Access Management: Layer 1

Security industry professionals seem to hold differing opinions on whether video surveillance or access control is the predominant platform when implementing an integrated security solution. The truth is that access control systems are more prevalent in terms of the sheer number of systems deployed, the size and scale of deployments and actual daily engagement by users. The reason being that when a potentially threatening event unfolds, an access control system can instantly shut down a facility, or specific areas within it, potentially saving lives.

There is no doubt that access control technology is progressing and evolving at the fastest pace ever in the security industry.  And the need for enhanced security due to new sources of threats, increased liability and even mandated compliance has made more funds available to public and private entities to enhance security. As a result, more and more money has been allocated in recent years to help keep unwanted people from entering facilities.


Access Control: The Foundation of Security

Access control solutions provide the basis for layered security solutions that do far more than simply allow electronic access using credentials.  They provide complete record of who has entered a facility, which areas within the facility they accessed (or attempted to access) and how long they stayed. In most systems, electronic door locks are connected to a centralized access control system allowing them to be remotely monitored and locked in the event of an emergency or incident. Assigning different access permissions for employees, visitors and first responders provides even greater levels of protection and tracking. Entry control points can be easily established to only allow authorized individuals initial access to a facility or specific areas within the facility.

Access control solutions allow authorized individuals to manage doors and alarm points, and can easily be integrated with visitor management solutions to check the background of each visitor, automatically post watch lists and provide specific access privileges based on time, date and location.

Even more, new input/output (I/O) boards for access control systems can expand functionality and provide real-time operations for speed, performance and reliability.  Using the same footprint, I/O expansion boards will work with alarm monitoring, alarm annunciation, building management, interfacing to burglar and fire panels and numerous other applications to ensure security. Additional safeguards to control entry points may include the integration of turnstiles or security entrances, mantraps, video surveillance with analytics, wireless locks, intercoms and intrusion detection devices, among others.


Integrating Emergency Notification and Communications with Access Control

When an emergency situation arises due to a tripped alarm, a watch list match or severe weather alert, system-wide communication is essential in facilities with large numbers of occupants. Additional information such as room condition and the status of its occupants helps quickly evaluate a situation and determine the most appropriate response to initiate including the need to lockdown all entry points, seek shelter-in-place or evacuate. The real-time situational awareness provided through an integrated emergency notification and communications solution is proven to provide better levels of protection and improve overall physical security.

For example, a layered security system comprised of integrated access control and emergency notification and communication solutions allows occupants to report on immediate conditions to identify the threat level in their specific locations, and trigger a physical lockdown in the affected areas or throughout the facility.  Security management can then issue an alert to notify responders of conditions in real time while communicating status based on the level of the alert.

Conversely, occupants within the facility can report status at their specific location enabling security management and first responders to gain an accurate assessment of the threat. Employing a chat feature also enables two-way communications between facility occupants and security management and first responders to exchange detailed information. This enables potentially lifesaving instructions to be sent to specific locations within the facility to evacuate or seek shelter in place depending on the immediate status and proximity of the potential threat.

In emergency situations, integrated access control and emergency notification and communication solutions deliver the ability to quickly secure a facility and implement the appropriate responses – with or without the added data provided from video surveillance. That said, the best approach to implementing a layered security solution should always start with access control at the foundation.

Call at 210-446-6306  or send an email through our website at

Access Control: Prevention Over Reaction

In any enterprise setting, access control is a necessary measure to allow different levels of privilege based on identity. Both in the physical and digital spaces, access control measures must be set in place, ranging from simple passwords and 2-step authentication measures, to biometric and RFID triggered entryways. This area of security is often overlooked and under-budgeted for in place of surveillance and alarm equipment, even though access control is more effective in preventing losses as it addresses the issue before it happens instead of trying to catch actors after the fact. There is certainly no question that it makes more sense to stop an issue before it starts, and properly implemented access control measures are the first step in this direction when planning and installing an all inclusive security system.

Auto dealerships and construction areas tend to be very attractive to criminals. With the merchandise kept outside and typically valued well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, theft and vandalism are some major, though not the only problems that auto dealers site managers have which can be addressed in the best way through a high quality video surveillance and access management security system. In the case of construction or building renovation, both tools and hardware can attract theft, as surveillance is less expected in incomplete buildings and structures. Still, those in control of these sites often fail to properly secure them, under the impression that construction zones are less attractive to thieves than completed buildings.

In addition to the previously mentioned access control technologies such as biometrics and RFID locking systems, having an always on feed or system of video feeds allows the entire facility to be checked up on through virtually any device. Systems can be designed which let any intruders know they are being observed and which advise them to leave before the police are called. This is known as a “talk-down” response, and in many cases can prevent a theft in the act and mitigate any further damage or losses. Some customers have also found it useful to be able to check up on live developments remotely during times at which they could not have a physical presence.

By installing or adapting such a system to your business, 24/7 reassurance can be had. What are known as “remote security guards” are able to not only record the goings on of the dealership or other areas of interest, but also to participate directly in the protection of your property, and give direct line of sight to what is happening at any given time. Facial and body language recognition software can watch for the presence or absence of everything from people and faces to the cars or items of concern themselves. This allows a quicker response to potential threats than has been available conventionally.

When working in concert with access control systems, IP enabled cameras are capable of not just loss prevention and denial of access to non-personnel, but creating a holistic approach to management of an entire property from a distance. Using a system of RFID key or card fobs, it is possible to know who accessed your building and when, creating a deeper system of accountability among your employees, insuring jobs are completed and schedules maintained, and preventing internal theft.

