Fast-paced Bluebeam security install presents unique challenges

Dec. 13, 2019
Close collaboration among project team ensures success for the 2019 Boxerbaum Security Project of the Year award winner

The gauge of a successful security project is not always judged by its size or complexity. Projects often present other challenges that test the mettle of a security consultant and the resolve of the entire project team, such as counseling clients with varied physical security system design experience or working with aggressive timelines that press system implementation to the limits.

Such was the character of a project security consultant Michael Niola, CTS and his team from the Vantage Technology Consulting Group in El Segundo, Calif., encountered relocating the software technology giant Bluebeam, Inc. into its new headquarters in Southern California last year. Bluebeam moved its former headquarters from a multi-tenant high rise office building to a single tenant campus consisting of multiple office buildings and a multi-level parking structure, all of which totals approximately 77,000 square feet.

The tenant improvement project for the corporate HQ required a full interior renovation, including the installation of a new security system.

According to Niola, moving to a single-tenant facility required Bluebeam to take ownership of the security processes and systems, which was a change from their previous mode of operation in which the building landlord provided those services. The client enlisted Vantage Technology’s guidance in identifying the security system requirements and operational considerations for this type of facility. The final project's security scope included video surveillance, access control, and intrusion detection systems which were integrated with one another to provide system efficiencies for managing and monitoring activity.

“This was a particularly challenging project due to the overall project timeline and move date,” said Niola.  

Appreciating the difficulty of a fast-paced, albeit smaller project, and the learning curve the client presented in creating a security system’s plan of attack, Vantage’s Bluebeam security project was the pick of the award’s selection committee for the 2019 Boxerbaum Security Project of the Year. The award is named for the late Elliot A. Boxerbaum, MA, CPP, CSC, founder and president of Security Risk Management Consultants, Inc. Elliot passed away in June 2014, from ALS. The presentation was made on October 19 at the CONSULT Technical Security Symposium in Bernalillo, New Mexico.

The Client’s Dilemma

Bluebeam is a familiar name among design and construction professionals around the world. Founded in 2002, its software has been adopted worldwide by the AEC community, with more than 1.6 million professionals using its flagship software Revu, the first markup and collaboration solution specifically designed for the architecture and construction industry.

The project itself was daunting. Bluebeam only had six months to renovate its new facility as well as build out its security infrastructure. The fast-paced nature of the project required not only the system’s design and installation, but high-level consulting to identify the adequate operational requirements of the systems, which would then dictate the technical requirements. Being a software company with vital intellectual property and many on-site employees, security was of utmost importance for their new headquarters.

“It was really interesting to have Bluebeam as a client. Being that they are a software company, they closely monitor things like network security and data privacy. Leaving a high-rise office building for a single-tenant environment provided Bluebeam with the opportunity to develop their own security practices. Vantage provided the framework to do just that. We were able to help them with the planning of these (security) systems and to present the different types of solutions that were out in the market to fit their needs,” explained Niola.

Plotting the Roadmap

Out of the gate, Vantage Technology played a unique role, considering it was brought on board to do security design. However, the project soon took on more of a high-level consulting effort. Vantage ran through use-cases for the different systems and educated Bluebeam stakeholders on what security systems were typically installed in corporate offices and how they would be managed in different scenarios; whether they would be monitored by a dedicated team, used for post-event forensic analysis, or automated to send alarms and triggers when certain conditions were met. Vantage wrote narratives, memos, and whitepapers to present the information needed to help the decision-making process, including recommending policies and procedures to be written by Bluebeam to govern the security systems that were going to be installed.

“We had to deal with the data and network design first since they would ultimately drive our recommendations for card readers, cameras, and glass break sensors. We started from square one and wrote whitepapers to offer several ideas and scenarios of how corporate offices can operate their systems from both the physical and the network sides.” Niola said.

Once the operational requirements were understood, Vantage recommended video surveillance, access control, and intrusion detection systems. It provided a full set of construction documents including drawings and specifications, as well as construction administration and commissioning services through the completion of the project.

The project included designing a Genetec Security Center system integrating the video surveillance, access control, and intrusion detection subsystems in order to make it a proactive platform that could be monitored in a variety of ways by employees, on-site security staff and off-site monitors.  Additionally, the Genetec mobile app was also programmed for use by a roaming security guard to maintain system visibility from any location.

Due to the architecture of the existing building, several site visits were required during design to create the details needed to properly route cabling from the IDF rooms to the cameras, glass break sensors, and motion sensors. Genetec’s cybersecurity checklist feature was also implemented to allow the system to self-audit the cyber-hardening settings recommended by the manufacturer.

The Challenges

The reality of a quick project turnaround required Vantage to work closely with the general contractor, the project manager from Cushman Wakefield, and the system integrators. Since this was part of a larger tenant improvement construction project, many trades were working simultaneously on-site, which affected when and how the security systems could be installed. This parade of contractors mandated that all parties communicated clearly and often with the entire team to avoid mistakes and missing install deadlines.

Another challenge the team encountered was that the architecture of the existing building was complex in some areas, featuring white high-slanted ceilings and containing beautiful architectural finishes that needed to be worked around. The design of the pathways supporting the security and automated building devices being installed also required very close coordination with the architect.

“The design, the integration and the construction phase were all overlapping a bit. It was very important for us to be extremely collaborative with the security integrator, which luckily, we had a prior relationship. Interestingly enough, we used Bluebeam Revu to track documents in real-time, so we could handle change orders, updates and most of the construction-related issues right on site,” Niola said. “Another area that required a collaborative effort was how would they program the system. The entire project team worked directly with the client to help them figure out how to prioritize user access, assign levels of access and other authentication issues since this was all new to them.”

The project team took extra care in recommending systems and equipment that came from reputable manufacturers that understand the unique needs of software developers.

“We reviewed the security protocols camera and software manufacturers implemented and provided Bluebeam with hardening guides to utilize when setting up their systems and the IT network it would ride on,” added Niola. “Having a great working relationship with the integrator made it possible to identify potential issues quickly, communicate with each other directly, and be more agreeable to going above and beyond to have things corrected, even if the challenge came from someone else’s mistake. We truly created a team environment, which created a great deal of value ‘behind the scenes.’ Phone calls after hours, doing something that was technically not in the scope of work, and a willingness to help other trades move the project along were all actions that went a long way in making this a success.”

About the Author:

Steve Lasky is a 33-year veteran of the security publishing industry and multiple-award-winning journalist. He is currently the Editorial and Conference Director for the Endeavor Business Security Media Group, the world’s largest security media entity, serving more than 190,000 security professionals in print, interactive and events. It includes Security Technology Executive, Security Business and Locksmith Ledger International magazines, and SecurityInfoWatch.comthe most visited security web portal in the world. He can be reached at [email protected]