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Boosting Physical Security In Retail For The Holidays

Retail executives often look forward to the holidays for the entire year, as the jingle of the cash register opening and closing is like music to their ears. Unfortunately, the time of year that is supposed to bring the most joy also invites woe, as it’s when criminals make their presence known.

By developing a plan ahead of time, decision-makers may prevent theft and keep their sensitive assets safe, according to a report by Security Small Business. Training is an important part of risk management, as employees that are unprepared for the increased traffic may not  monitor alarms or surveillance cameras effectively. If current staff levels may not be enough, executives should consider hiring temporary workers.

Despite all the training in the world, however, retailers without a little technological help will likely fall victim to theft. For this reason, companies need to consider implementing advanced physical security systems, the news source said.

Physical security tips
In many cases, physical security measures are overlooked during the holidays because decision-makers are so busy focusing on other tasks. However, it is critical that executives address any physical security vulnerabilities before the holiday season, Security Small Business said.

Retailers should be sure to install surveillance cameras with real-time monitoring, as well as an access control system that can prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing restricted areas or entering the store after hours. Retail managers should have these solutions included in their general security plan, as preparation is crucial to eliminating threats, Security Small Business said.

Physical security solutions are no joke; they really work. This was highlighted in a study by University of Florida, which revealed the use of surveillance cameras and other tools reduced theft as a percentage of revenue by 1.41 percent – the equivalent of roughly $2.6 billion in savings.

“The decrease in retail theft can be a direct result of the widespread investment in technologies and integrated solutions by retailers,” security expert Michael Creedon said. “Clearly security solutions are proving to be a solid investment and have saved retailers billions of dollars in losses every year. There are a number of technologies and services available today that can help retailers continue to prevent theft, decrease shrinkage and track merchandise effectively.”

In addition to video surveillance cameras, retailers should consider using access control systems to prevent internal theft and product tracking and monitoring tools to ensure nothing is stolen out of sight.

What else should go into a security plan?
In addition to implementing advanced physical security tools, employees and managers alike should know how to respond in the event of an emergency, Security Small Business noted. This should include helping customers out of the store if necessary, as well as collaborating with local law enforcement agencies that are responding to an alarm.

While a highly detailed plan may seem complex for a small business, having one in place is vitally important, especially during the holidays.

As the physical security landscape continues to evolve, decision-makers will find it increasingly easy to implement and manage advanced and integrated security systems. Surveillance, access control and general alarms are constantly maturing and providing even small businesses with sophisticated tools to guard against both internal and external theft.

While the holidays are generally a time to reap the benefits of increased sales, it should also be a time for decision-makers to sit down and plan how they will prevent and, if necessary, react to emergency situations. Failing to plan ahead will only make the holidays a more vulnerable time for retailers.

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Access Control Takes A Front Seat In Office Security

office access control

Many organizations face a unique security challenge because it can be so difficult to control who enters an office building and what they do while they are there. This is especially true in large urban areas like New York City, where businesses tend to lease space in large office buildings. In this kind of setting, you can't expect security personnel to recognize every individual who regularly enters a building. This creates an environment in which organizations have to carefully consider their access control strategies and think about how they protect their office space.

Using access control technology to protect the office
In many office buildings, just about anybody can get on an elevator or get into the stairwell. Having careful controls for initial access is often too difficult in shared office buildings. Sure, having a security guard at the door can help, but that guard is only go to be able to do so much to control entry. He or she may be able to confront somebody who appears clearly suspicious, but a person can walk in looking like he or she works in the building and move freely. Using keycards for initial entry into a building can help, but the value of that solution is limited because it can be inconvenient when receiving guests or job applicants. The initial entry in a shared office facility needs to be fairly simple, with the core access control solutions being handled by individual businesses.

For the most part, companies have to be responsible for their own access security. Just having a receptionist is not enough either, as that person is primarily a greeter, not somebody who can provide protection. However, you can deploy access control systems for the premises that your business occupies in a multi-company office building. 

Considering access control solutions
There are a few ways to protect your office if you are in a multi-company building. One is to create a small lobby area that acts as a buffer zone between the elevator, stairs and main office. You can then put a sturdy doorway at the entry to the main office and use a keycard system so employees can get in, but the door can be left open while there are people in the office. You can also use biometric or code-based locks for various office areas that only allow authorized personnel to enter sensitive areas. Regardless of the solution you choose, having a good access control system is key in office settings.

