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“60% of CCTV systems still managed in-house” suggests NW Security Group-commissioned study 21/01/2021

DESPITE THE accelerated migration of CCTV systems to IP networks, facilities management (FM) and security departments still manage one third of all medium and large-sized businesses’ CCTV systems in-house. That’s one of the key findings of a study commissioned by NW Security Group and conducted by market research firm Opinium.

Commenting on that news, Frank Crouwel (managing director at the NW Security Group) stated: “It’s interesting that, even though 61% of all CCTV systems are now on the network and the cloud CCTV migration trend is accelerating, a third of all firms we captured in this study are still relying on in-house FM or security teams to optimise their CCTV systems. This indicates to me that there’s a big opportunity for specialist security integrators to assist those in-house teams in updating and optimising their existing systems as the technology has improved significantly in recent years. Many would argue this has made it more difficult for in-house teams to keep systems optimised.”

Just over a quarter (27%) of surveillance systems are now managed by IT departments. On that note, Crouwel observed: “Heads of IT have often fought shy of taking over the management of CCTV systems. However, many are being forced to take a deeper interest now that the technology and installer partner capability is available to move CCTV into the cloud, enabling firms to resource CCTV system management and expertise from OPEX via more flexible monthly subscription-style ‘CCTV-as-a-Service’ options.”

Less than a third (29%) of England-based firms with over 50 employees have now outsourced the management of their video surveillance systems to an external security company. Public sector bodies are slightly more likely to outsource security system management, with 31% of those public sector bodies captured by this latest study having fully outsourced their security systems support and management functions.

One-in-ten medium and large-sized businesses have adopted a hybrid approach, working with a security installer for their expertise when needed, while still managing their CCTV systems in-house on a day-to-day basis.

“We’re seeing more businesses looking to expert partners to help them to upgrade, improve and optimise their CCTV so that they can derive the most return from existing systems,” explained Crouwel. It’s a bit surprising to find that only one in every ten firms captured by our study had a declared policy of working with an external partner. This finding is worthy of further investigation during 2021. I suspect more will outsource to trusted experts as systems become more feature-rich and cloud CCTV migration levels rise.”

Fundamental change

NW Security Group believes that the CCTV market is undergoing fundamental change and plans to investigate the implications of that change in a second study to be run later this year. The first study, conducted in September 2020, indicated that businesses were starting to expect more from both their systems and the installers and contractors that support them.

There was also early evidence that, as companies consider moving CCTV systems up into the cloud, they’re tending to in-source more CCTV management decision-making as they focus on upskilling internally. These changes will be explored in the 2021 market study.

When asked what criteria directors or senior management in charge of CCTV systems would use if they needed to select a new security systems installer, the top criterion for selection was ‘access to 24/7/365 Help Desk support’ (43% of firms with an existing CCTV system would select based on the availability of around-the-clock support in case of incidents). Nearly as many (ie 38%) would select based on ‘evidence of CCTV and network video surveillance capability and pedigree’.

However, so-called ‘cloud CCTV’ capability is also becoming a major factor in the selection of any security installation partner. NW Security Group’s study found nearly a third (32%) of firms would seek evidence of cloud migration and ‘in the cloud’ CCTV management capability when selecting a security systems installer.

This is perhaps no great surprise given the fact that the same study also found that over two-thirds (71%) of private sector firms are planning to migrate their existing CCTV systems into the cloud within the next 12 months.

A quarter of firms also plan to select a partner based on evidence of ‘strong partnerships with Best of Breed vendors and service providers’. Nearly a third (32%) would select based on a third party installers’ ‘collaborative approach to working with us to improve our CCTV system and how it’s supported’.

Survey details

The survey was completed between 8-14 September last year by 101 IT decision-makers of firms with more than 50 employees based in England. Only those firms with CCTV systems were invited to complete the survey.

Respondents were heavily weighted towards senior operations as well as the security and IT heads of medium-sized firms (with 50 to 249 staff) and large businesses (employing 250 or more staff). 29% were IT managers, 33% IT directors, 10% CTOs, 8% CIOs and 7% operations directors. The balance of respondents were operations managers or equivalent.

