7 ways to stay secure when your business has been closed

Gratiela Dumitrica, April 1 2020
6 mins

This blog post was initially published using Ava's former video security product names. 

The world is experiencing unprecedented times. The current COVID-19 crisis continues to impact people and organizations like never before. With most employees working from home, others are on leave or have been laid off. This means that multiple buildings such as offices, warehouses, malls, stores, gyms, and salons have closed their doors. Most governments have delivered guidance to professionals who provide vital services and operations during this time of crisis, and security workers are part of them. As a security specialist, you’re left trying to figure out how to protect buildings, structures, and campuses that have been shuttered with no clear open date in mind.

We know you’ve been inundated by articles that promise to fix all your problems during this crisis. We aim to give you tangible and specific guidance to help you to efficiently use your existing video security infrastructure to keep your organization protected.

If your business is considered essential and you remain open, you are facing a very different challenge of enforcing social distancing rules while continuing to serve the public. If that’s your current situation, check out this other post.

Okay, let’s get started. We’ve established your building has been closed. If you’ve deployed a video security solution similar to that offered by Ava—which includes third-party cameras from a variety of vendors—here are 7 tips to help you leverage your existing video security capabilities during the current reality.

Tip 1: Use remote access to your security system to achieve remote monitoring

One of the safest ways to continue operations is to allow for remote access to your security system. Make sure that you’ve configured your networks and firewalls, and that remote users have the necessary software and licenses required to connect to the system.

With the Ava Aware video management system (VMS) (formerly Vaion vcore), all remote access is done via the cloud. This provides secure access with encryption of all data. Access to the system is via a browser, with no additional software or licensing required for any users.

Tip 2: Integrate your video security system with communication tools

Security and operations teams must stay connected especially during this challenging time. It is key to ensure that information about unusual events and alarms is shared among stakeholders instantly. With remote working, this may involve additional communication channels that your teams haven’t used before. Look at what is available in terms of integrating your VMS with the other tools that you currently use.

With Aware it is possible to leverage webhooks to send messages to Slack or any other communication tool of your choice to ensure team members are aware of everything relevant happening inside (or outside) your shuttered building.

The webhooks send notifications on unusual events, like a suspicious person climbing up a fire escape staircase, to Slack. Users can see the live video of the incident and respond immediately.

Tip 3: Identify the presence of people and vehicles quickly and accurately

As a security professional, you need to be able to identify the presence of people and vehicles inside or outside your shuttered buildings fast and accurately. You might be in a situation where you still need to receive deliveries or allow staff to visit their office briefly for an urgent matter.

To make sure you have complete visibility to who is entering your facilities, create and document a schedule of who is allowed to come and go. Next, you can use rules to determine when someone has crossed a line, for example, at access points.

Here’s how we achieve it using object counting rules in Aware. Users can trigger smart notifications when a certain predetermined number of people and vehicles is detected.

Tip 4: Understand and respond to incidents using directional audio detection

The current global state of lockdown makes it easier for intruders to exploit isolated doors and windows to enter your vacant facilities. For example, when an intruder breaks a window, cameras with built-in audio analytics can be used to notify operators. They can watch live videos or recordings, determine the cause, and take immediate action.

If you’ve installed smart security cameras with integrated audio detection like Ava Dome or Ava 360, you can get alerted on sounds that seem out of the ordinary (loud noises and glass breaking) to react quickly before additional damage is done. You don’t need to buy other equipment or use software plug-ins to enable audio analytics if you use the Ava security cameras and video management system.

Tip 5: Stay alert with notifications in real-time to deter looting and vandalism

Businesses that have closed their doors only have a few staff members to secure their assets. That’s precisely why it’s critical to have operators focus only on those feeds where something interesting or unusual is happening.

Operators who use systems with rules and alarms to determine which video streams are more interesting have their attention drawn to unexpected events. What’s more, security systems that use machine learning can determine if unusual or anomalous behavior is happening without operators manually creating rules. These capabilities have two distinct benefits: first, they eliminate operator fatigue, and second, they make operators efficient when an unexpected event has occurred.

We can’t overemphasize enough how important it is to deploy an agile solution with the ability to truly configure for your needs—from rules for appearance, loitering, and line crossing to counts and sound detection. The goal is for your team to be alerted immediately to prevent an intruder bent on damaging your property.

Tip 6: Share clips securely to increase collaboration among various teams

Post-incident, it’s necessary to review relevant clips with anyone who can bring a swift resolution to your case. It’s critical to be able to securely share links to footage with people who don’t usually have access to your security system, for example, your Human Resources, Operational, or Logistics teams, and even the Police.

Make sure any configuration required to enable this access has been done before it is needed, and test that these external users will be able to access the system as required as well as checking that this access meets your organization's security requirements.

Our Aware software has the ability to securely share relevant video links internally and externally. Allow the administrator to configure an access password and determine the duration the clip remains accessible. Once created, the shared links can be viewed from anywhere in the world via the cloud.

Tip 7: Enhance your situational awareness using maps and live tracking

It’s essential to have a complete picture of the people and vehicles on your site at all times. Maps allow for a simple overview of an area across multiple cameras. Being able to see indications of where people and vehicles are can assist the operator in determining where to focus their attention.

By creating maps of all your locations and placing cameras on those maps, it is possible to easily track people or cars as they move around your site.

A VMS like Aware can help you leverage intelligent maps and computer vision to identify the presence and location of people accurately. Additionally, it can identify and track vehicles showing the operator where they are at any time. This allows for enhanced situational awareness across multiple cameras.

Get the help you need now. In addition to these tips on how to secure your shuttered building, we are offering a no-obligation proof of concept so you can start using Ava Aware immediately during this challenging period.

Originally published Apr 01, 2020, updated Sept 01, 2020.