Symbol of security
Symbol of security

Jul 1, 1999 12:00 PM
Don Garbera

Symbol Technologies stakes its reputation on up-to-the-minute datamanagement technology. Its security systems are no less advanced.

Symbol Technologies Inc., Holtsville, N.Y. is a leader in point-of-activitysystems incorporating mobile computing, wireless communications and datacapture scanning technologies. Symbol helps its customers by extending thevalue of their investment with accurate information systems that capture,manage and transfer data. Symbol customers include Wal-Mart, Kmart andSears, and delivery services such as UPS and the U.S. Post Office.

Because Symbol Technologies is a high-profile corporation with proprietaryinformation and products still in development, it needs to be protectedfrom external and internal factions that would seek to compromise thecompany's business. This protection is the responsibility of securitymanager Bob Cummings, who has been with Symbol for 10 years. Previously, hewas the chief of police for the Village of Old Field in Long Island, N.Y.

With a staff of 42 security officers, Cummings manages the securityoperation at the corporate headquarters, and oversees 11 other locationsnationwide.

Symbol's Casi-Rusco card access system has had three upgrades within thelast 10 years. Originally, it was a DOS-based system with a PC that madedecisions and transmitted the information to a microcontroller and cardreaders which permitted or denied entry. The second upgrade consisted ofanother DOS-based system named Entry Perfect, which used distributedprocessing. The most recent upgrade involves a Windows NT-based system thatprovides distributed access control over standard communication andexisting LAN communications to all buildings. It is also a digital imagingsystem that allows for immediate photo verification of individuals.

The Casi-Rusco system is used at all perimeter ingress and egress points,along with high-sensitivity areas such as research and development labs,computer rooms and the day care area. Approximately 230 readers aresituated across 11 buildings located within the corporation's generalvicinity. There are also more than 200 alarm points that include areas suchas telephone closets, the air conditioning equipment room, supply rooms andelectrical closets, as well as roof doors and hatches. With this system,Cummings can use virtually any computer within the facility that is on theLAN to access his security base.The new system also enables the head of human resources to view anemployee's image and data prior to having a meeting with the individual.The NT-based system allows instant retrieval of information, and includesthe ability to use up to 250 fields for search criteria, in addition to thestandard fields of basic employee information.

For example, Cummings can input a particular number on a license plate or aspecific color of a car and come up with the names of all employees whohave that particular number on their plate or have that color car. In otherwords, if someone is seen speeding away after an incident, and the witnessis only able to make out the number 7 on the license plate, the number isinput into the system and all employees with the number 7 on their plateswill be brought up. "It's a tremendous investigation tool," says Cummings.

In addition, alarm graphic screens with multiple layers allow importationof CAD drawings as an aid to new security personnel who may not be familiarwith the facility. When necessary, the drawings can be used to guidefiremen or emergency personnel to the affected area during an alarmcondition, and as a step-by-step aid for the details of what must be donewhen certain alarm conditions prevail.

The system also protects high-value areas. If a door within one of theseareas is left open for longer than 15 seconds, an alarm sounds in thesecurity control room. The system then provides the console operator, ifneeded, with a set of instructions as to how he or she should proceed andwhom else to contact - i.e., one of two mobile units - if the incidentoccurs during evening hours.

The entire security system, including CC-TV, was updated by IndustrialSecurity Systems and Controls (ISSCO) of Westbury, N.Y. They were broughtin after the original system was installed improperly by another firm. "Wereally had our work cut out for us back then. Virtually, the entire systemhad to be re-installed," says Paul Berger, vice president and generalmanager of ISSCO. As a testament to their capabilities, Symbol has retainedISSCO as its security system provider for all the upgrades during the last10 years.

CCTV cameras are located throughout the corporate headquarters and nearbysatellite buildings, and are a mixture of Sony, Philips, Silent Witness andPanasonic cameras, and Kalatel exterior lamp domes. They are used on theperimeter of buildings, atop an old radio tower for safety and protectionof parking facilities, in internal hallways, the day care center andlobbies.

The control room houses Gyyr recorders, Sony VCRs, ATV and Burlemultiplexers, Kalatel switchers and Sony monitors.

Detection Systems motion sensors are used over doors that incorporatemagnetic locks in areas such as computer rooms, entrances to main lobbiesand doors to the exterior smoking section. Tomsed turnstiles are used inthe main lobby.Security officers wear white shirts, gray slacks, blue striped ties andblue blazers. Mobile unit officers wear brown shirts and blue slacks.Security supervisors wear black shirts with white trim and the SymbolTechnologies logo on the breast pocket. They carry Motorola P-110 radiosand patrol, in shifts, around the clock.

Employees use HID proximity ID cards produced on a Casi-Rusco ID system anda Fargo dye sublimation printer.

Cummings is also responsible for company data that leaves the facility.Symbol employs a staff whose sole responsibility is to monitor, usingproprietary software, all communications to the outside via Internet ore-mail. If one of the monitors detects unauthorized dissemination ofinformation, his or her supervisor is notified who, in turn, contactsCummings. "We then either pull the computer before the employee arrives atwork, or we will monitor the individual's on-line activities," he says.

Currently, all CCTV cameras are black-and-white. Within the near future,Cummings will be upgrading to color. The Casi-Rusco access system will alsobe installed in other Symbol locations across the country, and in Mexico.

The case of the missing Godiva chocolates.Recently, a gift of Lady Godiva Chocolates to a senior vice president ofthe company was reported by his secretary to have never arrived. Cummingsimmediately interviewed various employees connected with the shipping andreceiving department. Everyone denied any knowledge of having seen the box,including the receiving clerk.

Cummings then reviewed the videotapes from the previous few days. As hewatched the tapes for a given afternoon, he saw the heavyset receivingclerk "eye" the sumptuous box of confectioneries. The box was placed on topof crates waiting to be delivered around the facility. The individual,while doing his paperwork, would periodically glance at the box, and at theCCTV camera watching the area. After several hours, he finally gave in totemptation, and proceeded to crawl along the floor towards the box -thinking that the camera couldn't see him that low to the ground. At onepoint, during one of his glances at the camera, he even shook his headconfirming to himself - "no, you can't see me!" When he arrived at the siteof the chocolate box, while still lying on the floor, he carefully inchedhis hand up to the top of the crate, felt around for the box and removedit. He then crawled on his stomach back to his desk, and placed the box inhis desk drawer. During the rest of the afternoon, he ate all thechocolates that were in the box.

Cummings then confronted the receiving clerk with the tape, and theindividual was subsequently terminated. What the chocolate thief didn'trealize is that throughout the facility, cameras overlap each other. Thereis no one area in the receiving room that is not in view of a camera.

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