Don’t Be Victimized by Your Own Security Devices: How to Secure Your Remote Guarding System

Two-thirds of the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department’s outdoor surveillance cameras were taken over by Romanian hackers just before the inauguration of President Trump. This attack could have had a catastrophic impact on the security of the 2017 Presidential Inauguration. Fortunately, the attackers used the compromised systems to send spam emails that contained ransomware malware and were apparently uninterested in using the control of the cameras in connection with a physical attack.[note]Weiner, Rachel “Romanian hackers took over D.C. surveillance cameras just before presidential inauguration federal prosecutors say” Washington Post, 28 Dec. 2017; see also the Criminal Complaint in United States v. Isvanca and Cismaru, United States District Court for the District of Columbia, 11 Dec. 2017.[/note]

On October 21, 2016, a massive distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack made Twitter, Netflix, Amazon, and many other online services unavailable for millions of users. The culprit – hundreds of thousands of compromised surveillance cameras that had been taken over by attackers using the Mirai malware. The cameras had been taken over by the attacker who in turn used them to flood major internet sites with junk traffic causing the sites to be overloaded and inaccessible to legitimate users. Attackers often commit these types of attack to demand a ransom payment to allow the sites to return to normal operation.[note]Krebs, Brian “Hacked Cameras, DVRs Powered Today’s Massive Internet Outage“ 21 Oct. 2016, KrebsonSecurity, krebsonsecurity.com/2016/10/hacked-cameras-dvrs-powered-todays-massive-internet-outage/; see also, Fruhlinger, Josh, “The Mirai botnet explained: How teen scammers and CCTV cameras almost brought down the internet” 9 Mar. 2018, CSO, www.csoonline.com/article/3258748/security/the-mirai-botnet-explained-how-teen-scammers-and-cctv-cameras-almost-brought-down-the-internet.html[/note]

These attacks demonstrate the danger of a lack of attention to information technology security during the deployment of security devices intended to enhance physical security. The internet of things (“IoT”) is revolutionizing physical security. Remote guarding systems rely upon internet connectivity in order to function. The cameras, sensors, recording devices, and monitoring stations function as a remote guarding system through the use of internet connections and IoT devices. Security cameras that previously operated in isolated environments are now connected to the world. In fact, the name, “closed circuit television” — CCTV — contemplates a closed system where viewing was limited to those who had access to the wired cables run from the cameras to the viewing screens. Organizations that want to harness the benefits of remote guarding and other IoT systems designed to enhance physical security assume that these devices are secure and can be deployed without much expertise. It is certainly counter-intuitive to think that security devices may be unsafe if the deployment of the devices is not carefully integrated into a robust overall information technology security strategy. As the previous headline making stories demonstrate, even sophisticated municipal IoT systems can be vulnerable to attack.

The internet is a dangerous place. Any device connected to the internet is subject to remote attack. Legions of cyber criminals scan the internet for vulnerable systems and devices. It is not uncommon for new devices connected to the internet to be under attack within seconds of being first connected. There are a variety of tools used to detect vulnerable IoT devices connected to the internet. For example, the website known as “Shodan” operates as “the search engine for the internet of things.” Shodan searches can be used to generate lists of known vulnerable devices that have been discovered on the internet. In preparation for this article I ran a quick scan of Shodan for surveillance cameras that have default credentials. The Shodan report located 8,411 cameras installed in the United States that are operating with default credentials. Figure 1 is a screenshot of the Shodan report summarizing the details of these devices. To further illustrate the point, I ran a second search of surveillance cameras with the username set to “admin” and the password set to “admin” – a very guessable configuration. Figure 2 demonstrates the summary of the 1,855 devices I found in the United States that fit that profile. An attacker with very little skill could easily access these cameras and take control of them.

Cyber crime journalist Brian Krebs wrote a number of articles about Mirai, and documented how poor security in the implementation of many IoT security devices played a huge role in the magnitude of the attack. He included a spreadsheet of the default credentials of many IoT security cameras, which I have included as Figure 3.[note]Krebs, Brian “Who Makes the IoT Things Under Attack?” 3 Oct. 2016, KrebsonSecurity, krebsonsecurity.com/2016/10/who-makes-the-iot-things-under-attack/ (The author is grateful to Mr. Krebs for giving permission for the use of the graphic in Figure 3.)[/note] It is trivially easy for attackers to use these credentials to take control of the devices.

Where do we start?

The purpose of this article is to establish that careful attention to information technology security is a critical component of the deployment of a remote guarding system. In addition, this article will establish some basic guidelines to use in safely deploying remote guarding systems. Fortunately, there are a number of key factors and tools that can be used to meet this goal. First, be aware of the threat. Second, follow information technology best practices in the deployment of any remote guarding system. Third, check the integration of the system to make sure that it meets well-established standards.

Be aware of the threat

Any time new technology is deployed executives must ask a key question – “what can go wrong?” Surprisingly little thought is given to the consequences of a breach of the security caused by the deployment of a new device or system of devices. Executives and their teams should think carefully about the consequences of a breach of the security of the device. What is at stake? How could this device be used against us or our community? Could an attacker use remote access to this resource to enable or enhance the effectiveness of a physical attack? In most instances attention to these details will demonstrate a need to ensure that the device is properly secured. The counterweight to these considerations is usually convenience. Convenience and security are always in tension with one another.

