Security Guy Radio’s Chuck Harold Interviews AMAG’s VP-Product Marketing, Dave Ella

2016-09-20

Dave Ella, Vice President of Product Marketing for AMAG Technology speaks from the floor of ASIS 2016 with Security Guy Radio about AMAG’s latest products and services.

AMAG released its Symmetry Bluetooth Reader last week at the show.  The reader combines Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) with card reading capabilities to deliver integrated access control.

Watch the interview here!

AMAG Presented with New Product of the Year Award at ASIS for Symmetry GUEST

AMAG Technology, Vice President of Client Services, Jeff LeBlanc proudly accepted the Security Products, New Product of the Year Award from Publisher, Kevin O’Grady at the ASIS International Seminar and Exhibits in Orlanda, Florida last week. Symmetry GUEST won the new product of the year award in the visitor management category.

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The AMAG team attended ASIS and highlighted Symmetry GUEST, a new product that brings a fresh approach to Visitor Management by taking advantage of the latest advances in handheld technology. Unlike traditional visitor management systems, Symmetry GUEST is focused on improving the visitor experience, streamlining the journey through the reception area and reducing the cost of visitor services.

For more information about Symmetry GUEST, visit http://www.amag.com/en-US/Products/Symmetry%20GUEST/.

A Day of Service and Reflection

By: Ryan Kaltenbaugh, Vice President, Government Solutions at AMAG Technology

untitledAs AMAG starts our week on Sunday, September 11th with our FOCUS event kicking off at ASIS International in Orlando, Florida, we deeply reflect on that day 15 years ago.

For me it was an early and chilly morning near the beach in Huntington Beach, California when I first heard of the events in New York.  Like many of you, I distinctively remember watching the second plane hit the tower – an image that will live with all of us.

The people of New York and organizations around the US stepped up and helped those in need that day and for weeks and months after 9-11.

This event changed my life in early 2002. I was quickly recruited to leave California where I was working in the fire protection market to move to Virginia to start my career in security.

Days after 9-11, I immediately joined the American Red Cross in California as a Public Information Officer where I took that role to Virginia. Today, I continue to volunteer my time. This has taken me all over the US to our largest disasters since 9-11; Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, fires, tornadoes and more.  I’ve seen firsthand how important volunteering is and the impact it has on those who need you the most.

The security industry is full of great people – ethical, patriotic and passionate.  While our work is important, service to our country and our communities is nearly as critical in our life path.

If you are not already, I encourage you – volunteer.  Volunteer your time, your skills, your wallet to a non-profit organization you are passionate about.  Our country is strong because of our people. Make a difference today.

For a great site to get started, go to www.VolunteerMatch.org to find an opportunity near you.

 

 

AMAG Technology’s Symmetry™ GUEST Wins Security Products 2016 New Product of the Year

SymmetryGUESTAMAG Technology is pleased to announce that Symmetry™ GUEST, the web-based visitor management software platform released earlier this year, won Security Products 2016 New Product of the Year in the Visitor Management product category.

The Security Products New Product of the Year Award honors the outstanding product development achievements of security equipment manufacturers whose products are considered noteworthy in their ability to improve security. AMAG will be recognized at ASIS International in Orlando, Florida, Sept. 12-14, featured in securitytoday.com and highlighted in the December 2016 issue of Security Products magazine.

Security Products magazine, editor-in-chief, Ralph Jensen said, “The New Products of the Year contest gives us a terrific sampling of security solutions available now.”

Symmetry GUEST offers a highly secure, yet easy-to-use solution to vet and manage visitors. It speeds the flow of visitors while helping organizations enforce security policies, reduce costs and improve the overall visitor experience. Symmetry GUEST was released in January, and will be used at the upcoming industry trade show, ASIS, to check-in all booth guests at both the AMAG and G4S booths.

See all 2016 winners: https://securitytoday.com/pages/npoy.aspx

Applying a Data Centric Approach to the Future

By AMAG Technology, Senior Vice President of Sales, Kurt TakahashiKurt Takahashi_photo

According to Gartner, the Cyber Security market will reach over $100B by 2018. According to IDC, growth will occur: 10% Security Information and Event Management (SIEM), 10% Threat Intelligence, 18% Mobile Security and 50% in Cloud Security.  As the security industry  continues trending towards  managed and cloud services, how will  companies stay ahead of the constant barrage of  Cyber and physical security threats?