STST is proud to offer systems like this as well as the design professionalism necessary to integrate it into existing security platforms and new projects alike. Products such as Avigilon Blue are leading the way for quick and comprehensive deployment of modern access control and video surveillance on top of existing infrastructure.

Call at 210-446-6306  or send an email through our website at

Avigilon Blue and the Case for Upgrading Existing Systems

Many organizations keep regular schedules of refresh for  their security technologies where they replace old equipment on a set schedule, often somewhere in the 3 to 5 year range. Some choose to keep their tech through its full  usable life. In these cases, this life cycle may extend beyond warranty for the involved hardware products and past the support timeline for related software. Maintaining a balance for hardware and software upgrades is critical for keeping security threats in check and ensuring utility of security solutions. One of the most robust, nearly plug-and-play options for bringing existing infrastructure into the modern day is Avigilon’s Blue cloud-based analytics platform, which offers incredible value relative to its cost.

Avigilon Blue centers around a small piece of hardware that integrates with existing cameras while also enabling the customer to add new services and expand the platform in the future. The device is powered by Microsoft Azure to leverage cloud services deployed through a global network of trusted datacenters. The on-premise Avigilon Blue Connect device can be deployed within a day to store all video locally while also sending the data to the cloud for analytics processing. The solution offers access to Avigilon’s Subscription Center for real-time account and subscriber information and features an effortless dashboard for quick identification of trends and system behaviors. This allows isolation of issues without the need to dispatch personnel to affected sites.

Alarm notifications are analytics-based and the platform supports both Avigilon and ONVIF compliant cameras to generate real-time alarms pushed to desktops and mobile devices. The central appeal of Blue is how quickly it allows you to scale up security operations across multiple sites, in addition to the ease with which it allows takeover of existing cameras all with fewer resources and at a lower cost than the competition. Camera and system settings are adjusted remotely, with upgrades and system health checks all performed without deploying a technician.

Blue offers up to 12 TB of on-site storage which allows it to record around 30 days of HD video in addition to pushing  data to the cloud to perform analytics operations. All connected cameras stream to the cloud service platform for self-learning video analytics, but use only minimal bandwidth for this task with just 10-second analytics clips pushed to the cloud. These values are based on a standard 2MP/30 fps video stream, with Blue coming in two models; a 16-channel device ( recording at 196 Mbps) to 12TB onboard storage and an 8-port device (recording at 120 Mbps) to 8TB onboard storage.

Avigilon has also given much consideration to data security, as communication is protected by 256-bit AES encryption (typical of industry leading VPN services) with controlled key management. Various encryption models are used during data in transport and at rest, and no ports are left insecure. Data storage is also redundant locally and across data centers to eliminate the risk of data loss.

The platform is scalable from just a single camera all the way up to 33+ devices and allows for unlimited user accounts. Multiple subscription plans are available for the service, with upgrades easily performed alongside growth of the business the system is protecting. All built-in ports are PoE+ and support third-party devices (ONVIF-compliant).



Contact us at


 or call 24/7        (210)-446-4863

Modernizing Security for the Banking Segment



The banking market is continuing to evolve with the growing use of mobile devices, and more branch operations are aiming to enhance service and convenience for the customer. With these advancements come greater potential for fraud and associated loss. Naturally, increasingly sophisticated fraud technology and techniques will require organizations to look at new approaches to prevent and detect these activities. Here we will take a look at how solutions such as Verint EdgeVR and Op-Center aim to protect this market segment in the near future.

Financial institutions face more day-to-day challenges than retail or other business environments as a general rule, due to the nature of the services they provide and how enticing they are to fraud. The industry has relied on advanced video surveillance solutions for many years already, but actively seeks to keep up with trends and the latest technologies available in order to minimize losses. Furthermore, previous solutions are less and less able to support requirements for video retention, and so catalyze this move forwards.

Solutions that hybridize a mix of both analog and digital video cameras through a secure platform to limit cybersecurity risks, enhance video capture through analytics, and simplify the process of ongoing maintenance are preferred here. One such solution is Verint’s EdgeVR and Op-Center. This platform manages video surveillance and data capture across multiple branches and is an enterprise-class, IP-based network video recording system. It is built for large scale operations distributed geographically and is fully capable of hybrid IP/analog, permitting migration to digital video to enhance long term value and reduce integration costs.

The system provides for high quality video, optimized bandwidth use, a secure, proprietary operating system and industry-leading interfaces which increases ROI.

This is paired with Verint’s Op-Center which allows the enterprise to monitor, manage and troubleshoot NVRs from a central location. Adding Op-Center reduces the cost of video system management and allows the user to configure NVRs, change device properties, set passwords, download firmware, create audit reports, and manage user rights remotely. Remote diagnostics allow rapid troubleshooting and threat identification for large NVR deployments. Using this platform, administrators can monitor an entire network of surveillance, prevent loss of video, and maximize up-time.

Video analytics are also a valuable addition for fraud mitigation. Banks can search through footage much more easily and intelligently to locate any persons of interest throughout various locations. Analytics allows operators to address red flags and suspicious events much more rapidly than in the past. The technology is useful in identifying “slip and fall” events and ensuring long term capture of relevant video for use in later investigations. One banking chain estimates that this solution from Verint has provided them an 85 percent time savings over manual methods.

Verint continues to create technologies that simplify, automate and modernize, while also allowing for migration of old video surveillance technologies. Their solutions can be a significant force multiplier to help secure a branch’s footprint, alleviate risk, improve investigations into fraud, and maintain operational compliance over many locations. Moving past the first quarter of 2019 we should expect to see more use of “Big Data” for video analytics sourced from distributed spans of IOT devices to allow the banking industry to investigate threats rapidly and produce intelligence that can be acted on.



Contact us at

or call 24/7 (210)-446-4863