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Crescent Guardian Security Company
Headquarters: New Orleans
Offices: Atlanta | Dallas
E-mail: info@cgiprotects.com
1 (800) 650-0706 or (504) 483-7811
Crescent Guardian Security Company

Security Tips Blog

Sep 11

The Risk of Breach in Cloud Managed Security

 

Everywhere you look -- online, in magazines, on TV – you will hear stories of companies and governments scrambling to protect themselves from today’s continuously evolving threats, which can now include both physical and cyber attacks. It wasn’t long ago when security was comprised simply of locks and keys and the occasional fence or guard dog as a deterrent. Those days are gone forever.

Security professionals across the world face an unending wave of cyber attacks – people looking to exploit any and every loophole or gap in protection. It is no longer safe to assume that internal personnel are exempt from suspicion, and diligence is the key to prevention.

Some  of these attacks take a high-tech approach while others go to the source,  which means that the number of potential threats is infinite and methods of attack always changing. As we enter a brave new world that increasingly relies upon technology and the cloud, it is clear that a fully integrated plan involving both physical and IT security is critical, but, alarmingly, is often given minimal attention and puts everyone involved at more risk.



Into The Cloud

Cloud computing while still in a growth stage, is growing exponentially and is quickly becoming the most  significant tool for almost every industry. In short, cloud computing lets you use files and applications over the Internet – not exactly a new concept. But use of the cloud has increased tremendously over the past few years as service providers looked for a way to increase capacity or add capabilities on the fly for clients without having to invest in new infrastructure. The security industry, often one to experiment with new trends first, jumped right in. Now, handheld devices and cloud-based applications have become the new standard for managing and viewing all aspects of physical security including video monitoring and access control. 


With this move to online access of applications, physical security professionals must incorporate concerns about cyber security into their repertoire. It is critical for security professionals to understand how physical and cyber security teams must work together to protect all assets, including data management and physical devices. 



While current trends and usage of both public and private cloud environments bring seemingly unlimited mobile access to security systems, we must fully understand both the risks and benefits of cloud computing for physical security, and develop a cohesive plan before implementing it across the enterprise.

Convergence -- a holistic approach to security -- is a hot topic. It is no secret that when we augment security personnel with automation, overall coverage can be vastly improved, costs reduced and the ability to prevent crime before occurring substantially increased.

While the ultimate goal of any security system is to lower response times and increase overall situational awareness, security personnel and emergency responders must be both capable and knowledgeable in how technology is used to augment those real-time events. That’s why both the IT organization and the security team must develop an easy to implement, organized plan that incorporates all aspects of security. The benefits of such a plan can reduce criminal activity, service disruptions and other risk factors that could impede business continuity.

How Modern Security Is Evolving

The days of using only padlocks and fences for security are definitely long gone. Now, it takes critical thinking to guard against not only the usual types of threats, but also the unimaginable -- as impossible as that may seem. Through the integration of advanced security technology, such as IP video surveillance and electronic track and trace, with professionally trained guard services, security directors now can implement comprehensive asset protection plans that go far beyond the traditional. This combination improves security practices, reduces overall costs and enhances efficiency to track, monitor, and protect personnel, corporate information, and assets.



A security system needs to be approached holistically to help ensure the prevention of breaches and reduction of threats. In today’s environment, it seems we are more focused on resolving threats and crimes after they occur, which almost defeats the true purpose of having security. Too often security systems are installed using the least expensive option, with no thought truly given to training personnel on its usage or giving them an easy way to share data and knowledge.

For instance, one typically under-utilized opportunity for integration is surveillance systems. While video is ubiquitous today, there are still many systems that utilize antiquated analog equipment when digital and IP technology
is readily available and can be less expensive in the overall cost of ownership. Moving to digital IP video systems enables roaming guards to receive real-time alerts through the use of handheld devices, which allows for rapid response to potential threats.

