Security Systems News

February 2011

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26 MONITORING FEBRUARY 2011 SECURITY SYSTEMS NEWS Obama clarifies Red Flags Rule Industry impact? By Daniel Gelinas WASHINGTON—Even though President Obama signed the “Red Flag Program Clarification Act” into law in December, experts say it’s not entirely clear that security companies don’t have to worry about complying with the Red Flags Rule. In March of 2010, the CSAA conducted a webinar on the Red Flags Rule that examined just how n For a more robust version of stories in this section, see: WWW.SECURITYSYSTEMSNEWS.COM much non-compliance could cost you. With Obama’s signing of the Clarification Act, compliance is now a matter of law. But who has to comply? Mary Sisak, a partner at Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, led the CSAA’s webinar and said at the time security companies needed to be aware of the rules and what compliance entailed. What has changed with the signing of the Clarification Act? “The new law modifies the definition of creditor to limit the circumstances in which creditors are covered by the Red Flags Rule,” Sisak said. “Under the old definition, the rules applied to any creditor with covered accounts.” The law now states the FTC rule should only apply to busi- nesses that obtain or use consum- er reports, furnish information to consumer reporting agencies in connection with a credit trans- action, and advance funds to a person based on an obligation to repay. However, the new law also gives the FTC the authority to apply the rule to businesses whose accounts it decides are subject to foreseeable risk. So does this mean security com- panies can put off compliance? “The new law does not spe- cifically exempt alarm or secu- rity businesses—or any type of business—from the rules,” Sisak said. “Rather, it limits the applicability of the rules to creditors that also meet one of the additional elements.” SSN SIGNS OF GROWTH Company calls network monitoring capabilities major differentiator By Daniel Gelinas G4S’ new NOC BURLINGTON, Mass.—Mega- security company G4S in December brought Adesta’s network monitoring operation under that same roof as its other monitoring operations, a move G4S executives say will expand their offerings and capabilities. Included in the G4S acquisi- tion of systems integrator Adesta in 2009 was an Albany, N.Y.- based network operations cen- ter (NOC). In December G4S moved all the functions of that NOC to G4S’ UL-listed, CSAA Five Diamond certified central station based here. “Everything we do today with physical security has something to do with either a local net- work, a wide area network or the Internet,” G4S monitoring center VP of ops. Jerry Cordasco said. “[Adesta] didn’t have all the critical infrastructure we have here, because we’re an alarm monitoring center.” Cordasco said the move increased the func- tionality and security of the transferred NOC operations “by orders of magnitude.” Cordasco said the importance of network monitoring couldn’t be overestimated. Furthermore, Cordasco said G4S’ new NOC status would pay off for G4S and prospective clients. “This is a whole new busi- ness—one we plan to aggres- sively pursue,” Cordasco said. “People pay significant money to hire a NOC … We can offer a complete package of building and managing a network, and deploying the security—guards, video surveillance and analytics, access con- trol—for the network together.” Cordasco said G4S was in talks with a collection of hospitals to implement, manage and secure a network that would connect all the hospitals together. He said other potential NOC clients included government agencies and telcos. SSN More mainframes at C.O.P.S. By Daniel Gelinas MORRISTOWN, N.J.—Hot on the heels of the announcement that it would soon open its fourth 24/7 redundant central station, C.O.P.S. Monitoring has announced the launch of new automation system mainframes designed to increase disaster preparedness and recovery by adding more geographically disparate processing power for its automa- tion platform. The new mainframes— C.O.P.S.’ fourth and fifth after the first three, located in its head- quarters here—are located in a highly secured data center called the SuperNAP (Network Access Provider) in Las Vegas. “We contracted with Zumasys to place our systems in the most reliable and most secure off- site data center. The SuperNAP, built by Switch, is the highest- density, ultra-scale data center and already hosts servers from some of the world’s most prominent companies,” said C.O.P.S. director of marketing and