What’s In Your Playbook?
January 1, 2009
Everybody has a plan and plans change. In the late 1980s, during the last deep U.S. recession, Ross Perot – founder Electronic Data Systems and Presidential candidate – told Security Magazine his constant business plan: Keep the things that work; stop doing the things that don’t work; and start a few new things.
With today’s global economic challenges, times are less simple.
Security Magazine visited with a diversity of security leaders with the aim of viewing their playbook concerning business and security strategies, technologies they have just put in place or will implement in anticipation of a tough 2009 and emerging threats that must be addressed. The purpose here is that security executives, like everyone, acquire ideas from their interactions and sharing with one another.
OUT OF THE HUDDLEChuck Collins, senior manager assets protection at the Cheesecake Factory Inc., asked his security service provider to be the ball carrier when facing an increasingly complex security mission across hundreds of dispersed sites.
Meryl Rubinstein, assistant superintendent for business operations, and Michael Kollmer, director of technology, both of the Mamaroneck (New York) Public Schools, view business value in unique security technology to make significant forward progress.
Agent Jeff Blye of the Orlando (Fla.) Police Department takes advantage of hang time in the cloud for special events his operation will face this year.
Corporate Security Officer Jeremy Couch of Emprise Bank in Wichita, Kan., uses his home field advantage when evaluating, choosing and implementing security programs in a tight economy.
At the Farmers and Merchants Bank in Caldwell, Ohio, the playbook of Denny Gerst, executive vice president, will continue to strengthen his defensive line with policies, procedures and equipment.
Jan Church, senior real estate manager of CB Richard Ellis at Century Park in downtown Los Angeles will stay with the play-action pass to experienced service providers.
Even when two elementary schools will be redshirted, Guy Grace, director of security and emergency planning at the Littleton (Colo.) Public Schools, still must provide protection.
“Public school security is not immune to economic woes that are affecting the rest of the country,” Grace said. “For example my school district’s board recently voted to close and repurpose two of our elementary schools to address a $4 million shortfall in the upcoming 2009-2010 school year. Security will still be required to protect these two facilities as they go through the transitions. Regardless of how they are repurposed, the programs that are deployed at the schools will have to follow the same basic security and emergency operations plans that are place.”
And from scrimmage, there’s a shift as the high profile for security issues following events of 9/11 has been replaced by a continuing economic downturn focus, according to Richard Lefter, emeritus faculty with the Security Executive Council. “Security threats and risks, while critical to a company, will have to compete against economic risks for limited company resources.
DEPENDING ON THE BALL CARRIERNearing retirement, Cheesecake’s Collins is in his 39th year in asset protection. He has worked through about 30 concepts in over 800 restaurants and more than a few economic bumps in the road. “My mission covers the protection of the assets of the corporation, the safety of the staff members, security of the facilities, locks, alarms, camera systems, investigations, and physical security. The list goes on but those are the main items.”
At the time of this interview, Collins said he has a staff of four. “It’s me, myself, I and myself. So being one person is really critical that I try to be as efficient as possible.” So it is no wonder that Collins places a lot of emphasis this year on his main ball carrier, the security service provider, Stanley Security Solutions, Indianapolis, and its eService offerings. “We have digital video recording systems and on average 16 cameras in each of the restaurants. I have access to those cameras 24/7 and have remote access on my laptop.”
Carrying the ball for Collins is eData Manager, which provides Collins access to all the restaurants and almost 200 alarm systems. The facilities are monitored by Stanley and “some even have elevator alarms.” The solution also plays well with Collins’ team approach. “I have a number of other (internal) departments that have access to the eServices and assist me in managing the operation. I receive customized reports from Stanley. And what I receive on a daily basis is a list of all of the incidents from the prior 24 hours. If it was an alarm, if it was a power outage, if there was a trouble signal, I get that information sent to me in the form of an e-mail on a daily basis.”