A quick and basic example of this tension is useful for demonstrating the concept. Should you set a password on your smartphone? Many people do not set a password on their smartphone because they don’t like to be inconvenienced or bothered when they pick up their phone. While people are free to make this (unwise) choice for their own personal security, it is totally unacceptable for a work smartphone. Anyone who finds or steals the device would be able to get instant access to confidential information that may prove devastating to their organization’s operations. This tension between security and convenience plays a role in decisions about implementing technology at all levels of an organization. Think about the smartphone example and apply the same sort of decisions that need to be made about complex systems. In many instances security suffers as a result of decisions made in favor of convenience.

I hope that it is clear that the internet is an extremely dangerous environment and attackers are constantly on the lookout for unsecured or poorly secured resources to attack. Executives need to be wary of the risks posed by the deployment of new technology in this extremely dangerous environment. They also must be aware of the tension between security and convenience and how that tension may influence decisions made in the implementation of new systems.

Use Best Practices to Achieve Defense-in-Depth

The good news is that a tremendous amount of effort and research has been conducted in how to secure resources that communicate over the internet. As a result a number of best practices have been developed that serve as guide for the implementation of any system. The basic concepts behind these best practices help to promote robust security. The key to robust security is defense in depth. Remote guarding systems and other critical IoT devices should have multiple overlapping security features. This ensures that even if one safeguard should fail, the device will remain secure.

Some familiar examples of best practices include the following:

  • Inventory and control of hardware assets – It is surprising how many organizations lack information about the devices that are installed on their networks. A robust security plan includes keeping a careful inventory and requiring that every device meets the organizations security requirements.
  • Require multifactor authentication (MFA) – this best practice requires that a user’s access to a system needs more than just a password. This provides an extra layer of defense in the case of a stolen password.
  • Enforce password security – by ensuring that passwords meet complexity requirements and ensuring no weak or default passwords are used. This best practice provides protection against easily guessed, brute forced, or cracked passwords.
  • Keep devices and software up to date with the latest software and firmware patches.
  • Use of Virtual Private Networks (VPN) – many organizations utilize VPN technology to ensure that all remote access to a resource occurs over an encrypted connection. In addition, the requirement that devices cannot be remotely accessed without using the VPN prevents outsiders from being able to connect to or even scan the protected assets.

These are some examples of basic best practices that should be considered when deploying IoT security devices.

Standards Matter

It is often difficult for executives to determine whether newly deployed systems meet the security standards that our organizations expect. In most cases, executives lack the training and experience to determine whether the information technology staff members are using best practices and are implementing a robust information technology security plan. Unfortunately, leaders typically do not discover that security has been lacking until there is a breach of security.

The answer to this dilemma is the adoption of standards. There are several extremely well-developed standards that can be used to guide an organization towards robust information technology security. I recommend the Center for Internet Security’s 20 Critical Security Controls. These controls, which are listed in order of priority, “collectively form a defense-in-depth set of best practices that mitigate most common attacks against systems and networks.”[note]Center for Internet Security “CIS Controls V7” 19 Mar. 2018, available at www.cisecurity.org/[/note] According to several studies, adopting the first five controls will stop 85% of all attacks, while implementing all 20 controls will prevent 97% of attacks.[note]See for example: Smith, Travis, “Foundational Controls Work – A 2017 DBIR Review” 1 May 2017, Tripwire, www.tripwire.com/state-of-security/featured/foundational-controls-work-a-2017-dbir-review/; and Perez, Juan C., “Implementing the CIS 20 Critical Security Controls: Slash Risk of Cyber Attacks by 85%” 14 Nov. 2017, Qualys Blog, blog.qualys.com/news/2017/11/14/implementing-the-cis-20-critical-security-controls-slash-risk-of-cyber-attacks-by-85.[/note]

It is also critical to vet potential vendors to ensure that they meet well established industry standards. Underwriter Laboratories (UL) has issued standards for remote guarding providers. The certification requirements are found in UL 827 and 827B. Elite Interactive Solutions was the first remote guarding provider to be UL certified.

About the Author

Justin Feffer is currently a law enforcement officer commanding the Cyber Crime Investigation Section of a large law enforcement agency in Southern California. He has been assigned to the investigation of cyber crime since 2004.

As a sworn law enforcement officer in Southern California since 1988, and a California attorney since 1994, Justin has instructed thousands of law enforcement officers, prosecutors and public officials throughout the United States and internationally in cyber security, cyber crime and high technology threats.

Justin is a graduate of information technology crimes investigation programs conducted by the SANS Institute, Carnegie Melon’s CERT-CC, FBI, HTCIA, and the California Department of Justice. He is also a member of the High Technology Crimes Investigation Association (HTCIA) and is the sole instructor of the FBI-LEEDA Advanced Identity Theft courses. He holds Global Information Assurance Certifications as a Penetration Tester (GPEN), Security Analyst (GSEC), and Forensic Analyst (GCFA). Justin also serves on the Elite Interactive Solutions Law Enforcement Advisory Board (“LEAB”), where his insight and passion for Remote Guarding benefit both Elite’s clients and law enforcement partners.

5 Ways Property Managers Create Successful Security Systems

Property managers have their hands full, especially when it comes to establishing successful security systems on their properties. There are many pieces to the puzzle that come together in order for a property to protect itself properly.

So what are the crucial elements property managers examine when building a great security system? For a free consultation that highlights your property’s unique vulnerabilities and solutions to address these concerns, contact Elite’s experienced security consultants by clicking here.

Below are five great approaches property managers take when it comes time to secure their buildings properly:

1. Determine Your Property’s Security Needs

property security management

Every property is different and therefore requires different security solutions. Typically, these systems are a combination of different types of security methods and tools, such as cameras, human security guards, and access control.

