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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US soldiers in AfghanistanOne of the biggest things in this month happened 50 years ago – the nation last week commemorated the assassination of President Kennedy. We also recently acknowledged the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Add to this the mid-term elections and that unique American holiday of Thanksgiving and we have a month where our nation has been highly focused inward. Simultaneously, some security concerns across the world that we’ve been working on for years appear to be moving towards closure. And it’s a good thing too, as we have increasing security issues at home that could benefit from a redeployment of resources. Continue reading

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pumpkin and haunted houseNotice how it’s no longer Halloween night; we have Halloween season? A big business has been made out of Halloween in the United States. There are also a lot of traditions in Halloween, and one of them is “scare” which has a flip side of fear. The 1978 movie named after the holiday likely infused even more scares and fears into Halloween. The scare part of Halloween inspires many home decorations, haunted houses and costumes, and the best scares are when there is surprise – when the unknown or unexpected strikes. While we often don’t like surprises in business, it is fear that has built the security industry. Continue reading

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ASIS exhibitsIt was an exciting time for the security industry at the annual ASIS Seminar and Exhibits last week in Chicago. The weather was great, the volume of people was up and the general buzz reflected a better economy. One of the keynotes of the seminar was Steve Wozniak’s talk about technology and security. Technology allows us to be “more in control of the universe,” said Wozniak. More control suggests “more secure,” and yes, technology advances help us in many ways. But there remains significant capacity to damage because of things that don’t involve technology – humans. Be it insider threats or weak employee training on security, there are plentiful non-technology-related opportunities for reducing risk. Continue reading

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Syria flag mashupIt’s been a week filled with big news and that’s without even considering football starting (ha, ha!). The 50th anniversary of King’s speech, the Yosemite fire, and the death penalty verdict in the trial of Major Nidal Hasan are all major stories. But another big story was the assaults on where many of us get our news: Twitter, The New York Times, and the Huffington Post all were victims this week of cyberattacks by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA). Many users experienced these outages and were shocked and appalled. This seems to bring attention to a number of things: cyberattacks threaten us all, we are vulnerable, and our enemies are skilled and changing the game. As we move to respond, we should not forget that cyber security requires physical security. Continue reading

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piggybacking signSDM Magazine put out survey results this spring that said 40% of systems integrators believe 2013 will be a bigger year in access control. There’s a number of things driving the growth – biometrics continue to push forward, Near Field Communication is catching on, and “managed access control” is all the rage. These are great developments and I’m excited that things are looking up. As organizations invest further in doorway access control they would be wise to consider the serious vulnerability of the open door. Continue reading

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nuclear power plantAs we get deeper into summer, vacations kick in and everyday recreation increases creating a lighter, brighter mood around America. Meanwhile, the civil war in Syria intensifies in a place that is far away from the American summer. While the security of our nation is linked to what happens in Syria – the USA and other nations may get drawn into a broader conflict and anti-American sentiment grows from our involvement – the apparent usage of chemical weapons unveils a different kind of risk. Chemical weapons are considered weapons of mass destruction (WMD), along with biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons. Any usage of such weapons might raise the risk that we may see them again soon. Continue reading

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