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UK banknote protection thrown into sharp focus by large-scale counterfeiting scam  21/01/2021

NEWS OF the UK’s largest cash counterfeiting scam to date has, according to the International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA), “focused fresh attention” on the vital importance of stepping up investment in effective security devices designed to protect the nation’s banknotes.

John Evans, Phillip Brown and Nick Winter have been jailed for their part in an organised crime group conspiracy to supply more than £12 million worth of counterfeit banknotes. The trio’s imprisonment follows a lengthy and complex investigation conducted by specialist detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate and which included what’s believed to have been the single largest face-value seizure of fake currency in UK history in the wake of a police raid at an industrial unit located in Beckenham.

Support for the investigation was provided by the Bank of England and the Counterfeit Currency Unit at the National Crime Agency.

Evans and Brown were jailed for over 15 years between them at Woolwich Crown Court on Wednesday 20 January, having previously admitted their involvement in the conspiracy. Winter was jailed for six years at a court hearing on Monday 21 December.

Evans, 27, of King Georges Walk in Esher, Surrey, was one of the main organisers of the criminal operation and sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment as a result. He had also pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice for attempting to exert pressure on another man to admit his involvement.

Brown, 54, of Ash Road in Longfield, was jailed for six years and six months after he was caught printing the money at an industrial unit owned by Winter, 58, of Elmers End Road in Beckenham.

Specialist printing

The police investigation into the criminal group’s activities began in January 2019 after the Bank of England had identified a new counterfeit £20 note that appeared to have been produced using the type of specialist printing equipment that would normally be associated with a company that produces large volumes of magazines or leaflets.

Following several months of enquiries, including mobile phone analysis of those believed to have been involved in its production, a search warrant was carried out at a business premises owned by Winter in Kent House Lane, Beckenham on Saturday 4 May 2019. Once inside the premises, officers found Brown and another man surrounded by printing equipment and large piles of counterfeit £20 notes, which were later confirmed as having a total face value of £5.25 million – believed to be the single largest face-value seizure of counterfeit currency in history. Upon his arrest, Brown told the officers: “You have caught me red-handed.”

A subsequent search of Brown’s home address led to the discovery of a list of names with numbers next to them that added up to 5.25 million – the same value of the counterfeit notes. Winter had been on holiday in America at the time his business was raided, but was arrested upon his return to the UK on Sunday 26 May 2019.

One of the names on the list seized from Brown’s home was ‘John’, which is believed to refer to John Evans. Upon his arrest on Friday 13 September 2019, officers found a highly encrypted telephone that he later admitted was evidence of criminal activity despite initially denying his involvement in this particular conspiracy.

Counterfeit currency

After all three men had been charged in relation to the conspiracy, further large amounts of counterfeit currency believed to have been printed by the group’s members continued to be discovered in the months that followed.

On Wednesday 9 October 2019, a dog walker found around £5 million worth of fake banknotes dumped in Halt Robin Road in Belvedere. A further £200,940 was found scattered along the railway line between Farningham and Longfield on Wednesday 15 January last year, with the Bank of England having already identified and removed around £1.6 million worth from general circulation.

Detective Chief Superintendent Morgan Cronin of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: “Counterfeiting directly funds organised crime and hurts the UK economy by creating losses for businesses, which ultimately affects the cost of the things we all buy. It also has a direct impact on those who receive fake notes in exchange for goods or services, as what they thought was genuine money is in fact worthless.”

Cronin added: “John Evans was one of the main players in what’s believed to be the biggest conspiracy of this kind in the history of UK policing. The length of his sentence reflects the seriousness of the crimes he committed. Phillip Brown and Nick Winter also played vital roles in the operation and are also now behind bars as a result.”

He continued: “Organised criminal groups will go to great lengths to obtain expensive homes, fast cars and other luxuries to which they’re not entitled, even if it means printing the money required to do so themselves. This was a sophisticated operation, but one that was ultimately doomed to failure due to the offenders’ mistaken belief that they could carry on undetected. I hope the sentencing sends a strong message to others that we have our eyes and ears everywhere and that, ultimately, crime doesn’t pay.”

