Advancing Security Baselines with LiDAR

The future of security monitoring

Technology has always played an important part in security – as far back as the invention of the lock and key. Over centuries, the world has thoroughly tested innovative ways to keep businesses safe, and any tech that withstood those tests became standard—from barred windows to stereoscopic security cameras. But we aren’t done yet! Technological advancement will be an ongoing challenge and fascination, for all time.

Prime Secured is always on the lookout for new technologies to keep people safe on behalf of our customers, and we believe light detection and ranging (LiDAR, pronounced “lye-dar”) tools have earned their place as a gold-standard security technology.

LiDar Rendering

LiDAR isn’t a completely new technology. It’s been used for mapping and gathering weather data for decades. But more recently the technology has been adapted as a security solution, providing accurate and detailed data about activity on a property. Whether used alongside existing video surveillance security cameras—or in some cases as a standalone solution—LiDAR can be more accurate, more flexible, and more affordable than previously existing systems.

To give you a better idea of the advantages of LiDAR, we sat down with Gerald Becker VP, Market Development & Alliances for Quanergy Systems Inc., a leading LiDAR provider.

How Does LiDAR Work?

Quanergy's M8-Prime, Mid-to-Long Range 3D LiDAR Sensor

“LiDAR is a time-of-flight sensing technology that emits a low powered eye safe laser beam and measures the time it takes for the laser to complete a round trip between a sensor and an object” Becker explained. “The laser bounces back from an object and leaves millions of data points. The resulting data is used to generate a 3D point cloud image. We use those points to detect, track and classify objects speed, location and direction in a 3D space.” Using this information, the system can track an object’s path through the observed area. The software assigns a point in space to any moving object it detects, making it easy to track when the object passes between two or more sensors. This gives the user a complete view of the object’s path.

As a result of such precise tracking ability and the wide field of view of the sensors compared to standard PTZ cameras, LiDAR offers many advantages and can fill a number of gaps you likely have in your ability to monitor a physical space.

Here are some of the ways LiDAR can enhance your current security solutions:

1. More Coverage with Fewer Units

One of the primary advantages a LiDAR system can bring to your building is a fully 3D and 360-degree view. PTZ cameras have a limited view and achieving complete visual coverage of a large area can require quite a few cameras—each requiring its own wiring needs and maintenance. Covering the same amount of space with LiDAR requires far fewer units and is likely to provide more overlap. A single MQ-8 sensor can cover up to 15,000m2 area, up to 100x wider than the equivalent camera-based system. With fewer devices to purchase, install, and maintain, the system provides 10-20X lower cost than traditional camera systems.

Not only is the field of view larger with LiDAR, but so is the depth perception. A camera can only see so far in a 2D space before the person it’s tracking becomes a single pixel or fades into the background. LiDAR can cover so much farther—especially in an open-air environment. In some cases, LiDAR has been used to detect intrusion into facilities—such as someone jumping a fence—where that increased range of detection can really make a difference. Once the system has detected an intruder, it can track them for a considerable distance of 140 meters in diameter outdoors.

2. Better Data and More Reliable Tracking

Video analytic software has become more and more impressive in recent years, but relying on it entirely can leave you with holes in your data. If two people are standing too close to each other and their images overlap, the software might count two people as one or lose track of who it’s supposed to be following.

Digital terrain area obtained from LiDAR scanning results

LiDAR provides real-time location data down to the centimeter and sees in three dimensions. If someone is identified as a person of interest, tracking is maintained even between the viewpoints of two different sensor units, and it’s easy for the system to differentiate between two different individuals or keep track of someone in a crowd.

3. Easy to Install and Maintain

In most cases LiDAR does not eliminate the need for cameras but the number of them may be reduced, LiDAR and cameras are great partners in deployments large and small. Because you can achieve complete coverage of an area with fewer units means fewer devices to manage overall.