Just like any coach reviewing plays, Chuck Collins can look at things in a summary form and then drill down to get the basics he needs about a specific incident to find the most critical information to analyze and take action. “I am able, from my office or on the road, to remotely access every one of those restaurants and every one of those individual cameras within those restaurants.”
Cheesecake Factory has growth plans for 2009 that impact Collins, his internal design and construction department and “ball carriers.” “Cameras are going to play more of a role in not only controlling losses but also in assisting an investigation and playing a big help in trying to reduce false alarms.”
For Collins, eData Manager has business bottom line advantages.
For example, “we had a false alarm involving the City of San Jose false alarm fee. And (the city) sent us a much higher fee because they said we had no permit. But I was able to go into eServices, pull up that individual restaurant and verify that our alarm permit is accurate and valid and make arrangements to have someone contact the city to get those fees reduced.”
Dan Valadares, senior national account manager for Stanley, started as a store detective catching shoplifters. For the Cheesecake Factory, he starts with a construction team. “They provide me with a new location and the drawings for the security devices needed for that location. It’s a great partnership in that respect because we’ve actually sat down with them and co-design the solutions based upon their needs. And they have a partnership with our architect, who has actually inputted that information into the architectural drawings.
As a ball carrier, “We partner with Chuck on all service-related issues,” concluded Valadares.
For Security Magazine’s advisory board member, Jack Dowling, CPP, PSP, of JD Security Consultants, Downingtown, Pa., one move in the playbook could be the blitz.
“First, the marketing of security consulting services will be expanded to more sectors of the industry. Second, both ends of the buying process need to highlight the cost savings and ROI for recommended security projects.”
Among his advice to all security executives: “Limit unnecessary business travel by consolidating and coordinating geographic visits; but, contrary to the current economic situation, I continue to invest in technology that enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of the operation.”
PUSH THE TEAM FORWARDThe 2009 strategy for Meryl Rubinstein, assistant superintendent for business operations, and Michael Kollmer, director of technology, both of the Mamaroneck (New York) Public Schools, centers on their team’s forward progress, thanks in part to their goal-setting decision to go with unique security video technology that’s more costly per camera but less costly to cover their entire facility.
On their team are Johnson Controls of Milwaukee, Wis., and Security 360 of Naperville, Ill.
Chris Horan, who covers New York for Johnson Controls, said that “the school approached us about putting a digital security video system into Mamaroneck High School. With my relationship with Sentry 360, we brought in the technology, gave a presentation and were able to win the job. One benefit of the camera is that we can do PTZ in playback mode, which no other camera that I’m aware of can do in high resolution.”
Added Rubenstein, who sought new technology after a few incidents that closed the high school or caused evacuations, saw value in the integrator’s proposal. “We thought that it was actually a cost effective way…even though each of those cameras costs was more, they covered a greater area and the quality and resolution was so high with the zoom.”
Speaking of the team’s forward progress, Kollmer said, “From a network perspective, we wanted to accomplish two things. One was to make sure that we would not be having a major impact on our traffic in our network, and the second one is to maintain a unified network. In consulting with our network engineers, we created a Virtual LAN setup which enabled us to have centralized control of the entire network and yet keep the traffic flow separated.”
Speaking of the field of play, Johnson Control’s Nicole Michione pointed out that “this school does have a very interesting layout, many different elevations, many different intersections and corridors. And the application with the 360 camera was just really a perfect fit.” Rubinstein added that the intent was not to have someone monitoring the system all the time. “It was more to use it as a deterrent as well as if an incident does happen to be able to go back and see exactly what happened and to see who was involved.”
According to Sentry 360’s Tom Carnevale, the solution will prove in 2009 that this is a perfect example of a network administrator and an IT administrator understanding the type of technology that’s in front of them and organizing their network in a way that is unobtrusive to the rest of their operation – 40-plus megapixel cameras running on a VLAN network with a major high school. That’s a great illustration of how this type of technology can be used.”
