In today’s school security climate, many administrators assume that faculty and staff will intuitively respond appropriately to an emergency. However, this is not a wise assumption. When the pressure is on because of a viable threat, school employees need a clear set of guidelines to follow – and these guidelines should be implemented long before the emergency happens. This summer, school administrators can prepare for a potential emergency by taking the following three out-of-the-box approaches.

1. Train Them to Use Equipment

When new security equipment is installed, administrators are not the only ones who need to be trained in its use. Schools can hold an in-service day with faculty and staff that trains them on the way video surveillance systems, access control systems and alarms around the campus work. When equipment has been in place for years but is currently being upgraded, that is also a great time for staff to be trained. The knowledgeable technicians of your security integrator can assist with this training.

2. Hold Demo Days and Drill

Just as the students are trained to react via fire drills, faculty and staff can be trained to react to a security emergency via mock incidents that cover a variety of potential scenarios. During these drills, equipment that should be demoed includes the following: the mass notification system to rehearse how the lead will communicate to the campus during the emergency, the electronic locks to mimic a lockdown of the campus, and the alarm system to prepare for how the audible alarms will be used in a given emergency scenario. By understanding how the equipment will operate in an emergency, faculty can be more mentally prepared when seconds count.

3. Designate Points, Prepare to Train Students

Around the campus, there are places that can be official safe zones – for example, classrooms that can be designated as places for students to barricade themselves in the event of an emergency. These places should be communicated to faculty during summer security training, and this information can then be passed down to students once classes begin. Students should engage in drills as early as possible in the school year, so they can be aware of security protocols from the beginning of the school year on.

By getting serious about school security during the summer, campus faculty can be better prepared when it matters most. To speak with an experienced security integrator that can help, contact Security Instrument.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned integrator that offers numerous options to mitigate school emergencies in Delaware. We serve thousands of electronic security customers located throughout Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

Biometrics are nothing new to the security space. Commercial enterprises and public organizations with large footprints have been using biometric authentication technology for years – and now, it’s used in everything from verifying identities on social media and smartphones to banking systems and border patrol. But where biometrics remain the most useful is in employee access control, where it is applauded for its accuracy and the airtight security it delivers for employers. Unlike passwords and card credentials, physical identity is too difficult to fake – and, it’s impossible to misplace or forget.

That being said, what are the pros and cons of each type of biometric access control? Let’s take a look at several examples.

Biometric Access Control through Fingerprint Scanning

Pro: Arguably the most widely used form of biometric technology. Placing a finger on the scanner is easy and unintimidating.

Con: The finger most often used to scan is the index finger – and unfortunately, that’s also the finger most likely to get a papercut. A cut on the finger can easily throw the scanner off. To mitigate this, many organizations achieve maximum accuracy by combining the fingerprint scan with a passcode, or they issue credential cards as backup.

Biometric Access Control through Iris Recognition

Pro: An iris recognition is even more difficult to fake. Unlike a fingerprint, it doesn’t require contact with the scanner. Scanning the unique colors and patterns of a person’s iris, it stores this data for authentication.

Con: Although iris recognition is highly accurate, it can still be thrown off by contact lenses, lashes and even dark eyes. Researchers have been able to recreate irises stored on one scanner and subsequently trick another scanner into gaining access. So, the technology is still not tamper-proof.  

Unlike passwords and card credentials, physical identity is too difficult to fake – and, it’s impossible to misplace or forget.

 

Biometric Access Control through Retinal Scan

Pro: Unlike its counterpart iris recognition, a retinal scan uses infrared light to scan the blood vessel patterns in the eye; then, it records those patterns to video. This makes it more accurate than iris recognition.

Con: It remains the most expensive access control option available.

Biometric Access Control through Facial Recognition

Pro: Widely known as the fastest form of access control ID, facial recognition takes nearly one second to work. Even slight changes in facial points can trigger a denial of access.

Con: That same pro can also be a con. If a person grows facial hair, loses weight or undergoes a rhinoplasty – all fairly common appearance-changing events – then they are likely to be denied access by the facial recognition access control system at their employer.

Biometric Access Control: The Conclusion 

While biometric access control is highly accurate, it is not entirely failproof. Employers must consider the options available and determine how to mitigate the pitfalls of each method. Often, a simple backup method of issuing a credential card can be a good solution. With these methods combined, an organization can experience rock solid security that keeps employees and other occupants of the campus as secure as possible.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned integrator that offers numerous options for home and commercial security. Delaware, MD, NJ & PA homes and businesses are among our thousands of customers.

School’s out for summer, but the work goes on for administrators who are on duty year-round. One of the most important things school administrators can do during the summer months is fine tune their school security policies. When partnering with the security integrators who are contracted to do the work, school administrators can update security policy for the benefit of the students and staff alike. Here are some ways to get started.

1. Schedule a Campus Risk Assessment 

During the summer break, administrators can hold a risk assessment for the school campus that involves looking at the expected enrollment for the next year – and, takes into account any changes that may have occurred over the past school year in terms of class sizes, staff turnover, or security-specific events.