The vastly untapped data compiled by physical security systems, like access control, video surveillance, incident management and burglar alarm systems have a story to tell about any  individual’s usual behavior. Certain deviations from those norms should be of absolute concern for security professionals.  For example, why is one person entering a restricted area several times a day or at strange hours?  Is the person just having a busy day? Or is there something else going on? When correlating someone’s physical  behavior patterns with their logical activities, one can change how we interpret an individual’s intentions. We can suddenly see threats that are easily overlooked in separate cyber and physical worlds as valid concerns when they are viewed together.

When the outsider threats are blocked, the next step is to find an insider to achieve results.  Analysis of cyber security and physical security will allow companies to identify early warning signs of internal and external threats.  

How do you do that?

The only true way to address risk is to manage people and the systems they use. Organizations must analyze their data not only to better secure their business, but to make better business decisions and manage business requirements.

An organization must determine what systems and data should be analyzed.  It could be an access control system, computer log-in system, HR system, or building system. Or all of them!

Funneling that data to a single dashboard will provide a data centric approach that will help identify behaviors and manage risk to create a safer environment.  A dashboard will streamline business operations showing all relevant data in one place, narrowing the gap between physical and cyber security and help predict behavior and patterns.

End users who can predict behavior via a data centric approach based on analysis from system intelligence will better mitigate risk, save money and improve their bottom line.

Exceeding Customer Expectations and Teamwork Wins Retrofit Upgrade

IMG_2663What do you get when you learn your access control system has reached end of life and your security manufacturer doesn’t return your calls?  One ticked off customer.

That’s how the University of Nevada – Reno, Housing Security Director, Charles Stricker felt when he finally learned he was going to be forced down an expensive upgrade path if he stayed with his current manufacturer.   Stricker did his homework, and when he learned about AMAG’s Symmetry SR Retrofit solution, he took action and never looked back.

“After being ignored for a year, I finally learned my upgrade options and it was bad,” said Stricker.  “A year later, I met with AMAG.  My current manufacturer reacted poorly and AMAG answered my questions and got me pricing.”

Stricker got creative and became a beta tester for AMAG.  This way he could try out the system before committing and decide for himself if the upgrade was going to be as easy as AMAG said it was and if it would be affordable.

The result? They rolled out the first building in four hours.  The upgrade process was easy. They used the system for a year.  It worked well.

Casi, Symmetry, www.amag.com

University of Nevada – Reno, Housing Security Director, Charles Stricker selected AMAG’s Symmetry SR Retrofit system to replace its legacy access control system.

UNR’s long-time integrator, RFI Communications & Security Systems, worked closely with Stricker and the Housing Department and AMAG to develop a roll-out plan, and they started converting the remaining dormitories.

“The Symmetry SR Retrofit system saved us SO MUCH money,” said Stricker.

The Symmetry SR Retrofit system used UNR’s existing wiring, readers and cards, saving them tens of thousands of dollars in labor and upgrade costs.  The installation was quick, taking literally minutes to swap out an old board and replace with an SR Micro5 panel .

Both the Housing Department and Main Campus migrated to the Symmetry SR Retrofit solution,   installing two separate systems.

To improve system efficiency, AMAG Professional Services wrote custom integration scripts for each of the systems.  For the Housing Department, Symmetry integrated with Odessey HMS.  Changes made in Odessey, such as room changes or deletions, automatically filtered to Symmetry, creating a safer environment for student.

For the Main Campus, Symmetry integrated with Blackboard Learning Management System.  If a student was added or deleted in Blackboard, the changes were routed to Symmetry, so the security management system was always up to date.

“We’ve been up and running since November 2015, and Symmetry saved us $3-5 million in infrastructure costs along with way,” said Stricker.  “This is the smartest upgrade solution I’ve ever seen.”

 

By AMAG Technology, Public Relations Manager, Kim Rahfaldt

 

Optimize Symmetry to Improve Security

Cyrus Nelson

Cyrus Nelson is the Director of Professional Services for AMAG Technology.