It’s important to consider who the tenants are and where they are when considering various options to meet their needs.

  • Do the building’s tenants expect a high level of security in place?
  • What are their general expectations? 

For example, luxury buildings in a busy downtown area may have multiple high-security methods in place such as desk guards, secured access points, and cameras. On the other hand, a building in more rural areas may not need to have such extensive security solutions integrated on site to be successful.

Considering the geographical location of a property is an essential step for property managers when deciding on the best solution.

2. Secure All Bases

property security coverage

It is crucial to build a security system that protects the property in multiple ways, instead of focusing on just one issue. Additionally, the system should utilize different methods and not rely too much on one component or tool to solve all of the property’s security issues.

A building will normally need to protect against various threats and require a strategic approach to create a holistic solution. For example, while it is important to vet visitors to the property and avoid potential theft or violence,  internal theft can also be a concern at offices or retail outlets.

On the other hand, residents and tenants of the property shouldn’t feel like they’re living under military rule and be able to live comfortably within the space.

To accomplish this, property managers can use different types of security solutions such as remote guarding systems, access control tools, and human security professionals on site to make important decisions about the system’s functionality.

3. Plan for the Unknown

security system questions

After a security system has been chosen and installed, it is important to plan for any unexpected issues that may come up. Ideally, your security providers will do a thorough consultation and risk assessment, customized to the unique needs of your facility. This step can ensure the new system will integrate well into the rest of the building’s systems.

Security technology is changing constantly, and there’s a high likelihood that property managers or even on-site security managers may be unfamiliar with some innovations. Make sure building staff are trained properly and feel comfortable using the new security system once it is ready to go.

4. Understand Your Total Security Costs

security system cost

A property’s security system should protect against various kinds of criminal activity which lead to costs for property managers. Theft, vandalism, and violence are just a few ways costs can add up when security isn’t doing its job. Property managers also need to balance their needs for quality with security systems that make financial sense to install.

For example, it doesn’t make sense to spend money on hundreds of surveillance cameras when only a handful will do the job just as well. Contact a skilled security company that can help design an effective and efficient solution for property managers looking for additional design expertise. Make sure to use a consultant that is not incentivized to sell you a bunch of equipment. Their focus should be on creating the most effective and efficient system possible based on your property’s unique needs and vulnerabilities.

5. Make a Smart Investment

security system investment

A great security system will also double as a smart investment in the long run. Innovative security technology and solutions can increase the marketability of a building and become the deciding factor for potential tenants considering other options. Tools such as access control can even connect with other building systems to use utilities such as air conditioning more efficiently, helping save money on utility costs.

However, it’s critical to never sacrifice a security systems effectiveness to improve ROI. Providing the safest environment possible should be the top priority for all property and building managers.

To learn more about receiving a free Elite security consultation, contact us by clicking here.

5 Ways Remote Guarding Systems Are Revolutionizing Business Security

Every day, more and more business owners are discovering the incredible benefits of Remote Guarding systems. Unlike traditional security methods, this innovative solution actually helps prevent property crime before it starts, as opposed to only providing footage of what happened after the fact. By combining military grade analytics, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT), Remote Guarding solutions are helping to dramatically improve security levels across multiple industries and organizations. How exactly does Remote Guarding work? What are the specific ways in which this incredible solution is supporting healthy and profitable business growth? In this article, we break down some of the benefits of switching from a traditional security solution to a customized Remote Guarding system.

1. Lowers long-term crime rates

Over time, the installation of Remote Guarding systems has been shown to have a positive effect on long-term crime rates. This can be attributed to the tremendous increase in difficulty levels for criminals trying to bypass the security solution installed on the property. As the months go by, local criminals attempt to break into the protected facility less and less. This was witnessed first hand by one of our clients, Village Christian Schools. An Elite case study showed a dramatic drop in the number of voice downs Elite had to conduct to trespassers over a twelve month period.

2. Reduces Liability and Risk Levels

Another important benefit of Remote Guarding systems is the reduction in risk and liability levels they bring. Elite’s “digital guards” are capable of alerting human security agents of any unwanted activity on a property. Cameras on the facility record 24/7 as well, making sure to capture any high risk or vulnerable areas in particular. All of this becomes very useful information when any sort of theft, accident, or dispute occurs within the organization.

stair level 5

Normally there is a lack of evidence when an employee, customer, or visitor makes a claim and sues the organization. Having high-quality video footage can be enormously helpful in resolving these issues and avoiding fraudulent lawsuits. Insurance companies can also give discounts to organizations that install Remote Guarding security systems, as they know the risk levels for securing that organization go down significantly.

Businesses can save significantly in legal expenses, insurance costs, and prevent significant theft by installing a Remote Guarding security solution on their premises.