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Closing The Window Of Opportunity For NYC Burglars

window gates

As the weather warms up, residents and business owners open new windows of opportunity for burglars. Detective Jack Meeks, the spokesman for the New York City Crime Prevention Bureau, warns that the most common entry points for thieves in the city are windows or fire escapes. This risk increases in the spring and summer months.

The good news is that they are also preventable. Detective Meeks explains that intruders have two major enemies, time and noise. So the security of your home or business can be easily strengthened by increasing the time it would take and the noise it would make to gain entry. Thereby increasing the likelihood of being seen.

Take proper precautions in securing all accessible windows, including basement, first floor, top floor, and fire escape windows. The following safeguards will help close the window of opportunity for burglars and prevent the possibly of a break-in:

Exterior fire escapes can be lifesavers during an emergency. But they also provide intruders with easy access to upper-level windows and balconies. Window gates, security bars, and child guard security devices are essential to securing your fire escape, street level, lower level or top level windows. Even if the glass of the window is broken, the window gate prevents thieves from gaining access to the premises. Be sure your window gates are professionally installed and equipped with quick release mechanisms that open from the inside in case of fire or emergency exit.

Treat all street level windows as potential entry points. Install heavy duty window locks, that are clearly visible from the outside. Window pin locks are a simple, affordable yet highly effective burglar deterrent. Check your window locks regularly to make sure they are working properly.

From a simple window sensor alarm to full-service dynamic home protection, there are a variety of window alarms on the market today. Window sensor alarms install onto the window and detect when the window is opened or broken. When triggered, it sounds a warning alarm that alerts those inside and intimates the burglar into fleeing.

An important consideration is whether to use window gates or window bars. Window gates should be installed on any window that could be accessed from the outside. Windows on the second story or higher generally do not need a gate because they are too difficult to enter. However, you should think about any architectural features of that may make it easy for a thief to climb to that window and open it. New York Protection Gates, Manhattan Protection Gates and folding gates also offer superior protection and functionality. Consult a professional window security solution provider to determine the right solution for your specific needs.

Buildings without window bars are targets. Windows that are not covered by bars can be broken easily and used as entry points by burglars. Generally speaking, bars can work on windows that you will not need to climb out of. However, you may, in an emergency, be in a downstairs room and unable to exit through a door. For example, a fire may trap you on one side of the house, unable to get to any exits. If bars are on all of your windows, you could be in trouble. Having one or two windows in each street-level room that are gated instead of barred can provide a better level of safety.

Children have an eager desire to explore their surroundings. This curiosity can lead to dangerous situations like leaning against a weak window screen or too far out a window to look outside. Child safety bars keep children safe from unexpected window falls and give parents peace of mind that a tragic window fall will not occur in their home.

Choosing the right window security feature is just the first step. It’s important to seek a qualified, locally trusted security provider to ensure proper installation to meet the unique security challenges of your building or community.

Security You Need. Service You Deserve.
Paragon Security offers a selection of eye-catching designs of window gates, security bars, and child guard security devices that are custom fitted and installed as part of your residence or business overall security plan. Paragon Security has been proudly serving customers all across New York City including in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island since 1988. Call today for more details 212.203.0821.

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Your Key To Security In New York City

key to security

There is a lot to think about, from a security perspective, in the city that never sleeps. As a cultural and financial hub of the world, New York City offers unique security challenges for businesses, residents and visitors. Having the right the right combination of everyday security features in place makes all the difference in simplifying and safeguarding your life:

Access Control Puts Security In Your Hands

Access control systems put every aspect of controlling your home in your hands. They can be integrated to work with wireless locks, intercoms, cloud-based cameras, thermostats and more, all from a single dashboard. Access control systems allow you to control who and when doors can be unlocked, no matter where you are. Entry to specific locations of your home can be narrowed down by person, day of the week, and time of day, using biometic or proximity devices.

Control and Convenience With Keyless Entry

The days of losing keys, forgetting to lock the door or having keys for pet-sitters, contractor or houseguests will soon be a thing of the past. Once a luxury only for the rich and famous, electronic door locks, also known as keyless entry systems or smart locks, can now grace the door to your home.