It’s a shift from scrimmage for Richard Lefler, emeritus faculty, Security Executive Council (securityexecutivecouncil.com), who feels that the high profile for security issues following events of 9/11 has been replaced by a continuing economic downturn focus. “Business leaders are rapidly shifting risk priorities to ensure competitive survival. Security threats and risks, while critical to a company, will have to compete against economic risks for limited company resources,” he pointed out.
According to Lefler, who also is a member of the Security Magazine advisory board, there are significant priorities for security leaders this year.
- There will be increased emphasis on security program management that enhances operating margins or reduces costs both variable costs driven by volume and fixed costs. Examples: anti-counterfeiting, anti gray market, supply chain shrinkage, theft.
- Increased sensitivity to the "insider threat," including financial theft, intellectual property theft, collusion and potential sabotage.
- Increased regulatory and compliance oversight, especially in financial services companies and including expanded “know your customer, know your partner, know your employee” programs.
- Review of violence in the workplace prevention programs focused on mitigating the effects of possible layoffs and downsizing.
HANG TIME HAS ADVANTAGESIt’s that excellent hang time in the clouds that’s in the 2009 playbook for Agent Jeff Blye of the Orlando Police Department. Special events – from sports and car racing to political rallies – are a growing business, which also carry unique and sensitive security concerns. Security industry analysts contend that – this year – special event security will be one of the few shining lights in terms of growth and use of security technologies.
But for public law enforcement agencies and private enterprises, special events have an additional challenge: Often, events call for more and higher level security involving agencies and organizations that may not routinely interact and for a short period of time.
Systems integrator Mark Jules of Avrio Group, who advises to Blye, describes a solution that is based on wireless mesh and that can be implemented atop existing street light and utility poles for a temporary high security fix. “It’s a combination of a camera, a wireless device and all the electrical components needed to simply hang the unit on a pole and plug power into it.” His firm worked with the City of Phoenix when they hosted the Super Bowl, in Denver for the Democrat National Convention; St. Paul for the Republican National Convention and also works for a variety of federal agencies.
Blye, an Orlando Police detective with primary responsibility for electronic surveillance, is assigned to a multi-agency task force covering IP video surveillance within Orlando and Central Florida area.
His 2009 game plan: “Our idea was to purchase wireless mesh technology surveillance equipment for deployment at varying activities whether it be a county fair or a National Socialist Movement rally or at large immigration rallies.” In anticipation of special events challenges this year, the solution was deployed at the 12 Hours of Sebring Race and a Barack Obama rally.
“Once you’ve got this system configured, it’s basically pointing antennas at each other for it to talk. At the Sebring Race, we were able to set up an eight camera system within a couple hours. We had it configured within an hour or so out of the back of my truck. And then the hardest part of any installation is just getting elevated to mount the cameras up on poles. So that’s actually the most time consuming aspect of any installation that I do is just basically the site survey. What poles am I going to put it on, how am I going to get up there to hang it and where am I going to get power from?”
Boxes from the integrator provide an AC outlet. Blye runs an extension cord down to any pole that doesn’t have power already and power it off a simple generator.
Blye’s team is bigger than the integrator and Firetide as the wireless mesh provider. “We are part of the Target Department Stores’ Safe Cities Initiative. Our system is IRIS or Innovative Response to Improved Safety. And the first phase is 17 cameras that are going to be deployed on wireless mesh backhauled to the Orlando Police Department where we already have a preexisting command post.”
Such 2009 solutions are versatile. “I can take analog output from a preexisting surveillance system, put it into a video encoder which now converts that analog to IP, plug a mesh node into it, assure that it’s in range of my other mesh nodes and can then look at the cameras from that analog output.”
Hang time this year may get longer. Said Blye, “Our school board in Orange County has cameras at all their schools. It would be nice that if there was a high risk incident at a school I can then tie into their system with a mesh node, stick an antenna outside, put a mesh node on a command vehicle and manage the scene.”