 

3. Identifies and protects vulnerable areas

Often times, criminals are able to break into businesses because of poorly protected “weak spots” around the property. These may be places where camera coverage skips, or perhaps a hole in the fence that grants access to a restricted area. Professional criminals are obviously experts at exploiting these weaknesses and using them for their greatest benefit. Thankfully, Remote Guarding security systems work to address these concerns immediately. One of the first steps Elite consultants take is a forensic analysis of the property to identify any vulnerable areas and options to secure those spots as effectively as possible. In this area, Remote Guarding expertise comes into play and helps Elite engineer the perfect security blueprints for each facility. Remote Guarding Forensic Site Analysis Blueprint

4. Builds relationships with local law enforcement

Having a great relationship with local law enforcement agencies can be incredibly beneficial to a business. Thankfully, this is an area in which Elite’s Remote Guarding security solutions excel. Elite Interactive Solutions works hard to establish relationships with local law enforcement agencies around the country by providing essential assistance to officers. Remote Guarding solutions actually lower false alarms significantly, helping to free up law enforcement resources for more important incidents. Additionally, Elite’s remote security agents work hand in hand with officers to make sure they are safe when responding to crimes on a facility. They are able to provide the criminal’s location and inform the officer whether or not they have a weapon. This valuable collaboration makes a big difference to a businesses’ security, as officers know that a call from their property is definitely something serious and not a false alarm.

Live Arrest

5. Provides peace of mind during overnight hours

Overnight security can bring a lot of stress and anxiety to business owners and managers. Their property is vulnerable to attack during the dark night and they may show up at work tomorrow to a terrible incident. False alarms during the night can also cause unwanted and unnecessary responses at times of rest. Remote Guarding security systems are incredible at resolving these issues and restoring peace of mind to business owners. Our agents work throughout the night and work with Elite’s onsite “digital guards” to get rid of trespassers and prevent crime from occurring. Any incidents that do occur are handled thoroughly by the agents and law enforcement if necessary. In the morning, business owners receive a daily activity report that shows any incidents that may have occurred during the night.

Active Shooter Protection

In conclusion, Remote Guarding security systems provide a lot of important benefits for businesses around the country. Pro-active crime prevention is possible when a security solution is able to effectively reduce liability levels, improve law enforcement partnerships, and provide peace of mind. To learn more about how Remote Guarding solutions can help your organization, contact us here.

 

Your Apartment Security System Could Be Better

Most apartment buildings have vulnerabilities and holes in their security plans. This leaves residents open to a host of attacks by thieves, vandals, and trespassers. For example, apartment parking garages are regularly subject to car theft and damage, especially during overnight hours. Unfortunately, it is the residents that pay the price when these incidents occur, having to pay for broken windows, stolen sound systems, or even stolen cars. Property managers can suffer from a poorly performing apartment security system as well. Individuals can claim fraudulent lawsuits by stating that they “slipped” or hurt themselves due to facility flaws made by the property management company. Situations like this can cause major disputes and lead to hefty payments for incidents that may have never even occurred. So what can be done to improve apartment security systems and protect both residents and managers?

apartment security system analytic
Remote Guarding digital guards can detect unwanted intruders

Eliminating Apartment Security Gaps

One great solution is Remote Guarding security. This system works specifically during high-risk overnight hours to cover any gaps in security and boost protection levels for the entire property. Human security guards work hard, but even the best ones cannot monitor all parts of the property at the same time. Remote Guarding solutions fill in protection gaps like this by integrating “Digital Guards” throughout the property. These cameras are integrated with artificial intelligence that enables them to detect any unwanted intruders that make their way onto the facility. These digital guards never sleep and are able to cover the entire perimeter for hours without taking a single break.

Lowering Risk & Liability Levels

In addition to overnight protection, Remote Guarding cameras record activity 24/7. This means that any incident or dispute that happens on the property will be recorded in high definition and available for management to review in case evidence is needed to resolve the issue. This footage can be invaluable to property managers looking to lower their risk and liability levels while providing a fair and accurate way to manage disputes.

Pro-Active Solutions Prevent Housing Crime

Often times, law enforcement response to incidents can be delayed or slow. This can happen for various reasons such as lack of immediate communication with local agencies or post-incident verification of a crime. Remote Guarding security solutions also help cover the gaps in these situations. Digital guard cameras immediately send any intruder alerts to highly trained human security agents working remotely at a command center. These agents are able to step into any situation in real-time and work with law enforcement officers to resolve the incident or make an arrest. By taking a pro-active approach, Remote Guarding solutions are often able to prevent crime before it happens, instead of just dealing with the aftermath of a dangerous crime. Over time, this approach actually discourages future criminal activity from occurring. As local criminals and trespassers realize that the security gaps they exploited in the past have closed, they stop targeting the apartment building and move their efforts to other, more vulnerable properties.

Remote Guarding security agents
Remote Guarding agents work all night to resolve incidents in real-time

Positive Ripple Effects of Improved Apartment Security

Giving your apartment security system a boost can have incredibly positive effects on the apartment building and everybody involved in its activities. As crime goes down more and more, residents will start to feel safer at home. They may start taking their children outside more often or go for walks at night with greater peace of mind. Property managers will start noticing a drop in fraudulent lawsuits and a greatly improved system for resolving disputes. Property values can even rise due to an increased level of security, which can lead to lower insurance payments for the facility.

Thanks to innovations in the security industry, solutions like Remote Guarding are making a big impact in housing communities. By integrating tools and methods that address a properties vulnerabilities, security levels and protections can rise significantly. Dealing with security issues in a pro-active manner is just a smarter and more efficient way to protect residents and employees in housing communities. As more apartment buildings incorporate Remote Guarding solutions throughout the country, residents will continue to see a rise in their protection levels and peace of mind.

To learn more about Remote Guarding & apartment building security, click here

Remote Guarding Systems – Bringing Officer Safety to New Heights

Written by: Tom Stone

Law enforcement executives are faced with unparalleled challenges as they lead agencies in what has been described as a “climate of uncertainty”.  They must continually seek out the best solutions available for helping to control uncertainties faced by their officers in the field.  This challenge is exacerbated by the fact they are often operating under the constraints of limited funds. A Remote Guarding system is one such solution, providing significant improvements by helping officers respond more safely, from responding to calls for service to apprehending perpetrators, and doing so at no charge (for free) to the agencies.