For NYC residents, especially those who make heavy use of on-demand deliveries, keyless entry systems provide remarkable control and convenience. Log records show the times and dates of all comings and goings of your home. So teenagers can’t sneak in after curfew and babysitters, dog walkers and cleaning people can be better monitored.

Keyless entry systems like Latch, are now being used at a range of properties, from East Village walk-ups to luxury doorman rentals. Another keyless entry provider, Kisi is turning its attention toward residences, with plans to roll out the system at a new 570-unit development on Staten Island.

Intercoms Help Intercept Uninvited Intruders 

In New York City, the intercom is your best friend. It saves you from having to run down to the lobby to let every appointment, delivery person, friend, worker or other visitor in that arrives. It can also be your first line defense against uninvited visitors or intruders. Many of today’s intercom systems have video capabilities, meaning homeowners can ask for identification to check and see if the person has the right credentials, has a parcel under his or her arm or is empty-handed malevolently looking in the window. Individuals should also think about hiring a professional locksmith to change any delicate locks around the house or consult a trusted security systems provider to leverage a silent alarm and round-the-clock monitoring.

Mailbox Security Protects Against Identity Theft

Whether an office, loft, condo, or apartment building, secure delivery of mail is essential to safeguarding confidential information.

There are a wide variety of mailbox solutions to meet both residential and commercial mail security requirements. This includes a variety of shapes and sizes for both indoor and outdoor use. Indoor building mailboxes are sold in individual units or groups to suit apartment buildings and offices. They are typically made of aluminum or steel and come in vertical or horizontal units. Freestanding mailboxes for outdoor use are designed to withstand heavy weather. They can be either column, post, or wall mount styles. The outdoor mailboxes we provide are large enough to accommodate different sized parcels and protect them from both tampering and bad weather conditions.

Among the latest “internet of things” are electronic letterboxes. With the advances of our digital world, they offer an ideal addition to an electronic access control system. Electronic letterboxes know when to expect your mail, notifies when it arrives and locks after delivery. Electric letterboxes can be opened using a fingerprint, code lock or electronic key. Using a companion app, users can check the status of their mail delivery, remotely lock or unlock the box and even dole out virtual keys to allow neighbors to pick up mail in the absence.

24/7 Protection For The City That never Sleeps

Innovations in digital technology and security make it possible for cities like New York to keep ahead of the curve. Advanced security providers like Paragon, turn these innovations into reality for residents, offices, apartment managers, retail businesses, developers, hospitals, schools and city facilities throughout the five boroughs and beyond. The best way to remain secure in the city that never sleeps is working with a qualified, locally trusted security provider. Combining locksmith services with a variety of advanced security solutions, such as access control, high security locks systems, surveillance cameras and alarms, can help create a holistic protection strategy. Paragon Security has been proudly serving customers all across the city including in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island for over 25 years. Don’t miss out on the experience of new locks and keys with the Paragon Security move-in special. Call today for more details 212.203.0821. 



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Easy Solutions For Improved Door Security

solutions for door security

Nowadays, security is everybody’s concern. Our families, coworkers, and clients count on us to provide a secure environment to go about the daily routine of our busy lives. One of the most important components, yet often overlooked features in our day to day security are doors. Opening, closing, locking, unlocking, answering, buzzing and knocking are just a few of the interactions we have each day with doors. This familiarity with the doors in our lives can fade their importance into the background, taking them for granted. Show your door some love and reinforce its security with these easy solutions:

Know Your Door

Does your door show it’s age? Doors exposed to wind, rain and extreme temperatures can become warped over time. This can create major security problems, especially if the door does not open and close properly. What condition is your door hardware in? Good quality metal door hardware offer fine design and superior strength for further security applications. Be certain that your door seals, hinges, knobs and handles are of the highest production level. Having a good door in place is key to providing adequate safety. If time has compromised your door’s ability to function properly, it may be time to replace.

Aluminum doors are the strongest doors on the market today. Both storm and screen doors are available with aluminum construction. They are six times stronger than steel doors and impervious to rust for a maintenance free lifetime. For contractors and developers, or for home or business owners considering a new high-quality door, consider aluminum.

Double It Up

For added protection, consider installing a security door. They provide safety with elegance for the exterior of your home or business. A security door is a second, sturdy metal storm/hurricane-type door with its own deadbolt and reinforcement. Security doors allow you to open the regular door for fresh air or to talk to someone, but still have a locked, secure door between you and the outside. It also provides a very difficult barrier for unwanted guests or potential intruders.

