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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

 



Aug 06



 8 Simple 'Back To School' Security Tips - Keeping Children SafeAs the new school year draws closer, teachers and staff are scrambling to prepare for their incoming students. From developing lesson plans and dressing up classrooms to organizing files and holding meetings, it’s almost go time for schools. But recently, one of the most important aspects of preparing for the school year has become security.

While it is unfortunate to say, today's educational institutions must prepare for the worst while hoping for the best. It is the only way to help reduce the risk of an incident becoming yet another tragedy.

Children deserve to feel and be safe, especially in environments where they learn, play and grow into the future of our cities, nation and world. That’s why we here at Crescent Guardian would like to share these simple tips that can be implemented along with any security plans that have been instituted at your school.

8 SIMPLE SCHOOL SECURITY TIPS TO HELP INCREASE SAFETY

  • On a daily basis, make sure all classroom windows are locked
  • Distribute lists that notify staff who share copies of which keys
  • Designate different doors for entry and exit
  • Establish secure locations/safe rooms for hiding
  • Develop code words for intercom use that alerts staff and students of specific situations
  • Form teams so every member knows what role to perform in an emergency
  • Train faculty and staff how to defuse potentially violent situations
  • Turn off all lights in a room to signify to first responders that no one is in the room or to give that illusion to any possible perpetrators

 
For Further Assistance

Crescent Guardian is using its 20 years of experience in the public and private sector to offer holistic security solutions to interested school systems -- as there is no greater 'asset' we can safeguard than our children's safety. Our school-specific consultancy works with every type of school (K – 12, public, private, chartered and higher education) to identify potential security gaps and offer a full service, comprehensive assessment and recommendations for building stronger security.

Crescent Guardian is committed to the safety and security of our students and teachers. Let us work with you to find the right solutions.

  • Overall School Safety and Security Assessment
  • Emergency Preparedness Planning
  • Crisis Planning
  • Situational Awareness and Multi-System Integration
  • Security Risk Management - Identification, Assessment, and Prioritization of risks
  • Measurement of Risk Reduction
  • Evaluate effectiveness of the programs
  • Train personnel for effective security management

For more information on these school security consulting services,
please call (504) 483-7811 or email rcavanagh@cgiprotects.com.


Together, we can create safer and more secure learning environments for our children.

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/

Apr 05



Businesses usually get so wrapped up in their operation that security can often take a backseat and become an afterthought. The unfortunate thing is that line of action can cost a business... and cost them big.

Recently, copper thieves in the Greater New Orleans have been targeting air conditioner units in residential and commercial locations because they are easy targets. While this has increased in New Orleans, it's important to remember that copycat criminals often start similar crime waves in other areas. The thieves have been stealing the copper and aluminum condenser coils inside the units to sell as scrap, but because the metal is a mixture, it doesn't fetch as high a price as refined copper.

What's that mean? While the thieves do not make much on the actual theft, the businesses that fall victim to the crime are often left staring at a significant price tag of a few thousand dollars for fixing or replacing the units. One victim incurred $70,000 worth of damage. That's pretty incredible since the thieves don't really make that money on the theft, but do cause significant damage.



Theft of copper, brass and other valuable metals have become common as the cost of metal has risen. Thieves often will pull copper piping in homes under construction and cut brass fittings off office-building emergency fire hoses for easy scores. This type of theft is increasingly becoming one of single the biggest headaches for businesses. Not only are these metals increasingly valuable, access to it is generally pretty easy. Most construction sites or holding areas leave these items out in plain site, with little or no security in place to protect it.



Like any other company asset, copper needs to be accounted for and managed. Businesses concerned with protecting their assets should have a security risk assessment performed by a reputable security firm. It is essential to make sure the premises has all the appropriate security precautions needed. Guard Services and Video Monitoring solutions, such as surveillance cameras, motion detectors, and access control systems, can greatly help reduce loss via theft. These systems can play a large role in deterring crime, often identifying and preventing potential breaches or thefts before they can occur. And if they do occur, it's important to have the resources in place to be used for prosecution and insurance purposes.



