Tag Archives: COVID-19

TDSi recommences full COVID-safe training at Poole headquarters

Integrated security solutions manufacturer TDSi has announced the reopening of its on-site training programme, backed up by a robust COVID-safe regime of testing and Track and Trace which helps to protect everyone involved.

Additionally, the business has signed up to the Government-run ‘We Offer Testing to our Staff’ scheme. This facilitates all staff taking lateral flow testing in its offices on a twice weekly basis.

John Davies (managing director at TDSi) told Security Matters: “Now that UK COVID restrictions have relaxed a little further, it’s the perfect time to cautiously reintroduce on-site training for our partners and customers. While online training and assistance is invaluable, there are many practical training applications, particularly so those involving hardware installation, that benefit quite considerably from first-hand demonstration.”

Davies continued: “We fully appreciate that some visitors will have anxiety about frequenting other locations, so we have put in place highly robust measures to ensure those who visit and work at our facilities have maximum reassurance that the risks are minimised and that they’re protected.”

While the testing remains voluntary, TDSi is positively encouraging staff and visitors to test themselves to ensure everyone’s peace of mind and safety. Davies asserted: “When trainees attend the Poole facility for training, we will present them with individual bags containing all of the equipment they need as well as an instruction pack. They will be advised to complete the lateral flow test in their cars before entry to the building to ensure that any potential issues are isolated.”

Return to the office

From Monday 17 May, around 70% of the TDSi team returned to the company’s headquarters for daily operations while always maintaining safe social distancing. However, the business will continue to support a mixture of home and office working to ensure there’s flexibility and also that all operations continue to run smoothly and safely.

Davies added: “Our employees are now testing themselves at home on Sunday and Wednesday evenings in line with the official guidelines, with the results reported back to the NHS. If any individual has a positive result, we will ensure they receive a PCR test to confirm that they’re negative before they return to the office such that any potential infection routes are immediately restricted.”

Further, Davies stated: “We owe this level of scrutiny and care to all our visitors and staff and are proud to be extending this level of reassurance to our visiting partners and customers. While there are still considerable potential health threats at large, it’s also important to ensure we safely deliver the right levels of support and training by adjusting to the needs of the ‘new normal’ as quickly as possible.”

*To find out more about TDSi’s Installer Training or to book a place on a COVID-safe course visit www.tdsi.co.uk/training.html

*For more information on TDSi in general visit www.tdsi.co.uk

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Senior leadership promotions announced by guarding business SSGC

SSGC – one of many security guarding companies providing vital services to keep the country running during the COVID-19 pandemic – has now appointed a new CEO and managing director following a year of huge growth. David Stubbs is appointed to the newly-created position of CEO of both SSGC and WLTS (a new offshoot firm which delivers temporary labour and recruitment services to businesses), while the business has promoted Demelza Staples to the role of managing director of SSGC. Staples formerly served as operations director.

SSGC has grown from a £1.5 million annual turnover business in 2014 to reach a current turnover of more than £100 million. Both appointments are part of its plan to continue growing as the country navigates its way out of the pandemic.

Last year, the Armed Forces Covenant signatory deployed more than 4,000 members of staff to marshal COVID-19 Testing Centres across the UK, many of whom were military veterans. It has since expanded to provide lateral flow testing support for schools across the UK and launched the aforementioned WLTS business, which has already secured a £40 million contract to provide personnel to Comensura (the business that speclialises in managing supplies of temporary, permanent and contract labour).

A former military policeman, Stubbs was a key driver in the management buy-out of SSGC in 2014, while Staples is an experienced retail professional specialising in risk, security, loss prevention, operations and Human Resources.

Continuing ambition

In conversation with Security Matters, Stubbs explained: “I’m delighted to have guided the business to its current position. The creation of the new CEO role is another sign of the continuing ambition of the business as we look to build a winning senior team which will deliver positive change within the security sector.”

