of staff members. For example, the main entrance or higher offices vs the docking bay at the back.

Evaluating What Features Your Access Control System Has  

When buying your first access control system, many salesmen tend to harp on about the appearance and verbal information. They neglect to go into system specifics. These features are crucial when wanting the best system for the job. Would a system with fingerprint access or an ID card access suit your needs better? Do you need more than one clearance point? Or is software protection more crucial? Once you are able to answer these questions you need to check that your system covers these functions and if not it may be time to improve on your security measures. 

Defining Who Has Access & To Which Roles 

Your access control system is only as strong as the individuals using it. Even if you have a state of the art system in place, if it is run on an open use platform, your security level will drop. Evaluating your team and their individual roles within the campus is a crucial step in defining who has access and who doesn’t. In general use, access to sensitive data should only go to higher-level staff members. The same goes for full building access or system overrides.

Updating Your Technology 

In most cases, experts agree that you shouldn’t use 125-kilohertz technology including proximity readers anymore, as they are quickly going out of fashion. Rather, they strongly suggest that if you’re using any functions like this, it’s time to upgrade. This is because 125 Kilohertz systems compromise easily. And, the cards used with them are easy to duplicate. In current times encrypted technology has become far more beneficial in the sense that it defines your access parameters. Instead of just locking it, you encrypt data into an unreadable format that is only accessible if the user has the decryption key. Thereby doubling the security level.  

Performing Periodic System Tests 

In most instances, when you first install a system, a series of system tests happen. This helps to ensure everything is running correctly. However, even if they are, it does not mean that system tests are no longer needed. The best way to ensure your system remains at optimal functionality is to do system tests every few months. 

If You Take Care Of Your Access Control System It Will Take Care Of You

Prosthetic Arm on Blue Background

It’s true that the world of security is constantly growing, changing, and adapting. But it’s that very adaptability that can be its strongest point and weakest link. With All Campus Security, each and every system is tailor-made for any situation. Simply relying on your installed system to stand the test of time against any threat is not only unrealistic but foolish. In order to ensure 100% safety, one needs to take the initiative and take the steps needed towards an improved system and a safer tomorrow. So do yourself a favor and take your first step today. 

How a Fire Alarm Zone Plan Will Make Your Campus A Safer Place

Fire Wallpaper

In 2004, there was a devastating fire at Rosepark Care Home in Uddingston, South Lanarkshire. It broke out in a cupboard and proceeded to rip through the building. The fire took the lives of four elderly residents and left the community in shock.

The fatal accident inquiry (FAI) began in February 2010 and finished taking evidence in August. The sheriff who gave his findings after the 141-day probe said: “some or all” of the deaths were preventable. If only the home had a “suitable and sufficient” fire safety plan in place. He believed that the management of fire safety at Rosepark was seriously defective.

Another, more recent example was the Grenfell Tower disaster of 2017. A fire broke out at 1:00 am in the kitchen of a fourth-floor flat at the 23-story tower block in North Kensington, West London. Within minutes, the fire had raced up the exterior of the building and spread to all four sides. By 3:00 am, most of the upper floors were alight. Seventy-two people died. The recent Grenfell inquiry has revealed negligence in a number of areas, all of which combined to hinder rescue and escape attempts, and exacerbated the disaster.

Even with these high profile stories, there may still be campus heads that are unaware of the importance of Fire Alarm Zone Plans.

What is a Fire Alarm Zone Plan?

A Fire Alarm Zone Plan shows the layout of the building. And, should clearly highlight the separate fire alarm zones to help evacuations in an emergency situation.

The plan should also include:

  • Building levels
  • Escape routes and final exits (exits that open out into a place of safety, such as the car park or school field)
  • Circulation areas (corridors, stairs, lifts etc)
  • A “You are Here” sign so that visitors and employees can map out their exit route

It is critical that your Fire Alarm Zone Plan corresponds to the orientation of the building. For instance, if there is a fire exit door to your immediate right, it should also be to the immediate right of the “you are here” sign on the plan.

Most importantly, the plan needs to be quick, easy and clear for all staff and visitors to understand in order to effectively evacuate in the case of a fire safety drill, or a real fire emergency.

Does my Campus Really Need a Fire Alarm Zone Plan?

Every campus, no matter how small or large needs a suitable Fire Alarm Zone Plan. The type of strategy depends on the nature of operations, the size of the building, and occupancy characteristics. A fire safety strategy is a changeable document structured around the operations of a suitably managed building.