4. Liability

Sometimes there can be a thin line to walk in the world of security between keeping everyone safe and respecting people’s privacy. LiDAR can work in conjunction with PTZ cameras to record video when needed. But, in situations where privacy is a concern, it can still be an effective method of monitoring a space without visual images. While LiDAR can track a person’s position, when used alone it doesn’t collect any information about a person’s race, gender, age, or other identifying features.

“We do it with zero personal identifiable info,” Becker told us. “We see everything in points. Like in the movie The Matrix when Neo sees ones and zeroes.”

Even without personal identifying information, LiDAR remains an effective tool. Especially when used together with sound-monitoring systems, the technology can easily detect when a dangerous situation requires direct intervention when alarm zones are breached. When integrated with 3rd party systems such as gun shot detection or other analytic systems, LiDAR can provide tracking information from the point where the alarm was activated.

5. Non-security Applications

LiDAR can be a great addition to your security systems for the reasons listed above. But it can offer many non-security benefits to your organization, as well. For example, in a retail environment, LiDAR can easily track the paths of customers who enter your store, allowing you to analyze shopping habits and better decide where promotions and popular items should be displayed. For other large buildings, tracking the paths of visitors through your space can be useful for automating building utilization and improving on utility usage to decrease costs. LiDAR can also provide an accurate count of the number of people in your space at any given time.  By deploying LiDAR sensors you can automatically ensure occupancy doesn’t go above a certain threshold.

At Prime, we’ve been in the security industry for 15 years, and we’ve seen technologies come and go. We believe LiDAR is a technology that is here to stay. In fact, it’s the kind of technology that will likely change the standards of security. It has been put through its paces in the field, and it’s ready for prime time—and Prime time! LiDAR is a technology we will keep in our toolkit for a long time to come.

If you have questions about how LiDAR could be effective for you or want to learn about other kinds of security solutions, give us a call at (402) 289-4126.

How to Protect Digital Property | Cyber Insurance

Cyber security insurance is more important now than ever. The multiple high-profile data breaches filling the news over the past year have illustrated a changing landscape in the digital worldYou’ve probably heard about large companies, retailers, schools or hospitals that have paid massive ransoms, only to be left in the dust without the data they were promised they would get back – and forced to recover it through other means. 

However, it is important to realize hackers aren’t only going after the biggest, juiciest targets. As Tim Quinn of Quinn Insurance, a Prime Secured partner, points out, the media doesn’t like to cover the millions of personal data thefts that happen annually. “Ask the credit card industry what the total dollar amount is of smaller fraudulent claims,” he said. “It’s billions of dollars. The media likes to sensationalize the big ones, but the small ones add up.”

Most importantly, we want Prime customers to know that every computer has the potential for a costly breach. Automated hacking programs running across the world are constantly pinging every computer they can find, looking for vulnerabilities and amassing profiles of data on you, me and everyone else. They don’t care if they only hit a vulnerability once in thousands of tries.

It’s like an opportunistic thief trying car doors in a parking lot to see if they’re unlocked—the hackers are checking thousands of doors a minute. Even if you don’t think you’re a likely target, you can’t protect yourself just by keeping your head low. Even if the hacker doesn’t get anything out of you in the end, they could still cause incredible damage to your business.

You may not have thought about using cyber insurance before. Especially if your company is small, you might think you’re not in danger of losing much. But the reality is that cyber-attacks are becoming more frequent. To avoid unnecessary losses, you need to actively protect your digital property, and cyber insurance can help.

The Costs of a Breach – Even for Your Organization

Many people don’t understand exactly how much a data breach could cost them. Even if you don’t incur any direct financial damage from fraud or extortion, the costs associated with being hacked can be astronomical.

For starters, federal law requires you to inform everyone affected by any breach—and that means everyone. You’ll have to determine everyone who was affected and how to contact them. Depending on your situation, this investigation can cost several times more than any ransom a hacker asks for.

