Gauteng Business News

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SECURITY: System Design is Access Control and Security's Weakest Links


Recent Gauteng Business News

A good security system will comprise of a number of components - perimeter and intrusion detection, access control, CCTV cameras. But its exact composition would depend on the particular organisation's needs.

Unfortunately, the best spec in the world, using leading technologies, is useless without effective practical implementation, says Jan de Beer, Executive Operations: Northern Regions - Jasco Security Solutions

At present, trends in the access control and security industry are seeing development and implementation of fully integrated IP-based systems.
Intelligent platforms that offer integration and high level control and management of previously stand-alone elements (CCTV cameras, access control, fire alarms, etc.) are gaining favour, as are Building Management Systems which enable additional integration of air conditioning and cooling systems, energy optimisation and savings. However, despite use of the hottest technologies that comply with the latest industry standards, many organisations fail to reap the promised benefits of these systems.

Jasco Security Solutions has been in the business for more than two decades and has designed and implemented numerous security solutions, big and small, for organisations across industry sectors. We've seen significant and exciting advances in quality, functionality and performance of the various technologies, and taken note as organisational drivers for adoption of these technologies changed. We've also heard more than our fair share of companies and contractors bad-mouthing security products and systems. On inspection and investigation, the product is rarely at fault - the challenge lies in the design of the system and/or its implementation.

The System Design Ideal and Execution Challenge

The primary role of a security system may be to observe, protect, prevent and/or alert the organisation to key risks - identified and unknown.
However, good security system design needs to be multi-facetted. It must also take into consideration organisational policy, processes and practices; cater to the functional and technical limitations of the products and the environment in which it is deployed; and identify and resolve other weaknesses, such as human limitations in terms of observation and reaction.

Take, for example, the very different system design needed for say a security system for a retailer concerned with shoplifting and client injury claims, versus a solution for a diamond mine where minute observation of every process and all people in a sometimes low light and rugged environment is essential. Different products with different functionality will be favoured and activated. But if this is the extent of the technical skill of your provider/implementer, you are in trouble.

The various components of the system need to be fitted, integrated and installed - and that requires technical knowledge of power, data and other infrastructure elements. For instance, CCTV cameras will need a power supply as will the magnetic locks which may be part of an access control system - but not just any supply will do. Magnetic locks won't fully engage if the power supply is inadequate or intermittent, allowing anyone to simply push the door open - and if alerts are not in place, the organisation may only know about such a failure after the break-in occurs.

The system designer and/or implementer not only has to run the right cables with the right voltage, but identify and ensure adequate failover in case of electricity outage (batteries, UPS and / or a generator). Additionally, there needs to be suitable backup to compensate where other points of failure may occur in an integrated security system.

Technical capability failure is unacceptable. If a primary solution provider does not have this capability in-house, it most certainly needs the project management skills and best practices testing models to ensure such points of failure do not occur.

The Right Solution Providers for System Design

For anyone considering access control and security today, the challenge is not choosing the right products, but the right solution provider. Some key criteria in selection would be to ensure your security system solution provider:

. understands your industry and your business processes,
. fully comprehends and can cater for your organisation's unique
security risks,
. has appropriate system design and implementation experience,
. has the right product knowledge,
. can provide the necessary local support for products specified, and
. has a good track record.

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