The Security Week That Was: A Recap - July 29-Aug. 4, 2006

Aug. 4, 2006
SIW Editor Geoff Kohl gives a weekly surveillance of news shaping your profession

Far and away, the top security story of the week was the news that came out of last Friday afternoon when a gunman forced his way into the offices of the Jewish Federation of Seattle. The gunman opened fire on the employees, leaving one dead and others seriously injured. The story started with a "lone wolf" shooter, a Muslim American man who sought to damage the Jewish community, and it ended with the kind of nightmarish situation that can keep a security director up at night.

By the time the incident concluded with the gunman surrendering to the police, an access control system had been breached, a little girl had been held as a hostage, a woman was dead, others were in the hospital, and the Jewish community was shocked that an attack had been made on what is essentially a charity arm of the Jewish community.

This morning, before writing this column, I had the pleasure of speaking with Dick Raisler, the director of community-wide security for the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, a man who has been in touch with many of the Jewish federations in the wake of the Seattle incident. Raisler is a former secret service agent who worked on the presidential detail in the mid-1980s and has been part of the security effort such high-profile events as the Atlanta Olympics. I want to stress a few points that Raisler made this morning:

  • You'll never be 100% secure.
  • Sometimes the attackers will hit your least likely targets (the Seattle Federation wasn't considered to be one of the most at-risk of Jewish federations in North America).
  • Perimeters have to be extended beyond simple one-layer access control.
  • Vigilance pays off because risk assessments can only go so far.
  • The time after incidents are the time to reconsider security measures that your community/employees previously may have considered "over the top", because a serious incident often opens their eyes to the realities of security.

We'll be sharing more of Raisler's interview on and in Security Technology & Design. Keep an eye out for these upcoming interview segments.

Mergers, Acquisitions, Contracts and Closures
A goodbye to IPIX, and a hello to a merged TAC and Invensys

Goodbye, IPIX. In last week's column, I reported on the difficulties that 360-degree surveillance company IPIX was facing with the departure of much of the company's board of directors. Just a few days later, the shoe dropped and IPIX filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy and ceased its operations. It had been a long run for the company that had made forays into real estate video showings, digital animation technologies and security. While no one could say that the company's technologies weren't innovative (besides the 360-degree technology, they were working on a multi-megapixel camera that would set a new bar for high resolution surveillance imaging), the company's technologies were a little out of the ordinary for most applications, and after a long stint, the video feed, so to speak, has been cut.

While IPIX was closing shop, TAC was acquiring Invensys, further converging the worlds of building automation and security. The acquisition links up two industrial and building technology companies, creating another powerhouse provider of security, access control, building HVAC, lighting, power controls and more.

Turn up the Heat on A/C Thefts
Alarm companies add sensors to protect A/C units

We reported this week of a new rash of thefts that comes out of a common theft problem. Copper theft has been hitting utility companies and even owners of empty buildings who've seen their facilities mined for copper. Now, it seems the thieves have turned toward air conditioners as a prevalent source of copper. To counter this trend, alarm dealers are responding with air conditioner sensors that tie into the alarm system to protect their A/C units.

Other news of the week...

Securitas landed a whopper of a contract with General Motors for North American and European security to the tune of $800 million. ... At least some school districts have money to spend on security, including one Pennsylvania school district that is dropping $265,000 on a multi-facility CCTV system. ... BearingPoint was tapped by the GSA as an approved integrator for HSPD-12/FIPS 201 implementations. ... opened registration for its free webinar on the same subject featuring Michael Butler, chief of smart cards for the DoD, and Jason Halverson, a top security and smart card research for Frost & Sullivan. The HSPD-12/FIPS 201 webinar will be held Aug. 24, and all security professionals are invited.

In our forums

The editor's pick for top forums thread of the week goes to a discussion of ID/badge security policies, and methods of enforcement to ensure that employees wear those badges. To join in the discussion of this badging topic, you can register for free and share what you've experienced.

To close, as always, we point you to the topics your peers are interested in with a look at the most read security stories of the week: