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What business continuity lessons can be learned from disaster movies?

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By Chris Butler, Lead Principal Consultant, Resilience & Security, Sungard Availability Services

Disruption, a word which many businesses are very much used to now, can often have disastrous effects on productivity, output, company reputation, and ultimately the bottom line. On the other hand, that which we would call a ‘disaster’ in the enterprise world in most cases pales in comparison to the sensational disaster scenarios we’re used to seeing on the silver screen. 

For example, a cyber-attack which steals and sells user data could potentially have devastating consequences for scores of businesses and consumers alike, but doesn’t quite evoke the same feelings of excitement as a full-scale alien invasion or the impending impact of a planet-sized meteor. 

On the same note, in today’s world of hyper-extended supply chains, unexpected periods of application service downtime can send shockwaves of disruption around the world in a matter of minutes. While this scenario probably strikes fear in the hearts of supply chain specialists, zombie apocalypses or the rampaging of a giant, man-eating shark can arguably evoke these emotions amongst a much broader audience.

But while the forms of enterprise and Hollywood ‘disasters’ are clearly poles apart, many themes remain the same: outsider threats, technology problems, leadership loss, communication breakdown, environmental change, etc. Here we look past the special effects and extract the core business continuity themes which lie behind our favourite disaster movie scenarios. 

Don’t let individuals get lost in space

For those used to working in office environments, the future is likely to be characterised by more working from home or from other remote locations. Video conferencing and collaboration apps have worked well to emulate the office environment, but a sudden break in their functionality can cause critical communication structures to break down entirely, leaving individuals cut-off from their teams. 

In Gravity (2013), an unexpected incident leaves astronauts stranded in lower earth orbit with no team, no means of communicating with ground control, and no shuttle to take them back to earth. This is an extreme example of how people are at their most vulnerable when they are isolated, and can even start to panic or act irrationally when cut off from the rest of their team. It is for this reason that cyber-attack methods such as phishing and ransomware target isolated users, both of which saw a spike in usage as many countries went into lockdown.  

Organisations simply can’t afford to leave their workforce stranded in space and expect them to make their own way home. Disasters almost always scatter or raise barriers between people, therefore it’s important for individuals to be made aware of contingencies for communication disruption scenarios ahead of the fact. This should comprise spreading awareness of emergency contact chains and back-up communication systems to keep everyone on the path to recovery when disaster strikes. 

A loss of leadership leads to chaos

As anyone who’s seen Airplane! (1980) can tell you, pilots and co-pilots should never eat the same meal mid-flight, otherwise contaminated food could take both out of action simultaneously. While this is just one of a number of ludicrous happenings in this comedy classic, loss-of-leadership scenarios in the enterprise world happen surprisingly frequently – and are no laughing matter. 

A loss of leadership typically stems from unexpected events, from travel delays or restrictions to instances of sickness or compassionate leave. Organisations should therefore make clear which of the leadership teams’ responsibilities should be delegated to whom in the instance where one or many suddenly become unavailable. To make this work, a bottom-up approach to enterprise resilience is crucial, taking into account both operational and human elements of business continuity. 

Pilots cannot rely on there being a trained pilot and/or doctor amongst their passengers to miraculously save the day if they become incapacitated. Likewise, leadership teams shouldn’t leave resilience and continuity up to chance. By training proactively training staff, organisations can either spread responsibility across their organisations or implement and test a clear delegation structure to weather the shock of a sudden loss of leadership. 

Prepare for technology to be sabotaged or to malfunction

Technology is the driving force behind digital transformation in the world, but this also means that we are more dependent on reliable, highly available systems than ever before. The alignment between IT and operations has become such that today, the resilience of an organisation’s IT is tantamount to its overall ability to continue operating when disruption strikes. So, what technology disruptions should organisations be on the lookout for? 

Taking a lesson from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009), a poorly understood or inadequately maintained piece of technology is likely to malfunction and can potentially wreak havoc, especially if that technology has a large base of end-users who rely on its availability 24/7. Additionally, as shown in Speed (1994), technology can also be sabotaged and held to ransom by unknown entities, using time pressure and the threat of harm to users to force organisations to fulfil their requests. 

Unlike the movies, organisations can rely on Disaster Recovery (DR) tools, such as data-centre co-location, cloud back-up and storage, and failover power & networking solutions, to prepare for a diverse set of potential technology disruption scenarios. In addition, organisations shouldn’t rely on a single ‘hero’ to swoop in and save the day. Sharing the burden of knowledge relating to the ins and out of IT infrastructure not only allows teams to react faster to disruption, but ensures the resilience and availability of their products, services and operations.  

Getting back to reality

Not every disaster scenario in the movies has its roots in science fiction or the supernatural. In fact, some have not only featured entirely plausible scenarios, but have been downright prescient. Take, for example, Contagion (2011)whose plotline revolves around the outbreak of a viral pandemic originating in South East Asia and resulting in the implementation of social distancing, self-isolation and a severe economic downturn. Clearly, there are not only indirect lessons to be learned from cinema. 

Disasters are unexpected by definition. The work of disaster movie writers, therefore, is not so much removed from the work of business continuity specialists. Both are responsible for imagining: a) scenarios which cause significant disruption; b) the extent to which said disruption will have short/long-term impact; and c) the potential solutions to put in place both before and after disruption takes place. At a time when business continuity planning is at the top of the agenda for all organisations around the world, now is the time for organisations to use their imagination and prepare for a wide range of potential disruption scenarios. 

Security industry ‘will shift to service-based solutionS post-pandemic’

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The security industry has ‘tremendous’ investment opportunities despite the economic slowdown witnessed due to COVID-19 and under an ‘aspirational’ forecast scenario is likely to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.3% post-pandemic to hit revenue of $140.60 billion by 2025.

That’s according to respected research outfit Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, Post-Pandemic Growth Opportunity in the Global Security Industry, in which its slightly more cautious ‘conservative’ forecast scenario predicts that the industry will generate $131.01 billion between 2019 and 2025, at a CAGR of 3.1%.

In the pre-COVID-19 forecast, the industry was estimated to increase at a CAGR of 7.1%, generating revenue of $164.97 billion over the forecast period. 

“COVID-19 will cause a brief slowdown in the security market after almost a decade of uninhibited progress,” said Danielle VanZandt, Aerospace, Defense & Security Industry Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. “Additionally, while some security sectors may find themselves experiencing a slower recovery than others, much of the industry will witness a shift to more service-based solution offerings after years of hesitance by customers to adopt these solutions.”

“The key security markets such as disaster management, banking and finance, and airport security will recover at a different pace, and the time taken to return to pre-crisis spending levels will also vary significantly. Markets that will record higher-than-average CAGRs during the recovery period include ports (4.5%), disaster management (4.0%), first responders (4.0%), and mass transit (4.0%).”

Despite a marginal slowdown expected in 2020 and 2021, Forrester says strong demand-side trends will present immense development potential for security market participants, including:-

  • Digitalization priorities: Remote/cloud-connected access to security systems and monitoring tools will witness a drastic rise in demand as manned guarding will become extremely limited due to stay-at-home orders issued by state or federal governments, and likely not recover once those orders expire.
  • Emphasis on contactless technologies: In the post-pandemic period, contactless technologies such as biometrics, remote access and authentication, and multi-use analytics solutions will attract investments.
  • Plug-and-play surveillance: Customer willingness to deploy plug-and-play surveillance equipment over permanent system additions due to cost-effectiveness will offer vendors repeat business opportunities.   
  • Sensors-to-action: Vendors must prioritize the development/enhancement of data analytics and sensor networks’ capabilities to provide increased value to customers without having to purchase new solutions or equipment.

Post-Pandemic Growth Opportunity in the Global Security Industry is the latest addition to Frost & Sullivan’s Aerospace, Defense & Security research and analyses available through the Frost & Sullivan Leadership Council, which helps organizations identify a continuous flow of growth opportunities to succeed in an unpredictable future.

Do you specialise in SIA Security Training? We want to hear from you!