He continued: “It’s critical to the business’ ongoing success that SSGC mirrors the country by forging ahead into a post-pandemic world, building a solution which is fit for the new way of conducting business. I’m heartened by the sizable contract wins over the last couple of months. Hopefully, they’re a sign that we’re doing things the right way. It’s especially pleasing that our social value activity is being embraced by the larger, more evolved corporates. As a business, we will continue to invest in a better living standard for all of our staff and the wider communities in which we operate.”

Further, Stubbs stated: “There are many brands emerging from the growth of SSGC as we maintain our focus on specialisation and meaningful innovation. I’m excited by the challenges and opportunities that the future holds. I would like to congratulate Demelza, who has made a hugely positive impact on our COVID-19 testing-related security solutions delivery. I’m certain that she will prove to be an exceptional leader for the business.”

Challenging and rewarding

Reflecting on her own new role with the business, Demelza Staples said: “It’s amazing to have been involved at a senior level in this business’ rise to the top. Very few of us experience 1,500% year-on-year growth where we work and, while the last year has been challenging, it has been the most rewarding of my life. I’m pleased that the Board has afforded me the managing director’s post.”

Staples went on to comment: “Probably the most exciting part for me is the fact that SSGC has already continued with its winning ways. There are a number of really positive announcements to be made at the start of my journey in the managing director’s chair.”

In conclusion, Staples informed Security Matters: “Through our commitment to the veteran community and the Continuing Professional Development of all our employees, we’ve managed to build a highly-skilled team to support our growth programme. I’m delighted to be taking on the managing director’s role and thank the owners of the business for offering me this fantastic opportunity.”

*Further information is available online at www.ssgc-net.com

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First Response Group at heart of nation’s fight against COVID-19

First Response Group has been at the heart of the nation’s fight against the Coronavirus having been brought in by the University of Oxford to bolster security at the latter’s COVID-19 research facility.

The company was recommended for the highly important security detail after successfully demonstrating its expertise and reliability to the University of Oxford during the first national lockdown.

Founded in 2007 by directors Jamal Tahlil and Edgar Chibaka, First Response Group provides security, fire and facilities management services to a wide range of clients in the public and private sectors.

The COVID-19 Oxford Vaccine Trial has been run by the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute and the Oxford Vaccine Group clinical teams. It has been conducted in collaboration with multiple study sites across the UK and internationally, including a temporary research installation on the University of Oxford’s grounds.

After a full site risk assessment, First Response Group recommended a 24/7 security guarding detail consisting of three security officers on the premises during the day and two at night to ensure robust protection for the trial patients, research staff and the sensitive clinical data.

First Response Group’s Security Industry Authority-licensed security officers control all entrances and exits through the facility day and night. While safeguarding the safety and integrity of the project, the officers also ensure that distancing measures are followed, challenge anti-social behaviour and monitoring the area for suspicious activity.

Dedicated site supervisor

To ensure fast and consistent communication with the University of Oxford’s management, First Response Group allocated a dedicated site supervisor to provide a senior level presence at the site from Monday to Friday. The site supervisor acts as the main point of contact for the University of Oxford’s management, dealing with any issues as and when they arise in real-time.

Oto Velička, senior buildings and facilities manager at the University of Oxford, informed Security Matters: “I would like to thank the First Response Group for the outstanding quality of service the company provides for our COVID-19 Oxford Vaccine Trial at the University of Oxford. When we approached the company asking for support, the management team immediately engaged with us on a highly professional level and was able to scope, suggest and implement a made-to-measure solution perfectly suiting our needs.”

Velička continued: “The on-site team members are highly competent, professional, co-operative and have a comprehensive understanding of our business needs and the sensitivity of our activity. They’ve proven over and over that we can rely on them for all of our security needs, bringing complete peace of mind to our operation 24 hours per day, seven days a week.”

Simon Alderson, CEO at the First Response Group, added: “Without question, this has to be one of the most high-profile security operations with which we’ve been involved in. Indeed, it’s one of worldwide importance. Being chosen to support the University of Oxford in this clinical trial is a ringing endorsement of the First Response Group. It’s an honour to have played a part in ensuring the security of the vaccine, staff and trial patients in the lead-up to its national roll-out.”

