Category Archives: About Technology

Security Provided by Access Control Systems

What You Can Do to Improve Security

With all the gun-related tragedies at schools and other facilities, what can we do to increase our security? Securing your facility, school, sporting events, or concerts have become more complicated.

Access Control Systems

IP camera systems used to be enough to monitor the facility, but today we want to do a lot more.  We want to prevent unauthorized access to our buildings, prevent people from bringing in weapons, and we want to provide campus-wide paging systems that keep everyone informed of any emergency.  


Access control systems include more than just a door reader. They can include intercoms, cameras and even walk-through metal detectors. Each of these security systems adds another level of safety. The different components play unique roles in your overall security. This article reviews the various parts and when to use them. It provides guidance about what technology to use and an overview of how they work.

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How Walk-Through Metal Detectors Work

Walk-Through Metal DetectorAnyone who has traveled by airplane has probably gone through a walk-through metal detector. These security devices have also been used in schools, sporting events, government offices, and concerts. They are part of a total security system that includes cameras, door access control, and emergency paging systems.   


Metal detectors are effective and safe.  Just like IP cameras and door access control, they add to your safety and security.  Here’s how they work.


The Science Behind Metal Detectors

The metal detector utilizes the laws described by a Scottish physicist named James Clerk Maxwell (1831–1879). He discovered that magnetism and electricity are related. An example of the relationship is a coil of copper wire wrapped around a metal nail. When current is applied to the coil, the metal nail becomes magnetized.


When an electric pulse is sent through a coil of wire, it creates a magnetic field. When the field hits a metal object, it reflects back and can be detected using another coil of wire. The size and timing of the detected pulse is used to define the size and position of the object.  

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Security Technology Review for 2017

Technology of 2017In 2017 there were a number of technology advancements. Faster processors provided higher performance IP cameras that enhanced the security provided by IP camera systems.


Other technology introduced included, long-range PTZ cameras, new biometric door access control readers, and more advanced network attached paging and intercom systems.


Over last year, technology for IP security systems continued to add new features that made it easier to use and improve our safety. This article reviews some of the key technology introductions.

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How to Protect IP Camera System from Cyber Attack

Protecting Your IP Camera from Hacking

IP camera protection conceptIP camera systems are supposed to protect us. That is their purpose. However, do we need to protect the camera system?  It turns out that in this brave new world of cyber threats, even our cameras are vulnerable.


There are some things you can do to protect your IP camera system from cyber-attack. Some of them seem obvious, yet many of us have not implemented them. Your IT staff can implement many of these things, but we do have a simple solution that can be installed by almost anyone. Here is a list of things you should do to protect your IP camera system.

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Biometric Door Control Misconceptions

Do You Believe Facial Recognition Readers Store Your Picture?

Biometic reader and flat-disc worldThere are many misconceptions about science and technology. One of the misconceptions is that biometric IP door readers store a picture of your fingerprint or face. Another one is that the Earth is a flat disc that rests on top of four elephants, on top of a turtle*.


For clarity, biometric door readers do not store a picture of your fingerprint or face, and the Earth is not flat. This article describes the technology behind biometric door readers.

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Long Range Camera Systems – Custom Vs. Off-the-Shelf

Review of Long-Range Day-Night IP Camera Systems

Very-long-range-custom-PTZDo you want to detect objects many miles away?  While custom-made cameras are best for very long-range applications, the latest off-the-shelf cameras provide some of the same capability for less money. These long-range PTZ cameras are very cost-effective, and allow you to detect a person almost 4-miles away. They have built-in IR-illumination or an additional thermal imaging camera that allows you to see an object over ½ mile away.  Prices range from less than $3,000 to about $18,000.


The basic difference between the off-the-shelf and custom cameras is the operational distance, especially at night.  Custom-made systems can view objects at night that are over 3 miles away. They include very long distance lenses, specialized laser illuminators, special thermal cameras, and very high-performance pan tilt mechanisms.  Custom cameras range in price from $20,000 to well over $150,000. Here is a summary of the systems available:

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How to Ensure Video Chain of Evidence

How Write-Once Storage is Used to Protect Video Evidence From Your Ip Surveillance System

Chain of evidence tagOne of the objectives of a video security system is to help law enforcement prosecute miscreants. It is important that this digital evidence follow the rules for chain of evidence so it will be acceptable by the courts. It must be treated just like fingerprints, confiscated weapons, and other physical objects that need to be authenticated in court. Ensuring the immutability of digital information can be challenging because a knowledgeable person can modify the evidence if it is not secured. How can we assure that the information has not been edited, deleted, or modified in any way?  This article reviews some of the methods for protecting the video chain of evidence.


Procedures Required

In all cases, defined methods of handling and storing the video data need to be followed. Once an incident occurs, the organization should follow a procedure that protects the video. The first step is to transfer the video evidence to secure storage that can’t be changed.  This can be DVR-R disc or a protected hard drive. Once the video is transferred, it can be provided to law enforcement.


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Protecting Your Computer from Malware

How to Protect Your Computer from Ransomware and Other Malware

virus-protection-conceptWhat if you didn’t have to worry about ransomware or any other viruses? Unfortunately, cybercrime has become a major problem for the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) who is tasked with protecting the company’s computer systems, as well as the CEO who has to deal with the consequences of an attack. Large corporations such as Merck, Mondelez, Sony and DLA Piper have been infected by malware. Hospitals and organizations around the world have not been spared. It has become a global problem.


There are a number of virus protection programs that attempt to block malware from entering the system, but none of the solutions work all the time.  A good solution is to be more careful with email, but it is hard to control everyone in the organization. An extreme solution is to take the computer off the Internet, but this prevents access to people who need the data.

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Detection, Recognition, Identification: The New Criteria

The Real-World Resolution Requirements

I was not sure what to call this article. I first thought it should be titled, “Why The Johnson Criteria is Wrong.”  We use this criterion to predict how far away we can see something using a specific camera and lens.  The criteria define the threshold for detection, recognition, and identification (DRI). The industry has used this criterion since World War II. It has not been updated to reflect today’s technology and resolution requirements.


Better criteria can help us select the right long-range camera for an application.  It can be used to predict the working distance of long-range thermal and optical camera systems.

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Comparison of Security Provided by Door Access Systems

What Is the Most Secure Door Access Control System?

Door Access ControlHow secure are door access control systems?  Pricing can range from less than $100 for a single door to over $1100 per door. What do you get for the money? In some cases, the security level provided can be crucial to your safety.


How can we stay ahead of miscreants that are dedicated to breaking through our security systems?  This article summarizes the various levels of electronic security provided by different door control systems. Level 1 provides the least overall security while level 4 provides the highest level of protection. We compared the cost against the effectiveness of each type of system.

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