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Each month on Security Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the security market – and in June we’ll be focussing on SIA Security Training solutions.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help security buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of SIA Security Training solutions and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Ian Jefferies on i.jefferies@forumevents.co.uk.

Here’s our full features list:

Jun – SIA Security Training
Jul – Transit, Screening & Scanning
Aug – Biometrics
Sep – IP/IT Security
Oct – CCTV
Nov – Loss Prevention Solutions
Dec – Drones

Global physical security demand to reach $56.7bn by 2024, driven by AI

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The total value of world production of Physical Security products at factory gate prices in 2019 was $34.3Bn, an increase of 8.5% on 2018 and equivalent to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the last 5 years of 7.24%.

According to a report from ResearchandMarkets, over the last 10 years, the market has grown by a CAGR of 6.27%. However, different rates of growth apply in each of the three key segments (Access Control, Video Surveillance, Intruder Alarm / Perimeter Protection) and geographic territories. It forecasts the total market will reach $56.76Bn in 2024.

Key report findings include:-

  • China has increased its market share this year but still has a market penetration of 50% less than North America, based on sales per capita. The Chinese market has grown rapidly through a boom in new construction and Safe City projects in the public sector. However very little of this vast expanding market has been of benefit to overseas manufacturers. The report shows that the problem for overseas manufacturers getting a piece of the China market is not about technology or performance, at its core it is a geopolitical challenge.
  • In 2019, AI Technology applied to Video Surveillance has convinced the market that by 2020 it will become mainstream. Significant improvements in AI Video Analytics software is making this possible and over the next 10 years it will become a standard requirement across Video Surveillance solutions. There is a critical need to make full use of the massive amounts of data being generated by video surveillance cameras and AI-based solutions are the only practical answer. Modern chip architecture with AI software can comb through vast volumes of data and boost security and safety. Th reports says there is a lot of development in this field that we are yet to see, but the path towards AI seems quite clear.
  • The supply structure and the competitive landscape will continue to change over the next few years and the main driver for this is the Internet of Things (IoT). Physical Security systems generate vast amounts of information that when analyzed together with data from other Building Automation Systems can deliver intelligence that will improve the security, safety and performance of buildings and the business enterprise within.

Demand structure in the video surveillance business is unbalanced because of the Chinese market. The main reason is that the government has some control over even private video surveillance manufacturing companies. If these companies want public sector business (which today accounts for more than 50% of the Chinese’s video surveillance market) and support with long term cheap loans, then they must comply with the states requirements.

For this the Chinese government ensures that foreign equipment will not be used on public sector projects. Not surprisingly this arrangement has distorted any possibility of open trade and further has allowed the two major Chinese manufactures to build up a market share of 40% of the worlds video camera business; in part by operating a race to the bottom by lowering prices that no other manufacturers could sustain because they don’t have the same volume of production.

However on the horizon are other Chinese companies that want a part of the massive investment in the public sector Safe City projects. Huawei, one of the world’s largest communication companies, has announced a major push into video cameras and an AI video analytics startup Megvii intends to offer complete video surveillance solutions. They will eventually get established in the public sector market and take share from the present incumbents, and this could at least reduce the pressure on non-Chinese manufacturers operating in the more open world market.

In terms of macro trends:-

  • Access control is expected to deliver a slightly higher growth than the 8.2% report has estimated, as it further expanded the IP network business, advancing deeper into biometric, identity management, wireless locking systems and ACaaS. This would have been the 3rd consecutive year that it turned in the highest rate of growth of the 3 businesses, but price pressures are starting to bite, partially through consolidation and weaknesses in the supply chain. This has reduced growth when measured by value.
  • M&A data collected over the last 18 years shows that the Physical Security industry, has gone through 4 cycles of increase and decline in the value of activity, sometimes exaggerated by a number of billion dollar deals in one year. In 2019 the value of mergers and acquisitions fell to $2.913Bn a reduction of approximately 12% on the 2018 adjusted value.
  • Since January 2018, about 75 new entrants have gained VC Investment of approx. $900 million for Physical Security solutions in commercial and industrial buildings. This excludes 2 of the major investments made in Megvii and OpenAI claiming $1.75 billion.