Video analytics have traditionally been rules-based systems, meaning software that allows you to write a rule using Boolean logic to anticipate suspicious
behavior. The problem in that scenario is rules must be written for every camera since they will all have different views and encounter different potential threats. In addition, the operator needs to anticipate every potential threat, which is not really feasible. This setup makes rules based analytics software difficult to manage, requires enormous upkeep and still may not “catch the bad guy.”

On the other hand, next-generation behavioral analytics packages operate by “learning” behavior through observation, completely eliminating the need to write rules. Within a few hours, the software can identify ongoing “normal” behavior and only send alerts or alarms on “out of the ordinary” behavior, which can be sent to a guard’s handheld unit to facilitate rapid response and stop potential breaches. This kind of system essentially allows the user to “set it and forget it,” making it one of the easiest, most effective systems to install and use.

The advent of IP video enables the monitoring of locations remotely via online IP networks.  The beauty of this monitoring option is that it keeps a watchful eye and enables rapid, on-site response while continuing to monitor the situation.

Implementing security solutions that are both cost effective and friendly to the environment is now paramount to safeguarding our nation’s future, a future that depends on us developing a long-term strategy that anticipates threats and adapts to trends in both physical and IT security.

The Future of Physical and IT Security

In a peek at the future of convergence security, Louisiana’s Port Fourchon, which services over 90% of the Gulf of Mexico's deepwater oil production, recently partnered with Crescent Guardian security and BRS Labs to integrate next generation behavioral analytics software to accompany its new advanced video surveillance system. This award-winning, state-of-the-art system began to operate immediately -- generating alerts, alarms and learning behavior from the moment it was turned on.

This kind of software instantly recognizes anything out of the ordinary and automatically sends alerts to officials, without needing to be programmed to do so. This breakthrough ensures that first responders in Port Fourchon are receiving “as they happen” alerts, ultimately improving response times and increasing situational awareness.

The US Department of Defense supported Port Fourchon's efforts by sharing the DoD-developed capabilities of the Knowledge Display and Aggregation System (KDAS) to serve as the basis for the Port's incident command and control system. The use of KDAS provides Port Fourchon with the unique ability to network its system with the DoD in the event of an incident requiring information sharing.

The Greater Lafourche Port Commission’s new system, developed through a collaboration of several companies, is comprised of Disparate Data Sets, Incident Management, What If? Analysis, CCTV integration, Video Analytics, and Alerting integration. Soon, the Harbor Intrusion Detection System (Waterside Radar) will be integrated as well.

What's Next?

As criminals become more tech-savvy, it is up to security professionals to stay several steps ahead. While completely eliminating all threats is impossible, a comprehensive, integrated security plan that converges both physical and IT security can put companies in a position of power instead of fear, action instead of reaction.

Securing both public and private cloud environments, along with understanding both the risks and benefits of cloud computing for physical security, presents a sizable challenge for security professions -- but nothing the continuously evolving security industry can’t handle. In short, physical and cyber security teams simply must work together now to better anticipate, thwart and reduce threats, not just after an incident occurs.

When considering your overall security system, it is important to ensure it is fully integrated and working as one cohesive unit. If your system grew by adding components piecemeal or you don’t know for sure if your various security personnel are talking, you should consider having a professional, full service security firm perform an assessment.

The greatest challenge for security in the 21st century won’t be figuring out how to stop outside threats -- been there, done that -- but instead making sure the many components of a security system are all working as one. In reality, the greatest threat often comes from within.


ASIS Session - September 25th

Want to learn more about the convergence of physical and IT security? Join our vice president, Ray Cavanagh, who will be hosting an information session at ASIS Chicago on September 25, 2013 to discuss Physical Security in The Cloud. For more information on the ASIS session or for other security solutions:

Email - rcavanagh@cgiprotects.com

Call - 504.483.7811

 



Jul 23

 

Do you have an eye for security? Here's your chance to prove it. Try to find all five security threats in the image below in less than 20 seconds.

If a security team has not yet integrated behavioral analytics into their surveillance camera system, which can spot and prevent threats before they can become crimes, then they must rely on human eyes to watch and catch everything.

Now you get to test yourself and see how well you'd do watching one camera.