Damaging the UK

Neil Harris, senior officer in the National Crime Agency’s Counterfeit Currency Unit, stated: “Serious and organised criminals damage the economic health of the UK through their efforts to line their own pockets. We supported the operation which dismantled this criminal enterprise and prevented millions of pounds of counterfeit money from entering the UK’s economy. The impact of that counterfeit money would have been felt by unsuspecting members of the public right across the nation.”

In conclusion, Harris observed: “We remain focused in our work to combat illicit finances, which ultimately help fund to further serious and organised crime.”

According to the IHMA, the news of the counterfeiting scam adds to concerns about sophisticated criminals looking to defraud people and cash in on advancements in specialist printing techniques.

Counterfeiting is a multibillion-dollar global problem and, suggests the IHMA, this latest episode shows that banknotes continue to be under threat, and perhaps even more so, during the pandemic. Specifically, counterfeiters are looking to take advantage by printing and distributing fake banknotes, spurred on by the prospect of pumping millions of pounds of counterfeit money into the UK economy. It’s likely that the impact of this counterfeit money would have been felt by unsuspecting members of the public across the nation.

Holograms have featured successfully on banknotes for decades and, according to a recent industry report, continue to play a crucial role in issuing authorities’ strategies designed to tackle counterfeiting activity.

Today, the annual global volume of banknotes produced is in excess of 125 billion, so the reward for hologram producers capable of providing the technology to overcome the technical challenges is potentially very lucrative.

Effective weapon

Dr Paul Dunn, chair of the IHMA, said: “Holography is an effective weapon in the battle to thwart the counterfeiters, continually evolving as a first line of defence feature for modern banknotes. The new generation of polymer notes entering global circulation are examples of this evolution and illustrate some of the best and most technically innovative holograms on banknotes, which combine with other features to deliver value-added solutions.”

Dunn added: “Even as questions are being asked about the future of cash in society, there will always be a central role for banknotes and, in tandem, the need for secure and cost-effective features that the public recognise. Trust remains of paramount importance.”

The success of holograms on banknotes has been down to their role as a Level One security feature that’s instantly recognisable (ie the technology remains to the fore as part of an array of overt features). Such features make it easy not only for the general public, but also cashiers and those operating cash tills in stores to recognise whether a banknote is bona fide.

An increasing adoption of holography on banknotes reinforces the hologram’s position as a pre-eminent security feature in the global anti-counterfeiting fight.

The use of sophisticated anti-counterfeiting features means that banknotes are more secure because they include a larger area for holograms to be featured. New Zealand was among those countries reporting a fall in counterfeiting after it introduced new hologram banknotes.

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Launch of ATAJ Secure Limited underpinned by support from Secured by Design member companies 21/01/2021

LONDON-BASED ATAJ Secure Limited is an all-new security business launched to provide Government, public sector bodies and major corporate organisations with a turnkey security solution including project management and consultancy in addition to physical security specification.

The new company is the brainchild of principal consultant and director Tom Jenkins (pictured, right), whose own security credentials span no less than 40 years. Indeed, Jenkins has advised on security at the very highest levels, including for the Royal Household, the Security Services and the Cabinet Office.

During his career, Jenkins has served as a speaker and trainer for the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure and the National Counter-Terrorism Security Office. He has also provided training for the military police and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary as well as other organisations.

Further, Jenkins is a fully qualified master locksmith and holds an architectural ironmongery diploma gained from the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers.

Jenkins has a long association with Secured by Design (SBD), the official police security initiative, which includes helping to provide training for the UK’s network of Designing Out Crime Officers. The latter are based in police stations right around the UK and seek to actively encourage architects, developers and local authority planners involved in new developments to incorporate crime prevention measures and techniques (as well as security product specifications detailed in SBD’s series of authoritative design guides) in their projects.

On launching ATAJ Secure Limited this month, Jenkins – who’s an expert in his own right when it comes to security standards and product specifications, having gained years of experience with the ASSA ABLOY Group, itself an SBD member company, and also Bramah Security – did so only after establishing a partnership network with ten leading security product manufacturers resident in the UK.

Together, these companies provide a wide range of security products from high-security doors, windows and locks that help to protect businesses through to physical security barriers designed to deter organised criminals and delay terrorist incidents.

Secured by Design membership

ATAJ Secure Limited has duly joined SBD. Four of the company’s partner manufacturers – namely Martec Engineering, Sunray Engineering, Selectaglaze Ltd and Tindall Engineering – are existing SBD member businesses.