GUEST BLOG: Securing The World’s Most Protected Treasures

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There are some godly treasures that we tour the world to see, and all require the highest standards of protection. As heist movies make their way back into our cinemas — recently with the Ocean’s reboot (Ocean’s 8) and an epic sting scene in Marvel’s Black Panther, you’re probably wondering how we actually protect these types of assets and keep those scenarios fictional. 

With the help of 2020 Vision, who have been protecting us from all sorts of crime for over 25 years — we take a look at the world’s most protected artefacts, the security measures that are in place and how these prevent any sort of criminal activity.

Protecting The Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom

There are many assets that are part of the Crown Jewels collections in the United Kingdom. With 23,578 delicate stones and over 140 objects, putting an exact price on the jewels has been difficult but estimates have been made stating that they are worth over £3bn. As well as this, it has also proven impossible to insure them because of their immense value.

As a result, they’re hidden away in the Tower of London for the upmost protection. Believe it or not, the crown jewels are protected by bombproof glass and although the tower is open to the public, they’re watched by more than 100 hidden CCTV cameras. 

Assigned by the Ministry of Defense, the Tower of London has 22 Tower Guards! Additionally, these guards are accompanied by 38 Yeomen Warders, who are ex-military personnel who manage the large numbers of visitors. The Yeomen are permanently present and live in the tower itself.

The jewels are released on occasions though, where the Lord Chamberlain collects them on behalf of the sovereign for State Openings and Coronations. However, when this type of activity occurs, armed police officers must be present.

Keeping An Eye On Sweden’s Crown Jewels

Most people believe that all countries have significant security procedures in place to protect their Crown Jewels, but this was a different story in Sweden. In August 2018, two crowns and a royal orb which belonged to King Charles IX of Sweden and his wife Christina of Holstein-Gottorp were stolen in what looked like an amateur heist. 

The gems were originally created as funeral pieces and were buried in the tomb with them but were later unearthed. Although the theft was premediated, it was extremely insufficient. Two men walked into the cathedral around midday and smashed the glass where the contents were held — causing alarms to go off around the building. 

The robbers fled from the scene by bikes, followed by a motorboat. However, one of the thieves was soon tracked down because of blood left at the crime scene and the jewels were partly recovered. 

These items would have been very difficult to sell, as Sweden’s authorities were on the hunt to prosecute anyone with involvement. As well as this, they’re extremely valuable and the thieves would have to find the right buyers. The jewels are made from the noblest metals and the gold value is worth around £43,000. 

Did you know that Sweden has had jewels stolen once before? In 2012, a 19-year-old refugee claimed to be a friend of a member of the royal family and stole £73,700 worth of jewels — but sold them only for£730 to drug dealers for marijuana. As well as this, the thief also reportedly stole a £30,350 tiara and threw it off a bridge. 

Although the stolen crown jewels from the cathedral were on public display, they weren’t properly protected, and the thieves should have been detected as they walked in. With artefacts of immense value situated in the building, the cathedral should be looking at installing walkthrough security door frames and regular visitor searches. In terms of the theft in 2012, people with the right credentials should only be able to enter certain areas of the palace.

Safeguarding The Mona Lisa

It’s believed that the Mona Lisa was crafted between 1503 and 1517 by Leonardo da Vinci, who is one of the world’s most renowned artists. In fact, the piece itself is the most known, most visited and most written about in modern times. 

The Mona Lisa in particular is known to have the most significant insurance cost, which stood at $100 million in 1962. However, the inflation rate takes this up to $821,746,666.67 in 2018, making it one of the most valuable items in the world.

Although the painting wasn’t originally made for King Francis I, it entered the Royal Collection in 1518 — one year after its completion. After the French Revolution, the painting was moved to the Louvre; what was thought to be a safe-haven for the piece — but it wasn’t.