communications David Smith, via email. “Our goal is to provide at least a ‘five nines’ (99.999 percent) level of up-time and reliability.” Smith also said the two new mainframes would increase C.O.P.S. ability to recover from, and function through, a disaster. “UL requires three redundant machines,” he said. “By placing two more redundant mainframes at the SuperNap, we significantly decrease the possibility that any one of our three sites—four sites after Nashville opens Q1, 2011—will not be able to con- nect back to our systems to monitor alarms.” SSN Stealth goes international By Daniel Gelinas DALLAS—Stealth Monitoring has grown from one client in 2006—a local scrap metal yard— and one trained operator live monitoring the camera feed to more than 1,500 cameras today and 15 trained operators. And it also has just made the move to international status with the addition of a Canadian dealer client. “About four months ago, we got our first client in Canada, an established integrator who installed IP PTZ’s at a tire distrib- utor—and we’re watching them and all their outdoor assets,” said Rick Charney, Stealth sales manager, who was featured in SSN’s 2010 20 under 40. “The integrator was work- ing with a Canadian monitor- ing center on an event basis, and they just weren’t effec- tive. They called us in Dallas from a small town outside Alberta, Calgary and now we’re watching their site live every night through the Internet with no lag.” Charney said Stealth also has had prelimi- nary discussions with an estab- lished Toronto-area service reseller who has many virtual guard applications with Stealth’s services in mind. Rick Charney Charney said the plan was to continue the company’s steady growth with the same focus on service and cutting edge tech- nology. “We’ve been around since December of 2006. We had one scrap metal client— we still have him as a client today and we watch five other properties for him as well. We don’t lose customers,” Charney said. “We’ve had about a 98 percent retention rate. We’re a growing business with clients from California to Washington D.C. and now we can say we’re truly international.” SSN BRIEFS PSAP in Chicago suburbs opts out of monitoring business CHICAGO—According to CSAA’s Signals, Tri-Com Central Dispatch, the 911 public service answering point (PSAP) for Batavia, Geneva and St. Charles, Ill., has decided to stay out of the alarm monitoring busi- ness. Tri-Com said that it had fewer accounts than it thought, and that it was not “economically feasible.” According to the Kane County Chronicle, for months, Tri-Com has considered upgrading its ability to directly monitor business emergency alarms. Such a move would have placed Tri-Com into direct compe- tition with private alarm monitor- ing companies. CSAA, ESA and the local Illinois alarm industry teamed up to fight what the security indus- try’s associations see as a big prob- lem—not just Tri-Com and other local PSAPs in Illinois, but in the rest of the country, as well. Similar attempts to enter the alarm monitoring busi- ness in other municipalities have also failed. According to CSAA past presi- dent Bob Bonifas, president of Alarm Detection Systems, Aurora, IL., “This is the second victory of this battle, but the war is not won,” Bonifas said in Signals. “We need to continue to organize our forces until this effort to municipalize and monopolize the fire alarm monitoring business is finished for good.” In a separate federal lawsuit against the PSAP in Lisle/Woodridge, Ill., a federal judge in December granted a preliminary injunction, giving private alarm companies the right to take back the customers that were forced to move their fire alarm monitoring to Lisle/Woodridge. The federal lawsuit is expected to take a year or more to go through the court system. In the mean- time, the move by Tri-Com is a big step forward toward keeping PSAPs out of the central monitoring business. Gonzalez named new CSAA education committee co-chair SAN ANTONIO—UCC president Teresa Gonzalez has been named the new co- chair of CSAA’s Education Committee, CSAA announced. Gonzalez will serve alongside CSAA Board Member Joe Miskulin who is with State Farm Insurance. “Teresa has been a tireless supporter of the training and continuing educa- tion of her employees at UCC and oth- ers in the central monitoring industry. She is passionate about education, and is a great source of knowledge to many of us in the association. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Teresa on this critical committee,” said Miskulin in Signals.

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