security cctv

Global firm brings security surveillance business to Chattanooga

Conor Aucoin, left, and Tyler McGehee walk around surveillance equipment set atop the welcome barge at the Southern Belle at the outset of the Riverbend Festival on Friday morning. Conor Aucoin, left, and Tyler McGehee walk around... Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

Global firm brings security surveillance business to Chattanooga

Looking more like a planetary landing module, Conor Aucoin, left, and Tyler McGehee walk around surveillance equipment set atop the Pier 2 embarking point for the Southern Belle amidst the upcoming Riverbend Festival grounds.

Looking more like a planetary landing module, Conor... Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

Company at a glance

Name: Security Centres International Headquarters: Caymon Islands

Staff: About 700 employees at offices in the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Bermuda, the Bahamas and the United States. Local Staff: Tyler McGehee and Conor Aucoin Web site:

Riverbend festivalgoers will notice changes to security measures this year on the ground, but what will be much less apparent is a security tower standing atop the fourth deck of the Southern Belle riverboard about 300 feet from the main stage. The Optoguard Ultra CCTV Tower is the first of its kind in the United States and from Security Centres International, a new security firm in Chattanooga that is allowing Hamilton County emergency personnel to use the enhanced camera tower in a test run for the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. If successful, the collapsible, 26-foot-tall mobile tower -- that took about 45 minutes to assemble on the barge's top deck -- could be used at public events around the country.

The tower doesn't include more intrusive security features, such as facial recognition, but it can detect an unlimited amount of subjects at a time, letting emergency personnel watching the feed remotely know if they should be concerned about any people or unattended objects at the festival or along the riverfront. "We are not bringing anything that isn't already there to the scene," said Tyler McGehee, chief of operations for Security Centres International. "We are just bringing a product that is more capable and versatile and able to scan a wider area. While festival organizers set up tents and food stands Friday afternoon, the camera on the solar-powered tower scanned the festival area and water where boats in the Tennessee River would float up to listen to Hank Williams Jr. later that night.

With the ability to zoom up to a half mile, the CCTV Tower can even make out the small bolts on top of the Tennessee Aquarium's roof or the siding of a home across the river. Originally built for construction sites in Scotland, near the North Sea, the tower can withstand up to 120-mph sustained winds and a Category 2 hurricane, McGehee said. It only takes about 14.4 volts to run the entire structure, and although it's self powered, it can also be plugged into a direct power source.

It includes night vision technology, two-way voice capabilities and emergency personnel will be able to operate and watch a live feed remotely. Chattanooga Police Lt. Austin Garrett oversees operations at Riverbend each year, and he said the tower is just another piece of electronic equipment they have meshed into festival operations.

The city of Chattanooga already installed updated cameras along the riverfront and in the festival area a few years ago, but they don't have as many capabilities. "It gives you two different aspects -- proactive and responsive," Garrett said about the CCTV tower. "It's watching things as they might be developing but also gives us intelligence for reaction if something is going on to help with the best response." Security Centres International's U.S. office is in Chattanooga, but the 700-person company has offices all over the world, including the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Bermuda and the Bahamas.

McGehee, whose background is in law enforcement and aviation, and Conor Aucoin, who was a marine infantry platoon leader in Afghanistan, oversee the Chattanooga office. McGehee said Chattanooga had a lot of opportunity and incentives for a new business and it was the optimal location being close to several large metro areas in the Southeast. The firm has been open for a year in the area.

"Chattanooga has the right mix of progressive tech companies coming in which are utilizing new products," he said. "There's also the right amount of state and local agencies willing to help advance our efforts." McGehee and Aucoin said Southern Belle owner Joe Reinert has been accommodating to all their requests. "It's great how nice and generous they've been for us being outsiders," said Aucoin. "They didn't have to do this at all."

Contact staff writer Allison Shirk at [email protected], @Allison_Shirk or 423-757-6651.

Our CCTV, access control and physical security systems are under attack – what can we do?

At IFSEC 2018, the first converged security operations centre for a security event is being built to bring together security professionals from the cyber and physical arenas to witness, 'in real time', what the latest technology can do and discuss how to manage cyber and physical attacks.

Why now and what is the point? As those who have followed the course of security management since the early years of this decade will know well, cyber security has gradually become of key importance to ensuring an organisation is resilient. Many security professionals have urged greater collaboration between physical and digital security teams and a few organisations have successfully formed cross functional teams.

