The Security Week that Was: A Recap - April 2-8, 2005

SIW Editor Geoff Kohl gives his weekly surveillance of the news shaping your profession


The SIW team has been out in Las Vegas, covering the show floor of ISC West, but we've managed to follow the news like always.

The story that caught our eye the most was out of San Jose, Calif. For those of you who've worked to implement security at hospitals and health care facilities, whether on the physical security side or on the IT/information side, this story will make you cringe. Despite all the legislation in the world, apparently criminals don't abide by HIPAA standards. A break-in at the San Jose Medical Group saw the theft of two computers. These were no ordinary computers, mind you -- they contained financial and medical data on up to 185,000 current and former patients. Does this sound familiar? It should. government security contractor SAIC experienced the same loss of information loss earlier this year. Once again, it's a reminder that the convergence of information and physical security is going to happen -- because the bad guys aren't going to distinguish between access to your building and access to your data.

All the way across the U.S. from this medical group break-in, the largest counter-terrorism and bioterror response drill ever held in the United States was wrapped up in N.J. and Connecticut. Using thousands of "victims" and emergency response personnel, the drill tested the nation's defense systems. It was perfect timing with what was happening on SecurityInfoWatch, especially because SIW contributor William Comtois recently wrapped up part three in a series about managing disaster exercises.

Out here at ISC West, we're seeing lots of CCTV lenses, cameras, video managment software systems and more, and some of the newest systems, like those from No False Alarm or Perseus Wireless are excellent for residential and small to medium-size business installations. Combing the newswire, we saw that when customers can't find these systems, they make one themselves. In this case, a woman built a simple webcam surveillance system after being robbed. Despite the lack of sophistication, the camera was able to capture an image of the robber which quickly led to the man's arrest. So while these systems are often pitched as way to reduce false alarms, don't forget that when you're marketing these systems, that when it's not a false alarm, you're creating great evidence for your customers.

We'd like to point you to our most popular stories of the week, which share an interesting twist on where our industry is headed, especially with the creation of these "super-secure" offices that are being belt predominantly around the D.C. area. Enjoy that story and others:

Finally, we have to shake our heads at the continued violence that our schools see. With yesterday's shooting of a high school coach, it reminds me of the incredible job that must be accomplished to stay on top of the seemingly increased propensity for violence at our nation's schools. Read more about school security from SIW's Education/Institutional Facilities section.

We'll see you all again next week, when we're back from ISC West.