In one example, a single individual working remotely for a small company forgot to turn on two-factor authentication. It took hackers less than a day to find the vulnerability, and soon they had full access to all the employee’s emails. Tens of thousands of them. In the end, the hackers didn’t get anything else, but it cost the company more than $20,000 to pay for the investigation and notification costs.

While it may not have been an eventful day for the criminals, it was devastating for the small company because they didn’t have cyber insuranceand that $20,000 price tag was from an attack where the hackers didn’t manage to get anything directly. Obviously, it’s even worse when they succeed.

Paying a Ransom is No Guarantee

A hackers only goal is to squeeze everything they can out of you. Even if you pay a ransom, there’s a good chance they won’t return your data. They might not even know how! Once the money is in their hands, they have no incentive to communicate with you further. They already got paid.

In fact, studies have shown less than 10% of victims in ransomware attacks get all their data back after they pay. Less than 30% even get half of what they lost. More and more companies affected by these attacks are choosing to pay up in hopes of getting a quick solution, but the statistics are clear: giving into demands won’t put an end to your woes.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy way out. And losing that data could potentially cripple your company, requiring months of work to make up for lost time and possibly putting an end to professional relationships. Your clients and customers may not feel safe working with you, or they may simply have to move on to using another company while you recover. Most companies simply don’t have the war chest they need to sustain themselves after a loss like that. It’s important to understand that these attacks are common and to make sure you’re protected.

Cyber Insurance Can Protect You from the Crippling Loss of a Cyber-Attack

Of course, having secure systems is the first line of defense against these attacks. But the world of cyber security is ever shifting. Hackers are constantly developing new techniques to circumnavigate your defenses. And even if you have the best technology available, hackers can go through employees who are fooled into thinking the hacker is a trusted person or someone who has leverage over them.

You can never be completely sure you won’t become the victim of a successful cyber-attack. But with a comprehensive cyber insurance plan, you can be confident your company will survive if the worst happens. Depending on your plan, insurance can cover any direct financial losses but also cover the cost of forensics, lost business, and recovery of lost data.

At the end of the day, we want to make sure businesses remain solvent if they sustain an event that affects their ability to operate,” Quinn explained. “We want them to be able to keep going, and for most organizations that’s worth the price of insurance. Everybody should have some kind of coverage.” 

There are a wide variety of different options for cyber insurance coverage, but these are some of the most common that can be purchased separately or as part of a package:

Your plan will be tailored to you and your company’s needs, depending on your biggest risks and concernsCybercrime is complicated and can involve many kinds of damage, so there are many more options for coverage. 

Secure Systems are a Must for Cyber Insurance

While cyber insurance can keep your company afloat when disaster strikes, it can’t keep you safe by itself. It’s important to have systems that are as well-protected as possible even when you’re insured.

Besides the obvious benefits of making a catastrophic event less likely, if your systems are secure, you’re likely to get a much more affordable quote from the company providing your cyber insurance. In fact, most providers are unlikely to cover a company that doesn’t at least have some of the basic defenses such as Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and Endpoint Detection Response (EDR).

These protections are necessary because insurance providers know how high the risk of an attack is. But a company that values its digital security should have these protections either way. It’s far better to avoid suffering a damaging attack in the first place.

Protect Yourself from Cybercrime Before Disaster Strikes

Ransomware and other cyber attacks are becoming more and more frequent as hackers adapt to automated tools and scraping the internet for data. On average, 4,000 ransomware attacks occur in the U.S. every single dayThe big crimes make the news, but you don’t hear about the majority of attacks, which are carried out on individuals and small organizations.

“They’re hitting a billion IP addresses looking for vulnerability. We are under constant attack,” Quinn said. “That’s what’s going on here, and it’s morphing fast. But you can’t see, feel or hear it. It’s just a rogue silent killer.’”

