White House fenceI was watching the Houston Texans play against the Colts a few weeks back. The Texans were embarrassed early in the game when the Colts easily recovered an onside kick because of the gaping hole in the middle where no Texans players were positioned. On subsequent kickoffs, the Texans closed the hole and all was well. That was a mistake the Texans can learn from and all it cost them was a football game. In security, mistakes aren’t as readily tolerated and the fallout can be much greater. It doesn’t have to be this way and there are reasons it shouldn’t. But in security, make the same mistake twice and expect serious ramifications. Continue reading

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kids at schoolSummer is not a time I think about school very much but this summer was different for two reasons: our kids are both heading to new schools this year, and I kept hearing of tragic events at schools and universities. I was disturbed! I thought the end of school would provide a break in the string of incidents happening on U.S. educational campuses. Now, as school is starting again all over the country, we are given a chance for a fresh start – a chance to get security right for our schools. We owe it to our kids. Continue reading

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world of devices connected to InternetIt’s been called a “revolution,” and the hype around the Internet of Things (IoT) is exploding. And what’s not to love? Consumers race after cool, new tech gadgets. Devices that help us get more things done have great appeal. The business opportunity is sizable for many organizations as these new markets are not yet claimed. While the definition of IoT varies a bit in these wild, early days, implicit is the idea that many more things will be connected to the Internet. That creates a huge number of security vulnerabilities for hackers to exploit. Signs say we’re not ready and this lack of security will be an inhibitor to growth. Continue reading

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Orange grove dying due to droughtIn recent years, I’ve thought about water security from the perspective of a terrorism concern and thought of it in simple terms like other key utilities. Just as a terrorist could take down part of our electrical grid, there’s the threat of someone poisoning our water supply. While that’s a clear and present danger, the record drought in California is bringing to light another threat to water security – simple supply shortage. This will become more real in the coming years and decades, and California in 2014 is providing a glimpse into the future. The idea of securing water from theft, and not just contamination, is a new challenge we should get ready for. Continue reading

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Summer beverage - iced teaAaaaaaahh, summer! A time for slowing down and relaxing. Time off with the family and water recreation. The American holiday of Memorial Day this past Monday unofficially started summer in the States, and school will be out within two weeks for most of the country. When we look around the security landscape, however, it’s not so “summery” and we would do well not to let down our guard. Continue reading

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Freedom TowerIn a grocery store checkout line last week, I saw the Time Magazine special on the World Trade Center. It is a thick issue priced at $15 which hints at the importance of the complex. The signature building is One World Trade Center, also known as “the Freedom Tower”, and it is scheduled to open later this year (the view from outside today shows it essentially complete). It’s been a long road from that dark day in 2001 and this building, more than others in the World Trade Center complex, represents so many things – freedom, resilience, America itself. That’s why this is the most important commercial building to secure in our country. Continue reading

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chemical plant at nightThis is big day for government regulation – it’s the last day to sign-up for 2014 coverage under the Affordable Care Act. This regulation is highly controversial, which is not always the case when the government makes laws. Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) is security regulation that came into effect in 2007 under much less protest. Acceptance, however, doesn’t result in a law’s success: CFATS has a bumpy history, to be sure. That said, the point of the government oversight was to create secure chemical facilities, and we need this result with or without CFATS. Continue reading

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many rushing into office buildingIn a high-rise, an elevator is a given these days. Since they’ve been around since before the Civil War, we’ve come to expect them and in our fast-paced western culture, speed is everything. Everyone hates a slow elevator, and I’ve seen videos on YouTube about people joy-riding the world’s fastest elevators. A technology available for about the last ten years, “destination control,” promises an even faster elevator trip to your building suite. In time, building owners and tenants could realize savings. But destination control can also play a part in entry security by adding another layer, and any security manager for a tall building would be wise to consider it. Continue reading

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man holding shotgunThere are two things that seem to be in the news all the time now – data breaches at retailers and active shooter incidents, most frequently at schools. One couldn’t miss the Target data breach in late 2013 because the scale was so massive. More recently, Nieman Marcus and Michael’s have reported data compromises. The latest active shooter incident was at a shopping mall in Maryland. Businesses are more affected by data breaches but both types of incidents affect individuals. I’m not too worried about organizations growing callous, but we Americans need to be careful to avoid fatigue. Continue reading

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Airport exit laneWe’re heading for one of the two busiest travel seasons of the year here in America. If you’re taking to the air on a commercial airline, you’ll likely face unpleasant lines at the airport during your voyage. We’re used to lines to get into the airport, but lines to get out are less common. There are changes afoot regarding exit security at airports that may result in lines to leave. It’s playing out in real time now, and while it won’t affect holiday travel, 2014 is another story. The way it’s looking like it will end up is good immediately and not so good in the next couple of years. Continue reading

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