Facilities around America are throwing away their old lock-and-key systems in favor of digital access control systems that allow for keyless entry into their buildings. In fact, 56% of the global workforce has shifted to wireless access for employees. Is it because wireless access control is more convenient? Safer? Unquestionably, it’s both.

Cloud Access Control Explained 

Electronic access control uses cloud-based systems that supply or deny access to employees, vendors and other authorized people at an organization. At the facility’s entry points – most commonly, doors and gates – the user interfaces with a station that requires them to swipe a credential to gain access.

The credential may be a card, a key fob or some other connected device the user carries on them. If desired, the credential can even be a code on the user’s smartphone. Whatever credential an organization chooses to use, cloud access control is a convenient way for employers to streamline their building security and grant access to employees without accounting for keys.

Other than the stations that are installed at the doors, access control systems require no additional installation. They utilize standard internet communications protocols and can leverage existing WiFi or Ethernet infrastructure of the site.

The stations are managed via a web browser, allowing the authorized administrator of the facility to maintain the system easily through the subscriber portal. If an organization has an information technology department, that is where the access control system can be managed. Site managers, facility managers and other types of administrators are also good candidates for managing the access control system.

Deactivating Access in the Cloud 

During the time someone is employed at an organization, they will access the building via their activated access control credential. But what happens when that person leaves the job? If someone is terminated or leaves the organization of their own volition, the employer simply deactivates the access device via a web-based program.

Although employers should require the departing staff member to turn in the credential before leaving, cloud access control provides a safety net in the event of employees leaving under surprising or suspicious circumstances. If someone leaves the organization under the radar and takes their access control credential with them, the cloud-based model allows the employer to deactivate the credential digitally – which means it won’t work if the ex-employee ever tries to use it again.

If you wish to learn more about cloud access control as a way to update your organization’s building security, contact Security Instrument. We will be glad to schedule a complimentary security evaluation of your site and discuss your access control options.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned security integrator that offers numerous options for homes and businesses, including access control. A Delaware-based company, Security Instrument serves thousands of customers located throughout Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

Video analytics has changed everything for retailers. There was a time when merchandising (making money) and loss prevention (saving money) were two separate retail tracks. There were mystery shoppers and people counters to help improve merchandising, and there were security cameras, store detectives and security guards to help deter and catch shoplifters and reduce loss. Not anymore.

Analytics in Video Surveillance Goes Mainstream

Once reserved primarily for stable, high-security specifications, the swift advancement of technology and vast improvements in reliability, effectiveness and accessibility has moved video analytics from the sidelines to the mainstream for a lot of smart reasons.

Top Reasons Video Surveillance Analytics is Revolutionizing Retail

When you understand the advantages, the increased usage of video analytics in retail is no mystery. Here are just a few.

  • There are analytic solutions for everyone. Video analytics, or CCTV software, has come a long way in a very short time with increased capabilities and accessibilities that can fit any size business with vast options in servers and infrastructures.
  • Options for implementing analytics software. There are two main options for implementing analytics software, inside an IP camera (referred to as edge-based) or on a centralized server. These options provide more effective ways to implement powerful and affordable analytics.
  • Greater business intelligence. The options for greater awareness are nearly endless. Using video analytics you can improve marketing, health, safety, productivity, and queue monitoring. It can also help reduce loss.
  • Video surveillance analytics improves decision making power. Whereas it may take months of observation and charting otherwise, video surveillance analytics makes a great amount of information clear very quickly. This means for swifter and more effective decision making.
  • Improved customer insights. The more you know about your customers, the better you can serve them which results in greater sales. Intelligent video innovations help you understand type, time, and frequency of shopper and how they engage with displays versus those who do not. It also helps to more accurately count shoppers at entrances, and test and compare product placement and displays.