Founded in 1985, Martec Engineering provides design, manufacture, installation and maintenance services for bespoke steel windows, security doors and fire-rated steel products. The company enjoys long-established trading relationships with many major UK main contractors and local authorities.

Sunray Engineering is an ISO and Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB)-certified business that designs, manufactures, supplies and installs steel commercial doors, fire doors, security doors, industrial doors and steel louvre systems. The company has been helping to protect the UK’s Critical National Infrastructure (CNI), together with commercial and industrial premises, for more than 40 years now.

Founded back in 1966, Selectaglaze is a specialist designer of secondary glazing systems. Its products are designed and fully-tested to provide effective noise, thermal and draught insulation as well as enhanced security for procuring clients. The company’s range of solutions offers certified protection against blast, physical or ballistic attack.

For its part, Tindall Engineering designs and manufactures high-security locking systems to deter physical attacks, blasts, ballistic and fire episodes. The company integrates MICO high-security locking solutions within its products. MICO is specified on a wide range of applications from schools and nationwide retail stores requiring panic hardware right through to CNI facilities demanding high-level security protection.

Built on partnership working

Jenkins informed Security Matters: “In addition to many years of security experience gained by myself in the CNI space and across all public and business sectors, the ATAJ Secure Limited business platform and foundation is built on our partnerships with leading manufacturers. By providing a single channel to no fewer than ten manufacturers, we’re offering a vast shared knowledge of product specification, British and European Standards and effective multiple security solutions to keep buildings safe without them having to look like fortresses. This arrangement also eliminates conflict and confusion in specification and provides clarity on the interface between physical security products and electronic systems and standards.”

ATAJ Secure Limited can advise clients from concept and design through to installation and completion. “The advice given between ‘fresh fit’ and retrofit is vital,” asserted Jenkins. “It’s about providing physical security layers that mitigate against fire and theft, serious organised crime and acts of terrorism. Our aim is to advise, support and provide comprehensive security specification for all Operational Requirements across a wide range of sectors and clients. Correct advice and specification is absolutely critical when it comes to coping with future change. We’re continually looking to achieve today’s security for tomorrow’s peace of mind.”

ATAJ Secure Limited’s accreditations and memberships include LPCB-LPS 1175 listings with the BRE’s LPCB, the City of London Crime Prevention Association, the Master Locksmiths Association, the Institute of Architectural Ironmongers and now SBD. Jenkins himself also holds an affiliate membership with the Association of Security Consultants and has recently applied for the same with The Security Institute.

Commenting on the news, SBD’s national manager Kenny McHugh stated: “We’re both thrilled and delighted that ATAJ Secure Limited has joined Secured by Design. It’s really exciting for us that several of the company’s partner manufacturing businesses are long-standing members of SBD. Tom’s security credentials are exceptional and we now very much look forward to working with him and his new business to help keep people safe and buildings secure in the years ahead.”

*Further information is available online at www.atajsecure.com

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SoloProtect gearing up for launch of new lone worker solutions offer 21/01/2021

SOLOPROTECT IS updating its lone worker offer and launching a range of new, tiered solutions later on this month. Revamped solution packages will afford deploying organisations an enhanced toolkit for consistent safety behaviour, simplified purchase options and a data-driven approach towards personal safety management for lone workers.

Customers will also benefit from enhanced features within SoloProtect Insights and a suite of new personal safety devices with future-proofed functionality, introduced publicly for the first time and showcased in a new, pre-launch video. Watch the video now:

The new range features an updated SoloProtect ID device which retains its popular identity badge form-factor. This has been used by over 300,000 lone workers in upwards of ten countries internationally.

In addition, two brand new fob-device offerings are also being introduced under a SoloProtect Mini brand, delivering a mix of aesthetic and rugged appeal in two distinct designs.

The new device range is engineered to deliver enhanced battery life, an intuitive and icon-driven user interface supporting ease of use, 4G cellular connectivity and IP67 water resistance (to survive immersion in water depths of up to one metre for up to 30 minutes).

SoloProtect provides lone worker protection to tens of thousands of lone workers in several different countries every day. The updated solutions will be rolled out across the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the US all at the same time.

SoloProtect Insights

Steve Hough, president of SoloProtect for the UK and the European Union, commented: “Our new solutions provide a clear choice for customers while providing a range of useful features to choose from. Increasing the power of our Insights platform will truly help organisations to leverage intelligent data about their solution and how it is working for them.”

SoloProtect Insights is a comprehensive tool for lone worker managers, designed to help structure a timely roll-out and successful on-boarding and drive effective ongoing solution management. The platform is a key tool for delivering information to all stakeholders and enables responsibility to be devolved to department managers, while remaining a single source of credible information in support of smoother business operations.

*Further information on SoloProtect Insights, as well as updated solution options, will be released in the coming weeks. In the meantime, in order to find out more about SoloProtect’s new solutions visit the company's website

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‘Switches for Video’ CPD training available in conjunction with Clear Vision Technologies and barox 21/01/2021

SUPPORTING SECURITY installers and system integrators to achieve optimum results for their IP camera installations, Clear Vision Technologies (in conjunction with barox, the manufacturer of ‘switches made for video networks’) has launched a Continuing Professional Development (CPD)-certified training course.

Aimed at IP camera system newcomers, the CPD course explores the differences between standard data switches and video-specific switches, while also looking at IEE802 networking standards versus high-capacity video-specific standards.

Subjects covered within the course include setting-up a digital management system, ring topology design, easy cable connection diagnostics, active camera tracking and PoE consumption control. Attention is also focused on switch and network security, advanced switch configuration, port programming and high-power PoE distribution.

For those wishing to improve upon their existing skills, Clear Vision Technologies is inviting anyone interested in designing and extracting the most from their video networks to sign-up for the free-of-charge course by visiting the CPD UK website.

The one-hour training courses are now scheduled for January and February, with more dates being added. Currently, the course schedule includes at 10.00 am on Wednesday 27 January and at the same time on Wednesday 3, 10, 17 and 24 February.

“barox is supporting customers with their need to remain up-to-speed with the latest advances in technology and Best Practice video network design,” explained Rudolf Rohr, barox’s co-founder and managing partner. “Put together for systems integrators and engineers who design, install, maintain or repair CCTV systems, the Clear Vision Technologies training course, supported by ourselves, explains how to capitalise on the powerful functionality of high-performance video switches and reveals many tips for planning reliable video systems with connected PoE devices.”

*To register for the ‘Switches for Video’ CPD video network training courses, interested parties should visit: https://cpduk.co.uk/directory/events/information-technology or send an e-mail to: info@cv-tech

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Synectics Security announces Irish Rail IP video upgrade contract win 21/01/2021

SYNECTICS SECURITY – the business specialising in the design, integration and support of advanced security and surveillance systems – has just won a new contract with Irish Rail (Iarnród Éireann) to upgrade all InterCity Mark 4 rolling stock on the Dublin to Cork route to an IP-based video surveillance solution.

The contract win follows on from a competitive bid process and will see Synectics Security develop and install an innovative safety-critical IP video surveillance system that enables full connectivity from trains to the Control Room, in turn replacing the existing CCTV approach. 

Using Synectics Security’s T2000 platform, each eight-coach train will boast a suite of IP 360-degree ‘fish-eye’ cameras covering the vestibules and saloon areas in a bid to provide high-quality surveillance information.

Installation is expected to commence in September and is to be followed by an additional support contract designed to provide a five-year in-territory maintenance programme.

Iain Stringer, managing director of Synectics Security, commented: “We’re delighted that Irish Rail has chosen our IP video security technology, alongside our design, programme management and installation capabilities, to upgrade surveillance on one of its premier InterCity routes. This contract win represents a further step into on-vehicle heavy rail solutions for the business, building on our deep experience across light rail markets.”

Stringer added: “Irish Rail is our second public transport win in Ireland over the last few months. This reflects our growing reputation for smart technology developments that meet next generation operator requirements.”

In conclusion, Stringer told Security Matters: “Our approach is opening up new opportunities for all rail operators to transition their video management capability to the cloud and improve operational effectiveness.”