Let The Light In

There is no need to sacrifice sunlight and beautiful views for a secure home or business. Glass doors provide safety features just as doors made from other materials. Residential glass security doors are best made with shatter resistant laminated safety glass in a steel or aluminum frame. For commercial doors, bullet resistant glass made from acrylic polycarbonate and glass-clad polycarbonate are available.

Can It Stand The Heat?

The importance of fire alarms and sprinklers is well known. But how resistant to fire is your door? There are a full range of external and internal fire resistant and fireproof doors available. These doors are tested and authorized by the Underwriter’s Laboratories, Inc. (U.L.), In addition to fire door installation, doors can be reinforced with the installation of release mechanisms which will allow doors to shut automatically at the sound of the fire alarm. Typically left open, in a fire scenario, this will ensure that fireproof doors automatically shut, and prevent the expansion of fire throughout the premises.

Lock It Up

Great locks make great neighbors! Doors & All entrances, including service doors and gates, should have high security locks. A lock’s security level is determined by its ability to withstand tampering, which reduces break-in attempts. Characteristics found in high-security locks are heavy mechanisms, and keyway resistance to tools or improper keys. These heavy-duty locks are usually equipped with auto locking mechanisms with magnetic locking solutions.

High-security locks contain a patented key control system, which means that the keys can only be duplicated by an authorized dealer. Paragon Security is authorized to match and confirm keys in case you need copies. Choose from a variety of high-security locks, such as deadbolts, cylinders, or padlocks.

Always Know Who Is At The Door

Knowing who is at your door is no luxury. For New Yorkers it’s a NECESSITY! Even when you’re not at home, Digital Door Viewers keep you protected and in control. Video intercoms work with a mounted or fixed door hole camera and an LCD display for viewing. There are models built for either indoor or outdoor use. Select a video intercom for another means of identifying your visitor – for extra added security. Video surveillance camera systems utilize closed-circuit television (CCTV) or IP technology. Strategically placed video cameras transmit signals to centralized monitors for viewing. Be sure to choose a CCTV system that meet the security requirements of New York City commercial and residential buildings.

Raise The Bar

For extra protection while home or at night you can use security bars that either wedge against the door usually under the handle or a jammer that slides into place preventing the door from opening. On sliding doors it’s always recommended to place a bar behind the slider or/and install pin locks to prevent the door from opening.

With a wide range of commercial and residential doors from steel security doors to metal calamine fire proof doors, solid wooden doors of all species, iron doors, aluminum doors and store front installation, there is a door available to meet every safety and security need. Choosing the right door requires expert advice. Do not hesitate to reach out to a security specialist for complimentary advice on making the right choice.


For Additional Information On Doors:
Commercial and Residential Doors
Door Manufacturers

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The Impact of Electronic Access


Electronic, programmable locks can offer superior protection without forcing users to sacrifice convenience. As a result, many people benefit substantially from electronic locks because such systems make it easier for them to protect their assets without creating the risk of security shortcuts being taken. This technology is applicable in a wide range of settings as well, not just in large apartment buildings or businesses.

Secure College Campuses
Having students memorize codes for doors or carry a bunch of keys can work in some small colleges or universities, but these solutions can create major problems when students tell all of their friends, including those who do not attend the academic institution, the codes to their door. For example, a man from one college may tell his girlfriend from a nearby campus the code for the dorm so she can get into the facility easily at any time. This may work well while they are together, but what if there is a nasty breakup and the girlfriend decides to get revenge? This could lead to a major security problem.

Electronic locks allow students to carry around a single keycard or fob to get into any door on campus that they are authorized to enter, alleviating security concerns while adding a key layer of simplicity and safety.

Secure Home Living 
For many homeowners, the process of leaving the house and standing outside the door locking the dead-bolt can be really annoying. Especially as temperatures drop in winter or inclement weather leaves rain, snow or sleet pounding down on an uncovered entry area. An electronic lock can integrate with mobile devices, allowing users to lock the dead bolt without having to stand by the door to do so. This eliminates the common shortcut of skipping the dead-bolt and hoping nobody tries to break in.

