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Perhaps even more than residents of single family rental homes, tenants of apartment and condo properties tend to be concerned about building security. It’s understandable, considering there are streams of neighbors moving in and out year-round, all of whom have their own visitors frequenting the property.

Considering this reality, security should be a top priority of condo and apartment HOAs. Unfortunately, security is often one of the go-to line items that associations cut when looking to reduce costs. This is a bad idea, as it can put tenants and the entire property at risk of being victimized – and the end result is liability for the management and ownership. When security is a major concern, condo and apartment managers should consider the following electronic security measures.

Video Surveillance

Residents don’t just feel safer when cameras are installed throughout the property; they are safer, because people who may intend to do harm are less likely to do it if they know monitored cameras are watching. The key word is “monitored,” which we’ll address next. But first, let’s talk about the placement of cameras. They should be mounted in common areas like courtyards, laundry rooms, basketball courts, walking trails, playgrounds, pools and roof decks. They can also be placed in locations that show stairwells, both on and underneath the stairs. But why should they be monitored? Let’s discuss.

Monitored Cameras

Monitoring is the service that maximizes the effectiveness of any electronic security system, and that certainly includes security cameras. Viewing video footage after a criminal incident has occurred can help law enforcement identify the criminal, but it does nothing to stop the crime from occurring. If cameras are monitored, then the central station can alert the building’s management (or the live security guards on site) right away so they can intervene. Without monitoring, cameras are only there to give residents a false sense of security.

Access Control Systems

Electronic access control is no longer just for big city high rises. In today’s high risk security climate, access control systems are ideal for housing communities of all sizes. Condos and apartments can place access control systems at the manager’s office, playground, pool, laundry room and other amenity areas – but they can also be used in buildings where a lobby must be entered in order to gain access to residences. This can replace a doorman, or supplement the efforts of any live security guards. The access control system can be integrated with the video surveillance system so that the timestamp of access control can be corresponded with the video taken at the same time.

These are some of the most important elements to include in condo and apartment security systems. Delaware residents interested in learning more should contact Security Instrument for a complimentary consultation.

About Security Instrument

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

For-profit organizations need one thing to stay in operation: profit. One way to protect profits is to protect the property the business is on, inside and out. This can be done with alarm and camera systems, but they shouldn’t be working alone. No, commercial enterprises need additional managed security services as well. One of those managed services is access control.

Why Access Control Makes Sense

Access control systems are designed to help organizations manage who enters the premises. They can be installed at gates to keep unauthorized individuals off the entire property, or at building entries to restrict them from entering indoors. For an organization that wants to protect its assets – including people, equipment, supplies and merchandise – access control just makes sense for the bottom line. After working hard to secure those assets, why would anyone leave their security up to chance?

Why Choose Hosted Services

Even organizations with substantial IT infrastructure may consider choosing a managed service to host their access control systems. Managed services ensure that the onsite management or security team can receive accurate business reporting. The reports record time-stamped entries to a managed location so that more informed security decisions can be made. If video surveillance is also installed, there are managed solutions for the integration of video technology with the other security equipment. Everything can work together to provide clear security records that protect the organization from threats, loss and other detriments.

To learn more about protecting your bottom line with access control, Delaware Valley organizations can call Security Instrument. We will be glad to provide a complimentary security analysis.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned security integrator that offers numerous residential and commercial security options. We serve thousands of 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.

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.

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.

Security has been a growing concern for businesses in different industries, from mom-and-pop shops to large corporations. Making sure that people, equipment, and information remain safe is a priority. High-quality security access systems can help you to keep outside intruders from gaining access to rooms and buildings with valuable office devices and confidential information.

EASIER ACCESS

In the past, many businesses used lock-and-key access systems. While this type of system can work for a business with only a handful of employees, it usually isn’t effective for companies with larger workforces. Employee keys can get misplaced or fall into the wrong hands, and companies have to spend money either replacing the keys or all of their locks. Another potential problem with this type of system is that within most companies, only people in positions of power receive keys.

Another potential problem with this type of system is that within most companies, only people in positions of power receive keys.

If they do not come into work one day, lower-level employees may not have access to buildings. Access control systems automate the whole process. With these types of systems, employees use badges with embedded wireless technologies or punch-in codes to gain access to the building or certain spaces. These systems allow businesses to control who can access buildings or rooms at all times or on certain days and times. They are also more user-friendly for employees at all levels, who may need to have access in and out of buildings after their supervisors leave for the day.

AUDIT TRAIL

With access control systems, companies can keep track of who is entering and leaving buildings. This information can be valuable to business owners or managers if a potential issue, such as stolen office supplies or data breach, occurs on a specific day or time. Using the security systems, they can find out who was inside buildings or rooms when the issues arose. These systems can also help managers if they have potential disputes with employees over their weekly hours. The devices allow them to know the exact time of day employees entered and left the building.

EMERGENCY LOCKDOWN

Emergency situations can happen at work, and sometimes, companies need to have emergency lockdowns. Access control systems can make emergency situations much easier to handle. Using the devices, those in charge can restrict who enters and leaves a building. They also can use the systems to account for all of their employees during emergency situations.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is committed to your business’ security and we have solutions for small businesses to large enterprises. Contact us today to find out how we can help you secure your business with an access control system.

The security of guests, staff, and anyone that comes to the hotel is vital to the hotel industry, making security systems a valuable tool. Security systems can do so much more than provide an added measure of safety, however. Security and automation systems such as intrusion alarms, video surveillance systems, access control, and business automation systems can also protect hotel assets and profitability.

Here are some important ways security and business automation systems benefit the hotel industry:

Intrusion Alarms

Intrusion alarms safeguard your guests by protecting vulnerable points of entry.

Automation Helps Manage Energy Consumption

Every space in a hotel needs to be ready for occupation at a moment’s notice, yet hotel operators need to carefully monitor the hotel’s energy consumption. Business automation can help create the perfect climate while reducing energy consumption.

Improved Security

Video surveillance is a physical crime deterrent and can help thwart crimes to which hotels are most vulnerable, such as lone attacks on a guest, or theft.

Access Control Protects Assets

Theft of merchandise is a common problem for many hotel establishments. Access control systems protect those assets.

Enhanced Customer Service

Video surveillance and CCTV systems can also help hotel managers ensure that customers receive the best service possible by allowing them to monitor service practices, guest wait times, traffic flow and much more.

Improved Productivity

Research shows that business that utilizes surveillance systems see improved productivity. The systems can serve as verification of the location of technical or service personnel, how long tasks take to complete, and as a tool to improve efficiency.

Mitigate Risk Damage

Security cameras can help mitigate damages in the event of an accident, as well as prevent attempted fraud.

About Security Instrument

Founded in 1960, Security Instrument Corporation, a privately held U.S. Corporation, provides electronic security and life safety detection and associated monitoring and support services. Protecting guests, and profitability is paramount in the hospitality industry. If you have questions about how to improve your hotel security, feel free to give us a call today.

Schools are among the safest places in our communities and parents should have every confidence sending their children to these educational havens. Yet, according to Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2011, (Washington DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics and National Center for Education and Statistics 2011) in 2010, a greater number of students ages 12-18 were victims of violent crimes in the school than out of the school.

Unfortunately, school violence is a serious problem that no school can afford to ignore. Even small disturbances are not as harmless as we might like to imagine and can be indicators of bigger problems or future crisis.

However, there are measures that drastically reduce the likelihood of violence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, research shows using multiple prevention strategies and levels of influence and intervention, can reduce violence and improve the school environment.

Best Ways to Improve School Safety

Since there is no way to predict a crime, and likewise no one factor that causes crime, it is imperative to use several methods to increase school safety. Your safety measures should include a combination tactical improvements, as well as measures that involve the staff, parents, students, and community. Here are some key ways you can improve school safety.

1. Start at the Personal Level

Develop programs that help students learn conflict resolution, communication, teamwork, and emotional awareness. Bridge the gaps in the teacher/staff and student relationship by developing better communication, positive engagement, and creating a more community oriented atmosphere. Improve access to school counseling.

2. Involve Parents and the Community in the Prevention of Violence

By involving parents in a well-developed crime prevention program they are more able to enforce the strategies at home and able to spot possible threats in the community. In many cases, just having an increased parental/adult presence in the school is a powerful force in preventing violence. Programs and training can also help the community deal with a crisis, should one occur.

3. Consider Tactical Improvements

Every educational institution should consider implementing the tools that will help keep students and staff safe and aid law enforcement in the event of a crisis. For example, school facilities should have a comprehensive security system that incorporates a video surveillance system. Consider a system that allows remote (such as with a smartphone) and centralized locking for the swiftest and most controlled lockdown procedures. Make sure every building is clearly labeled from all angles, including the roof. Both staff and students should be trained in emergency procedures.

About Security Instrument

At Security Instrument, we are here to answer your questions and address your concerns about school security. We’ve been proving integrated solutions for schools and campuses since 1960.

For the retailer, storefront security is a huge priority– and a huge challenge. In fact, it is almost like hitting a moving target. While many of the security issues retailers face, such as shoplifting, employee theft, burglary, smash and grab, and fraudulent claims remain the same, the tactics used to accomplish them change and become increasingly sophisticated. Crime always has an opportunistic element however; retail crime has become increasingly calculated and committed by skilled professionals. To combat crime and mitigate loss, the retailer must maximize storefront security solutions.

The news headlines can sometimes be disturbing, but crime in the retail space is nothing new. Whether it is armed robbery, an organized theft ring, or acts of vandalism, the results can be devastating. Fortunately, retailers have more advanced options in storefront security solutions than ever.  Here are some simple ways to make sure you are getting the most out of your security.

Opt into Intrusion Detection

Burglary alarm protection is essential in any retail environment. Burglaries typically happen a night or after hours. In most cases, burglars break in through a glass door or window and leave before law enforcement can arrive. A comprehensive system deters break-ins and facilitates swift police response by alerting law enforcement immediately during unauthorized access.

Control Access

Pro Tip: Controlling and restricting access to any retail space is a core security measure. Every business has areas that are more sensitive than others.

 

Access control allows you to know when a door is opened, which one, and by whom. It produces an audit trail that makes it possible to detect security problems. When your system is equipped with things like electronic locks, you can respond to any emergency even if you are not at the business by tapping into the system and locking or unlocking doors remotely via the app.

Surveillance Cameras are a Must

Commercial video surveillance systems are a cornerstone of any security system. In addition to providing important business insights, security camera systems are a visual crime deterrent. The system provides the retail owner with the tools needed to monitor all of the critical areas of the business remotely, from a computer or smartphone, viewing multiple camera feeds or even monitoring multiple facilities.

Remember the Fire and Life Safety

Whether it is new construction, upgrade or a retrofit, fire and life safety systems are another important aspect of retail security. Fires and other similar emergencies devastate lives and businesses so catching problems at the earliest stages is critical. Keep your systems operating at their best with regular testing, maintenance, and inspections.

About Security Instrument

Retail and department stores face a number of security challenges which can leave the business vulnerable to internal theft, shoplifting, fraudulent claims, as well as disasters such as fire. Security Instrument has over 50 years expertise in electronic security and life safety detection and associated monitoring.