Officer Safety: A Key Component of Remote Guarding Systems

Officer safety benefits are among the key attributes of Remote Guarding systems that dramatically impact law enforcement.  Through the integration of advanced technology including digital video and military-grade artificial intelligence software, standardized procedural tactics, and extensively trained former law enforcement or military personnel, Remote Guarding agents are able to provide responding officers with an unmatched level of live, tactical support in real time. These remotely located agents can provide responding law enforcement personnel with real-time information such as suspect location, any movements, and whether any weapons have been seen.

As a result, any law enforcement response to client sites that are secured by Remote Guarding has a very real safety advantage and an increased likelihood of apprehending not only the most obvious suspects but occasionally additional suspects who might otherwise not have been detected by onsite personnel.  While criminals may scatter and hide when law enforcement arrives, they cannot escape the ever-vigilant eyes of the multiple cameras wherever Remote Guarding is deployed.

Remote guarding

Removing Uncertainty from Dangerous Situations

In today’s climate, law enforcement officers are subject to unprecedented scrutiny.  Police use of force is one of the most controversial subjects in the United States. As an example, the California State Assembly is working on legislation which seeks to impose far greater criminal sanctions against law enforcement’s use of deadly force.  The proposed standard criminalizes the reasonable use of deadly force unless it can be demonstrated that the use of deadly force was “necessary.”  In addition, the proposed legislation disallows a justifiable homicide defense if tactics prior to the shooting were “grossly negligent.” The vastly increased real-time information available to responding officers as a result of Remote Guarding removes much of the uncertainty the officers will face when apprehending the suspect.  This, in turn, enhances not only the safety of the officers but also the safety of the suspect.

“The suspect is wearing a red shirt and blue pants.  He is now walking northbound in the west internal driveway, between the parts room and storage area number three.  He has what appears to be a large crowbar in his right hand and a flashlight in his left hand.”

Does this sentence sound complicated?  Well, maybe it is to the average person, but not to Remote Guarding agents or to law enforcement officers!  The above sentence is not the exception, but pretty much average verbiage that takes place on a daily basis between the well-trained Remote Guarding agents and their law enforcement colleagues.  It is this level of professionalism and specificity that enables officers to safely and swiftly respond to crimes in progress and to apprehend intruders.  The real-time assessment of exactly what is occurring and observations of what is in the suspect’s possession are invaluable to the safety of the officers and the manner of apprehension.

Real-Time Situational Awareness & Intelligence

Elite Interactive Solution’s Remote Guarding systems affords officers real-time situational awareness and intelligence. Further, this capability can be shared directly for law enforcement use, where in some cases a technology interface-capability can be developed for law enforcement communications centers and vehicles.  This intelligence gives responding officers and command staff timely information that supports quicker response times for tactical planning for potential detention/arrest situations.

Remote Guarding agents are the core team providing situational awareness and tactical support that have proven to be invaluable to responding officers’ safety, not only their physical well-being but also better assurance that officers will be much less likely to detain or arrest the wrong person, and thereby avoid negative public/law enforcement events.  Beyond the tactical support, Remote Guarding agents are professionally trained live eyewitnesses to crimes in progress, where the combination of video and witness information significantly improves criminal prosecution efforts.

Agent with crime

Whether large urban departments or smaller/rural agencies, response times can be lengthy and resources stretched.  Remote Guarding is an effective force multiplier by helping law enforcement improve response performance, in general, but particularly giving responding officers an extra degree of safety throughout the event.

One of the primary goals of law enforcement executives is to see that each officer returns home safely at the end of the tour.  Remote Guarding can certainly enhance this objective.

 

About the Author

Tom Stone

Tom Stone has more than four decades of law enforcement and public safety experience, including twenty-two years as Chief of Police / Public Safety Director.  As past President and Executive Director Emeritus of FBI-LEEDA, Tom has championed education for law enforcement agencies, developed curriculum, and instructed law enforcement agencies nationwide in law enforcement leadership and management.  Tom also serves as Board Chair for Elite Interactive Solutions Law Enforcement Advisory Board (“LEAB”), where his insight and passion for Remote Guarding benefit both Elite’s clients and law enforcement partners.

Contributing to this article are LEAB members Justin Feffer, Keith Bushey, Todd Ackerman, and Mitch Tavera.

Overnight Security Has a New Trailblazer: Remote Guarding

For decades, overnight security problems have been a major source of stress for business owners. Lone security guards, static surveillance cameras, and outdated alarm systems are some examples of ineffective security solutions companies have used to combat property crimes like trespassing, theft, and vandalism. However, a new security solution called Remote Guarding is now giving business owners the peace of mind they deserve when thinking about their overnight security concerns. Built specifically with overnight security problems in mind, Remote Guarding is disrupting the field by combining specialized people, processes, and technologies to fight overnight security problems. Here are a few ways this trailblazing new solution is changing overnight security:

Impressively boosts security coverage levels

Remote Guarding is incredible at preventing overnight crime and brings with it a dramatic drop in property crime months and years after installation. Previous security solutions left many gaps and vulnerabilities that criminals easily exploited and took advantage of. These weaknesses are eliminated when Remote Guarding companies like Elite Interactive Solutions conducted a customized, forensic analysis of each client’s property to identify any areas that could be at high-risk for criminal attempts. Additionally, the digital guards and artificial intelligence used in Remote Guarding establish a geo-fence that picks up on any activity that happens within the specified area. On a large property, it is nearly impossible to do that with one or two human security guards, as they can only be in one place at a time.