Today, merchandising and loss prevention are largely one tract accessible from one analytics-driven smart security and CCTV system. And this is true for every type and size of store, including large chains and local retailers, convenience stores, grocery stores, restaurants and more.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is the largest, privately owned security company in Delaware. Whether you’re the owner of a small business or the security director  of a Fortune 500 company, Security Instrument has the right solution.

 

Buying a commercial video surveillance system for your business is a big deal. Since it involves a moderate investment and is likely to serve your business for some time, you’ll want to make sure you get it right. Video surveillance systems are not one-size-fits-all (or they shouldn’t be) and the number of options and capabilities within the industry is expansive. It is very easy to get swooped up in the exciting technological options and miss ensuring those options are right for you.

While the technology is complex, ensuring that you get what’s right for you isn’t. All you need to do is ask yourself some basic questions to help you define and then meet your goals. Here are 5 important considerations to keep you on track.

Pro Tip: There are a ton of advanced options out there but that doesn’t mean you need to invest in all of them. Determining your true needs will help you control the costs of video surveillance.

How Will the Video Surveillance System Be Used?

The first step in designing a fitting security camera system is defining your goals. Do you want to use them to improve your safety and security? Maybe it is to reduce false injury claims, or prevent loss. Security cameras also provide a way to improve processes and productivity. Perhaps it is a combination of all of those things. Whatever you hope to accomplish by installing a surveillance system define it and prioritize your list.

What Areas Will You Cover?

Determine what areas and what kinds of areas you want and need to be covered, such as a dark stockroom or a bright public area. Determining which and what kinds of areas you want covered will help in determining what kinds of equipment you will need.

Attach a Goal to Specific Areas

Since each area of a property is used for different purposes and faces different challenges, it helps to attach a specific goal you want to achieve to that area. For example, you might want an overview of operations to improve workflow patterns, or you might want to boost security at entrances and exits. Knowing your goals will help you choose the right equipment to the job. That may sound simple, but small choices have a huge impact on the effectiveness of the system. For example, even the best HD fixed camera may not give you the expansive overview you’d want, or a dome camera may not give you the view you hope for of point of sale areas.

What kinds of Surveillance Options do You Need?

As we mentioned, there are a ton of advanced options out there but that doesn’t mean you need to invest in all of them. Once you know where you want to cover and the goal you can opt into or out of options like infrared technologies, waterproof, dustproof, vandal resistant, the field of view, low light, high light, high and low resolution, tilt, zoom, remote viewing and more. Determining your true needs will help you keep the costs of video surveillance minimal.

How Many Cameras Do You Need

Of course, a skilled security technician will be the best person to help you determine this but it does help to think about before you opt in. For most people, the assumption is the more cameras the better security you have. But that is not necessarily true. Having the right surveillance cameras placed in the right positions can reduce the number of cameras you need– and reduce your costs. A great example is using a pan-tilt-zoom camera to cover a wide space which reduces the need for more fixed cameras. Knowing your need and being able to communicate that to your video surveillance provider and technician makes a huge difference.

About Security Instrument

From Fortune 500 to local SMB’s throughout the Tri-State area, Security Instrument integrates custom security systems to meet the needs of commercial clients.

A good business security plan may start with having electronic security systems installed, but installation is only the first step. The fact is, a dependable security plan takes time and effort to create. The time to do it is not when it needs to be executed during or after an emergency; the time to do it is now. Here are some guidelines for implementing a business security plan your organization can live with, no matter its size or budget.

Identify Security Threats

What are the chief security threats to your organization? Identifying those is critical. These don’t just include external threats like robbery, intrusion or vandalism; they also include internal threat like employee theft (and don’t forget, employees can steal more than inventory). Then, there’s your business intelligence. Are you including cybersecurity? If not, you should. All of these are very real security threats your new security plan should encompass.

Address Environmental Threats

While fire should be addressed in the security plan, environmental threats go well beyond fire. A defense against other environmental hazards should also be included in the plan, including flooding and freezing. Strategies for all of these things should be included in the new security plan to the extent that they affect building operations.