*Further information is available online at www.synectics-security.co.uk

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Consulting Services team at BSI outlines key cyber security trends for 2021 20/01/2021

THE CONSULTING Services team at the British Standards Institution (BSI) has outlined five key trends across the cyber security and data governance landscape for the year ahead, demonstrating how vital information resilience will continue to be for many organisations across the globe this year.

2020 saw the impact of commodity attacks that evolved to combine traditional attack skills such as phishing, remote desktop protocol, brute force and network vulnerability exploitation with ransomware to maximise return on investment for attackers. Ransomware will continue to rise in number and sophistication in 2021 across all sectors and organisation sizes.

Stephen O’Boyle, global practice director for cyber, risk and advisory at the BSI, commented: “The cyber world is a haven for cyber criminals. We’ve seen how unscrupulous ransomware attackers can be as attacks on healthcare during the global pandemic persisted and ramped up. The trends of 2020 clearly highlighted new techniques to shorten time to pay. Attackers began to leverage brand and reputational impact by exfiltrating key data sets before encrypting and posting samples online and threatening full disclosure of data.”

O’Boyle added: “Ransomware will remain very lucrative and, in 2021, will continue to evolve. Until the cost or perpetrating a ransomware attack becomes more than the financial return, we can expect to see an increase in activity.” 

Dominance of privacy regulations

It’s anticipated that 2021 will see data protection continue to dominate the regulatory landscape with main events focused on the UK’s transition from the European Union (EU), the impact of the Court of Justice of the European Union Schrems II case ruling on Privacy Shield, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) anticipated increase in lawsuits, cookie consent management monitoring and the anticipated arrival of the ePrivacy Regulation.

O’Boyle observed: “High impact compliance issues will dominate the data protection landscape in 2021 and require important reviews of compliance frameworks for organisations across the globe. With the UK becoming independent of the EU, adopting a risk-based approach is required for companies selling goods or services in the UK or who are monitoring UK-based data subjects. They will need to assess whether they fall under the scope of Article 27 under the General Data Protection Regulation.”

Likewise, the almost 5,000 organisations who have used the Privacy Shield for data transfers will need to revise their transfer mechanisms and update or introduce Standard Contractual Clauses following the Schrems II decision. An upswing in CCPA lawsuits and the passage of new California Privacy Rights Act, Brazil’s Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados, New Zealand’s Privacy Act and imminent changes to Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act will keep data privacy and legal teams scrambling to stay on top of compliance requirements. 

New PCI DSS v4.0 Standard

Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) v4.0 is expected to be published mid-2021, providing more flexibility for achieving and maintaining compliance. The new standard will run parallel with Version 3.2.1 for 18 months to allow organisations time to adopt and migrate to meet the new security obligations. 

Version 4.0 will allow for an outcomes-based approach, as well as the usual prescriptive control set and validation processes that Version 3.2.1 provided. It will introduce more flexibility and support methodologies and enhance validation methods and procedures including new future dated controls.

“We see it as an advantage when used in environments such as the cloud that are evolving rapidly,” commented O’Boyle. “As the standard attempts to keep up with evolving technology and threat landscapes, we will see control areas such as encryption and monitoring develop to take account of these landscape changes. It’s important that organizations subject to the PCI DSS are aware of the upcoming changes and effectively plan to include these in their annual roadmap.”

Cloud-delivered defence

Cloud migration will continue to advance in 2021 as it’s used by organisations to protect assets, preserve user experience and add value. It will certainly be of benefit to those operating a hybrid working environment. 

SASE, a Gartner-defined concept, comprises the interconnection of network and security components in a cloud-delivered model that meets organisations’ digital and security needs. Organisations benefit from a focus on technologies that secure cloud applications, data, devices, networks and users. There are advantages to be had from convergence, cloud scalability and security visibility. SASE provides a unified route in moving to a zero trust model.

“Remote working has amplified the move to cloud, with many workforces connecting to applications and accessing information from remote locations outside of traditional corporate networks,” asserted O’Boyle. “With SASE, companies are enabling remote connectivity resilience and security for an increasingly distributed workforce. Cloud hosting solutions have meant that the challenge of consistently protecting employees and data is adding real value for many organisations and this will continue to grow in 2021.”

Purple teaming

2021 will see the continued rise and shift towards the hybrid security methodology of purple teaming with organisations investing in attack and adversary simulations (red teaming) and defensive techniques (blue teaming) together. Working harmoniously, both teams are used to maximise the information resilience capabilities of an organisation through continuous feedback, knowledge transfer and the adoption of Best Practice.