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International trade body IHMA issues warning over latest COVID-19 counterfeiting scam

News that people are being duped into buying fake COVID tests reinforces the urgent need for manufacturers and law enforcement agencies to step up investment in anti-counterfeiting measures including product security devices. This warning from the International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA) comes in the wake of reports of illicit sales of fake negative COVID-19 test results.

The latter are becoming more widespread as criminals look to profit from travel restrictions imposed during the pandemic. Europol has reported an increase in cases of fraudulent COVID-19 test certificates being sold to travellers.

In tandem, an increasing number of countries in the EU and beyond now require travellers to provide a negative Coronavirus test in order form them to be allowed entry when travelling from a high-risk area.

According to the IHMA, this development strengthens concerns about manufacturers and the public being targeted for exploitation by unscrupulous counterfeiters looking to cash in on the trade in illicit goods and services as the pandemic continues to impact the globe.

Fake test results are just one example of a range of fraudulent activity that has emerged during the COVID crisis. Counterfeit coronavirus testing kits have been sold and online scams have risen, with criminals exploiting millions of people now working from home. Seizures of fake test kits were reported by both the US CBP and the World Customs Organisation during 2020 at a time when the counterfeit market represents an estimated 7% of global trade.

Fake medicines

The World Health Organisation has said that a growing volume of fake medicines are on sale in developing countries, while Interpol has seen an increase in fake medical products. Despite efforts from businesses, counterfeits continue to seriously harm brands while customers are being duped.

Counterfeiting is a multibillion-dollar global problem. The current crisis only exacerbates the situation, suggests the IHMA, which is urging supply chains and authorities to be extra vigilant and review how they tackle the threats posed. They may even have to bring forward plans for investment in authentication and verification technologies to protect brands, profits and reputation.

Indeed, an IHMA poll revealed that almost 50% of manufacturers and suppliers of holograms had seen an increase in demand from customers, specifiers and end users for devices and technologies in the face of COVID-19.

Opportunities for criminals

Dr Paul Dunn, chair of the IHMA, explained: “COVID continues to present opportunities for crafty criminals who are infiltrating global supply channels and deploying scams and counterfeiting measures to trick consumers and damage manufacturers. Furthermore, items such as falsified medicines and test kits can pose a terrible threat and even endanger lives.”

Dunn added: “Holograms can be effective in the front line fight against the counterfeiters and fraudsters, protecting brands and profits alike. Those involved in the supply chain are reassured by their presence on products, recognising the security and financial benefits that can be provided.”

The use of well-designed and properly deployed authentication solutions, as advocated by ISO 12931, enables examiners to verify the authenticity of a legitimate product, differentiating it from fake products coming from counterfeiting ‘hot spots’ in parts of Asia and eastern Europe. Even those that carry a ‘fake’ authentication feature can be distinguished from the genuine item if that item carries a carefully thought-out authentication solution.

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Abloy UK issues 2021 dates for free online training sessions

Abloy UK has released its Academy calendar outlining the company’s free online training courses to be delivered in 2021. The webinars are going to be presented by specialists and aim to keep practising professionals operating in the sector up-to-date with the Building Regulations and compliance standards, as well as current security and technology trends.

A suite of four courses will be held across the year on specific themes: Escape Door Systems, Electric Locking for Fire and Escape Doors, Digital Transformation in Physical Security and Digital Access Solutions. The latter is a new subject for 2021.

Pat Jefferies, commercial director at Abloy UK, told Security Matters: “Ongoing COVID restrictions mean that in-person training is very difficult. However, this shouldn’t prevent security professionals from striving for self-improvement and ensuring that they always keep up-to-date with the latest Best Practice across the sector.”

The full list of course dates is as follows:

Escape Door Systems: 1 April, 4 June, 5 August, 6 October and 2 December.

Electric Locking for Fire and Escape Doors: 4 March, 6 May, I July, 2 September and 4 November.

Digital Transformation in Physical Security: 11 March, 13 May, 8 July, 9 September and 11 November.