Furthermore, an electronic lock system can pay off in homes with outbuildings, such as sheds, detached garages and exercise areas. Having a single electronic lock system for the entire property can make it easier to move around without having to carry around a bunch of keys.

For many people, electronic locks may seem too complex to be workable in their situation. However, increasingly accessible mobile device and programmable lock solutions are making the technology a viable option in a wide range of settings. As a result, many people can find electronic lock solutions that fit their needs and their budget.

Commitment To Creating A Better Living And Learning Environment

Children deserve to be safe at home AND at school. Our Goal is to improve our business and increase our efficiency and profitability while keeping our commitment to help in the creation of a better living and learning environment in our world. Call 1 (888) 688-9771 to request a Free no-obligation consultation with a security expert to discuss safe-guarding your residential home or commercial building.

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Key Fobs Simplify Security For Multi-tenant Dwellings

Think back for a moment about the janitor at your school when you were growing up. If your school was anything like mine, that person had a lot of keys. So many keys that you probably wondered how they could remember what everything went to. Sometimes people just can’t keep track of that. Large buildings with multiple locked entries and closets can present a logistical nightmare for people who need a lot of keys or those who have to control access. Sometimes, organizations end up learning this lesson the hard way.

While traditional keys can present major access control challenges, key fobs can simplify the entire process and give facility managers the control they need to keep everybody and everything safe. This is especially true in multi-tenant dwellings, where there are plenty of people who need access to facilities and any errors in the access control system can lead to considerable damages.

Paragon Security & Locksmith has more than 20 years of experience installing keyless locks and key fob systems in NYC.  Read on about the benefits of a key fob system or contact us here.

Considering the benefits of key fobs
A recent Habitat report explained the value of key fobs by telling the story of one apartment building that experienced a theft a few years ago and has completed a major lock system upgrade since. At the time, a thief was able to, somehow, gain entry to the building and an apartment without forcing any doors, breaking any windows or showing a single sign of forcing entry. However, that person was able to leave the apartment complex with an extremely valuable stamp collection that could not be tracked down.

According to the news source, the problem became clear pretty quickly – there were too many locks and public access areas to make sense of. It was also too cost inefficient to maintain a robust key-based access control system. If a superintendent moved away the owner was left with a huge ring of keys that opened plenty of doors. At the same time, there is no way to prove that no keys were copied. As a result, every lock that the superintendent may have had a key for had to be changed.

After taking stock of the situation, the apartment owner turned to an electronic key fob that could be given to every resident, service staff member or employee. If a renter has a maid, that maid could be given a fob that is programmed to only access the main entrance and the employer’s apartment. At the same time, public areas could also be protected. A room that provides bicycle storage for tenants could be locked to all residents except those who regularly use bicycles. Similarly, maintenance staff members do not need dozens of keys, they only need a single fob that is programmed to let them in any doors they have to enter. An electronic key system provided the flexibility and adaptability needed to reduce long-term costs and enable better access control.

Evaluating the value of key fobs in multi-dwelling housing units
Actual key fobs may have a few long-term limitations, but the concept that makes them popular is clearly a viable one for apartment building owners or managers. Replacing traditional locks can be extremely expensive and developing secure access control protocols can be a major hassle, especially since tenants do not always follow the rules. As a result, electronic locks that allow for programmable locking and unlocking through radio frequency technology or similar means can pay major dividends. Over time, key fobs may be replaced by smartphones with secure apps that can be customized for a dwelling, but the concept is still the same – programmable locking solutions can simplify and improve access control in large facilities.

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Smart Technology Improves Apartment Security In NYC


Managing and securing a high-rise apartment building in a major metropolis like New York City can be daunting. You have hundreds, possibly thousands, of people living in the same facility.  The nature of these types of properties is one in which diverse and strategically planned integrated security solutions are integral to protecting people, possessions and the property, making a combination of personnel and technology essential.

Balancing people and tech
When managing a large property the technological landscape can get extremely complex if you depend too heavily on technology to handle every aspect of identifying people who are authorized to enter different parts of the building. At the same time, there are also way too many people coming in and out to ask a receptionist or doorman to notice when somebody who shouldn’t be there tries to get into the building. Finding success in this area depends on being able to balance technology and personnel to complement one another and protect property.

