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Adam Bannister is a contributor to IFSEC Global, having been in the role of Editor from 2014 through to November 2019. Adam also had stints as a journalist at cybersecurity publication, The Daily Swig, and as Managing Editor at Dynamis Online Media Group.
January 12, 2015

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Command and Control Comes to UK Higher Education as Northumbria University Rolls Out CriticalArc’s SafeZone

safezone appCriticalArc has persuaded Northumbria University to roll out its distributed command and control solution, SafeZone.

The university hopes to cut costs as well as enhancing security for staff and its 30,000 students across six campuses.

Students and staff requiring emergency or medical assistance can summon security staff via the SafeZone app on their phone, which pinpoints their location, or connect directly to the Campus Services Helpdesk. Students and staff can also ‘check in’, which means their location is tracked, should they be concerned, say, about working alone after hours.

The cloud-based system gives situational awareness: real-time visibility of incidents and the locations of colleagues and students via smart devices as events unfold.

Superseding a slower, less reliable and more expensive SMS-based system, SafeZone’s mass notification function allows the security team to send alerts to staff and students – including specific instructions to response teams or targeted messages to specific groups such as wardens or people within a particular geographic area. Mass notifications can be accompanied by loud tones to warn users campus-wide or a discreet pulse for those believed to be in the proximity of a potential threat.

“We needed to consider what resources we had available to us to support initiatives like 24/7 access,” says John Anderson, the university’s head of security. ““Using this campus safety system demonstrates a proactive step to differentiate ourselves and provide a leading example of how the health and safety of our stakeholders is high on the university’s agenda. We hope nobody has to use it but I feel 100% confident that the resources we have in place, both technological and human, show our commitment to staff and student safety.”

CriticalArc’s EMEA director Darren Chalmers-Stevens says: “Northumbria University’s decision to implement SafeZone demonstrates their commitment to ensuring a safe learning environment for students and staff.  This is a strategic win for CriticalArc with more to follow as we are continue to educate the market and work with universities across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.”

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