“It’s estimated that attackers go undetected on a network for an average of 146 days which is a long time for them to gain access to privileged information,” concluded O’Boyle. “As attacks increase, being able to verify the effectiveness of existing security controls and vulnerabilities is essential. Purple teaming will become more popular as more and more organisations begin to understand the benefits of performing attack simulation tests for their organisation and, more importantly, gain assurance that they can respond in a timely and effective way.”

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Institution of Fire Engineers approves NFPA CFPS credential as key component for membership applications 20/01/2021

THE MEMBERSHIP Application Assessment Panel of the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) has determined that the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Certified Fire Protection Specialist (CFPS) credential will now be recognised as a major component for IFE membership.

The NFPA CFPS certification programme was created back in 1971 for the purpose of documenting competency and providing professional recognition for individuals involved in curtailing both physical and financial fire loss.

Over the course of nearly 50 years, the CFPS designation has been awarded to more than 5,000 individuals who’ve demonstrated a level of professionalism through applied work experience, related educational opportunities and successful completion of a certification examination.

Members of the CFPS community include engineers, risk managers, loss control specialists, fire officers, fire marshals, fire inspectors, safety managers, fire protection consultants, designers, code enforcers, facility managers and others who are responsible for the application of fire safety, protection, prevention and suppression technologies.

The IFE will now review and approve applications for membership in North America with three criteria in mind: current certification status, submission of a CV and documentation of formal education beyond secondary school (college or university). The IFE USA Board has been approved to review and pre-approve applicants with a valid, current CFPS certification in the United States and Canada before submitting these to IFE’s Membership Application Assessment Panel for final consideration.

The new strategy is designed to streamline the IFE’s membership application process while also ensuring that candidates have the high-level fire protection insights, career experience and educational background synonymous with IFE membership.

Membership application benchmarks

The new membership application benchmarks are as follows:

*For IFE member grade status (MIFireE), candidates must have NFPA CFPS certification plus a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a fire protection-related discipline from an accredited college or university, including degrees in engineering fields that are applied to the practice of fire protection, plus five years of verifiable work experience dedicated to protecting people and property

*For IFE graduate grade status (GIFireE), candidates must have NFPA CFPS certification plus an associate’s degree in a fire protection-related discipline from an accredited college or university, or a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in any unrelated field, plus three years of verifiable work experience dedicated to reducing loss and liability

Candidates with CFPS certification, but without the formal education qualification requirements noted above, will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis at the time of their application. CFPS certification will be seen as being equivalent to meeting entry-level IFE learning objectives for technician grade (TIFireE) or associate grade (AIFireE) memberships, depending on the years and type of post-education fire engineering work experience.

Life safety learning

“The NFPA is thrilled that the IFE recognises the strength of our CFPS certification programme and professionals with CFPS designations who have worked hard to grasp and apply industry-leading fire protection principles,” said Chuck Stravin, vice-president of business development and operations at the NFPA. “The NFPA CFPS certification has long been regarded as the benchmark for life safety learning, and the decision by the IFE to make this credential an essential consideration for membership speaks volumes.”

Steve Hamm, acting CEO at the IFE, added: “The Institution recognises the competency and experience gained via the NFPA CFPS certification. Thanks to the hard work of the IFE’s Membership Applications Assessment Panel and the staff involved from IFE headquarters, we’re pleased to be able to welcome applications from individuals with these credentials.”

The review and approvals process for CFPS-qualified IFE applicants may be devolved to include other IFE branches around the world once branch reviewer training and compliance with review process rules have been verified.

The IFE Membership Application Assessment Panel, however, retains the right and role of performing a quality assurance process on all applications recommended for IFE membership by an approved IFE branch.

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National construction products regulator established to ensure safety of building materials 20/01/2021

RESIDENTS WILL be protected through the establishment of a national regulator which will ensure the materials used to build homes will be made safer, the housing secretary Robert Jenrick has announced.

The regulator for construction products will have the power to remove any product from the market that presents a significant safety risk and prosecute any companies who flout the rules on product safety.