Digital Access Solutions: 22 April, 10 June, 12 August, 14 October and 9 December.

The Electric Locking for Fire and Escape Doors and Digital Transformation in Physical Security online courses are CPD-accredited.

*To register for one or more of the training sessions visit https://bit.ly/3asYtwS

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Award-winning Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust joins IFPO

The International Foundation for Protection Officers in the UK and Ireland (IFPO UK) is pleased to welcome the award-winning Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Barnsley Facilities Services as corporate members of the not-for-profit organisation.

Barnsley Hospital is among the leading NHS Trusts in the country. The 350-plus bed hospital was built back in the 1970s and serves a population of over a quarter of a million people in the Barnsley area. Today, it continues to provide a full range of district hospital services to the local community and surrounding area. These include Emergency Department services, outpatient clinics, in-patient services and maternity and children’s services.

In addition, Barnsley Hospital provides a number of specialist services, including cancer and surgical services. These services are delivered in conjunction with Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.

The Barnsley Hospital security team, which is led by Mike Lees CSyP FSyI (head of business security) and business security specialist Lisa Corbridge MSyI, has won numerous awards in recent years for its innovative security regimes. At present, of course, the team is very much on the front line when it comes to the fight against COVID-19.

Commenting on the news, Mike Lees stated: “Both the NHS Trust and Barnsley Facilities Services consider the development of our front line personnel as being vitally important. Going forward, membership of the IFPO will be key to ensuring that patients and members of staff working at the hospital are protected by professional teams, the members of which have the opportunity to continue progressing their skills and competences.”

IFPO UK director Mike Hurst CPP MSyI responded: “We’re honoured to have Mike, Lisa and the award-winning Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust security and facilities team as members of the IFPO. Individual security practitioners, security companies and end users are all welcome as members of the organisation. They can access our range of member benefits and security education programmes. Indeed, we’re presently developing some new programmes designed to support front line officers, supervisors and managers.”

Professional membership association

IFPO UK is a not-for-profit professional membership association that exists to provide professional learning opportunities for security practitioners. The core focus is very much on imparting the knowledge, skills and competencies required to maximise job performance and enhance career potential.  

The UK and Ireland website, to be found at www.IFPO.UK, was launched in July last year. UK director Mike Hurst is supported by an Advisory Board of experienced security professionals. The members of that Advisory Board include Chris Middleton, Darren Chalmers-Stevens, Yolanda Hamblen, Paul Kellett, Garry Bergin, Jacqueline Walker, Jayne Robertson, Les Allen, Nic Reed, Peter Stiernstedt and Brian Sims Hon FSyI, Editor of Security Matters.

The IFPO was established in Canada by Ron Minion back in 1998. A former member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and owner of a large Canadian contract business, Minion served as the IFPO’s executive director until 1992. He was succeeded by Sandi Davies, who has held the office ever since.

Davies also serves on the UK Advisory Board alongside Charles ‘Chuck’ Andrews, the IFPO’s chief strategic advisor. At present, the IFPO has members in 68 countries, with security professionals operating in 56 countries studying on its educational programmes.

To date, upwards of 14,000 individuals have achieved IFPO certificates.

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Wave XS by SALTO Systems offers 100% touch-free access control

The Wave XS is a smart, fast and reliable access control solution from SALTO Systems with a touchless button that permits easy and clean operation for a large number of activator devices. Upgrading to touchless access control allows for hands-free entry, eliminating the need to make contact with common touchpoints upon entry and creating a more hygienic environment.

Wave XS reader technology offers 100% touch-free automated access control. Depending on the configuration, the Wave XS reader’s capacitive technology can sense hand gestures. All the user has to do is approach the door and their hand activates the door to open, which makes for simple operation and eliminates the need to touch any surface.

With the Wave XS standard reader range, it’s easy to install hands-free automatic door opening hardware on an existing electrified door to eliminate that added touchpoint and promote a touchless, disability-compliant workplace. The solution can also be integrated with the SALTO Systems controller product range which delivers seamless integrations with lifts, turnstiles and parking garages to further reduce touchpoints throughout a building.