This is especially clear at the initial point of entry. On one hand, you don’t just want to let anybody into the building. On the other, you can’t put too much into initial access control because you want tenants, their family members or their friends who are visiting to have relatively easy access to the building. As a result, it is often viable to not have locks or intercoms at the initial entry point and instead have a doorman outside and receptionist inside to identify anybody who looks suspicious or shows danger signs. Once this first entry area is taken care of, different access control systems can be applied to individual floors, stairwells or the elevator.

A good intercom system that lets residents “buzz” guests in can help too, but having a person present to supplement that system can be key in a property where you may have a variety of people going to an apartment, such as maids, delivery personnel, personal trainers or other individuals.

When it comes to access control, technologies like intercoms and advanced lock solutions are vital to protecting the property, but it often helps to also have people available to deal with unexpected circumstances or difficult issues.

Programmable locks
Electronic lock solutions that can be programmed to handle a variety of conditions can also be an asset in large apartment buildings. Using such locks, combined with key fobs, building managers can control who is able to go to different parts of the apartment building without authorization. For example, the system can be used to make sure tenants are only able to access the part of the storage area where there belongings are stored, making it easier to prevent theft of items while they are in storage.

This is another area where having personnel available can help ease any problems. If a person’s key fob malfunctions or they get locked out, having a security staff that recognizes residents can easily perform the actions necessary to let that person in.

Advanced security technologies give apartment building managers many opportunities for superior protection and security. When technology is used well alongside security employees, the overarching benefits can be considerable. Technological solutions can overcome the limitations of security workers and vice-versa, leading to an environment in which residents feel safe and building managers can be prepared for a variety of contingencies.

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Integrated security systems support long-term business growth

Companies of all sizes need to have advanced physical security systems if they want to remain safe from vandals, thieves and other malicious individuals. Unfortunately, a company's use of surveillance cameras and other fundamental tools may change over time as it expands in size and requires larger facilities with more areas to protect.

A recent report by SecurityInfoWatch noted that integrated security systems can be a good fit for a growing business. Physical security information management (PSIM) software, for example, allows executives to combine access control systems, video surveillance and other intrusion detection tools under a single umbrella, making management less complicated and more efficient.

PSIM is highly flexible, which is important for an expanding company. There are many reasons why a business may outgrow its current operations or simply lose the need to use a specific security application, including running out of space in the budget or finding that a specific product doesn't have the support the organization needs, SecurityInfoWatch noted.

Integrated security systems also make meeting compliance requirements much easier, as there is only one interface to deal with, rather than having to change a number of functions to avoid paying fines, according to the news source. Furthermore, a single system makes it easier for executives to respond to an incident, as they can use multiple tools to confirm or find the location of an event.

Raising awareness with integrated solutions
Non-integrated security systems make it more difficult for employees to recognize when an incident is taking place, as monitoring disparate applications on multiple screens can be a pain. If a security command center uses an integrated network of intrusion detection tools, however, executives can have an easier time discovering and addressing a situation, SecurityInfoWatch said. Furthermore, PSIM consolidates all resources to even a company with hundreds of surveillance cameras so it can use a single management interface.

A separate report by Frost & Sullivan noted that the PSIM market is largely driven by the adoption of IP solutions and the need to customize offerings to a company's unique demands. These trends are pushing the PSIM market to expand at a compound annual growth rate of more than 37 percent through 2015, at which time it will generate $544 million in revenue, up from only $80 million in 2009.

"While PSIM is seeing a higher degree of customization, coupled with increased connectivity, many market participants believe that PSIM functionality can or should be created with off-the-shelf software and not by customization options," said Matia Grossi, research manager at Frost & Sullivan. "It is anticipated that while the standardization process gains momentum, the need to provide customized solutions will remain dominant in the market."

The future of security management
As organizations of all sizes from all industries continue to demand advanced physical security and intrusion detection solutions, the decision to use one multifunctioning system will make more sense, especially as firms continue to struggle with the ongoing macroeconomic crisis. As the demand for integrated security systems increase, the prices for such tools will also be forced to drop so the market can remain competitive.

Most integrated security systems will provide decision-makers with complete oversight of their physical property and provide consistent responses to incidents. As a result, the use of disparate access control systems, surveillance cameras and other advanced tools will no longer be a cost-effective option.

If organizations want to have an effective security program, decision-makers need to consider implementing a unified system.