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Lowers risk & liability for businesses

There are so many risks and liabilities a business must endure when it comes to overnight security. Human security guards themselves are at risk if criminal activity results in violence, which in turn puts the company in jeopardy as well. Remote Guarding helps reduce this risk by moving security guards off-site to a remote command center and letting digital guards and audio speakers communicate with any potential criminals or trespassers on site. Remote Guarding can also come in handy if there are any disputes or fraudulent lawsuits attempted on the property. High definition video footage can be recovered to see what really happens and settle any clashes between parties.

Discourages criminals from coming back

Installing Remote Guarding solutions sends a message to the entire community. As criminals attempt to sneak onto the property and commit crimes, they are consistently caught and warned to leave before law enforcement is called. Eventually, the criminals in the area get the message and know not to mess with that business. This long-term deterrence of crime has incredibly positive ripple effects not only on the business but also the local community.

Brings peace of mind to businesses during the night

Turning properties into safe zones brings peace of mind to employees, customers, and residents of that area. Businesses, schools, and houses of worship can thrive under a level of protection they had previously never experienced before. Numerically this translates into higher profit margins and helps improve property values within the community. From a human perspective, it helps reduce the stress and anxiety that comes with overnight security problems, which leads to happier and healthier employees and business owners.

team

Remote guarding solutions are trailblazing and disrupting the world of overnight security. Traditional methods of preventing crime during these high-risk hours of the night are simply being outperformed by this new and innovative approach. By embracing novel solutions like Remote Guarding, business owners can increase their peace of mind, profit margins, and security levels significantly. When looking for a quality provider, be sure to ask whether they have their own command center and look at their list of clients to see if they have a credible list of customers. Solution providers should also provide a free consultation and work with your businesses to analyze the weak spots on your property before recommending equipment placement.

To learn more about Remote Guarding and get a free consultation, please contact Elite Interactive Solutions by clicking here.

Resolve Homeless Issues on Company Property

As business owners, resolving homeless issues has become one of the most intricate and complicated issues we face today. Finding security surveillance solutions can be difficult and require collaboration from different organizations within our communities. For businesses, trespassing and panhandling by homeless individuals can lower comfort levels of customers and employees at the company’s facility. More serious situations can arise when vandalism, overnight camps, and theft occur. Additionally, there are several reasons people fall into homelessness, such as job loss, mental illness, and drug/alcohol abuse; which make it difficult to know how to deal with homeless issues.

So what steps can businesses and organizations take to safeguard their facilities from crimes and incidents related to homelessness? One idea is to apply the “Broken Window Theory”, which states that maintaining and monitoring urban environments to prevent small crimes such as vandalism, public drinking, and turnstile-jumping helps create an atmosphere of order and lawfulness, thereby preventing more serious crimes from happening.

HOMELESS ISSUES

The theory assumes that the landscape “communicates” to people. A broken window transmits to criminals the message that a community displays a lack of informal social control and so is unable or unwilling to defend itself against a criminal invasion. It is not so much the actual broken window that is important, but the message the broken window sends to people.

There are also many other techniques you can utilize when dealing with incidents involving homelessness specifically, including parking lot security for trespassers.

Below is a list of precautions you can take to protect yourself and your company from potential damage or lawsuits.

  • Avoid confrontations and maintain a safe distance. Use caution in dealing with homeless individuals.
  • Do not offer food or money. It may encourage more panhandling. If you are inclined to help the homeless, it is better to contribute to local charities, missions, food banks or social service organizations that assist the needy.
  • Do not permit anyone to camp or loiter on your property.
  • Do not allow anyone to store shopping carts, bedding or other personal belongings on your property.
  • Restrict access to sidewalk overhangs, alcoves, or other areas protected from inclement weather.
  • Lock or remove handles from water spigots.
  • Keep trash dumpsters locked when not being filled or emptied.
  • Secure outside storage sheds or containers.
  • Lock or turn off exterior power outlets.
  • Lock gates after hours and enforce parking lot security for trespassers
  • Install motion-activated exterior lighting after hours.
  • Trim landscaping to eliminate hiding places.
    • Canopies of mature trees should be maintained at least 8 feet above the ground.
    • Bushes should be trimmed to less than 3 feet except where privacy or environmental noise mitigation is a primary concern, or where higher plants would not block any views/ lighting/camera coverage or provide hiding places.
  • Keep property free of trash, litter, junk, etc.
  • Use graffiti-resistant paint or anti-graffiti coatings on the sides of the building and any other design features that could be vandalized.
    • Additional protection can be obtained by planting vines and bushes along the sides of the buildings. They help keep vandals away from the walls and cover areas that might otherwise be vandalized.
    • Report graffiti and other vandalism and clean up promptly after the officers have taken pictures.
  • Design public amenities to discourage misuse. For example, shape benches and other seating to be comfortable for sitting but not for sleeping.
  • Have plants at sidewalk level. If raised planter boxes are used, the sides should be at least 4 feet high or their tops should uncomfortable for seating. By making them very narrow and allowing plants to grow over them, it will make them less desirable.
  • Establish, post, and enforce rules of conduct for public use of private property. Include signs of nighttime curfews and prohibitions of loitering, illegal lodging, drinking alcoholic beverages and drug activities. The signs should state that persons engaged in prohibited conduct will be asked to leave the property and that failure to cease the behavior or leave the property will result in a call to law enforcement.
  • Install Remote Guarding security solutions to cover public areas. Remote Guarding cameras are integrated with military-grade algorithms capable of detecting people in areas they shouldn’t be in. Remote Guarding agents respond to alerts sent out by these cameras and ask persons engaged in prohibited conduct to leave the property.