Determine What’s in Place

Next, it’s time to assess what you have in place to address these threats. This is where an experienced security integrator can be a valuable partner in creating the security plan. During an onsite assessment of your property, the integrator can identify the security technology you have in place and determine what parts of it can be used, retrofitted or upgraded for cost efficiency.

Add New Protections

Of course, the integrator can also explain where any new products or services would be recommended. In this step, you may learn about systems that hadn’t previously been considered: intelligent video equipment, access control for keyless entry, or commercial audio systems that keep everyone on the property informed. Additionally, they may propose new protocols to include in the security plan. Your security integrator can be your consultant and partner in the endeavor of developing a new security plan.

Creating a security plan your organization can live with is a better experience when you partner with a trusted security integrator. To discuss a new business security plan, Delaware businesses can call Security Instrument. We will be glad to show you what’s possible.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned security integrator that offers numerous electronic security options. We serve thousands with commercial and home security in Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

For a business that caters to Valentine’s Day shoppers, diners or spectators, the most romantic weekend of the year may actually be the riskiest. If you own a restaurant, retail establishment or destination property, check out these tips on Valentine’s weekend security for your business.

LIGHTS LOW, CAMERAS ON

Your dining room may have the lights down low, but your wireless IP video cameras should still be rolling. On a high-traffic night like Valentine’s Day, the security risks are higher and your vigilance should be as well. While you’re busy watching the floor, supervising the staff or managing the reservation list, keep your virtual keypad app handy to remotely access your interior and exterior cameras. Record clips that look suspicious, view images that pique your interest and have clips emailed to you for future reference if necessary.

MIND THE STORE

If you own a retail establishment that’s in high demand on February 14, then it’s a day to amp up security measures during peak hours. Own a jewelry store? The same guideline about your cameras applies, and it may not be a bad idea to have the entire staff on hand that day. Florists, thieves may not be in the market for roses – but they are prone to act on days they know will be profitable for you. After all, they want to get their hands on as much register cash as possible. So whether you sell 24 karat gold, flowers or heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, be on high alert this Valentine’s Day.

CLOSE CAREFULLY

How about businesses that don’t provide the services Valentine’s Day is famous for? Those establishments are at risk too. Maybe you plan to close up early because Valentine’s Day is a notoriously slow day or evening. If so, be sure to check all entrances to make sure locks are securely in place and cameras are operating. Then, don’t forget to arm your system before you leave. Don’t like giving your employees the alarm code? Pull out your phone and use your virtual keypad to do it yourself, from wherever you happen to be.

No matter what business you’re in, your security system can be indispensable this Valentine’s Day. To learn more, contact Security Instrument and request a free security consultation.

ABOUT SECURITY INSTRUMENT

Security Instrument is Delaware’s largest full-service independently-owned security company, serving thousands of customers throughout Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

Exchanging outdated door locking hardware with a wireless access control system is one of the smartest ways to upgrade the security at an enterprise of any size. At this point, it’s inarguable that the ability to replace keys with electronic credentials has transformed commercial security for the better.

But is there an access control option for organizations that want even more advanced systems? There sure is. It’s biometric access control, and it takes standard access control into cutting edge territory.

What is Biometric Access Control?

A biometric access control system is powered by infrared technology, which it uses to verify the identities of individuals who attempt to enter the controlled building or area. Often, biometric access control is associated with fingerprint scanning. True, fingerprint authentication is one of the most popular biometric ID technologies; however, biometric access control encompasses everything from facial recognition to retina eye scanning.

Using this technology, biometric access control confirms the identity of employees and other approved individuals entering an area; this may be contractors, vendors, or frequent visitors who exist in the database. These systems are designed to verify identities quickly and precisely, even when lighting is low. It is also designed to scan simultaneous subjects, so that groups of people entering at or around the same time can be authenticated one by one in seconds. This makes biometric access control perfect for large employers, public buildings and other applications where groups of people are entering in waves throughout the day.