Contactless push-button technology has advanced in recent years, with devices activated by proximity using microwave, infrared and laser sensors. Within the context of the global pandemic, automatic door technology is expected to revolve around innovation and the development of smart touchless access that avoids contact and creates safer spaces.

Some of these systems allow doors to be opened by simply bringing the hand to within just a few centimeters from the reader device. As SALTO Systems has long leveraged industry-leading electronic locking solutions that enhance any door or building with elegant electronic locks, cylinders, locker locks and readers, the company now does so again with the SALTO Wave XS reader.

The Wave XS reader will help combat the spread of COVID-19 as well as future germ threats, at the same time helping to reinforce safety within building spaces.

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Over half of UK businesses list security concerns as biggest barrier to public cloud adoption

No less than 58% of UK business decision-makers have admitted that security remains the biggest barrier to public cloud adoption in their organisations. That’s according to new research recently commissioned by Centrify, the provider of privileged access management solutions.

The research, conducted by independent polling agency Censuswide via a survey of 200 business decision-makers in large and medium-sized enterprises in the UK, also reveals that over one-third (35%) of those organisations who’ve adopted cloud are less than 80% confident that it’s completely secure.

When questioned about security weaknesses in their companies, 45% of decision-makers agree that it’s the increasing amount of machine identities and service accounts, such as those used by servers and applications, that are becoming the largest exposure point for their organisation.

Interestingly, the study findings also reveals that more than one-in-four (28%) of those companies questioned during the survey have already been targeted by a cloud hacking attempt since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the early part of last year.

Most worryingly, despite continued requirements on enterprises for digital transformation and rapid innovation, almost one-third (31%) of business decision-makers admitted that their development teams are more interested in circumventing security rather than building it into the DevOps pipeline. This poses a potentially grim cyber security outlook for 2021.

Adapting to the pandemic

Kamel Heus, vice-president for the EMEA region at Centrify, commented: “Adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic has been a bumpy ride for many businesses and, in most cases, companies have necessarily had to adopt the public cloud in at least some capacity due to the level of scalability, availability and efficiency it provides for distributed workforces.”

Heus continued: “While the common misconception is that cloud security is quite different to that of on-premises infrastructure, it’s by no means less secure if common security protocols are followed, and security controls are applied.”

In conclusion, Heus observed: “One core challenge posed by digital transformation is accurately verifying human and machine identities before granting access to systems, applications and other high-value targets. Therefore, adopting cloud-ready privileged access management software is essential in protecting access to workloads in the public cloud by dint of granting access only when a requestor’s identity has been properly authenticated.”

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Hanwha Techwin launches temperature detection thermal camera

The dual-purpose Wisenet TNM-3620TDY camera from Hanwha Techwin is equipped with QVGA thermal imaging and HD capabilities designed to help businesses operate safely during the COVID-19 era.

The TNM-3620TDY is a bi-spectrum, multi-channel device which incorporates a QVGA-class thermal imaging camera and a 2 MP video surveillance camera. As such, it can detect heat and measure temperature with a very high degree of accuracy, while providing visual verification of people within its field of view.

In body temperature mode, the QVGA-class thermal imaging camera is able to estimate a person’s temperature within a range of 30⁰-45°C, with +/-0.5⁰C accuracy. When supported by black body technology, the accuracy increases to +/-0.3⁰C, allowing the TNM-3620TDY to provide a strong indication that a person may have a fever.

Offering support for deep learning AI-based face detection functionality, the TNM-3620TDY can measure the temperatures of up to ten individuals in real-time at a distance of up to 3 metres, with operators able to choose to view either the captured thermal images or standard HD video images.

IEC 60601 certification

The TNM-3620TDY is compliant with a series of device technical standards for the safety and essential performance of medical electrical equipment published by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

In addition, Hanwha Techwin has completed the FDA facility registration process and device registration for the TNM-3620TDY in respect of FDA 510(k) clearance which is in progress.

