candles burningThe entire world, or so it seemed, heard of the attacks on a Friday evening in Paris earlier this month. They were part of a well-orchestrated terrorist operation by a leading organization in that field. Just two weeks later, a much smaller attack by a lone agent in Colorado took a few lives and garnered great media attention in the U.S. due to the politically-charged location and seeming associated message. Sandwiched between these was a terrible attack on a hotel in Mali – again, on a Friday. That’s three attacks, three Fridays in a row, on three continents. It’s enough to raise concern about the coming weekend. But we’re into the holiday season, and we need some hope. Foiled attacks aren’t covered as well in the media, but success the U.S. authorities and other entities are having gives us this hope. Continue reading

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crowd at a theaterThe Pope’s visit to the United States in this last week was a mega-security event. In fact, it’s been dubbed the “largest security operation in U.S. history.” Among the good news from the visit is the fact that there were no security incidents. Certainly security was a serious challenge as it often is in the gathering of large crowds. Not all crowd-gatherings will have the security budget of the papal visit, but all can be an attractive target of terrorism or active shooters. Because even the latest technologies will not be enough, it appears we’re moving beyond “If you see something, say something” to “If you see something, do something.” It’s not a welcome change, but it’s better than the alternative. Continue reading

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drone flying above cityDrones are increasingly popular in America and for good reasons: they “take” humans where they can’t go on their own, the price is continuously dropping, and the technology is improving. There are exciting perspectives and unique opportunities created by the power of drones. As with many good things, there are downsides too. Drones are causing havoc in the skies at times and that’s just because they’re flown by recreation-minded people having fun, creative artists, or perhaps someone trying to make money. In the skies and on the ground, drones are a growing security threat that hints at what we have to look forward to. Continue reading

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relaxing a beachWe’re heading towards a U.S. holiday that often draws people to the coast and yet we’ve seen terrorism in two beach communities this month – Charleston, S.C. and Sousse, Tunisia. What a sad and shocking couple of events. This holiday we’re pausing to celebrate is about independence, and the shooters in these two incidents were about oppression. Clearly, we in America are still fighting for some freedoms and many parts of the world have even farther to go. Humans naturally desire freedom and while it took bloodshed for the USA to earn it from the British in the 1700’s, it takes more suffering to keep it and to expand freedoms. It’s still worth dying for and it’s worth celebrating. Continue reading

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security cameras at sunset“Dance like nobody’s watching” is a phrase that captures an essence of people – we tend to behave differently when there are eyes on us. That’s one reason a standard surveillance camera increases security…criminals don’t want to be seen. The advent of the phone camera has now put cameras everywhere and organizations are stepping up their usage of CCTV. Body-worn cameras will become standard police issue, and drone cameras are next. All of this results in an increase in security and a better behaved populace. Continue reading

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hospital ER entranceHospitals are not fun places to go. While I’ve been blessed with health and have never been admitted as a patient, I’ve visited family and friends on numerous occasions and there’s not much good in the experience, even in the nice, new facilities. But this doesn’t reflect the amazing and heroic work performed by doctors and medical staff on a daily basis to save and improve lives. Unfortunately, these “public servants” (they do serve us all) and already dismal experiences for visitors are increasingly threatened. It’s just plain wrong, and as hard as it may seem, security steps must be taken to reduce risk at our hospitals. Continue reading

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high school hallwayMaybe it’s happened so much that you don’t even notice anymore. At the pace that I’m seeing bomb threats at our nation’s schools, that’s the reaction I would expect some to have. Every week it seems there are one or more such threats. One view of the world in 2015 says we have to take these seriously. But the very high percentage of threats that are hoaxes suggests otherwise. Since no one wants to take risks with our children, we have to act as all are real and the costs are mounting. We need a cultural shift to stop this madness. Continue reading

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biometric readerThere’s a lot going on in access control these days and this area of physical security is finally taking some of the attention away from video surveillance. Wireless locks, standardization, biometrics – you can see a nice coverage of all the trends in this story. The access control market is a huge area of expenditure and with all that’s happening, spending should be increasing in the coming years. With this heavy emphasis put on technology to restrict building access to known, approved people, it is surprising that tailgating and other forms of undesirable “group entry” are not more frequently addressed. Continue reading

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North Korea on MapRegardless of your faith (or lack of), Christmas in America is a time of peace and togetherness. So it’s ironic that a movie to be released on Christmas is now at the center of a major hacking, terrorist threat, and security response. The other major issue relates to the protests against alleged police wrong-doings, which were taken to a new level this past weekend in New York. It’s an ominous way to finish the year, but perhaps the hope from the holiday and the fresh start that comes with the New Year will bring understanding, foster communication, and set our country on a more desirable course. Continue reading

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White House fence
I 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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