This year, it’s obvious that wireless mesh will go well beyond video surveillance for special events, as one example. Jules’ firm is seeing customers that want to also pull access control, gunshot detection and data. “And all of that can be done, you know, back through the Pole Cam as result of the mesh,” he said.
Firetide’s Ksenia Coffman commented, “We set out to develop a reliable wireless infrastructure. And it’s very similar to getting a distributed wireless Ethernet switch. So really it’s the same connectivity that you would get from your cable except that you can place the nodes in any location you need. Video is really the test of wireless mesh technology or any wireless technology because of the bandwidth requirements for evidence grade video.”
In Emprise Bank’s CSO Jeremy Couch’s 2009 playbook, it’s home field advantage when his in-house personnel evaluate, choose and implement security programs in a tight economy.
Headquartered in Wichita, the privately owned bank has over 40 locations in 20 communities across the state. Recently, the bank, led by the vision of Couch, began a thorough evaluation of embedded DVR solutions, high-end analog cameras and IP megapixel solutions. “New construction gave us alternate options on where to place cameras,” said Couch. “Those decisions have yielded dividends with the collection of valuable video evidence and tremendous still images.” Having viewed differences in image quality and other convenient features, he picked Arecont Vision (St. Louis,Mo.) megapixel cameras and a network video recorder solution.
Concerning Couch’s home field advantage, all systems are monitored centrally by Emprise’s security department, with client access available at the site level if needed. The bank also has taken on the challenge of designing its video surveillance system in-house. “The decision on camera placement was something I as the Security Officer wants to take to a different level. Also, designing our own video storage system allows us to get twice the storage for half the money.”
The bank’s security systems integrator, American Digital Security, according to Couch, “was an early supporter of megapixel camera technology and ability to capitalize on the new IP system model.”
In the parking lots as well as inside, the new technology this year will have a business bottom line. The ability to give specific information to the police regarding, for example, the color, make, model and license plate of the vehicle a suspect drove away in greatly enables finding and apprehending suspects.
Inside the banks, the new technology will make it easier to catch fraud. Couch noted that if an individual came in to one of the banks to cash a one hundred dollar check, it would be possible to determine from the video if that money was given to them in 20’s, 50’s, or a hundred dollar bill. The video data can also be taken and made into electronic files for later reference.
BULK UP THE DEFENSIVE LINEAt another financial institution, Ohio-based Farmers and Merchants Bank’s Denny Gerst, executive vice president, will emphasize making his defensive line stronger with policies, procedures and equipment.
“We are a remote facility and it is essential that we are able to properly protect our customers, employees and assets,” explained Gerst. Going on the defense, he needed a system that could not only help us look back at a problem, but could alert us when a problem arises. An intelligent IP video surveillance system from I2C of Uniontown, Ohio, will answer the bank’s needs. “The savings in losses and the elimination of time sorting through hours of unclear video will save us a tremendous amount of money,” commented Gerst.
Redshirting is among Guy Grace’s playbook strategies. Director of security and emergency planning for the Littleton (Colo.) Public Schools, he pointed out that public school security is not immune to economic woes that are affecting the rest of the country. With the repurposing of two elementary schools, security will still be required to protect these two facilities as they go through the transitions.
“With the sputtering economy, our strategies are being adjusted accordingly. We have seen an increase in property theft incidents this year. For example, thieves are more active in looking for crimes of opportunity where they can make some quick money after the sale of the stolen loot. Such targets as iPODS, cell phones, wallets, purses and back packs are common targets of these desperate thieves. So we have adjusted our strategies to deal with theft incidents by focusing our camera and security officer assignments to deal with the issue. As a result there have been more apprehensions in regards to theft than in the past.
“Sadly, when we have spoken to several of the suspects and asked why they did it we have been informed that they are hurting for money and that’s the reason why they committed the crime. In some cases, they even said they targeted a particular person because they thought victim had lots of money and would not miss the item.”