In addition to aiding the evacuation of staff and visitors in a fire, a  Fire Alarm Zone Plan helps the emergency services to quickly identify the origin of the alarm, and therefore where the fire started and the direction it’s most likely to spread. This information is absolutely critical in a fire.

Case in Point

The victims of the Rosepark Care Home are a real example of what can happen if you neglect these small fire safety details. Zone plans could have helped some of the victims escaped the fire in the complex building layout, though there were other factors that contributed to the deaths:

  1. Staff waited 9 minutes after the alarm first sounded to contact the Fire Brigade
  2. Fire dampers in the ducting were never installed
  3. The self-closers on all bedroom doors had been disabled
  4. The bedroom doors had all been wedged open – allowing in the smoke and gases that directly killed some of the residents.

Ways to Improve Your Access Control System

You might think an Access Control System is something you only need if you have quite large premises. But actually, access control is for absolutely any campus that wants to improve overall safety and security. Access control systems range from simple stand-alone systems like a keypad on a door, to complex networked systems that use a variety of security technologies.

Some access control systems can provide information and reports very quickly which can be beneficial In an emergency situation. For example, it’s incredibly beneficial to rapidly generate a roll-call of everyone who is currently inside the building during evacuation. An Access Control System can also help firefighters to understand a building’s layout and thus control the spread of the fire. After an incident, the system can also provide data that can assist with the investigation.

The Responsible Person Must Understand Their Role

Sheriff Principal Brian Lockhart, who investigated the Rosepark Fire, said: “The management of fire safety at Rosepark was systematically and seriously defective. The deficiencies in the management of fire safety at Rosepark contributed to the deaths…Management did not have a proper appreciation of its role and responsibilities in relation to issues of fire safety“.

To avoid a disaster like this, a campus head needs to check that fire safety precautions are in place. A fire risk assessment needs to be correctly carried out. And you must optimize your access control system for such an emergency. By not having a proper plan in place, campuses, and the people they employ, are at great risk. 

Ways to Improve Your Access Control System

Brown Padlock

Access control’ is something security firms use around the globe in order to mitigate potential security risks. Particularly risk of theft. In terms of IT, access control is about regulating who has the ability to view a particular set of resources. 

For example, access control can restrict the ability of lower-level employees to view electronic company documentation that only management should be able to view. 

An access control system consists of measures put in place. They can be either physical or digital and they restrict access to certain areas or to certain information.

Stratistics MRC reported that the global video surveillance market is set to reach US$63.2 billion by 2022. While IHS Markit’s statistics show an almost 50% growth in the presence of video surveillance cameras in the United States between 2012 and 2016. 

These types of cameras are a fundamental cog in the access control market. They provide the means for users to monitor who is accessing what in your organization. Without the need for physically manned access points. 

However, the access control system that you use is only as good as the information that you feed it. Because, at the end of the day, it’s just a computer that cannot perform any logical reasoning on its own. Thus, it relies on your input to teach it how to correctly monitor your environment.

There are certain methods that you can adopt in order to ensure that your access control system performs its job correctly, helping to keep your environment free of threats.

Keep your Access Control Technology Updated

As previously discussed, your access control system is ultimately a computer. A computer runs optimally with regular updates and works according to the latest versions of the software that it uses.

The same principle applies to your video surveillance equipment. In order for it to run properly, you need to ensure that you download the latest versions of the software. The reason manufacturers release periodic updates is to fix problems that other users have raised with the software. So, although you may not have experienced the problem yourself, chances are that you may experience them in the future, should you not keep your software up to date.

In addition to updating your software, you also need to update your physical access control devices. Especially the servers that you store your data on. Don’t think, however, that you need to spend thousands of dollars on new servers for your office. With cloud technology, your servers can be located remotely. This means that you don’t have to incur the cost of the physical hardware, but you still have the benefit of immediate access to the data.

Always be Testing Your System

In order to keep your access control system up to date, you need to constantly be testing it to see where the possible flaws are. Once you know where the minor issues lie, you can fix them before they turn into serious problems. You don’t want someone else to discover a weakness in your system. They can exploit it and cost your campus millions in loss and damage.

Keep an Eye on Who has Access to Your Campus

In an organization, employees come and go. Sometimes their departure is amicable, but at other times, it is less than friendly. This means that you need to strictly monitor who is able to access your campus and your organizational information. This prevents them from using it and taking it to your competitors when they leave.