 

Jul 11

If a security team has not yet integrated behavioral analytics into their surveillance camera system, which can spot and prevent threats before they can become crimes, then they must rely on human eyes to watch and catch everything. Test yourself to see how well you'd do watching one camera.

 

Declassified Business Security File #3

// posted on Thursday, July 04, 2013

Jul 04

While criminals are always on the lookout for when a business seems most susceptible to a break-in, there are specific times when they do the most damage.


Drag the image below to your desktop to see a larger version.



Declassified Business Security File #2

// posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Jun 11

When it comes to preventing and solving crimes, surveillance video is only as good as the person looking at it. But what if the cameras could learn to spot suspicious behavior before a crime is committed?

Drag the image below to your desktop to see a larger version.



Preventing crime with new surveillance camera technology

// posted on Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Jun 04

 

When it comes to preventing and solving crimes, surveillance video is only as good as the person looking at it. But what if the cameras could learn to spot suspicious behavior before a crime is committed?

After the Boston marathon bombings, it was surveillance and other photos that helped catch the two suspects.

Now there's a company that says those same cameras can prevent crimes like that from happening in the first place.

It's a software program tied into existing surveillance cameras and it looks for suspicious or out-of-the-ordinary behavior. Police are then alerted to this suspicious activity.

To watch the full story, click on news clip above from KPRC-TV in Houston.

In one actual surveillance video, captured in an undisclosed location outside of Houston at a train platform, a man put something suspicious under a bench. The camera noticed it and placed a red box around it, alerting authorities.

"We are trying to identify through video feeds what anomalous behavior is occurring," said Ray Cavanagh with software technology company Crescent Guardian. "If it's something out of the ordinary, it warrants a second look and should be responded."

It's not just packages. The software highlights other odd events, like video of a car following a train through a tunnel or where someone left a bag unintended.

In all these cases police or others were notified.

While none of these examples took place in the Houston area, Cavanagh said he has clients in Houston. For security reasons though, he can't disclose specifically what offices or agencies.

"It's not a magic pill in and of itself," said Cavanagh. "The video is out there. We know the video systems exist."

Cavanagh said outfitting an existing camera with this technology could run $5,000.

"Most importantly of all, what's the cost of a human life?" said Cavanagh. "A human life is worth trying to save and so if there are security events that we can prevent, such as some of the events that have occurred recently, it's well worth the price."

Visit KPRC-TV's website to see the original story.

 

 

May 23

Recently, Time Magazine published an article titled Homeland Insecurity: After Boston, The Struggle Between Liberty and Security. The piece questions at what point does the increased threat of terrorism encroach on our right to privacy. Well, as the world becomes more populated and potential threats rise, this very hot topic will continue to grow.

In short, the TIME article states, “With al-Qaeda weakened abroad but self-taught, wi-fi-empowered jihadis increasingly a threat at home, balancing freedom and security is an old problem we’ll have to get used to once again."

Security is a way of life in today’s world, and yet, all Americans deserve the right to their individual freedom. So, how can we strike a balance?

The article points to video surveillance and its intrusion on all individuals regardless of the possibility of security threats. While I believe that all individuals deserve their right to freedom, I equally believe that we deserve to be protected, or as protected as can be, from senseless and arbitrary violence.

The article goes on to say, “The failure to detect the brothers’ [Tsarnaev] plot seemed to some like a replay of 9/11, when communication failures between U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement services blew a chance to stop the attacks.”

In today’s world, video exists, whether we like it or not. Whether it is from stationary cameras posted on stoplights and street corners, or cameras in retails stores or offices, or on phones and handheld devices, it is everywhere. It is used most often as a forensic tool – evaluating situations after a breach occurs, such as breaking and entering, holdups, or even more violent acts of crime.

Although a camera captures images of all those in its field of view – perpetrator and victim alike – it is really only those who have had a hand in illegal acts that have cause for concern. According to Time’s article, authorities have identified a total of 21 homegrown jihadist-inspired terrorist plots and two attacks in the eight years after 9/11, and U.S. law enforcement made 42 arrests from May 2009 to December 2012. So whether it is acknowledged or not, the threat is real and it is here.