Biometric Access Control Applications

At this point, you may be thinking that biometric access control is exclusively for high-profile locations. True, sensitive locations do benefit from it – but biometric access control can fit a variety of applications. Everything from aviation, to finance, to manufacturing, to healthcare regularly benefits from biometric access control technology. Even childcare is becoming an emerging opportunity for access control. With all these trades incorporating sites of different sizes and levels of security vulnerability, this underscores the wide range of needs access control can fill.

When it’s time to consider enhancing building security with biometric access control, Delaware Valley organizations can contact Security Instrument for a complimentary consultation. We will be glad to speak with you.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned security integrator that offers numerous electronic security options. We serve thousands with commercial and home security in Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

 

Now that the key to business security is actually keyless (at least in terms of building access), more businesses are looking into their options for cloud-based access control. It should be an easy decision to convert outdated, traditional door locks to access control; the absence of keys is enough reason on its own. But for those business owners who still need convincing, here are a few advantages of making this shift.

Lower Installation Costs

For business owners who were early adopters of access control and left dissatisfied, it’s important to be aware that modern, cloud-based access control is much easier to retrofit than the first generation of systems.

For one, high installation costs are a thing of the past; those complex wiring requirements have been replaced by simple engineering that replaces the door locking hardware with the access control reader. With the communication powered by wi-fi, it’s easier, more affordable and totally wireless.

Broader Scalability

Now, security integrators can offer access control systems that range from traditional, computer-based systems to the latest in IP, browser-based technology. This can be done on a single door at a small business, a high-rise structure, or a multi-building campus. That’s what broad scalability is about.

More Customization Options

The days of “one size fits all” access control are long gone. From popular options like card readers and keypads to more advanced options like magnetic locks and electric strikes, cloud-based access control is available in tons of choices. As for the cloud? That’s what keeps the encrypted data for your system stored safely for your security.

If your organization is ready to take the next step in building security, we would be glad to speak with you about cloud-based access control. Delaware businesses of all sizes, please contact Security Instrument for more information.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned security integrator that offers numerous electronic security options. We serve thousands with commercial and home security in Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), hotel fires represent 1% of all structure fires. That may not sound like much, but it is; the NFPA goes on to say that U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 3,520 structure fires in hotels and motels each year. In figures provided in 2015, these fires resulted in annual losses of 9 civilian deaths, 120 civilian injuries, and $84 million in direct property damage.

With that in mind, it’s safe to say that hotel fires happen frequently. So, how can a hotel notify guests on the property when a fire or other emergency is identified? Does the audible sound of the fire alarm suffice? Not always – and that’s why mass notification solutions are so important.

Mass Notification Options for Hotels

Hotels have several options when it comes to mass notification of emergencies. They include:

Text notifications: Deploying personal alerts to guests’ wireless devices is a emerging as a popular mass notification solution. A scripted message can be deployed, with evacuation instructions and an assurance that guests will be notified again when it is safe to re-enter the property. Although the scripted messages can be stored as templates, there is also the capability to alter the message to address the specifics of the event.

Social media: Although social media is a broader platform that may invite outside responses, some hospitality establishments find it to be an effective mass notification tool that can supplement text notifications (which do not allow guests to reply). If your establishment is a good fit for utilizing social media notifications via targeted Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts, consider utilizing a secondary method as well.

Audio notifications: An audio notification that emanates throughout the property can be a way to instantaneously reach everyone who is on the premises. In the event of a fire, it may indeed be the fastest way to reach everyone, particularly if the property caters to an older clientele that may not own smartphones or be familiar with their use. In the instance of a violent attacker on the premises, mass notification via audio notification can be even more valuable. Deploying an audible lockdown message can ensure everyone retreats to the safety of designated areas or uses instructed exits for evacuation.