Experience Remote Guarding Professionals v2

Parking Lot Security for Trespassers

To learn more about how Remote Guarding can stop homeless related incidents at your property, contact Elite Interactive Solutions for a free consultation regarding parking lot security.

 

Article References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_windows_theory

How Remote Guarding is Changing Law Enforcement

Written by: Tom Stone

Within the last decade, crime prevention and law enforcement have become rapidly evolving fields with unique challenges. Unfortunately, criminals are getting smarter and harder to stop via traditional methodology, which is not the case with virtual guards. Thankfully, disruptive innovations in security surveillance systems are advancing the industry and simultaneously impacting law enforcement success in impressive ways. The advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) is making it possible to utilize the internet and revolutionize the way hundreds of industries have traditionally made progress in their fields, including security and law enforcement. In this article, we will explore one of IoT’s most promising innovations, Remote Guarding, and the incredible impact it is having on law enforcement.

Meet Law Enforcement

What is Remote Guarding?

Remote Guarding represents IoT coming to the security industry. Thanks to this incredible technological revolution, smart security surveillance systems can be remotely managed by trained agents. These abilities have made Remote Guarding the most advanced security solution available today, proactively preventing crime and improving security at unprecedented levels. How does it work? Remote Guarding turns passive security surveillance systems into active and intelligent “Digital Guards” or “Virtual Guards”, capable of alerting security guards of any intruders or trespassers. With a “cut off the perimeter” concept-based system design, perpetrators are often engaged before they can commit the crime, thereby actually preventing crime and eliminating nuisance calls to police.

live arrest

What Is a Digital Guard?

Remote Guarding companies, like Elite Interactive Solutions, take video cameras and turn them into “digital guards” by integrating them with military-grade artificial intelligence. Doing so enables these cameras to detect the presence of individuals or vehicles and report in real time to live remote security agents for assessment and engagement. These digital guards act as the first line of defense for Remote Guarding companies and work together to create a digital “geo-fence” that protects against perimeter intrusions. Detection zones can also be placed indoors to safeguard places like correctional facilities and beyond.

Once a “threat” is detected by a Virtual Guard, it sends an alert to a command center where security agents can investigate what the camera sees, all within seconds and in real time. From there a variety of responses are deployed, such as:

  • Voice downs with adjacent P.A. systems: To engage intruders directly & and get them to leave
  • Calling law enforcement and enhancing officer safety by guiding them through the event step by step
  • Handling Nuisances so Law Enforcement Can Focus on Real Crime

Supporting Officer Safety & Building Bridges

The most powerful reason for Law Enforcement to embrace Remote Guarding is the dramatic improvement it brings in officer safety. Officers benefiting from agents guiding them through cameras and audio as they approach suspects, helping ensure that officers never walk into the unknown. Responding officers know a call will likely generate a safe arrest attempt. This improved efficiency helps enhance relationships with local law enforcement as officers’ time and efforts can be used wisely.

Agentwithcrime

Doing the Heavy Lifting

One of the best things Remote Guarding brings to law enforcement is the ability to do the “heavy lifting” for incidents where a police officer is not required. In fact, most security issues handled by Remote Guarding providers are resolved without the need to involve local law enforcement agencies.

“Remote Guarding provides many benefits to help make law enforcement more effective while helping maximize and extend their limited resources”

Skateboarders, transients, graffiti, and illegal dumping are all examples of nuisance crimes that municipalities must spend their valuable resources responding to. Unfortunately, police response to minor crime has diminished in recent years due to limited resources and budgetary constraints. The more time police spend responding to nuisance and minor crime, the less time they have available for addressing criminal activity. By serving as a force multiplier to local law enforcement agencies, Remote Guarding creates a positive ripple effect on communities and greatly improves their quality of life.

Experience Remote Guarding Professionals v2

Remote Guarding takes on these lower priority responsibilities for any facility at which it is deployed, whether by a private client, directly by law enforcement or other public safety impacting entities. By resolving minor security concerns independently and reducing nuisance calls to practically zero, Remote Guarding security systems allow law enforcement agencies to reallocate police officers to more demanding crimes. These activities significantly save time, money, and energy for law enforcement departments, so they can use their resources to address more serious issues.

Working with Law Enforcement to End Crime

In conclusion, Remote Guarding security solutions take ownership of many issues that currently require law enforcement involvement. Instead of just observing, reporting, and passing the problem to law enforcement, Remote Guarding security solutions take a proactive approach to prevent crime before it has the chance to happen.

Law enforcement agencies have much to gain by encouraging the integration of these security surveillance systems within their areas of service. Below are some ways in which Remote Guarding can improve police efforts in local communities:

  • Significant reduction in false alarms
  • Engaging nuisance activity through AV systems to get them to leave without police intervention
  • Serving as trained live eye-witnesses to crimes in progress for police response when needed
  • Enhancing officer safety by providing AV tactical support throughout an event
  • Providing effective investigation and prosecution support for the resolution of crime by providing both audio and visual recordings of the event

Industryexperts

Remote Guarding provides many benefits to help make law enforcement more effective while helping maximize and extend limited resources. Collaborations between the security industry and law enforcement are key to maximizing the impact Remote Guarding can make in our communities. One way to bridge these efforts is for law enforcement to recommend Remote Guarding as a solution to recurring community crime.