Did you know that the piece was stolen in 1911? However, it took a few hours to realise so. French painter, Louis Béroud visited The Louvre and found that the painting was missing — he asked the guards about its whereabouts and they weren’t entirely sure and assumed that it was being photographed for museum advertisements. Béroud returned a few hours later and the painting had not been returned; it had been stolen.

As no one was prepared for this major event in history, the museum closed its doors for one week while inquiries took place. There were many now famous-faces on the suspect list for the theft of this masterpiece, including Guillaume Apollinaire and Pablo Picasso; but they were both cleared of all charges.

The painting was discovered two years later, where a thief named Vicenzo Peruggia was trying to sell it to another museum in Italy. It’s often described as one of the greatest thefts in the 20thcentury, as Peruggia stole the piece during working hours, hid in a broom closet and waited until after hours to walk out of the museum with the painting positioned under his coat. However, the thief was only jailed for six months as it was defined as an act of patriotism for Italy. The painting returned to its home in Paris.

Because of recent vandal attempts, the painting sits behind bulletproof glass. The glass is reportedly almost two centimetres thick and the painting is held in a special sealed box that protects it from vibrations and humidity. Public visitors are separated from the piece by a queue barrier, but that is only one aspect of the state-of-the-art security systems that the Louvre has put in place.

As the museum covers 70,000 square meters, it’s suggested that IP CCTV systems monitor activity 24 hours each day, as well as access control systems and intruder alerts.    

Sources:

https://www.thevintagenews.com/2017/12/15/mona-lisa-was-stolen-in-1911-2/

https://www.louvre.fr/en/security-officer

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/999615/sweden-crown-jewels-royal-swedish-police-heist-thieves-Stragnas-cathedral

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/how-much-crown-jewels-worth-11855338

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewel_House

Physical security market worth $119.4 billion by 2023

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The Physical Security market is expected to grow from $84.1 billion in 2018 to $119.4 billion by 2023, equivalent to a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.3% during the forecast period.

The findings, published by MarketsandMarkets in its Physical Security Market report, found that the rising incidents of terror attacks, technological advancements and deployment of wireless technology in security systems, increasing use of Internet Protocol (IP)-based cameras for video surveillance, implementation of mobile-based access control, and adoption of Internet of Things (IoT)-based security systems with cloud computing platforms, has driven market growth.

Security systems integration is expected to lead the Physical Security Market in 2018. This involves the collective use of a variety of components or subsystems as one large system. System integrators provide solutions based on the size and complexity of the security to be provided. The demand for integrators of security systems is growing rapidly, owing to the deployment of diverse security strategies in organisations of all sizes across the globe.

The large enterprises segment is expected to hold the highest market share. These enterprises were the early adopters of physical security solutions and services, as they have larger revenue pool to spend and a larger infrastructure to be protected. Large enterprises need complex and highly scalable security systems and services in comparison to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).

These customers operate across multiple locations in different geographies, hence they require a solution, which offers elevated integration capabilities and is capable of large-scale seamless integration of security operations. In addition to the complexity and requirements, large enterprises are at high risk for breaches and other cyber and physical crimes. The combinations of the complexity and high risks require large systems that are fully integrated and can utilise the best and the most reliable technology.

Physical security systems and services play an important role in the retail vertical and security is one of the top priorities for retailers. In the retail vertical, it is crucial to ensure workplace safety, prevent business interruption, and avoid financial loss. The number of retail stores and malls in urban areas has increased drastically over the last few years. Investing in access control systems as a solution for security needs provide numerous long-term benefits, such as reduced retail losses, maximised store profits, lowered insurance rates, and most importantly decrease in the number of theft cases.

As per the geographic analysis, Asia Pacific and APAC regions iare predicted to grow with the fastest CAGR during the forecast period. Security systems are expected to witness increasing adoption in APAC as the countries in the region are emerging economies with a growing number of manufacturing bases, and there is also a constant risk of terror threats in the region.

The market in APAC has high growth potential, owing to the increased security concerns, especially in India and China, and governments in these countries have started investing heavily in security. Furthermore, emerging economies are working toward improving their infrastructure, which is further expected to lead to the high growth of the Physical Security Market.