On the day that employees leave your campus, have them fill out an employee exit checklist with them. This checklist should include details about what property they have and what they need to give back. Including any smart devices that the school may have given them. This helps to ensure that nothing is forgotten and that no assets or data is put at risk.

If an employee is facing disciplinary action, and continued access to your premises could allow the employee to gain an unfair advantage in the proceedings, rather remove their access to the premises, pending the matter being heard. This is especially true in the case of an employee in a management position, as he or she may have access to sensitive information that – should the employee feel wronged – they could take and sell it to a competitor. If you deny an employee access to premises pending such action, those manning the access control points must also be aware of the situation so that they do grant the employee access manually.

Access Control for Your Campus

Access control systems on your campus are vital to ensuring the safety of both your staff and your assets. 

Depending on the size of your campus, and the value of the assets stored there, there might be no need to spend thousands on instituting high-end access control, when solutions that suit your pocket already exist. Video surveillance, for instance, is a great way of monitoring the people who come into your campus.

Access control systems are a must in your campus because they help to ensure the safety and security of your campus, campus assets, and information.

2K vs 4K Security Cameras

In the security industry, you can judge security cameras in a number of different ways. Speed, costs, and capabilities are a few, but the leading point of reference is the resolution specs. Resolution is simply a way to measure the size of the video or the image. Smaller images produce lower resolution video, while larger images produce HD or high definition video. 

And, when choosing what one would call a decent security system, it’s important to know what the resolution specs are. It’s also good to see whether they meet your needs in regards to large areas vs smaller offices. 

Security camera resolutions are getting better every year. Although the accepted standard for most security cameras has been 1080p resolution, more companies in the surveillance industry are offering 2K and 4K video resolutions. 

In order to get a better idea of what all of this means, and in turn make better choices, one needs to take a look into each type:

Selective Focus Photography of Cat Above White Security Camera

Breaking It Down – Standard Resolutions VS Newer Advanced Models 

As a general rule of thumb, the higher the resolution, the better the overall quality of the image. Because of this, camera types have steadily been getting better and better. And the two leaders in this industry at the moment are 2K and 4K camera systems.

2K Super HD Security Cameras

Going beyond the conventional 1080p resolutions, 2K security cameras provide a video resolution of 2560×1440 with a 4 megapixel (MP) image sensor. In comparison to today’s competitive security camera industry, these super cameras deliver much clearer and sharper images. They also come with better quality videos than 1080p and 720p security cameras.

Another important point is that 2K HD cameras tend to offer a wider field of range. This makes them the preferred choice for larger areas.

4K Super HD Security Cameras

By comparison, 4K security cameras offer superior image quality over their older 2K competitors. With a higher resolution of 3840×2160 and at 8 megapixels, these cameras are currently at the very high end of surveillance video quality, also going one up on 2K they can sufficiently capture a much larger area.  However, this being said, 4K security cameras tend to require more bandwidth, and storing their footage requires more space than with 2K cameras.

A Time And Place For Everything – When to Choose Your K Series Security Camera And Why

Deciding which security system will best suit you can be as beneficial as the system itself. As theft and threat can sometimes be circumstantial, one should always try and take it into consideration. 

Some important things to keep in mind when choosing your k series system include:

2K Security Cameras

  • If you are in need of high-quality images with clear details from a distance.
  • When your place of work has been evaluated and 1440p resolution is enough for your video surveillance needs.
  • When you cannot currently afford to spend the extra money on high-end 4K cameras but still want great image quality.

These systems are best used in entrances, walkways, and small campuses. 

4K Security Cameras

  • If you need to capture surveillance footage of the highest possible quality e.g in banks and jewelry stores.
  • When you have the budget for quality cameras and recorders with sufficient storage.
  • If you need to monitor large areas with a single camera. 
  • When you need a future-proof video surveillance system you can invest in. 

4K security cameras are perfect for small, medium, and large businesses including warehouses, parking lots, driveways, multi-tenant buildings, retail stores, hotels, restaurants, and large campuses.

Putting Your Peace of mind Back Into Security With High-Quality Security Systems 

Being Security Wise and safeguarding your workplace and assets is not just about shelling out the cash in the name of reputation. There are numerous aspects that go into a well-protected establishment. Security camera systems have been a long-standing tool and a crucial point when designing or choosing the best security measures needed. 