Some of these have built converged security centres to manage their security incidents more effectively. But for most this is not the case even if it is thought that multi-disciplinary teaming is the best way to ensure a holistic risk approach such as Enterprise Security Risk Management and maintain the cybersecurity of physical security systems. It works equally well on the other side as there are many ways physical security is vital for a robust cybersecurity programme.

Although this all makes sense it is still probably just 27% of large companies that have a single function. But why should the security industry change the status quo?

Some will argue it is better to carry on building separate Security Operations Centres as they have been. There are others who have already started on the journey and Barclays is a notable example. A key driver for this has been the digitalisation of organisations brought about by the 4th Industrial revolution with the increase in volumes of data that need to be protected.

This, combined with the exponential growth in internet of things devices has significantly impacted the physical security industry. Hence we see a great interest in cybersecurity, the GDPR and privacy from colleagues who until recently preferred to focus on physical security. It is important to work closely with all those involved in securing people and their data and it is virtually impossible to separate them now, as our smart phones prove!

The converged security centre can also be likened to a concert hall with a symphony orchestra composed of many different instruments and voices

So, one approach is to discuss together how to secure our technologies with experts.

This makes sense! It works in other areas of life very well. In an operating theatre there are teams of surgeons who specialise in different areas of medicine and who work closely with other doctors, anaesthetists, nurses and support staff to perform a successful operation.

But they can't do this without each other or be expected to. The converged security centre can also be likened to a concert hall with a symphony orchestra composed of many different instruments and voices, but all brought together in harmony to produce inspirational music. There is normally a conductor often with soloists who specialise in an instrument or voice but on their own they cannot produce anything like the beauty achieved by the whole.

Similarly, teams of diverse security professionals with different specialisms now need to help one another to understand the range of risks to cyber and physical devices and systems.

Cost savings

In one centre it is obvious that this can happen faster. The cost savings of one instead of two locations are many and clear, including the benefits of sharing systems, technologies and equipment, less space, lower rates and so on. At IFSEC 2018, Vidsys, Unified Security and our partners are building such a centre which will look at how technologies can be used now to prevent, identify and respond to cyber attacks on CCTV and other physical security systems.

It has become widely known that CCTV cameras and systems often have many vulnerabilities and are not easily patched. In this way they can be the weakest link in a network and so it is important to protect them from external attacks in cyber space. [embedded content]

Cybersecurity technologies can be used to connect cameras to intrusion prevention, identification, SIEM and other real time response systems and in this way the whole corporate network is given a higher level of resilience than the normal level which does not have this functionality. Typically, a separate security centre manages incidents for physical security which will not prevent, identify or respond to such attacks. And since the cameras are not normally connected to cybersecurity protection systems the attack is not mitigated by the Digital Security Centre either.

It is these kinds of issues which must be resolved. Converged Security Information Management (CSIM) Operationalises Security: CIO's face complex "operational trade-off's" - and the solution is to converge disparate technologies. It offers these benefits:

  • Operationalise security
  • Enhance security - aligning risk / cost, single dashboard, quicker response
  • Increase agility - convergence that facilitates organisational collaboration

Malicious cyber attacks on physical security systems - how to respond in real-time?

  • Converged situational awareness & management platform
  • Rules & use cases that look across both physical and cyber sub-systems
  • Use micro-segmentation solution in enterpris
  • The compromised endpoint can be forced off the network and the network re-keyed (new crypto keys for each endpoint) basically making a new network
  • Faster assessment and response to situations

How to respond to insider threats through a converged security platform

  • Blended threats - monitor across connected disparate systems
  • Secure access to certain systems should only happen form certain locations
  • Have they entered the building?
  • Have they entered the room?
  • Network log details, SIEM log details



Paul Dorey (Chair of IoTSF), Martin Gill (Director, Perpetuity Research), Mike Hurst (CPP, HJA Fire and Security Recruitment ASIS International UK Chapter), Brian Sims (Risk UK, Editor), Barrie Millett (Head of Group Security, Wesleyan), Letitia Emeana CPP PSP (Board Member Women's Security Society - Physical Security), Danny Dresner (Co Founder IASME), Alan Jenkins (former ASIS UK Cyber Convergence Lead) and Steven Kenny (Industry Liaison - Architecture & Engineering, AXIS Communications). Authors : James Willison MA MSyI, Founder, Unified Security Ltd and Sarb Sembhi CISM, CISO Virtually Informed Ltd.