The rising adoption of access control systems in SMEs, hospitality businesses, airports, ATMs, banks, residential buildings, and religious places, among others are expected to drive the Physical Security Market.

Thales announces £20m Wales security hub

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The Welsh Government is working with Thales to establish a £20m cyber centre which will sit at the heart of its Tech Valleys programme.

The National Digital Exploitation Centre (NDEC) will be the first research and development facility of its kind in Wales, and will provide a home for SMEs and microbusinesses to test and develop their digital concepts.

It will also provide a research lab in which big multinationals can develop technology and will connect Wales to major tech centres across the UK and globally.

Not only will the cyber centre help Wales to exploit the global opportunities of digital transformation, it will also equip businesses with the skills and knowledge they need to win a greater share of large regional and national projects.

The NDEC, located in Blaenau Gwent will be delivered by Thales in collaboration with the University of South Wales (USW).

The University will run an Advanced Cyber Institute at the Centre that will provide a base for major, multi million pound, academic research, and will also operate a Digital Education Centre that will enable SMEs, schools and individuals with the skills they need to protect themselves online.

As well as providing a vital facility for Welsh SMEs and academic research, the NDEC will also root technology giant Thales firmly in the South Wales valleys. The centre will be managed by a small team, some of whom have already been recruited from the local community.

Both the Welsh Government and Thales have committed £10m each to the project which is expected to generate significant income. All elements, apart from the educational aspects of the centre, are expected to be fully self-sufficient within five years.

TheWelsh Government’s Economy Minister Ken Skates said: “The centre will help ensure that Wales exploits the global opportunities of digital transformation, provide a base for ground breaking research and will equip businesses of all shapes and sizes with the skills and knowledge they need to win a greater share of large regional and national projects.”

“I am confident that through our partnership with Thales and the University of South Wales we will work to stimulate and create employment in high value technology businesses – an ambition that is right at the heart of our Tech Valleys project.”

Gareth Williams, Vice President, Secure Communications and Information Systems, Thales, said: “We are very pleased to be working with the Welsh Government, University of South Wales and Blaenau Gwent Council to develop and deliver the NDEC. This will act as a cornerstone of our cyber security capabilities in the UK, providing a test bed for our technology, whilst also providing a catalyst for regeneration in the region.

“This highly technical and accessible facility will be a centre of cyber and digital development and education, and a connection for South Wales to major technology centres across the United Kingdom.”

Professor Julie Lydon, University of South Wales (USW) Vice-Chancellor, said: “USW is already a recognised expert in cyber security, with our Newport-based National Cyber Security Academy (NCSA) working closely with businesses to give students real-life experience in the sector.

“This expertise in preparing students for a career in industry means we are ideally placed to support the NDEC’s aim of harnessing academic research and graduate education to develop market insight, enhance technological capability, and develop a skilled labour force in Ebbw Vale and the wider South Wales region through its educational outreach, CPD courses, and support for SMEs.

“This project will be a significant step in building the region’s reputation in the ever-expanding global market for cyber graduates and research expertise.”

The Tech Valleys project is a key commitment of the Ministerial Taskforce for the South Wales Valleys.

GUEST BLOG: Top tips for hotel security

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

By 2020 CCTV

There are, of course, lots of important factors to consider to ensure a successful hotel business – but security and the safety of guests and staff is always front of mind.

Depending on which market a hotel is tapping into, there will be different ways to make the establishment stand out from the crowd. This will likely require extensive research into nearby properties and businesses to see exactly what is working and what isn’t.

However, one aspect which should be a consistent consideration for any and every hotel is safety. Here’s a brief overview of techniques and technologies that can help…

CCTV

CCTV installation is a good way to ensure guests feel safer.  However, just having a surveillance system in place isn’t enough. Be sure to constantly monitor your set-up, even if this means hiring a third-party company to do so. Certain systems also come with a voice command option, which means that if you spot any wrong-doing, you can quickly warn those involved to stop their actions. You could even use cloud CCTV storage so that you can view your property from a control room, smartphone or a tablet 24/7.

