Daily Archives: 15/06/2016

Binns focuses Fencing Contractors Association on delivering for its members

The Fencing Contractors Association (FCA) is on a mission to re-engage fully with members and adopt their priorities as its mission guide. That’s the mandate on which incoming chairman Adam Binns believes he has been elected since taking office for his two-year term at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on 25 February.

The AGM ratified the appointment of Administration Services Ltd (ASL) – who tabled a report at the meeting on its survey of all 150 members – to replace retiring general secretary Wendy Baker as the FCA’s administration specialist.

In advance of the AGM, Baker said: “After almost 18 years’ service, it will be my pleasure to have the opportunity to say a proper goodbye to the members whom I have been extremely proud to represent during my tenure.”

Adam Binns commented: “The ASL survey gives us an honest and independent insight on what we’re doing at the moment and on what is valued by members so that we can move the FCA forward and really start to deliver what they say is important to them. We’ve cut our running costs by a third, so there’s more money freed up to promote the FCA and its Certified Contractors Scheme.”

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Adam Binns

The Binns Fencing managing director, along with his FCA vice chairman Nick Dybeck (a director of HW Martin), now lead a “rejuvenated Council” which met on 21 April to review strategy and plot a plan for the future.

Promoting the security fencing industry

Rob Oliver of ASL stated: “What came through loud and clear from the survey is that members are very keen for the FCA to continue to promote the fencing industry as professional and for the FCA itself to be the badge of quality within it. Furthermore, given the size and scale of the industry, we ought to be able to grow membership from our current figure of 150.”

Oliver said that other member priorities include training and its promotion, especially given the national focus on apprenticeships and the fact that the industry now has a Trailblazer apprenticeship standard in development.

Members also want better communications, with regular newsletters, e-mails and briefings, more events and reasons to join forces and collaborate on matters of common interest. There’s also a stated desire for the FCA to be the ‘go to’ for guidance and business help with appropriate helplines and experts.

Oliver explained to Risk UK that ASL is looking at how much each of the Helplines is used and will table proposals very soon on which to enhance and which to shelve and how best to harness the expertise in the Council and beyond.

Delivering real value

Adam Binns concluded: “The bottom line is that we have to deliver real value and a reason to belong to the FCA if we’re to grow and strengthen our membership and the services we offer. We’re open to talking to other associations such as the Perimeter Security Suppliers Association (PSSA) and the European Fencing Industry Association (EFIA) to pool resources and strengthen our offer if that’s what works for our industry as a whole.”

The ASL team of Oliver, Robert Osborne and Kim Fitzpatrick boasts many years’ experience of working for Trade Associations, mostly in the construction sector and including the PSSA, which is widely acknowledged as having some overlap with the FCA.

The FCA was established in 1942 to help the buying of timber and other fencing materials to support the war effort. It has four specialist sub-groups: the Association of Safety Fencing Contractors, the Environmental Noise Barrier Association, the Electrical Security Fence Federation and the Gate Automation and Access Barrier Association.

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New report from WhiteHat Security reinforces that organisations must focus on risk

WhiteHat Security has issued its eleventh annual Web Applications Security Statistics Report. Compiled using data collected from tens of thousands of websites, the report reveals that the majority of web applications exhibit, on average, two or more serious vulnerabilities per application for every industry at any given point in time.

The Report’s findings are based on the aggregated vulnerability scanning and remediation data from web applications that use the WhiteHat Sentinel service for application security testing. The research shows that no industry has mastered application security. Of the 12 industries analysed, the IT, education and retail industries suffer the highest number of critical or high-risk vulnerabilities per web application (at 17, 15 and 13 respectively).

The findings also highlight that the IT and retail industries struggle to remediate in a timely manner. It takes approximately 250 days for IT and 205 days for retail businesses to fix their software vulnerabilities.

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According to the ‘Window of Exposure’ data contained in the report, another key metric organisations need to pay attention to is the number of days an application has one or more serious vulnerabilities open during a given time period. Across all industries, a substantial number of web applications remain always vulnerable.

A few key highlights of the report include: 

  • Information Technology (IT): 60% of web applications are always vulnerable
  • Retail: Half of all web applications are always vulnerable
  • Banking and financial services: 40% and 41% (respectively) of web applications are always vulnerable
  • Healthcare: 47% of web applications are always vulnerable

“We’ve observed that organisations have hundreds, if not thousands, of consumer-facing web applications, and each of these web apps has anywhere from five to 32 vulnerabilities,” said Tamir Hardof, chief marketing officer at WhiteHat Security. “This means that there are thousands of vulnerabilities across the average organisation’s web applications. While this number is overwhelming, risk ratings can really help security teams prioritise which vulnerabilities they work on fixing first. Unfortunately, what this year’s report tells us once again is that organisations are not really relying on risk levels as a baseline to inform their application security strategies.”

Remediation rates

The report also captures data on vulnerabilities that are fixed once they’re discovered. Generally, the more critical the vulnerability, the more complex they are to understand and remediate.

For nine of the 12 industries analysed, remediation rates are below 50%. In IT, less than 25% of open vulnerabilities are remediated, while vulnerabilities in this industry have an average age of 875 days. The average time-to-fix for vulnerabilities varies by industry, from approximately 15 weeks in the energy industry to 35 weeks in IT.