IFSEC International takes place between 19-21 June 2018, ExCeL London. Get your free pass for IFSEC 2018.

Join IFSEC Global live at Europe's only dedicated integrated security event. Register for free.
Meet over 600 exhibitors, test more than 10,000 of the latest security products, and discover best practice and future trends in an unrivaled seminar programme.

Highlights include;

  • Frank Gardner to chair the Keynote Arena
  • Former US Secretary of Homeland Security to take Keynote stage
  • Live attack testing in the LPCB/BRE Global Attack Zone
  • Your chance to get hands on with the latest security innovations thanks to the brand new Show Me How feature

Register for free today.

Related Topics

IFSEC 2018: New products and innovations to be championed at Speakers Corner and on exhibition stands

ASSA ABLOY's security doorsets to be tested in LPCB Attack Zone

Qognify to showcase new intelligent security management and access control insights platforms at IFSEC 2018

Practical Tips For CCTV Deployment

Practical Tips For CCTV Deployment

CCTV systems are an efficient and flexible way to deter criminals and protect your business, making them a common feature in the physical security suite of many UK companies, writes Wayne Connors, MD of ACCL as he offers some practical tips on the subject. Deploying CCTV effectively is a difficult but well-understood process that is covered by a body of industrial know-how, regulatory material, and legal requirement, which can be difficult to navigate without starting points. 1.

Start with the Why Having a clear purpose for installing CCTV surveillance equipment is one of the top recommendations that the Home Office makes. Once you have defined your overall goal you will need specific requirements, such as the areas that need to be monitored and when, whether images will need to detect features such as faces or license plates, whether images need to be monitored in real-time and how long they need to be stored.

The more sophisticated the features that you require, the higher the likely cost, and certain options also carry legal requirements, such as installing signs. 2. Consider all environmental factors

The quality of the images will depend on the ambient lighting conditions and on the objects that are (or can be) in the frame. For outdoor cameras, other factors come into play too, such as fog and rain, and temperature and humidity may translate into special requirements for fixtures and cabling. The best approach is to conduct a thorough on-site survey along with your security solutions provider.

3. Plan to integrate CCTV into your IT infrastructure The convergence of networking and security technology, and the advent of structured cabling, have made CCTV (and security systems in general) an integral part of a company's IT network.

This results in lower costs, as you can use the same infrastructure for every piece of equipment, and an unprecedented level of flexibility in terms of what you can do with security equipment and footage. 4. Consider upgrading your existing infrastructure

High quality security equipment tends to be sturdy and long-lived which creates an incentive for existing cabling infrastructure to be upgraded rather than overhauled. If your surveillance needs expanding, it may be possible to achieve this through a process of incremental upgrades, rather than a complete overhaul, keeping prices down and avoiding potential business disruption. 5.

Don't compromise on deployment techniques and equipment CCTV deployment will require particular cable types and may require special shielding for power and data cables, so that they cannot be simply cut by an attacker. These requirements are not just security theatre and failing to tamper-proof an exposed camera can compromise it entirely and irreversibly undo any security benefits it might provide.

6. Plan and budget for archiving and retrieval In many cases, CCTV camera images are not useful immediately they are being taken, so they need to be stored.

You are legally responsible not only for the proper securing (and eventual erasure) of the data, but also for retrieving it upon request. Complying with these regulations requires that you make provisions for controlling access to stored data, and for installing and maintaining an appropriate archival system. 7.

Implement a detailed commissioning process Testing security systems is vital to ensure that everything is working as planned. At a minimum, this should include checking each camera's field of view, checking the quality and detail of live and recorded images, verifying the capacity of the storage system and verifying any integrated systems such as alarms or motion detectors.

8. Implement an audit and maintenance plan It is recommended that the performance of a CCTV system be monitored and benchmarked regularly as part of a regular, documented system audit, which will make you aware of any degradation in the system's performance before it impacts security.

Any issues should be resolved immediately, as most successful thefts or break-ins look like nothing more than a simple malfunction. CCTV systems are a valuable asset to building security, and planning, careful deployment and regular maintenance should ensure their efficient operation for many years. To find our more, please visit

Article written by Wayne Connors


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