Crescent Guardian has the means and capabilities to add video to any company's security mix, and guards to respond to potential security breaches -- saving a tremendous amount of time and money in prosecuting and trying to recover lost goods.

For more information on our free security risk assessments or how we can help you increase your security while decreasing your costs, email rcavanagh@cgiprotects.com or call 504.483.7811.

For more on the copper theft from air conditioning units story, click here - http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2013/04/copper_thieves_again_targeting.html#incart_river_default

Mar 01



Since the events of December 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut, Crescent Guardian has been actively reaching out to school administrators to offer guidance as well as meticulously following news stories and developments in technologies designed to specifically secure our children's schools. Some schools, such as Emerson Academy in Dayton, Ohio, have gotten creative with an automated 'machine' called the Lobby Guard, whereas others are still in debate over the presence of armed or unarmed guards in their schools and whether that is a good use of community funds. The answer is simple: Yes, it is

While a robot monitoring the halls seems like a good idea on paper (maybe not the balance sheet), the fact is that someone - teacher, police officer, armed guard - still needs to be present to dispatch any serious threat. The few minutes that could take could be the difference between a peaceful resolution or something more dire. One example of an elementary school facing this dilemma, of many across the country, is Eliot Elementary in Tulsa, Oklahoma. While they have finally been able to hire an armed guard for $10,000 (this article does not state if the duration is for a year or specific times on duty), the school is still receiving push-back from parents who do not want guns present on the campus—at all.

We applaud the school for this effort, and without getting into whether or not the option of an unarmed or Taser/pepper spray-yielding guard could have been an option, the fact remains that a person devoted to the security of an area is better than no protection at all. Could $10,000 have gone to computers? Absolutely. But without anyone to ensure they stay on premises, they're only useful tools until they walk out the door. 

Our children's security should never be up for discussion. The options are plentiful: Guards, cameras, RFID badges... Even a robot. Something is better than nothing.

Sidenote: If you have not received an email or call from one of our team regarding a free assessment to keep our schools safe, please reach out to us at 504-483-7811 or email rcavanagh@cgiprotects.com



The Convergence of Physical and IT Security

// posted on Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sep 13


It wasn’t long ago when physical security was comprised simply of locks and keys and the occasional fence or guard dog as a deterrent. Those days have passed as surely as vinyl records have been replaced by digital music.

Guard services serve a two-fold purpose: To deter potential security breaches via their presence, and to react to breaches as they occur. However, the technique of simply stationing a guard or patrolling an area is no longer adequate and must be augmented by electronic tools that enable personnel to increase overall coverage.

Unlike on TV shows and movies, a guard making rounds typically will not see signs of forced entry very easily. Although the move to automated access control, such as swipe, prox and smart cards, has modernized entrance points of facilities, it also becomes more difficult to identify when those portals have been breached. Access control can be fooled through the use of cloned cards or access to the network, making the facility appear as though all is well.

So, how does today’s security officer counter the potential threat? The use of video is one possibility. But how does a guard both observe video while inspecting a facility? One answer can be found in the next generation of analytics.

While video is ubiquitous today, many cameras still employ analog devices. 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 anomalous behavior, which can be sent to a guard’s handheld unit to facilitate rapid response and stop potential breaches. This system essentially allows the user to “set it and forget it,” making it one of the easiest, most effective systems to install and use.

Remote monitoring is another way of leveraging technology with physical security. Video today is used most often for remediation, not prevention. In our litigious society, lawsuits abound on falls from spilled coffee, or broken bones from tripping on a carpet at the store. While it is critically important to be able to use video for remedying these issues, it is more efficient and less time consuming to prevent these issues in the first place. While live monitoring of video might not be able to stop an individual from slipping on a coffee spill, it might provide staff the opportunity to clean up the spot before an accident occurs.

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. Additionally, on-site monitoring feeds can be disrupted, damaged or even lost.
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 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, cohesive 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.