To handle a tight budget, Grace, who also is a member of the Security Magazine advisory board, said that among the first things he did was to implement a plan that aimed at “getting more than three or four bids for each of our capital reserve projects. The bidding was very competitive and as a result we save about one third of the allotted funding. We then took that savings and added this into more security-related capital improvements.
“The second step was to do more projects in-house such as adding card readers, cameras and other devices. This has also saved us some money.”
A third step was to brief all of the security employees on what was going on with the budget for the entire district as a whole. “The goal was not to instill fear about their jobs but to think about how they could help in their own way in getting the district through the crisis.”
A fourth step was to use part-time workers for clerical, fill-in and dispatching duties where needed. “This has been very helpful to the operations as whole because of benefits and other cost issues. It also allows us to stay fully functioning when a fulltime employee is not working.”
Facing economics, Grace’s technology game plan has changed, too.
“In the past, we specified that only certain cameras and devices could be used in our security operations. With budget challenges we have opened up ourselves to other vendors, technologies and practices that can integrate into our security system. Thankfully we have found that the most expensive product may not be the best. What we really have found out is that good, reliable equipment is desired to be put into place into our integrated system in the best possible way. Our most likely cause for failure over the years has been improper installation. So as our knowledge has grown, we are now able to head off problems before the install. Having such knowledge does eliminate financial problems down the road.”
PLAY-ACTION PLAYS WORK FOR EVERYONEJan Church plans to stay with a successful play-action pass to experienced service providers this year. He is senior real estate manager of CB Richard Ellis at Century Park in downtown Los Angeles,
Each day is different at the Century Park complex. With 24-hour access, seven days a week, Century Park requires a security provider to handle the spontaneity that securing such a large structure entails. Each morning, construction contractors arrive early to continue renovation processes, and deliveries are made for Century Park’s restaurants. By nine o’clock, the parking garage is full and the buildings hold more than 6,000 occupants.
Church’s play-action pass went to Universal Protection Service, which will handle day-to-day processes of securing the site. It takes a team of five individuals to plan and implement a building’s security strategy each day. More than 50 officers are responsible for securing over three million square feet throughout the day.
Michael Sims, security supervisor for Universal, is one of the five individuals overseeing the security. None of his job responsibilities fit the typical security officer stereotype. Sims directs his security officers and provides mentoring for not just work-related issues but also personal concerns. His force will provide monitoring, post and roving, loading dock and delivery management, and access control which includes badge check, verification and visitor management.
This year, customer service is a strong component to the type of service the buildings’ tenants provide to their clients, and it is important that their security provider and its security professionals exhibit that same level of customer service to Century Park’s tenants and visitors. “Visitors and tenants enjoy coming here. When tenants are happy, we know they (Universal staff) are in the right place,” said Church.
The team’s approach “is very customer-oriented and they are an organization that has always been proactive versus reactive…coming up with effective and creative solutions,” commented Renee Watkinson, vice president and director of CB Richard Ellis of Los Angeles.
BUMP AND RUN FOR TEAMNo one in security knows the playbook better than wide receiver Cris Carter, who played most of his career with the Minnesota Vikings.
Chairman of Carter Brothers, the firm sees many security leaders using new technology to reduce fixed costs while enhancing operations through IT convergence but also through .multiple systems such as security, fire, voice/data, controls.
However, some are reducing investments into new technology during the economic downturn, focusing on items that more directly impact the core business applications. Carter’s advice: Look for vendors that can offer long-term, life-cycle cost solutions/savings with consistent services and products that meet performance objectives but that are cost-effective. Search for sources that can provide consolidated delivery of multiple systems to reduce initial costs and enhance deliverables.
Internally, the integrator looks at strengthening the team through partnerships, innovation, multiple services and mutually beneficial relationships with a focus on quality as well as cost – a solid plan for security leaders, too