In normal radiometric mode and with a high degree of accuracy, the thermal imaging camera detects and measures changes in temperature within the -20⁰C to 130°C range. End users are able to set up detection zones to cover specific areas of interest within the camera’s field of view. This provides a powerful tool which generates alerts when there’s a threat of fire in recycling, waste management and landfill-type facilities where spontaneous combustion may occur. A detected change in temperature may also be a warning that machinery in factories, processing plants, cold stores or utilities is faulty.

In addition, a spot detection feature enables operators, via a web viewer, to click on any pixel within an image and obtain a measurement of the temperature of the area covered by that pixel.

WiseStream II technology

The TNM-3620TDY supports H.265, H.264 and MJPEG compression formats, as well as WiseStream II, a complementary compression technology which dynamically controls encoding, balancing quality and compression according to movement in the image.

Bandwidth efficiency is improved by up to 75% when compared to current H.264 technology when WiseStream, which is unique to Wisenet cameras, is combined with H.265 compression.

The 2 MP video surveillance camera features a set of Intelligent Video Analytics which include directional detection, motion detection, enter/exit, virtual line, audio detection and camera tampering detection.

The TNM-3620TDY has a Micro SD/SDHC/SDXC slot which allows up to 256 GB of video or data to be stored at the edge should there be any disruption to the network. Video evidence, which potentially might have been lost, can therefore be retrieved when the network connection has been restored.

Capability to deliver

“Regretfully, some so-called ‘fever screening’ solutions devised by other manufacturers have attracted negative publicity,” said Uri Guterman, head of product and marketing for Hanwha Techwin Europe. “In my view, this is because they’ve been oversold in terms of what they’re capable of delivering.”

He continued: “Although we’ve often been the first to market with new product developments and technologies, in this instance we’ve taken the time to develop the TNM-3620TDY and ensure that it’s fit for purpose. We highly value the trust our customers and business partners have in our ability to provide solutions which do not compromise on performance and quality. In this respect, they can be confident that this camera will meet, if not exceed, their expectations.”

In conclusion, Guterman stated: “The TNM-3620TDY is a great addition to our suite of COVID-related solutions, which includes face mask detection, occupancy monitoring and AI deep learning-based social distance measuring applications.”

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Dahua’s TMAC integration with PAC access control helps keep workplaces safe

PAC has produced an integration guide for Dahua’s Thermal Monitoring Access Control (TMAC) terminal to allow easy checking of an individual’s temperature as well as confirmation that a face mask is being worn when someone’s entering a building or any area secured by PAC access control. This integration guide is for use in the UK, Europe and the APAC region.

As businesses continue to adapt to the current COVID-19 measures, building managers need technology to help them enhance the safety of building occupants. In conjunction with other measures and procedures, and as part of an overall strategy, thermal monitoring and automated face mask detection presents an additional method for controlling security and adherence to safety measures by visitors to a given building.

PAC’s long-standing tradition of security integration with Time and Attendance, CCTV monitoring and other building and occupancy control services is now extended to the Dahua TMAC terminal, which has the functionality to check a person’s temperature and determine if a face mask is being worn when they’re entering a building or specific area.

This integration with Dahua’s TMAC allows access rights for individuals to be dynamically managed. By taking an output from the Dahua TMAC into the PAC access control system, access rights can be withdrawn for anyone not meeting the safety standards required to gain entrance.

Integrators will find set-up simple, with only some basic wiring and a few configuration settings within the Dahua TMAC required in order for the system to be ready and active. For end users, access control list set-up and management are also easy with a single access control system provided for the management of all secured areas and entrances.

Multifactor authentication supports the Dahua temperature and mask checking functionality before being able to use the PAC access control ID device to unlock the secured entrance.

A single keyholder database enables the clear demarcation of building controls as the PAC access control system is used for all access control and the Dahua TMAC is effectively employed as an added check for temperature and mask wearing.

*To access a copy of the integration visit http://pacgdx.com/products/dahua-tmac-integration-with-pac

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