Unfortunately, many people don’t realize how devastating a cyber attack can be to their company until it happens to them. And many smaller organizations make the mistake of thinking they’re safe because they don’t have intrinsically valuable data to target. But even if hackers don’t get anything out of it, you still could suffer catastrophic losses. The reality is, every organization should be prepared and have a plan in place before an attack happens.

If you want to learn more about cyber insurance or have questions about how you can best protect your data and your company, visit Prime SecuredPrime works daily with experts such as Quinn Insurance and our own staff of IT security engineers. We can help you protect your digital property.

Developing De-escalation Techniques in the Classroom

How teachers and school staff can defuse incidents before they start

The world around us has become much more stressful. But even if we’re sick of hearing it, it’s our reality. And tensions can be even higher for young people, who may not understand why things are happening to them and who have little to no control over their living situations.

Unfortunately, these tensions can sometimes boil over in the classroom and lead to a student acting out with outbursts of emotion or even violence. In this blog we will review a number of techniques educators and school staff can use to defuse tense situations before they become larger problems.

In addition to these techniques, Prime Secured can provide schools and businesses with all kinds of supportive technological solutions—such as security cameras, audio monitoring systems and more—that will help create a safe environment. But when conflict happens, it’s often up to the humans who are present to keep things from escalating into a violent incident. That’s why we work with an expert security training company, Safe Passage Consulting, who recommend de-escalation steps for navigating conflicts.

The Importance of Conflict Resolution

People outside the field of education may not assume conflict resolution is part of a teacher’s job description, but a teacher is often the person best positioned to handle problems in their own classroom. Of course, we already ask so much of our teachers. The expectations we have for them extend far beyond just imparting knowledge. We also ask teachers to keep students on-task, track their performance and adapt to the needs of dozens of students every day. Most schools have resource officers or other staff to handle conflicts that get out of hand. So why should we ask our teachers to be mediators on top of everything else?

The truth is, most of the time, a situation can be defused long before it escalates into an incident that requires mediation and intervention. When teachers and school staff learn and practice de-escalation techniques, they are in one of the best positions to protect themselves, protect students and maintain the stability of the learning environment. If you are a teacher or school administrator, you can help cool tensions long before there’s a need for physical intervention by applying the techniques outlined in this article.

The Eight-Step Process

Our partners at Safe Passage developed an eight-step process that’s easy to remember and practice. This process has proven effective at defusing tense situations in a variety of environments. Using these techniques, you can give an upset student a chance to resolve problems without resorting to violence or other drastic behaviors.

These techniques have achieved real-world results. One teacher who trained with Safe Passage later reported a complete change in the behavior of her students. But the truth is, it wasn’t the students who changed. What changed was the way she handled conflicts when they came up. She turned a chaotic classroom into a productive learning environment by changing how she managed her student’s more difficult emotions.

Step 1: Listen

Start by hearing the student out. Don’t just be quiet and wait for a chance to speak, but maintain eye contact, ask relevant questions and try to understand what the student is saying. Someone who resorts to shouting or physical aggression is often doing so because they feel like they have no other outlet. This will give the student a chance to purge emotions that have built up and caused them to act out. You’ll also have an opportunity to assess the situation, so you can make an informed choice about how to proceed.

Step 2: Acknowledge

A student who feels they’re being listened to is far less likely to resort to drastic action. Acknowledge what the student is saying, letting them know you understand what they’re feeling. Don’t simply wait for your turn to speak and give a canned response. Be an active listener and try to understand why the they feel the way they do.

Step 3: Agree

When you and a student find common ground, they will see that problems can be solved without anger. Find a point in what they are saying that you can agree on. This doesn’t mean you have to give into demands or agree to statements of fact you believe are false, but try to find some point of agreement you can build from. This will move the student’s focus away from trying to overpower the problem and more toward a mutual understanding.

Step 4: Apologize

By apologizing for anything unfair or unjust, you can provide a model for the rest of the conversation. If the student believes you’re invested in finding a fair resolution to the conflict, they won’t feel like they need to rely on their anger. Emotional outbursts often occur when people don’t feel like they are being respected or heard. If you acknowledge they were wronged, they’re less likely to see you as an enemy.