2. Focus on Best Practices

Today’s best practices call for layers of security on campus, in order to inhibit potential criminals from entering classroom buildings. For example: Limiting visitors to a single point of entry into the main building, and ensuring that all fences, gates and even signage around campus funnels the incoming traffic to that single entry point. Another example is to implement electronic measures such as electronic locks and mass notification systems.

3. Consider Additional Measures

Access control systems are not just for private corporations; they are also for school campuses – public, private and charter alike. With an access control system, students and staff are required to swipe a simple credential (perhaps their school-issued ID card) in order to be granted entry by the electronic portal.

Campus risk assessment can include determining which outdoor points need added cameras to ensure all-points surveillance on campus. It can also involve determining which indoor areas need surveillance, such as stairwells and locker rooms.

 

4. Take the Measures to Another Level

With an access control system, schools can keep watch lists for administrators to record the names of potential unwanted visitors. This list can include disgruntled ex-employees, non-custodial parents of students, and personal friends of students who have no reason to be on campus.

5. Implementing or Enhancing Video Surveillance

The time for all schools to implement video surveillance systems is now. For campuses that already have camera systems, enhancing them is a measure that can also take place over the summer. For example, the campus risk assessment can include determining which outdoor points need added cameras to ensure all-points surveillance on campus. It can also involve determining which indoor areas need surveillance, such as stairwells and locker rooms.

Summer is undoubtedly the perfect time of year to fine tune school security. For questions on these security policy updates or inquiries about additional measures, contact Security Instrument for a complimentary campus assessment.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned integrator that offers numerous electronic security options. We understand school security in Delaware, and we serve thousands of customers throughout Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

In part one, we addressed ways that integrating access control and video surveillance can assist with intruder verification. There are additional ways it can be useful, though. Consider this scenario: When he arrives for work in the morning, the facility manager of an industrial facility is reviewing the security logs from the previous night. In the access control log, he notices that someone attempted to enter a secure area of the building overnight. The alarm/event time is timestamped for a time no unauthorized employee should be onsite.

An Employee Onsite During Off-Hours

Because he is able to see which access card was used to attempt entry, the manager believes it was a current employee of the organization. Now, he can go to the video surveillance footage and confirm the person’s identity. Because the two systems are integrated, he can do this with the click of a button.

Why does he need to confirm the person’s identity? Unless the company wants to put itself at risk of legal trouble, the employee in question should not be fired on a hunch or a suspicion; the company needs to know unquestionably what person tried to enter the secure area during the night, and video surveillance can provide that. If the systems were not integrated, it would be very difficult for the manager to piece together the bits of information available to solve this puzzle. But because they are integrated, he can solve it in minutes and take decisive action.

What Access Control and Video Integration Does

Integrating video surveillance and access control gives managers an overview of accurately layered information. Because the access control information is layered over the video footage, the manager can identify the:

  • Date and time of the access card read
  • Name of the access card holder
  • Unique ID number or badge number
  • Name of the door or reader being accessed
  • Access granted / denied condition

It’s everything a manager needs to stay informed about security events on the property. To learn more about improving environmental awareness with access and video integration, contact Security Instrument for a free security analysis of your commercial property.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned integrator that offers numerous options for home and commercial security. Delaware, MD, NJ & PA homes and businesses are among our thousands of customers.

Access control systems and video surveillance are both important forms of electronic security. When the two are integrated to work together, specifically in large organizational applications, the results can be outstanding. By linking these systems during the next routine upgrade, an enterprise can maintain situational awareness while reaching higher productivity goals, all while lowering costs. Meanwhile, downtimes can be dramatically reduced and erroneous operational procedures can begin to phase out until they are eradicated completely. It’s tough to find a negative when examining the prospect of video and access control integration.

Where to Link Video Surveillance Cameras

When security cameras are being integrated with an existing access control system, the most common recommendation is to install them along all interior and exterior doors that have an access control system. This allows managers to verify the identity of those who have been granted access. If an unusual security event takes place, having cameras and access control linked guarantees accountability and can greatly simplify both internal and external investigations into the matter.

When cameras are linked to each access control system, management will benefit from:

  • Up-to-date records of employee routines, processes, and productivity
  • Confirmation of employee attendance and department assignments
  • Knowledge of any onsite visitors and their location
  • Defense against damaging false liability claims

Ideally, video surveillance cameras should be supported by IP-based technology that displays the information from the access control system in a single, searchable, easy-to-understand interface.

Other Uses for Live Video Surveillance

The simple interface may also include a visual layout or map of the property that identifies key access points and their corresponding cameras. When this layout is accessed, managers can get an immediate overview of the facility in order to verify the status of each entry point. If an unauthorized individual is attempting to gain access, the system sends an alert to the monitoring center. The monitoring center can then send the manager:

  • Live video, which the manager uses to verify whether the person is authorized to enter
  • A snapshot of the event (which also triggers the alarm), also for verification purposes

For organizations that need to stay on top of building occupancy for security reasons, integrating access control and video surveillance is the most logical solution. To learn more, contact Security Instrument for a complimentary security analysis of your facility.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned integrator that offers numerous home security options, including security systems for senior citizens. In Delaware Valley, Security Instrument serves thousands of customers located throughout Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.