Page 90 - Security Today, September/October 2021
P. 90

"Since some DVRs were not securely locked away, the university had concerns about data security and privacy. Maintaining the outdated security technology was becoming time-consuming and costly."
The Next Level
By Marc-Andre Bergeron
Crime Prevention
Unified platform gives access to built-in tools and analytics
The University of Calgary (UCalgary) is a top comprehen- sive research university located in Calgary, Alberta, Can- ada. With origins dating back to the early 1900s, UCal- gary became autonomous in 1966. Over 50 years later, the university has more than 33,000 enrolled students and 5,000 staff across its five campuses, field stations, and other facilities.
The main campus is home to 11 of the university’s 14 faculties and spans more than 200 hectares near the impressive Rocky Mountains. Other campuses include Foothills campus, Downtown campus, Spy Hill campus, and a remote campus offering nursing programs in Doha, Qatar.
Navigating the Inefficiencies of Older Security Technology
Ensuring community safety has always been a top priority at UCal- gary. The security team works around the clock to secure its many campuses and keep everyone safe. This often includes using video, access control, and other security solutions to mitigate threats and promote a stronger sense of safety across its locations.
As years passed, the team began feeling the brunt of aging security technology. Each video and access control system was independently managed and owned, by various departments. Going to different sites to retrieve video evidence from DVRs or requesting the information from faculty contacts created roadblocks during investigations. Since some DVRs were not securely locked away, the university had con- cerns about data security and privacy. Maintaining the outdated security technology was becoming time-consuming and costly.
While the UCalgary team did their best to work around these inef- ficiencies and keep systems functional, they reached a point where they knew it was time for a major security upgrade. UCalgary began their journey to update their technology with the help of their trusted security integrator, Delco Security. The goal was to standardize on a video and access control solution across all university sites. They also sought to centrally manage all systems from one location and strengthen their cybersecurity and privacy posture. Having the free-
dom to upgrade other security systems later on, expand at their own pace, and select the devices that best fit their environment was also hugely important to the team.
With guidance from Delco Security, the UCalgary security team found what the right solution in the GenetecTM Security Center unified platform. According to Brian Whitelaw, chief of Campus Security at the University of Calgary, Security Center also supported a holistic approach towards physical security and cybersecurity convergence.
“Our goal was to have a standardized model for security conver- gence across our university. Genetec Security Center was the optimal solution that allowed us to bring all our security systems together under one umbrella. The unified platform also gave us access to built- in tools and analytics that would help us address cybersecurity and privacy, as well as enhance our overall situational awareness.”
Standardizing the Security Center across All Campuses
Today, the UCalgary team works from a security operations center (SOC) on the main campus, using Security Center to manage access control, video surveillance, automatic license plate recognition, ana- lytics, intercom and intrusion detection across all sites. While they are still migrating old systems onto the new platform, they currently have over 2,000 doors, 2,300 cameras, 45 intercom stations, 40 intru- sion detection sensors, and various BriefCam analytics within the SOC. They have also implemented AutoVu Free-Flow to offer conve- nient gateless parking for students and staff, initially at three parking lots, with more to be added.
“We’ve definitely seen a better use of our resources with Security Center. In the past, if someone was at a door and called us via intercom to say they couldn’t get in, we’d have to send staff,” said Rick Gyson, director of campus security at the University of Calgary. “Now, our operators can visually identify and verify the person’s credentials and remotely grant them access. When responding to an incident, we no longer need to rely entirely on witness observations. Our SOC opera- tors can pull up video to see exactly what happened and share informa- tion with security staff while they are still at the scene. Security Center allows us to manage situations on campus more effectively.”
The SOC operators use Plan Manager – the map-based interface – to locate doors, cameras, intrusion points, and intercoms. This makes it easier to navigate the various campuses and buildings and eases the burden of having to memorize the locations of newly installed devices. They can also receive and respond to access control, intrusion, or other alarms directly from the map, speeding up inci- dent response time.
“We’ve upgraded our security technology rather quickly, and we did have some concerns from an operational perspective whether our per- sonnel would be able to adapt and feel comfortable using these new secu- rity solutions. Having a fully unified security platform like Security Cen- ter has made that easier. Now, rather than having to train staff on many different systems, there’s only one system to learn and use,” Gysen said.
Jeff Whyte/

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