As innovations in security surveillance systems continue to advance, it is essential that we utilize them and partner with our law enforcement agencies. In doing so, we will be securing a better quality of life for our communities, while aiding the incredible police officers that serve and protect us every day.

 

About the Author

Tom Stone

Tom Stone has more than four decades of law enforcement and public safety experience, including twenty-two years as Chief of Police/Public Safety Director. As past President and Executive Director Emeritus of FBI-LEEDA, Tom has championed education for law enforcement agencies, developed curriculum, and instructed law enforcement agencies nationwide in law enforcement leadership and management. Tom also serves as Board Chair for Elite’s Law Enforcement Advisory Board, where his insight and passion for Remote Guarding benefit both Elite’s clients and law enforcement partners.

To learn more about Remote Guarding, please contact us by clicking here 

3 Security Practices That Help Shopping Centers Thrive

3 Security Practices That Help Shopping Centers Thrive

 

Securing a large, thriving shopping center can be a difficult challenge for many property managers across the country. Often seen as easy targets, keeping these large spaces safe is becoming increasingly challenging as new threats to the public continue to grow. Common issues that threaten shopping centers include:

  • Loitering
  • Trespassing
  • Shoplifting & theft
  • Fraudulent accidents
  • Property damage
  • Homelessness
  • Vandalism
  • Active shooters
  • Terrorism attempts
  • Illegal dumping
  • Graffiti
  • Large crowd assembly

So how can shopping centers prevent these issues on their properties? Thankfully, there are many steps that can be taken to reduce overall threats and bring more peace of mind to shoppers, retailers, and managers alike. Below are some security strategies property managers and owners can take to help keep their shopping centers safe:

1. Boost Security Training and Awareness Levels Among Shopping Center Employees

The typical shopping center has many types of personnel working within one property, ranging from property managers, cleaning crews, customer service representatives and beyond. Training these people to become increasingly aware of the environment around them can go a long way in preventing unwanted incidents from occurring. Although threats to a shopping center are usually not severe, the more effort that can be placed on pre-incident stages, the more effective security will be in preventing major problems. Additionally, it’s important that these people are trained to take appropriate actions in higher-risk scenarios to ensure everyone’s safety.

Remote Surveillance Security System for Malls & Shopping Centers - Elite Interactive

Here are a few things mall personnel should ideally be aware of:

  • Techniques to screen the spaces around them entering and exiting the center
  • How to recognize the difference between a serious threat and harmless incident
  • Methods to transport and move cash on busy shopping days
  • Ways to communicate threats with other personnel when needed
  • Techniques to effectively report suspicious or unusual activity to the mall security team and/or 911, with valuable descriptions or photos of the suspect(s)[1]
  • Ways to answer customer questions and concerns when necessary

2. Ensure Parking Lots Are Properly Secured

A large amount of shopping center crime occurs in the parking lots. Typically, it is the owners and managers of these facilities that end up paying the price for inadequate security in these areas by seeing a rise in vandalism, lawsuits, trespassing and more. For these reasons, it is essential for companies to take parking lot security seriously. There are many things managers and owners can do to prevent crime in parking areas and take a proactive approach to boosting security.

Elite Interactive Solutions

The first step is to recognize the high-risk parking lots pose for security concerns. Managers can then work with security consultants to design a plan to protect vulnerable areas of the lot and plan for times when crime occurs most.

Ensuring that there is proper coverage of the entire lot greatly helps lower the occurrence of crime in these areas. Using quality security equipment, effective lighting techniques, and well-trained security agents are all great ways to lower the chance of criminal activity in a shopping center parking lot.

3. Utilizing High Quality Security Services & Equipment

A shopping center’s security team plays a crucial role in keeping everybody within the property safe. In fact, ensuring that your security system is appropriate and able to prevent incidents is one of the best ways to reduce shopping center crime; helping transform the property from a “soft target” to a “hard target”. There are incredible innovations in today’s security industry that are making real and meaningful impacts to safety levels at shopping centers across the country. Here are some ways you can analyze whether your security system is up to par and able to perform at an excellent level:

  • Does your center have high quality cameras installed, capable of delivering high resolution images and video on a consistent basis?
  • Are cameras installed strategically across the property to account for weak spots and vulnerabilities?
  • Are security personnel well trained and alert on the job? Do they understand what position they play in the center’s overall security system?
  • Does the center have advanced camera algorithms that can detect intruders (human or vehicle) during non-business hours?
  • Does the shopping center have a good relationship with local law enforcement agencies?
  • Is quality security footage available for review in case of accident claims, conflicts, lawsuits, etc.?

Professional Security System Surveillance

Professional Security System Surveillance

By following the steps above, shopping center property managers and owners can help build safer environments for everyone that visits their properties. There are many ways to raise awareness among center personnel and boost the quality of a shopping center’s overall security system.

Companies like Elite Interactive Solutions have fine-tuned the art of professional security system surveillance. Though incredibly useful for a variety of properties, advanced remote guarding is particularly beneficial to shopping center security.

To learn more about how Remote Guarding and professional security system surveillance can help your property boost safety levels, please reach out to Elite Interactive Solutions.

 

[1] https://www.garda.com/blog/5-essential-security-tips-to-increase-safety-in-shopping-malls-during-black-friday