Unfortunately, there are many salesmen out there that will try to convince you that price conveys quality but this is not always the case. Yes, leading systems and top of the range technologies can be pricey but that is the very reason one needs to choose carefully and do their homework when choosing their very own system or upgrading an existing one.  

Whether your campus will benefit more from 2K or 4K cameras comes down to what your specific needs and budget are, but whatever you choose be savvy, be smart, and be safe!

Security Camera System Maintenance

white wooden door near gray security camera

Like the eyes and ears of an office building, these little helpers reaffirm safety within a corporation. A security camera system has become a fundamental security feature within the workplace. They provide the confirmation that someone is monitoring things on a constant basis.

While the initial efforts involved in installation might be at the forefront of one’s mind, this is usually where that attention to detail ends. With every new model on the market, expectations rise and hardware lasts longer. When done correctly, your security system can be an investment into your safety, lasting years into the future.

This being said, at the end of the day, your security cameras are functioning pieces of machinery. They need maintenance on a regular basis and even upgraded at certain points.

Like the computers that you work on and the servers that enrich your work, even security systems need looking after if one expects them to function at full capacity.

Pitfalls of not Upgrading Your Campus Security System

Like any other type of system or machinery, a security camera system comprises of key components that work together to provide that sense of safety we all enjoy. Getting a closer look into each one of these aspects and how they impact your daily lives is crucial when looking for a firm handle on things. Especially with regards to the costs that can arise if you don’t maintain them properly.

Increased Costs

Let’s be honest, keeping costs low is the goal for many campus heads. Initial installations can come with a hefty bill that, in some cases, can be a hassle to deal with. This is the leading reason behind lack of maintenance and upgrades. As initial setup often costs quite a bit, many people tend to believe that reducing system improvements can reduce costs. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and just because you received a system in perfect working order does not mean it will stay that way. 

Exposure to the elements, unforeseen damages, lack of planning, and outdated software can all lead to malfunctioning cameras and system down-times. For companies that use a lot of cameras, these sudden and somewhat risky outages can quickly add up. And, for smaller companies that use smaller systems, even losing one camera can mean the loss of a large amount of security camera coverage. You might think you can save costs by not maintaining your systems, but should something happen that requires a full system, you’ll soon find yourself paying more than you anticipated. 

Outdated and Redundant Image Quality 

Regardless of the security camera system you choose for your campus, never forget that their main objective is to capture electronic evidence in the form of pictures and video. What might have been acceptable image quality when camera systems first came out will not necessarily serve your purposes today. 

Older, more outdated camera systems are infamous for producing terrible, grey, and blurry images in low lighting conditions. These images result in little to no detail being present. They are also well-known for being so low quality that zooming in on any image will result in it being even more unintelligible. This is mostly due to the fact that old analog security cameras function by sending video signals to the provided digital video recorder (DVR). The DVR then processes the signal and records it, resulting in a lower frame rate and limited resolution. There is a saying that states, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. This is unfortunately not the case when it comes to security cameras. Facts are facts. In order to stay ahead of the curve, your system will need to upgrade from time to time.

Fewer Options and Capabilities 

One of the main benefits of having a campus security system is convenience. And, when it comes to choosing one, you get what you pay for. When choosing not to upgrade, there are numerous benefits that can be lost to those using old and outdated models. 

As newer, more capable models come to market, their users enjoy functions including remote access, motion detection, and easy integration with access control systems and alarms. And, as a campus head, should disaster strike while you are nowhere near the office, simply logging in on your smartphone or tablet could mean the difference between minor and major losses. 

Inferior Storage Abilities

Contrary to popular belief, DVRs that record, process, and store the footage from older analog cameras are not actually capable of handling very much data. Like many other things in life, camera footage has improved, with file sizes becoming larger. Analog data is represented in a continuous form, as opposed to digital data which has discrete values. It is very difficult to remove noise and wave distortions during the transmissions. For this reason, analog signals cannot perform high-quality data transmission. Therefore, requiring large amounts of storage space as well as being very taxing on any resources currently in place.

Enhance Tomorrow Through an Upgraded Security Camera System Today 

It is a fact that running a campus can be costly, and with more responsibilities come more risks. One cannot just spend frivolously. But true wisdom is being able to discern where to cut the costs and where doing so will actually be a disadvantage. In many ways, your security camera systems are a barrier – protecting you from loss and devastation. And in turn, should be valued and maintained accordingly.  

So the next time that check-up comes due, don’t shy away in the name of a few pennies saved. Instead, embrace the opportunity to make your already strong system even better.