Step 5: Clarify

So many avoidable conflicts come from misunderstandings. Don’t make that mistake when it can be solved with a simple question! Never assume you understand the source of a student’s frustration. If you have questions, ask. Repeat the situation as you understand it and ask the student to confirm that you have a clear view of what’s going on. This also overlaps with Step 1—if you’re asking questions, the student will know you’re really listening.

Step 6: Choices & Consequences

Because they’re operating purely on emotion, angry people usually haven’t thought through the consequences of their actions. Giving your student a clear view of their options—and outlying the consequences of each—gives them a path toward resolving the conflict. Giving them a choice in how the situation is resolved will help them feel in control and less like they need to take drastic action. A peaceful resolution will be best for everyone. Make sure the student understands why resorting to violence or property damage won’t help them.

Step 7: Sequence Questions

You can distract an angry person from their difficult emotions by asking them to go over the events leading up to their outburst, step by step. Ask them to clarify details, such as the order of events or where they were standing. Guide the student toward thinking about the situation more logically, and less emotionally.

Step 8: Suggestibility

Telling someone what to do when they’re upset can sometimes make them even angrier. Instead, try making suggestions or requests when possible. For example, instead of ordering a student out into the hall to go over what happened, you can say, “Do you mind if we talk about this outside the classroom?” This will show the student you respect them, even while you remain in control.

Equip Yourself with the Tools You Need

You’re far more likely to reach a peaceful conclusion if you use this list of techniques, rather than if you were to operate off instinct. Take time to learn and practice these steps, so you won’t fall back on getting angry yourself. While there may be times when you need to assert your authority as a teacher, simply getting angry and challenging a student directly has a chance to make the situation worse.

Of course, not every situation can be defused with a simple step-by-step list. This process is an effective tool, but it shouldn’t be the only technique you have access to. To be completely prepared to resolve conflicts in your classroom, you need a variety of techniques and the ability to recognize what will be the most effective in a given situation. Safe Passage training sessions not only teach you what to do, but allow you to practice what you’ve learned and go over how you handled it with an expert, so you learn what you could have done better. It’s worth the small amount of time a training session takes, because of the outcome you’ll experience: a more productive learning environment.

You DO have the power to control what happens in your classroom!

In addition, Prime can provide you with amazing technology that helps keep bad actors out of your school, alerts administrators to conflicts in the halls or gives you more information about an incident after the fact so you can be better prepared for the future.

The pandemic, high unemployment, and financial distress have increased the pressures of everyday life for all of us, and sometimes that pressure can cause us to act out in negative ways. Young people are especially susceptible to this kind of stress, and it often shows up at school. If teachers can learn how to guide students to peaceful resolutions, it will go a long way to ensuring classrooms are a safe and productive environment for everyone.

This article discusses quick six benefits of cloud-based video management for physical security.

  1. Cloud-based technology is cost-effective

For sites with 10 or fewer cameras cloud-based video, management is a cheaper route than maintaining an on-site server and hardwired cameras. The greatest portion of this cost savings comes from relatively recent reductions in the cost of storing video footage in the cloud — about half of what it used to be. This is in part due to advanced compression technology, which means more footage can be stored in less space.

2. Rapid Deployments

IP cameras are by nature faster to set up than analog cameras. All that’s required is an adequate Internet connection, POE network switch, mounting hardware and desktop or mobile device monitoring applications. When it comes to registering cameras to the security system and connecting them with the network, all you have to do is push a button. All the hard work behind the scenes is handled by cloud-based services IT staff, who are experts (fast and smart) at deploying your specific technology.

3. Maintenance

With cloud-based physical security systems, installation and maintenance is left to the provider, which leaves personnel — and home office IT personnel — free to spend time on more important tasks.