Now, take the fact that the average attention span of a security guard viewing CCTV feeds peaks at only 20 minutes. Given fatigue and other human factors, such as the blinking of an eye or some type of distraction, a high probability exists that some behavior will be missed. Fortunately, there are new tools, such as behavioral analytics, that assist human eyes by taking these video feeds and highlighting the potential threats while ignoring normal or ongoing behavior. This allows security personnel to anticipate possible threats and act accordingly. 



Not all potential threats can be acted upon and stopped before they occur, sometimes, because there is not enough warning. But the solutions such as behavioral analytics bypass the burden of needing human eyes staring at hundreds and hundreds of minutes of video footage 24x7, enabling primarily potential threats to be highlighted. At that point, experienced security personnel can decide if the threat is real and if it warrants further investigation.

By reducing the requirement to view all footage all the time, it does not offer greater liberty, but does put the emphasis squarely on prevention of threats rather than reacting to them after the fact.

We at Crescent Guardian believe it is every citizen’s right to civil liberties, but we also believe it is every citizen’s right to expect safety and security measures to protect us from harm. Continued vigilance by our citizens is the best way to reduce threats, but a helping hand from technology can go a long way to helping in the fight against crime and terrorism.

Fo more information on "smart" cameras and behavioral analytics, email rcavanagh@cgiprotects.com or call 504-483-7811.

Read the entire Time Magazine article here - http://swampland.time.com/2013/05/01/homeland-insecurity-after-boston-the-struggle-between-liberty-and-security/

Did The Boston Explosions Wake Americans Up?

// posted on Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Apr 24

 

Did The Boston Marathon Explosions Wake Americans Up?Throughout U.S. history, our nation has rarely experienced the conflict, terrorism, death and destruction seen so often in many other countries. But now that we have once again experienced the horribleness of an attack on the innocent, we evaluate the situation. Patriotic pride and compassion has engulfed the nation, authorities are on high alert and security has tightened. But has it awakened citizens from the unrealistic dream of total reliance upon authorities for their safety?

The Boston tragedy marked the first time since September 11, 2001 that a terrorism-related explosion causing death, injury and destruction had occurred on American soil. While not the magnitude of an event like 9/11, it still shook our country and raised the common, after-event thought: Could we have prevented this?
Questions will undoubtedly continue to snowball over the coming weeks until there are complete answers.

Why did Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev do it?

Did our country become complacent after over a decade of relative quiet?

Why did the government not know about this plot ahead of time?

Security is a challenging, tireless job that requires eternal vigilance. Security professionals across the world face an unending wave of criminals and terrorists looking to exploit any and every loophole or gap in protection. Some bad guys take a high-tech approach while others go basic; meaning the number of potential threats is infinite and methods of attack always changing.

Over time, it’s easy for people to become increasingly complacent and let their guard down. It’s human nature. Having gone more than a decade since 9/11, many terror plans have been foiled, perhaps lulling the public into a false sense of invincibility and complete reliance upon authorities. But for security to be as effective as possible, everyone must do their part, including citizens being aware of their surroundings and reporting suspicious activity.

As impossible as it may seem, security must always be on, alert and ready. Does that mean security can thwart any and every threat from happening? Only in a perfect world is that possible.

In cases where security is unable to entirely prevent a threat from turning into an incident, the response is the next most critical aspect. A fast, effective response will often reduce the degree of damage and keep a tragedy from morphing into a disaster. In Boston, the authorities responded instantly, doing an excellent job of diverting runners and spectators, attending to the injured, locking down the crime scene and preventing extreme panic.


The most important aspect of security is the help of the public.
While the ultimate goal of any security system is to lower response times and increase overall situational awareness, it’s important to remember that it merely provides tools to help prevent, reduce and respond to threats — such as smart surveillance cameras equipped with behavioral analytics software that instantly alerts security personnel of anything that seems out of the ordinary.