Key trends from 2013-2015 include the following:

  • Remediation rates declined significantly in IT, which saw a drop from 46% to 24%, and in banking, which dropped from 52% to 42%
  • Financial services and retail saw modest increases in their remediation rates, from 41% to 48% for financial services, and from 42% to 48% for retail
  • The greatest improvement was in the food and beverage industry, where remediation rates quadrupled from 17% to 62%
  • In manufacturing, rates almost doubled from 34% to 66%, while healthcare and insurance increased from 26% to 42%, and from 26% to 44% respectively

“Since 2013, the average time to fix vulnerabilities has trended upward overall, but we’ve seen some great successes with customers who’ve embedded security into the software development process,” said Ryan O’Leary, vice-president of the Threat Research Centre and technical support for WhiteHat Security.

“Discovering vulnerabilities in development is key to reducing vulnerabilities when the application is staged. Introducing source scanning, or SAST, has the potential to eliminate 80%-90% of well-known vulnerabilities. We look forward to seeing how this report will evolve as security and development teams work together more closely around shared security and risk management goals.”

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Protectas SA and Bosch Security Systems partner on new cloud-based monitoring services in Switzerland

Protectas SA and Bosch Security Systems are now partnering to provide remote video monitoring services to Protectas customers in Switzerland, home to two major Protectas Remote Control Centres.

Bosch cloud-based monitoring services enable Protectas to offer a vast portfolio of video monitoring services securely and cost-effectively from a centralised cloud server.

For its small- and medium-size customers, Protectas offers a highly effective ‘live intervention’ service, with IP cameras from Bosch monitoring key areas. Cameras detect suspicious behaviour and notify personnel at the Protectas Remote Control Centre. From this central location, the security operators view video, and can investigate and verify the suspicious behaviour being reported.

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Through a remote audio connection, the operator notifies intruders that the police are on the way, preventing further damage.

Other vital monitoring services include video verification for indoor areas, virtual guard tours and virtual assistant, which provides immediate remote video and audio support to employees in distress with just one push of an emergency button.

The system is also designed for easy and inexpensive start-up. With only an IP camera and an Internet connection, end customers can begin using the Site Monitor App immediately for live and remote video monitoring. Benefits also include industry-specific business support services such as customer traffic reports for high-traffic retail facilities.

Fastest possible emergency response

Bosch cloud-based monitoring services and Protectas’ highly-trained operators work in synergy to ensure the fastest possible emergency response. Cloud-based alarm bundling intelligently groups related events together, significantly reducing the operator capacity needed per incident. As soon as the operator on duty initiates the alarm response process, cloud-based monitoring services displays the video operation interface, which renders a clear perspective of the situation to enable a swift and sure emergency response.

Arnaud Ducrot, CTO at Protectas, explained: “At Protectas, we’re really confident that this partnership will serve our remote guarding strategy. Including mature, efficient and cost-effective cloud services in our security solutions, especially on-site and mobile guarding, makes an important difference to our small- and medium-size customers.”

Protectas SA belongs to Securitas AB (which, incidentally, is not affiliated with the Swiss company of the same name, Securitas AG). From a broad range of services of specialised guarding, technology solutions and consulting and investigations, the business customises offerings that are suited to the individual customer’s needs in order to deliver the most effective security solutions.

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Manchester City Centre Crime Prevention Panel to run Charity Golf Day

Manchester City Centre Crime Prevention Panel’s popular Charity Golf Day returns on Tuesday 28 June at Ellesmere Golf Club, Worsley in Manchester.

Supported by Greater Manchester Police Bootle Street Sports and Social Club, this annual event supports Ronald McDonald House Charities which provide free ‘home away from home’ accommodation for families with children in hospital.

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A number of prizes will be up for grabs and teams as well as individuals are welcome to attend. The cost for a four-ball team is £325 which includes lunch and dinner.

Individual places are available at £85 per person.

Stu Pizzey MBE, Secretary to the Manchester City Centre Crime Prevention Panel, commented: “This all-inclusive day gives businesses the opportunity to invite customers, suppliers and staff to network in an informal and relaxed atmosphere while at the same time supporting a wonderful and much needed charity.”

*To book individual or team places, or to find out more information, please contact Christine Brooks on 01905 864675

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Recruitment drive underpinned by growth at Advanced

With demand for its fire systems growing steadily in all of its domestic and international markets, Advanced has recently completed a major recruitment drive to grow its workforce by over 10% in order to boost its manufacturing capacity and, at the same time, add key talent to its international marketing and UK and US Engineering Department.

Commenting on this growth Ray Hope, Advanced’s managing director, told Risk UK: “We have continually invested in fire systems that lead the market in terms of quality, performance and ease-of-use and are experiencing very positive growth. We now have bases, partners and customers in over 60 countries worldwide and, while we’ve consistently grown, some of our new product innovations are driving demand in key markets and developing new opportunities that we need to build on and support.”

RayHopeAdvanced

Hope added: “It has been an amazing couple of years, with our systems installed in some of the most famous and challenging developments in the world. I’d like to thank everyone at Advanced for their hard work and welcome our new starters. We have some major projects ahead in key markets. The emphasis is on maintaining and building momentum.”

Advanced is a specialist developer and manufacturer of intelligent fire systems with solutions suitable for any site, from single panel installations to large multi-site networks.

The company’s products include complete fire detection systems, multi-protocol fire panels, extinguishing control and fire paging systems.

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