4. Easy system conversion

In many cases, companies would like to make use of new IP technology and cloud-based services but it can be difficult justifying the cost of retiring legacy systems. However, IP security hardware is easy to add to existing systems. Also, analog cameras can be converted for use with cloud-based solutions within minutes using video encoders. This helps preserve the initial investment in analog security cameras.

5. Flexible use

Because IP cameras are connected to the network anywhere within range of the Internet, the cameras can be moved at will. This allows managers to cover hotspots within their building where problems appear.

6. Try before you buy

The off-site nature of cloud-based physical security means retail loss prevention and security personnel can easily test the new systems before deciding to buy. Prime offers a security demo kit that allows potential customers to test the system with a temporary account for 30 days to see exactly how it works before buying.

For an extended read on this topic visit, Is cloud-based video management a fit for retail physical security? Here’s when it makes sense.

Otherwise, reach out to Prime Secured at to ask about your 30-day free trial.

As mandatory lockdowns end and the American people prepare to slowly return to their normal routines, businesses across the country have become concerned about precautions they need to take to create a safe workplace. No business can survive without its workers, but an outbreak at the office, warehouse, or hospital ward can mean even more downtime and a potential shutdown. After months of slow or no business, it could be an existential threat. In this blog, we’ve identified the top 5 technology solutions you can put in place to get back to work.

  1. People-Counting Solutions

Several months after the lockdowns began, most U.S. states were allowing businesses to open again as long as the number of people together in the same area was below a certain limit. Organizations can use people-counting software to ensure these guidelines are followed and provide a record of the number of people in the building in the event of a compliance audit. People-counting software can work in tandem with existing security cameras, analyzing footage to keep an accurate count of people going in and out of a doorway, so you always know how many people are inside at any given time.

2. Visitor Management and Proximity Reporting

A private record of the comings and goings inside your building can be invaluable if a visitor or employee tests positive for COVID-19. As an extension of card-access security systems, visitor management software can record every location a person visited within your building, in addition to making sure the only people in your building are the ones who are supposed to be there. This technology lets you know everyone a person interacted with and where.

3. Thermal Cameras

One of the most reliable, telltale signs of COVID-19 is a high fever, but it’s not easy to tell someone’s body temperature at a glance. With the right equipment and software, you can quickly scan the general body temperature of anyone entering your building and identify those who might be infected, so you can conduct a more detailed second screening.

Thermal cameras will show a heatmap of everything they’re looking at, and that data can be analyzed by accompanying software to instantly detect anyone who’s running suspiciously warm. But be careful: it’s important to know your data is accurate if you’re going to pull someone aside and ask them to leave the premises. If you have questions on purchasing thermal cameras we recommend this read as a starting point, 5 things to know before buying a thermal camera system.

4. Keeping Visitors Informed

Putting guidelines in place is an important first step toward pandemic safety, but you need to be sure visitors and employees are aware of and understand the rules you’ve decided on. Many people simply need the occasional reminder, and PVMs (Public View Monitors) can be an effective way of keeping those rules top of their mind. These can also be accompanied by audio reminders, and both can be updated on the fly to reflect changes in the situation if necessary.

5. Loitering Analytics

Video analytics software has become more advanced over the years, and these days it’s fairly easy for technology to separate the image of a person from the background. Using this technology, you can continually analyze security footage and keep track of how many people are gathered in an area — and how close together they are. If the capacity for an area has been exceeded or if social distancing guidelines aren’t being followed, an automated alarm will go off, notifying security personnel to address the situation.

Feel Confident going back to Work!

Everyone is worried about how they can get their operations back to normal. Technologies like these can be a tremendous step toward that goal, ensuring that an outbreak doesn’t bring your business to a screeching halt.

Being vigilant about the safety of your workplace is the surest way to get you up and running again, and technology has never been in a better position to help.

For an extended read on this topic visit, Safety in the Wake of COVID-19: How Technology Can Get You Back to Work.