By AMAG Technology, Director of Professional Services, Cyrus Nelson

The number of options available within the Symmetry security system is vast and can be overwhelming to any organization.  Whether the organization has been using Symmetry for decades, or if they are a new Symmetry user, every organization wants to ensure they are getting the most out of their security system budget and working as effectively as they can.  While there are very few “wrong” ways to use Symmetry, there are certainly best practices.  Symmetry Professional Services can assist your organization with finding the most cost-effective and efficient way to use Symmetry in any environment.

By conducting a System Assessment that includes access control hardware, server, client, as well as an operational look at the Symmetry system installed, Professional Services can compare usage with other customers of the same size and with similar operation requirements.  Our team can assist with finding shortcuts and new uses for existing tools, point out features that operators may have overlooked, and can assist with creating your organizational templates for doing day to day tasks.  By ensuring that your team is getting the most out of Symmetry, your team can stay under budget and be ready to expect the unexpected.

To schedule your system assessment, contact Symmetry Professional Services today at proservices@amag.com.

Simplified Pricing Means Working with Professional Services Just Got Easier

Focus: Flat File Import and Active Directory Sync

AMAG’s Professional Services team helps organizations leverage their Symmetry Security Management System to its fullest potential.  To simplify the process, a partial list of Professional Services offerings has been included in the June 1 price list.  Users can reference the price list and order a Professional Service as you would order any Symmetry product.

Highlighted here are two Professional Services offerings you will find in the price list.

Flat File Import

Many companies choose to integrate a third party system, such as an HR database, student record database, or healthcare database with Symmetry.  Professional Services can create a configuration to give users the ability to manage all or some cardholders through a third party system and have the changes sync into Symmetry.  By automatically creating, modifying and inactivating cardholders, security can be enhanced and administration time saved.  Access Rights may also be imported.

The custom application will generate test cases during the development and acceptance of the solution.  Upon successful completion of the test cases, the application will be deployed.

Active Directory Sync

Enterprise customers who prefer to manage all or some cardholders through Active Directory, can have Professional Services install and configure Active Directory Cardholder Sync.  Enhance security and save time by automatically creating, modifying and inactivating cardholders.

A planning meeting well in advance of deployment determines the versions of Active Directory and Symmetry and outlines what is needed to complete the configuration and installation.

Professional Services will remotely deploy the Active Directory sync tools, fully configure and test.  The integration requires DATA CONNECT or Symmetry Enterprise v7.0.1 or higher to complete.

Flat file import and Active Directory Sync services are included in the June 1 price list, which you will find on the AMAG partner site.  Additional services will require a separate quote.

For more information, please contact proservices@amag.com.

Keep Out – The Evolution of a Childhood Mantra for Security

By AMAG Technology, Director of Enterprise Sales, Vik DeolVik Deol_0003_1

From our evolution of adolescent to adult, the “Keep Out” mantra has been a constant reminder in our daily lives. “Keep Out,” having taken the form of a security precaution, has never left our side since our childhood tree house. As an individual we are concerned about intruders entering our homes. A community center is concerned about trespassing by harmful individuals. A company guards against infringement of its intellectual property by a third-party. A country is concerned against confidential data breaches. The world has consistently proven that we must maintain our own security measures by way of locked doors, privacy and exclusivity, reminding us that the famous words on each childhood tree house, “Keep Out” stay true today.

Security practitioners are tasked with various objectives to keep us safe. A physical security executive’s job within a global company, for example, is often seen as challenging as we start to understand the complexities of what their job entails to satisfy the mission of keeping areas secure and most importantly, people safe. As we take a step into the IT department, departmental duties also reflect a comprehensive program to ensure security. Yet not always are we taking an in-depth approach to tackle objectives together. People sit in different departments with different job titles with different ideas, yet many times have the same requirements to satisfy.

For example, if a physical security administrator maintains all his physical access logs on a daily log and monitors each person – yet doesn’t take into account HR information for newly hired and fired individuals – it is highly likely the new individual will be kept out and the fired person is still going to have critical access. On the IT side of the house, if the IT department is careful to ensure network traffic is securely managed, but does not take the appropriate protocols for understanding whom has physical access to their data centers by working with physical security, watching external traffic is truly a waste of time.

A company cannot progress if security management is not comprehensive. For instance, if inventory is being stolen, theft is certainly going to negatively impact the bottom line of a business. In intellectual property, the penalties can be far worse. Now imagine if a company like Facebook has an individual wrongly access one of their main data centers, the damage to a company’s reputation and personal data could be detrimental as data breaches have exemplified.

