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Chamber lunch covers security

Posted: November 12, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: November 12, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Businesses and communities of all sizes should budget for surveillance systems that are widely accessible in the event of a crisis, said specialists from Nexus IS Inc., a security technology company.

Representatives from Nexus’ Santa Clarita office hosted a Lunch and Learn on Friday through the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce. There they discussed how a business-driven community such as Santa Clarita should have security systems that are accessible beyond just one business or one computer, especially after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, where dozens of agencies were on-site without a central means of communication or information.

“Security is now a collaborative technology,” said Ted Alben, a best-practices manager in physical security for Nexus. 
“People should have a dialogue about how they’re going to manage risk,” Alben said.

Collaborative technology in the security realm would mean trying to have a standard security system that all businesses in one commercial park, for instance, could potentially have access to if needed, or that public-safety departments in the city could access in the event of an emergency.

Security systems that are only compatible with  or installed on one computer — or can only be accessed within one building — make it impossible to access if the computer or building is closed off, Alben said. 

This open technology goes hand-in-hand with the advent of wireless Internet access and mobile phones, Alben said.

An employee, for example, could stream surveillance footage directly to an iPad at his or her home, in the event of an issue in the office miles away.

Public-safety departments could also gain access to the footage in an authorized situation. The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station offers this service today. And a good security system would allow information to go to authorized mobile devices, if necessary.

“The cellphone you have may be the only tool you have at that moment,” he said.

Alben acknowledged the open philosophy and accessibility from mobile devices comes with risks, but good security systems will have checks in place. For instance, some systems will require that before an authorized individual can access a file, the system will call the employee’s cellphone for verification. Such checks minimize hacking risks, he said.

Howard Miller, a tech security specialist from L/B/W Insurance & Financial Services, attended the event. A concern that comes up with clients, he said during the meeting, was the affordability of such systems.

For businesses, schools and municipalities, both Alden and his colleague Stacy Fortner, a Nexus account manager, emphasized that it’s cheaper to be proactive than reactive.

The up-front costs of locks, computer protection and cameras are cheaper than lawsuits and replacement of physical and intellectual property, especially for smaller businesses.

“For small businesses, (security breaches and vandalism) can be a devastating loss, where larger businesses can absorb those costs,” Fortner said.

Technology systems are becoming more and more affordable, Alben said, and one surveillance camera that can capture 180 degrees in a parking lot could cost less than $1,000.

In a commercial park, all businesses could pool together and each pay a fraction of the installation and maintenance costs for a parking lot camera. And that’s where the collaborative technology can come in on a community business scale, he said.

“Where can we look at the little things we do collectively to improved the quality of life of the community and manage some risk?” Alden asked.

The next Lunch and Learn will discuss employee health care costs on Friday, Nov. 18 at 11:45 a.m. at 27451 Tourney Road, Suite 160.


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