Protecting your Empty Facility

By John Krumme, CPP, Cam-Dex Security Corp.

These are unprecedented times globally, as businesses transition as many employees as possible to work from home in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19. As a result of this shift, many once bustling facilities – schools, corporate offices and places of worship – are now seeing limited visitors, if any at all.

Even though many facilities are now nearly empty or in limited use, security remains a top priority to protect assets and those employees who may need to venture in from time to time to retrieve important files. With this in mind, if your frequency of visitors has significantly changed, you should also review your security system to ensure a few measures are in place.

Revoking access privileges of employees may be a little extreme, in order to keep them from entering a facility once business operations move to remote operations. However, if your building has multiple unlock schedules on its doors to enable employees or customers to enter at a set time in the morning, it’s time to review that schedule and make the necessary adjustments to ensure the building remains secure at all times.

Many places of worship, for example, have moved away from being open 24/7 and have implemented an access control system that will automatically unlock the doors before Sunday worship, or before committee meetings during the week. These facilities can have a dozen or more automatic unlock schedules as part of its access control system. The same can be said for buildings on a college or corporate campus, for example.

The majority of surveillance systems installed today provide the ability to remotely review video footage – keeping tabs on employees, customers and deliveries. However, now is an ideal time to review whether your facility is taking full advantage of the remote monitoring capabilities your surveillance system has to offer.

If you have not done so yet, look into how you can remotely access your surveillance system, either through a mobile app or desktop option. Many manufacturers offer this capability as part of the system, or for a small monthly fee.

Being able to access your surveillance system remotely will enable you to periodically check your parking lot for vehicles left behind for a long period of times. If you receive an alert that someone has entered the building through the access control system, remote surveillance will also enable you to view the interior of the building to see if the person coming in is an employee to retrieve files, a cleaning person, or someone who is not authorized to enter at a specific time.

Security remains a top priority, even when a facility is empty. Investing time today to review the systems you have in place, adjust unlock schedules, and leverage remote surveillance capabilities, will help ensure your building remains secure and ready for occupancy in the near future.

How to Future Proof Your Security System

By J. Matthew Ladd, The Protection Bureau

Security is an important investment to protect not just employees who work in a building, but also anyone who may visit that specific facility. Regardless of the exact dollar amount spent, many end users have similar expectations – they want to make sure they can continue to leverage the benefits of their newly installed access control or surveillance system two, three and five years into the future.

However, with technology rapidly changing, what steps can an end user take to future proof their security system?

System Maintenance

Invest in regular system maintenance of both your access control and surveillance systems. Most manufactures have a publish update schedule on a quarterly basis or semi-annual basis. However, even though a manufacturer will issue software updates to either enhance a system or to fix a bug, never allow an update to be done to your system without first verifying the update with your systems integrator. It’s important to have a valid software agreement so you can be notified when there’s an update and when it’s completed.  You also want to make sure any software updates are proven to be stable.

Reputation and Capacity

When buying a new access control system, it’s important to review the technology being installed to determine whether it is reliable and from a reputable company. While installing cutting-edge technology from a start-up access control company may be exciting, the viability of that company in two or five years should be taken into consideration. Also, make sure that the system you are implementing can grow as your business grows. For access control systems, keep in mind the system’s reader capacity and card holder count.

Network Infrastructure 

Before beginning any installation project, make sure to review your network infrastructure. While your network might have an appropriate amount of bandwidth to handle a small load of surveillance cameras, what would happen if you needed to add five or even 10 high-definition cameras in the future? A common problem in the residential market today is that many homeowners are adding surveillance cameras to their networks, but their low-cost internet service cannot handle the data upload requirements for these cameras. The same can happen in the business world, where a network can quickly exceed capacity due to a lack of knowledge about its limitations.

By taking a few simple steps, in conjunction with working with your security systems integrator, corporate security directors can protect the investment they are making in their security system by ensuring it has the proper foundation to handle future needs.