The challenge to “keeping out” is that we aren’t always given advanced alerts as to when someone has ill intent nor are we handling events in an automated manner, ergo? We must present our programs for security in a holistic manner so our teams can make judgment calls or have a deeper understanding of each particular identity and their potential risk to the company.

This common theme of “Keep Out,” often a corn-crib approach, is still applied in its simplest form today as stockpiles of information and processes are constantly disjointed. Keeping devices, people, technology and processes connected are the only feasible way to secure infrastructures regardless of industry. This evolutionary step is no longer something ‘to consider’ – keeping connected is mandatory.

Success in security incident management truly relies on being able to identify, interpret, notify, and mitigate to closure. Upon receipt of closure, a process should incorporate lessons learned within the future standard operating procedures. Deployed solutions need to be able to do the aforementioned in a manner where all of these objectives are met alongside effectively managing the integration of personnel, process and technology.

Viksgraphic

The transformation and understanding of the phrase “keep out” changes and adopts different strategies as our history evolves, yet to secure a childhood fort, each point of entry needs to be secure. Each person in the fort needs to know the plan, the process, the procedures and whom has what responsibility. While we try to strike a balance between keep out, keep safe, and keep secure in our organization, each person or groups of individuals do not typically need to be watched, but each identity must be managed and needs to understand their role if an event occurs.  Whether it is an everyday visit to one’s office or a temporary sales person visiting for a lunch meeting, management of identities is a vital function that shouldn’t ignore anyone. Visitors, intruders or employees all have the same goal – to get access – and it is a company’s job to make sure that access is managed to the best degree possible. The common goal of “keep out” now not only applies to security, IT, HR, facilities, but even contractors, consultants and facilities that need to be a part of the overall solution.

While the famous words on the tree house, “Keep Out,” remain true, how we approach, communicate, mitigate and deploy security has changed. For a corporation, college campus or even a country, it’s imperative to construct a collective model for security management that gives a grander vision into identities and their access rights across the enterprise. When deploying technologies, or incorporating a new technology, insist your department works with others to let the appropriate people in to the areas they need while keeping the not so appropriate on the other side of the fence.

Stay secure and stay connected my friends. – Vik

 

The Customer Experience is the Universal Truth

By AMAG Technology, Senior Vice President of Sales, Kurt Takahashi

Kurt Takahashi_photoWhat I find most important is the Experience.   What is the Experience you are going to offer your customer?  Relationships are built on shared experiences.  They take time to develop.  You work hard to build great relationships and create a positive Experience.

End users have many security needs: access control, video, audio, meeting compliance, managing visitors, incident management, protecting critical assets, etc.  You can work hard to create a great Experience, but how do you ensure the outcome of an experience when you can only control a small piece of your customer’s overall needs?

There are silos of disciplines:

  • Consultant to the End User
  • Integrator to the End User
  • Technology manufacturer and the End User
  • Operations team and the End User

All four components combined help the customer reach their security goal, but each group tends to work in silos.  How often have we said to ourselves, “Wow!  I didn’t know that about them?  I couldn’t see that from their perspective.”

We all have an important role to play in the outcome for the customer. Breaking down barriers and implementing cross collaboration will improve a customer’s Experience.

We have an event each year that pulls together these disciplines to learn about how to work closer together with the customer Experience in mind.  We invite end users, resellers, consultants and manufacturers that integrate with our Symmetry system and discuss security issues, operational challenges and trends.  AMAG’s Security Engineering Symposium provides a venue to see things from each other’s perspective, and it’s amazing how much you learn when you listen to another’s point of view.

Some feedback from our recent SES:

 The entire weekend was very well planned and delivered tremendous content and value.

I had a great time this year. The format of your SES makes it easy and enjoyable to collaborate and I learned a lot.  So glad to be invited.

Of all the symposiums I’ve been too, this was by far the best and most useful, I am so glad I came and will be back next year.

Our SES offers small sessions that encourage discussion.  These discussions provide the avenue to breaking down barriers and eliminating the silos.  They help each group understand the other’s needs, and pave the way to work together to deliver the best customer Experience.

Cross collaboration is imperative to eliminating silos and providing the customer with the best overall Experience.  If the customer is happy on all fronts, only good things can happen: project expansion, referrals, more business for you…and best of all…you have created a true partnership.