Think electric

When it comes to your electricity supply – it’s crucial to have a regular Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) conducted.  This is because, since your business is constantly in operation, your systems can be subject to wear, tear, corrosion and overloading. This report, which must be carried out by a qualified electrician, will ensure that the electrical appliances in each room are fit for purpose.

Electrical checks should be carried out periodically (diarise them).  Doing this will ensure you are limiting the risk of electrical shocks, fires and accidents, therefore reducing accidents in the workplace – something which is a legal requirement since the introduction of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

Your gas supply

Your gas supply is another potential safety issue, and gas safety should be a consideration. Similar to your electricity supply, your gas mains and appliances should be periodically checked. The Gas Safety Regulations 1998 states that you must arrange annual gas safety checks for any appliances that are serving guest accommodation, even if it’s sited away from the guests’ rooms.

Staff should not be left out of your gas safety policy.  Make sure staff have full training in the operation of any gas appliances – and this should include spotting any obvious faults, by using visual checks.  This could include any damaged pipework or connections. While any new installations must be carried out by someone who is Gas Safe-registered, anyone can change a LPG gas cylinder or hose once they are competent to do so.

It’s also extremely important to make use of carbon monoxide and dioxide alarms.  These can signify any fault and help you avoid any catastrophes. They should give an audible alarm when levels are dangerous and should be able to automatically shut off your gas system.

Emergency response plan

Do your staff know what to do in the case of an emergency?  Hopefully it will never happen, but if there is an emergency then your staff should be fully up-to-date about what they need to do in the scenario. Regular meetings with law enforcement and emergency services should be scheduled so you have a good communication plan in place and can update it as and when required. In doing so, you can prepare your staff so that everyone is calm and knowledgeable in a worst-case scenario.

The staff uniform

An obvious one (though surprisingly not always!), adopting a staff uniform policy is important.  Not only does it help your business look professional and smart, but it also gives your guests a clear view of who they can approach about a query, and who indeed is allowed in certain areas of the business. In guest areas, knowing who members of staff are is essential. This is because it shows that your company have guests’ safety at the forefront due to staff always patrolling the areas.

Securing online data

Although physical safety is obviously important, it shouldn’t be your only safety consideration. Hotels have become a prime target for cyber attacks. According to a report by PwC, the hospitality industry has the second-highest number of cybersecurity breaches, with most of the prominent hotels in the industry having fallen victim to breaches.

Regularly update your IT systems.  Doing this will help to ensure the safety of files and information, and thereby reduce online data security risks.  You should also be making sure that backing up your data becomes a habit, so you can eliminate the risk of losing it or having it irretrievably damaged. A recommended strategy is to use a cloud service daily, have weekly server backups, and follow these up with quarterly server backups and then yearly backups.

Be vigilant with your passwords.  Remember, password security is important, just as it would be for your personal devices. Be sure to change it often and make sure you change it any time a staff member leaves to avoid any breaches.

A hotelier business is – hopefully – a busy one.  There are lots of things to consider but safety should obviously be a key consideration. It’s crucial to keep on top of the methods you are using. Following the above steps should help provide your business with insight on how to keep your guests safe.

Sources

https://smallbusiness.co.uk/four-things-to-know-before-starting-a-small-hotel-2459257/

https://www.cintas.com/ready/healthy-safety/9-ways-to-help-boost-hotel-security-for-guests-and-employees/

https://www.mr-electric.co.uk/birmingham-north/5-reasons-all-guest-houses-and-hotels-require-an-electrical-installation-condition-report-eicr/

http://www.hse.gov.uk/gas/landlords/safetycheckswho.htm

https://www.tourismtattler.com/articles/hospitality/hotels-prime-target-cyber-threats/70691

https://www.siteminder.com/r/technology/hotel-data-security/quick-tips-stay-secure-online-hotel-systems-safe/

Singapore and Australia partner to bolster cyber security

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The Cyber Security Agency (CSA) of Singapore and the Australian Government have agreed to a two-year memorandum of understanding (MoU), which will see both countries conducting regular information exchanges on any cyber threats and joint cyber security exercises, focusing on protecting critical information infrastructure.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong witnessed the MoU signing during the second Singapore-Australia Leaders’ Summit.