However, even the most advanced technology needs a human component. That human component not only includes security guards and police forces performing their duties, but private citizens as well. It is the responsibility of every man, woman and child to keep their eyes and ears open for anything unusual and to alert the proper authorities when necessary.


Terrorism has continually reared its ugly head all throughout human history, so it’s unlikely we’ve seen the last of it. If the authorities were armed with thousands of guards and the most advanced security technology at all times, they could still protect the public only so much. While the public is on edge at the moment, time will pass and anxiety will once again ease into complacency.

To better
anticipate, thwart and reduce threats, we all must work together and remember to always remain vigilant, not just at times immediately after an incident occurs. To assist and support is our first and last resort of true security. So after evaluating the situation, we now must ask, did what happened in Boston wake Americans up?

Mar 25

 

Is airport security becoming too advanced for its own good? Low-tech breaches may pose a significant danger. 
 
In today’s technology obsessed world, many companies often focus their security on stopping criminals who may hack their computer servers or dress in all-black special ops gear for a late night heist. Unsurprisingly, some criminals find a low-tech approach can often be the most successful.
 
There’s a saying that if you walk in somewhere like you own the place no one will question you. This kind of attitude, which surprisingly can be very effective, demands vigilance by security at all times. Take for instance a recent event at the Philadelphia International Airport. There, a phony pilot bluffed his way through airport security, boarded a U.S. Airways flight and actually made it all the way into the cockpit before the crew realized he was lying and arrested. In a situation reminiscent of Leonardo Dicaprio’s movie Catch Me If You Can, French citizen Phillipe Jeannard dressed like an Air France captain and even sported a fake Air France I.D. card. Fortunately, no one was harmed and no damage done… except to confidence in the airport’s security.

While the airport’s security will be thoroughly evaluated, its huge error provides a great opportunity for you to review how your organization protects itself. What kind of security are you employing and what kind of holes may there be? Physical security, an incredibly important aspect for proper safety, provides a primary buffer against criminal activity. When used in tandem with security technology, such as surveillance cameras, behavioral analytics software and access control, it helps ensure you employ several layers of security so an incident like the phony pilot doesn’t happen to you. It’s also important to make sure that physical security is doing its job. While access control can provide a secure barrier to unauthorized access by employees without true credentials, security guards are typically the first ones to interact with a potential criminal and could prevent the incident before advancing. Security guards must always be on their toes and demand proper procedures from everyone they encounter while on the job that is trying to gain access somewhere.

While many people get caught up in the latest security technology and protection methods, which can be essential to security, it’s important we don’t forget to keep our guard up and watch for the less obvious breaches. State-of-the-art security technology can do a lot to help protect us, but in the end it still comes down to people as being the most important line of defense.

Email us at rcavanagh@cgiprotects.com or call 504-483-7811 to find out more about traditional physical security and state-of-the-art technology.

Read more about the phony pilot's story here - http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/22/travel/pennsylvania-pilot-impersonation/index.html

U.S. Ports Activity & Security - An Infographic

// posted on Friday, March 08, 2013

Mar 08




U.S. ports are tempting targets criminals looking to smuggle or steal goods and for terrorists bent on killing large numbers of people, grabbing media attention, and disrupting the U.S. economy.

Port, ferry, and cruise-ship terminals are often located in highly congested areas where large numbers of people live and work. Given the importance of foreign trade to the U.S. economy, an attack that shuts down a major American port for even a few days could devastate the regional economy served by that port.

With billions in goods and hundreds of thousands of people moving in and out of U.S. waterways every day, the incredible pressure on security personnel to constantly safeguard vessels, harbors, ports, waterfront facilities, and cargo from threats can seem overwhelming. But through some ground-breaking technology such as smart cameras with behavioral analytics, ports across the country are discovering there is an easier, more effective and cost-efficient way to protect themselves and the nation.

Review the infographic below and then email us at info@cgiprotects.com or call 504-483-7811 to find how this new technology can help put your port's security among the most advanced in the nation. (You can download a high resolution PDF of the graphic by clicking here.)






Let us help keep your port from becoming a victim to crime. Email or call us at 504-483-7811.



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