The news follows recent testimony to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry that shone a light on the alleged dishonest practice by some manufacturers of construction products, including allegedly deliberate attempts to ‘game’ the system and rig the results of safety tests.

The regulator will have strong enforcement powers, including the ability to conduct its own product-testing when investigating concerns. Businesses must ensure that their products are safe before being sold in addition to testing products against recognised safety standards.

This marks the next major chapter in the Government’s fundamental overhaul of regulatory systems. The progress on regulatory reform includes the publication of the ambitious draft Building Safety Bill, representing the biggest improvements to regulation in 40 years, and a new building safety regulator (already up-and-running in shadow form).

Deeply disturbing allegations

Jenrick stated: “The Grenfell Tower Inquiry has heard deeply disturbing allegations of malpractice by some construction product manufacturers and their employees, and of the weaknesses of the present product testing regime. We are establishing a national regulator to address these concerns and conducting a review into testing to ensure that the national approach is fit for purpose. We will continue to listen to the evidence emerging in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, and obviously await the Judge’s ultimate recommendation. It’s already clear that action is required now and that’s what we are doing.”

Paul Scully, business minister and the minister for London, observed: “We all remember the tragic scenes at Grenfell Tower, and the entirely justified anger which so many of us in London and throughout the UK continue to feel at the failings it exposed. This must never happen again, which is why we’re launching a new national regulator for construction materials, informed by the expertise that already exists within the Office for Product Safety and Standards.”

Dame Judith Hackitt, chair of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, commented: “This is another really important step forward in delivering the new regulatory system for building safety. The evidence of poor practice and lack of enforcement in the past has been laid bare. As the industry itself starts to address its shortcomings, I see a real opportunity to make great progress in conjunction with the national regulator.”

Office for Product Safety and Standards

The regulator will operate within the Office for Product Safety and Standards which is to be expanded and given up to £10 million in funding to establish the new function. It will work with the building safety regulator and Trading Standards to both encourage and enforce compliance.

The Government has also commissioned an independent review to examine weaknesses in previous testing regimes for construction products, and to recommend how abuse of the testing system can be prevented. This process will be led by a panel of experts with regulatory, technical and construction industry experience and report later on this year with its recommendations.

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Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service joins forces with Crimestoppers to launch FireStoppers 20/01/2021

THE FIRESTOPPERS service, which has been in use since 2019 with three Fire and Rescue Services in the North East of England, is being launched in Northamptonshire such that people can report any information they have about deliberate fires on an anonymous basis.

The initiative has been jointly funded in Northamptonshire by the Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, Northamptonshire Police and the Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.

People can provide information via the telephone or online without having to put forward their name or other contact details. The Emergency Services can then take appropriate action based on the detail imparted to them.

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service dealt with no fewer than 714 deliberate fires across the county between April 2019 and April last year, and no less than 362 such episodes in the six months up to last October.

Arson Task Force

The Arson Task Force works as part of the county’s Fire and Rescue Service to reduce deliberate fires in Northamptonshire by identifying and responding to high-risk individuals and communities.

Shaun Johnson from the Arson Task Force stated: “A large proportion of deliberate fires don’t often involve a victim. Examples include discarded rubbish being set alight, grass fires and other minor fires. However, these fires are a strong indication of anti-social behaviour and can have a huge impact on local communities.”

Darren Dovey, Northamptonshire’s chief fire officer, observed: “Our firefighters face different challenges every day. Having to deal with arson attacks places additional stress on the county’s Emergency Services when our time could be better spent elsewhere. It’s positive to see that other areas across the country have experienced considerable reductions in the number of deliberate fires since launching FireStoppers.”

He added: “Whether it’s wheelie bins being set on fire or cars being burned out, deliberate fires scar our local environment and present risks to the life and health of those setting the fire and anyone in the vicinity. It’s important that we do all that we can to help reduce the number of fires in our communities, thereby protecting property and lives.”

Anti-social behaviour

“Anti-social behaviour is a major cause for concern in Northamptonshire and arson attacks are part of that bigger picture,” asserted Stephen Mold, Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner. “That’s why I’m happy to jointly fund this new initiative for the county in the hope that it reduces incidents of deliberate fires and our Fire and Rescue Service is able to focus on other work designed to keep our communities safe.”

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