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May 17, 2022

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Whitepaper: Multi-residential access management – The move to digital

Converged security centre

Protecting educational campuses with a converged security operation

In a session at the Converged Security Centre at IFSEC International today, James Willison and Sarb Sembhi welcomed Alan Dickinson, Director at Advancis, who explained how the risk of physical and cyber-attacks on students and staff in the education sector can be reduced using converged security systems. James Burman reports.

ConvergedSecurityCentre-Sarb-IFSEC22Alan described how a PSIM system takes different sensors that gather various kinds of data, pulled into the cloud, which are then managed and automated, keeping everything centralised across systems. He then explored specifically how this open integration could fit into an education environment, where student safety is the priority. In this case study, he described a situation where a student had potentially been assaulted on campus.

Playing a live case scenario, Advancis’ WinGuard system drew data from CCTV, which can play the footage either live or on a loop of the incident. Other data sources include a map of the campus, intercom interactivity, as well as the ability to draw on documents like Student ID badges. Both static data and dynamic data presented at this stage, but Dynamic data will impact what the operator does next.

Professor Allison Wakefield, Co-Director of the Cybersecurity and Criminology Centre at the University of West London, joined the session. Alison raised some additional points about why this technology is so important in an education setup specifically. Explaining that the open and often sporadic nature of campuses makes for a particularly challenging environment.

She identified that university campuses can vary considerably in how they are laid out, and that education might be one of the most open of all sectors, with regular visitors common. It becomes naturally harder to keep a site secure if buildings are scattered, of different ages and architectural styles, and have different access control arrangements. Often physical security is siloed from the IT department as it usually runs alongside facilities in these establishments, which is an additional challenge.

Questions asked included:

  • Is there an ethical challenge in academia, particularly with monitoring students?
  • How do you handle the privacy concerns of students, especially regarding tracking or collecting data?
  • What about the challenges in terms of bringing teams together within a university to keep a campus secure?


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