No matter what mass notification method a hotel property uses, the content of the notification matters. It is critical that the establishment has protocols in place that ensure message content is accurate, instructional and straightforward. The goal is to notify guests, not confuse them. To discuss mass notification systems for hotels, contact Security Instrument. We will be glad to answer your questions.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned security integrator that offers numerous electronic security options. We serve thousands with residential, commercial and hotel security in Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

The hospitality industry has its hands full when it comes to security. Here are just a few of the challenges the average hotel property must address:

  • Achieving perfect symmetry between creating an inviting atmosphere for guests while simultaneously implementing access control procedures
  • Analyzing camera footage for potential security threats 24/7
  • Securing valuable assets on a property that caters to hundreds, if not thousands of transient guests every day of the year

How can a hospitality establishment maintain its welcoming environment and culture of customer service, while also ensuring everyone on the premises remains secure? It’s a delicate balancing act, but it can be achieved. Here are some tips for making it happen.

Upgrade Access Control

Any establishment that continues to use actual room keys is behind the game on security. When access control cards are issued to every guest, it’s easier for management to keep track of guest room entry – but it’s also a valuable way to control access to guest-only areas, including the fitness center, pool and other locked areas that only guests may use. For higher end establishments, access control can be categorized so that only a certain class of guests may enter members-only and VIP areas. If your establishment is still relying on keys, it’s time to upgrade.

Upgrade the Upgrade

Of course, even access control cards can come with some pitfalls, such as cards being misplaced by guests or deactivated by employees unnecessarily. If a hotel has graduated from the initial convenience of key cards and is looking for a next-generation access control solution, one avenue to consider is a system that syncs access with the guests’ smartphones. This is an up-and-coming solution being adopted by some of the nation’s most prestigious hospitality establishments, and managers are finding that it offers a fluid, more rewarding guest experience.

Reevaluate Video Surveillance

Every hotel needs video surveillance, but implementing it is just the first step. After a period of time, managers may find that the security video is missing the mark. While the front desk, entry points, and lobby are all great places to start, they are not the end game of hotel video surveillance. Consider reevaluating the establishment’s security camera layout; if there are not sufficient cameras watching over guest hallways, retail areas, service corridors and dining rooms, then it may be time to add those to the network. To minimize the need for 24/7 monitoring onsite, consider embracing intelligent video analytics solutions that can identify suspicious events and significant patterns as they occur. Ask your security integrator to recommend a solution that can be scaled to the footprint of your establishment.

The more secure hotel guests feel, the more likely they will be to reward an establishment with repeat business and recommendations. To improve hotel security while still maintaining a hospitable atmosphere, contact Security Instrument. We will be glad to provide an onsite security evaluation of the property.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned security integrator that offers numerous electronic security options. We serve thousands with residential, commercial and hotel security in Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

There’s no deployment without design when it comes to commercial security. Wilmington business owners, here are some security system design considerations to make before contacting an integrator.

Partner Communication

Your security integrator should listen first, design second. If the vendor has a “one-size-fits-all” template for system design and refuses to listen to your needs as an organization, that’s a red flag. Partner communication is key when designing a commercial security system.

Equipment Readiness

Still, they should also have equipment at the ready so that installation can happen on schedule. If parts need to be ordered and too many workarounds are required, that’s an indicator of potential problems surfacing down the road. Make sure your integrator has equipment on hand to meet your needs before committing to an order.

Certification and Compliance

For organizations that are regulated and shouldered with compliance requirements, it’s critical that the security integrator is able and willing to help. Make sure the vendor is ready to uphold to your organization’s policies and procedures, and that they have been certified by equipment manufacturers so that deployment is as seamless as possible.

After design, other considerations to make when choosing a commercial security integrator include:

  • Project management experience
  • Web-based project management software
  • Simplicity of wiring
  • Project commissioning
  • Final termination policies

To speak with a commercial security integrator that designs expertly and deploys seamlessly, contact Security Instrument to request a consultation for commercial security. Wilmington, MD, NJ and PA organizations can reach us at (888) 326-8936.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned security integrator that offers numerous electronic security options. We serve thousands with residential and commercial security in Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

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