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Revamping college access control systems


Updating an access control system at a major university is no easy task. For this reason, many administrators wonder if transitioning away from magnetic stripe-based cards and solutions is worth the effort, especially since their existing method has worked for a number of years.

Valdosta State University in Georgia, for example, has used the same magnetic stripe access control system since the 1990s and has not updated because the multi-functional ID cards are used for a variety of purposes, according to a report by CR80 News.

“Obviously it’s an ID but it’s also used in the library, door access, bookstores, ball game admission. You can purchase anything on campus from meals to books,” said Craig Williams, key control and security systems supervisor at the Valdosta, according to CR80 News. “Why do we need to upgrade? A lot people don’t take that into consideration.”

The benefits of advanced access control systems
Reconfiguring an entire university’s access control system requires a lot of planning and time, as a number of buildings will need to replace equipment and readers to remain accessible to faculty, staff and students. Making the transition, however, may make the campus more convenient for users.

By using contactless solutions, individuals can easily gain entry to locked facilities without having to physically swipe a card. In many cases, educational facilities have integrated near-field communications (NFC) technologies into smartphones, tablets and other next-generation gadgets for even more convenience. Since people carry their mobile device virtually everywhere, people will be less likely to lose a key to their dorm room or other locked building.

A separate report by American School & University also highlighted the growing demand for NFC-based gadgets to be used for access control systems, as the emerging technology promises to enhance both physical security and convenience for the community using it.

Since NFC is an emerging technology, however, there are still a ways to go before it is deployed on a national scale. While there have been successful pilot programs, full-scale adoption is still a long way off.

Nevertheless, education and security administrators should consider upgrading their legacy access control system, as old solutions may be more easily compromised by skilled hackers. While the implementation may be a challenge, doing so will inevitably enhance physical security.

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The Key to Your Security


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Mailbox security a consideration for NYC building managers


Home security is important, but if you want to protect yourself completely and you live in an apartment you are pretty dependent on your building manager for safety. Sure, some leases will allow you to put in your own locks. Yes, you can install a wireless security alarm or, better yet, have a good locksmith do it for you. But in a multi-family dwelling you also have to think about protecting your property if it is in a public area. If you are a building manager, safeguarding these parts of a residence has to be a priority.

One of the most prominent common areas in any multi-family dwelling is the mail area. Whether mail is delivered to a group of lock boxes in a lobby area or similar boxes at each unit, any problems with the mail box can lead to a security risk. Mail fraud can be a major problem, but the theft of an individual’s mail can also lead to identity theft, enable criminals to perform phishing scams with relative ease or otherwise threaten an individual or family.

Protecting mail effectively
On the surface, the idea of safeguarding mail boxes probably does not seem like a big deal. You stick a lock on them and they are safe. However, such a simple solution really is not the answer. First of all, the setup has to be convenient and easy to use for mail carriers. There are a variety of reasons for this, but one of the most important is that there are official regulations from the U.S. Postal Service detailing how mailboxes should be designed and what kinds of solutions are viable for different types of settings. Regulatory guidelines can be annoying to deal with, but if the mail boxes in the property you manage are not up to code and somebody experiences mail theft, you could be held responsible for the problem. You probably don’t want to take on that kind of responsibility, so the first thing you want to do when choosing a mail box solution is make sure you work with a provider that can offer U.S. Postal Service-certified solutions.

Building managers also have to think about the quality of locks when choosing a mail box solution. Let’s face it, it probably wouldn’t be too hard for somebody who doesn’t belong in a building to get into a mail room or lobby air with postal boxes. All the individual has to do is walk in behind somebody else and look like they actually live there. If that person knows how to pick a lock and the mail boxes in the building you manage have cheap locks, its a quick and easy theft. Somebody who is good at picking locks can break a cheap lock as quickly as somebody with a key can open the door. If you have a good lock in place, however, you can stall the person picking the lock for long enough that a security camera would pick up suspicious activity or a person may walk by and make the criminal realize that he or she may get caught.

Speaking of cameras, having a good surveillance camera system around mailboxes can help you identify an individual who does break into a mailbox and steal somebody else’s belongings. It is important to place cameras strategically so they can view a suspect from multiple angles. Otherwise, somebody can walk in, break into a mail box and walk out without showing his or her face to the camera.

While installing new mailboxes in the building you manage may seem simple, there is enough complexity that it is often best to work with a locksmith or security solution provider that can give you the help you need.

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