As criminals become more tech-savvy, it is up to security professionals to stay several steps ahead. We will never eliminate the need for live response to situations and security personnel to deter threats. However, by augmenting the human factor with automation, overall coverage can be vastly improved, costs reduced and the ability to prevent crime before occurring substantially increased. In a peek at the future, the convergence of physical and IT security will play a huge role in better anticipating threats and adapting to trends. Now, it is just a matter of making sure everyone’s security has switched from “vinyl” to “digital.”


To see this article as published in Security Magazine, click here.

Written by Ray Cavanagh, Vice President of Crescent Guardian & ASIS Physical Security Council Board Member

Jun 08


Port Authority to replace security firm involved with fake ID scandal at Newark Airport

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey wants to replace the private security firm that employed a supervisor at a Newark airport who authorities said was an illegal immigrant using the identity of a dead man. The bi-state agency said it will seek bids on services to replace the previous firm. [Read more of the story here]
 
Identifying The People Behind An ID

It’s truly unfortunate what happened at Newark Airport, but thankfully nothing more serious occurred. Regardless, the situation brings up an incredibly important topic that must be discussed, especially in this day and age.

Security vetting, a.k.a. background checks, is a critical aspect of true security. Whether it’s your child’s babysitter, the pilot of a commercial airliner, a government official or just someone applying to work for your company, it is imperative you know who they really are and if you can trust them.



These days identify theft is rampant, but as criminals become more and more technologically savvy, it’s only going to increase. That’s may be bad news for individuals, but it can mean even greater consequences for critical infrastructure environments such as airports and transportation, where the theft can affect more than one person at any given time.

Having your credit cards stolen or your bank account compromised can be traumatic enough, but having personnel who are not properly scrutinized can significantly impact the lives of hundreds of people at the one time, such as passengers on an airliner.



Bargain Bin Security?

Additionally, proper training and focused education play a key role in keeping our nation’s airports, rail lines and shipping lanes safe for all. Too many companies bid out these services and award the contract to the lowest bidder. But the question we all must ask ourselves is: Wouldn’t you rather pay a little bit more to absolutely ensure your safety?



At Crescent Guardian, we believe background checks are essential and a major part of what responsible security companies do every day. Like the old saying goes, you get what you pay for—So make sure you aren’t selling your safety short.

Call 504-483-7811 or email info@cgiprotects.com us at CGI to discuss how we can properly ensure the security of your facilities, infrastructure and more.


Could The "$80 Million Heist" Have Been Prevented?

// posted on Tuesday, May 08, 2012

May 08

Arrests Made in $80 Million Eli Lilly Drug Theft

Two brothers were recently arrested and charged by federal authorities for their alleged participation in the largest drug heist in the history of the state of Connecticut—The theft of $80 million worth of pharmaceutical drugs from the Eli Lilly Co. distribution center in 2010. [Read more of the story here]

Could The "$80 Million Heist" Have Been Prevented?

Tom Cruise's character from the Mission Impossible movies would have been impressed with how the thieves executed their heist, but that's about it. Unlike most movies, the law eventually catches up with criminals.

CGI Protects is thrilled that the perpetrators in the Eli Lilly case were finally captured, but this is a classic example of how our approach to Security—Which is to prevent rather than remediate breaches—is incredibly important now more than ever. The time drained to identify the perpetrators of the thefts and the loss of an estimated $80M in stolen prescription drugs might have been easily avoided with a holistic Security approach that could include video, analytics and RFID tags. 

CGI has been in the business of preventing Security breaches such as this for over 20 years using a wide array of technology solutions, including remote monitoring of sites, first responder services and cutting edge video monitoring and analytics software. With a holistic approach, you not only save money, but also prevent wasted time and money after experiencing a crime.

See if you have any weak points with a Free Security Assessment

Ready to see how you can increase your overall security coverage while spending less?

CGI Protects offers free security assessments for company sites to evaluate and recommend solutions designed to prevent security breaches such as the Eli Lilly case from occurring, potentially saving tens of thousands of dollars in pursuing legal recourse and other costs, such as increased insurance premiums.

Call 504.483.811 or email us to learn more about our free security assessments.

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