The Australian partnership is the sixth of its kind for Singapore, which has signed similar agreements with France, India, the Netherlands, Britain and the United States.

Commenting through its cyber security strategy report, the CSA said: “With countries increasingly connected to one another through trade, global logistics and financial markets, cyber attacks disrupting one country can and do have serious spill-over effects on other countries. International collaboration in cyber security is thus pivotal to our collective security.”

The United Nations’ 2015 Global Cybersecurity Index ranked Australia and Malaysia third in their readiness to deal with cyber security issues, while Singapore came in sixth. Rankings were based on international cooperation, technical ability and measures, legal measures, capacity building and organisational measures.

School Security

GUEST BLOG: Body cameras in UK classrooms

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

By 2020 Vision

A Times Education Supplement (TES) report has outlined plans for teachers at two UK schools to participate in a trial whereby they will wear body cameras in the classroom.

Both unnamed schools are currently researching early ideas into how the technology will operate, though one strategy is that the teachers involved in the project will fit the cameras onto their clothes. These devices would be filming at all times, but incidents can only be recorded, and encrypted footage saved, once a switch on the gadgets is activated.

As a result of this design, teachers wearing the cameras would be advised to activate the recording mode on their devices as soon as they are confident that a ‘low-level’ incident is developing in their classroom. However, the teachers will also need to factor in the point that all of those within a classroom will need to be given notice before a recording begins.

Tom Ellis, a principal lecturer at the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies at Portsmouth University, is confident that this particular strategy will prove effective. He pointed out: “There’s very much an emphasis on getting rid of low-level disruption or disorder in the classroom.”

A similar strategy has already worked its way into schools across the UK, while Greater Manchester Police and the Metropolitan Police Service have shown how body-worn video technology can work effectively in the policing sector with this development.

When it comes to potential benefits of body cameras being used in UK schools, Mr Ellis was keen to add: “It can be used for self-reflection. It can be shown back to the pupil, one-on-one, and that can have a positive impact without the need to resort to disciplinary process.”

A TES poll reported on by The Independent has found that Mr Ellis isn’t the only one in support of introducing body cameras into classrooms throughout the UK.

In the survey of over 600 teachers, 37.7% were in favour of the technology being used in this way, around two-thirds went as far as to claim that the devices would make them feel safer in their working environment and 10.9% believed the gadgets will one day become compulsory equipment.

A number of teachers did raise concerns about the use of body cameras in the classroom in the poll. Reasons for their trepidation included fears the technology would have negative effects on both their privacy and that of the children present, as well as feelings of unease that they would be spied on.

Mary Bousted, the general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, also stated: “If schools have good behaviour policies, they should not have to resort to using body cameras or CCTV. We would not support schools being turned into prisons.

“CCTV can have a useful role in monitoring entrances and exits to schools to prevent strangers gaining access or vandalism, but we do not support their use in schools to monitor children and staff.”

Body cameras may be a new concept for the UK classroom, but it should be acknowledged that CCTV systems have already been used effectively across the country’s schools through the following techniques:

  • Video Content Analysis systems, so that analysis of CCTV images can be carried out to provide meaningful information. For example…
  • The identification of whether objects have been removed from a certain area of the school.
  • The analysis of CCTV images in order to identify specific patterns, like smoke when addressing arson attacks.
  • The ability to establish virtual tripwires that trigger an alert, should someone attempt to cross a specific boundary – eliminating the need to erect walls or fencing at these locations.
  • CCTV in classrooms to address issues of bullying, and also assist with teacher training — for the latter, this technology can be used as an alternative to having a teaching colleague present in the classroom throughout the entire lesson.
  • Access control systems, such as those provided by award-winning security specialist 2020 Vision, that are specifically designed for educational establishments, so that security personnel can keep updated about who is in a facility once they have been added to turnstiles, gates and barriers throughout the institute.