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Business continuity, cybersecurity tips and valuable resources

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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

I refuse to give the coronavirus power by using it as click bait in my blog title; however, staying true to my blog, “Monitoring Matters,” I do see that education is necessary during this time of our lives. I feel that the more people understand and know what to do, the better we are prepared to handle any situation, whether that be a pandemic of any kind, a major cyberattack, etc. So, before we get started, I want to first sincerely thank you for reading my blog and I hope that you not only enjoy the content but find it helpful and useful. 

In my opinion, all the security industry associations are doing a great job at keeping their members as well as the security-related press well informed about the state of our industry at this time; offering up-to-date information about business continuity; etc. 

There’s also a whole other aspect to contend with when it comes to this time of social distancing, quarantining and working from home: cybercriminals! In my lifetime, this is the first time for such an influx of people working digitally; I can picture it now … cybercriminals rubbing their greedy little hands together, excited to attack digitally! Think about it … if you were a cybercriminal, wouldn’t you find it the best time to strike with some businesses and their employees struggling to keep “business as usual,” some even digitally working for the very first time? 

Additionally is the influx of scams already taking place, from people physically knocking on doors of seniors’ residents pretending to be Red Cross representatives offering coronavirus testing for money and/or robbing the individual(s) to unscrupulous online offerings for products to treat or cure COVID-19 (which do not exist at this time) to phishing scams via phone, text and email. 

Here are some quick “to-dos” to immediately enhance your, your business and your loved ones’ security: 

  1. Do not post pictures of the inside of your home on social media. Working from home can feel isolating and while it seems fun and entertaining to post pics of yourself working from home, things that show up in the background of pictures gives a preview of all the valuables you own to possible robbers. 
  2. Change all passwords into passphrases using a series of numbers, letters and symbols. Use a password manager or write the new passphrases onto a piece of paper and keep in a secure place, such as a locked desk drawer, file cabinet or fire-proof lockbox. 
  3. Don’t leave any accounts “open.” When you’re finished with a program or website that requires a login, be sure to physically take your mouse and click to logout. 
  4. If you receive an email, work or personal, from someone you don’t know or recognize, do not open it. Instead, send a group email or use your company’s recommended communication tool, such as Slack, to ask if anyone sent out an email regarding keywords used in the subject line of the questionable email. 
  5. Do not open your door to strangers or people you do not know, and remind senior relatives and friends to do the same. 

 

**Here are some FREE, reliable, valuable resources to have at your fingertips, specific to COVID-19, business continuity, scams, best practices, etc

Janet Fenner recipient of SIA award

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02/07/2020

SILVER SPRING, Md.—The Security Industry Association (SIA) has selected Janet Fenner as the 2020 recipient of the Sandy Jones Volunteer of the Year Award, which recognizes SIA volunteers who have made tireless efforts to expand SIA’s programs and services.

SIA commends new trade agreement

The US-Mexico-Canada agreement will create a more open trade landscape while removing unnecessary trade barriers.
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01/31/2020

SILVER SPRING, Md.—The Security Industry Association (SIA) commends Congress and the administration on the signing of the much-anticipated United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

How companies can fight against cyber threats

Cyber experts identify top cyber threats for 2020 and offer strategies of defense
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12/16/2019

YARMOUTH, Maine—As 2019 closes, 2020 is full of new possibilities and opportunities. While it’s a time for growth, change and newness, cyber criminals are lurking in the background ready to strike.

Ric McCullough joins SIA’s Executive Council

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11/01/2019

WESTMINSTER, Colo.—PSA, the global systems integrator consortium, announced its president, Ric McCullough, has joined the Executive Council for the Security Industry Association.

SIA, other organizations urge Congress to consider facts, benefits of facial recognition

Favorable uses for public safety, national security and fighting fraud
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10/21/2019

SILVER SPRING, Md.—As part of a coalition of organizations and trade associations, the Security Industry Association (SIA) issued a letter to Congress outlining its concerns regarding potential bans on public-sector uses of facial recognition technology.

SIA unveils new Center of Excellence

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Security Industry Association (SIA) has unveiled the new SIA Center of Excellence, a member-driven learning consortium for education, research and training resources serving the security industry. This online repository of vendor-neutral, vetted information includes easy-to-access, on-demand learning and development tools and resources like training courses, e-learning modules, webinars and articles created to improve individual, team and organizational performance.

“The SIA Center of Excellence was created to foster security industry expertise and help SIA members and the entire security ecosystem stay at the forefront of evolving market demands,” SIA CEO Don Erickson said in the announcement. “This new learning tool will help provide tangible value to our members and help raise the industry’s level of professionalism and knowledge.”

SIA Center of Excellence content is organized by category and type and can easily be searched to find the most appropriate resources and learning tools.

“In addition to creating a centralized learning and development environment where industry stakeholders can access high-quality educational resources, the SIA Center of Excellence is a collaborative space where member organizations can contribute training content and share best practices,” said Dr. Elli Voorhees, director of education and training at SIA. “We encourage SIA members to get involved with this exciting new initiative by submitting content for consideration and help us in growing the future of workforce development in our industry.”

To learn more about the SIA Center of Excellence or become a contributing member, please contact Elli Voorhees at [email protected] or 301-804-4798.

Steve Van Till to receive SIA’s 2019 Lippert Award

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10/08/2019

SILVER SPRING, Md.—The Security Industry Association (SIA) selected Steve Van Till, co-founder, president and CEO of Brivo, as the 2019 recipient of the George R. Lippert Memorial Award.

SIA provides analysis of rules related to NDAA

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

If you’re part of the security industry, there’s little doubt you haven’t heard about the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) rule announced last week that started the ball rolling on the prohibition to procure certain Chinese telecommunications and video surveillance equipment. The key word here is “certain,” meaning not all equipment is part of the rule, and security contractors are left scrambling trying to figure out exactly what to do.

The Security Industry Association (SIA) jumped into action and released a preliminary analysis of the rule that focuses specifically on the video surveillance equipment and services covered. SIA also stated that they will update the analysis with additional insight and information as needed, and the association will host a webinar tomorrow, August 22 at 1pm ET to brief members on its analysis of the NDAA prohibition and acquisition rules.

According to SIA’s analysis, security contractors need to understand the following:

Remember the effective date, August 13, 2019. Why is this so important? Because all solicitations, contracts and contract awards issued on or after this date will include clauses prohibiting procurement of covered equipment and services.

Disclosure requirements for new contracts. Beginning on the effective date, all offerors must provide self-certification as to whether ANY of their offerings to the federal government include covered equipment or services. This also extends to subcontractors.

Reporting requirements. Beginning on the effective date, contractors and subcontractors are required to report any covered equipment, system or services provided and discovered during contract performance within one day of discovery. In addition, within 10 days, the contractor must explain mitigation actions taken or recommended.

Scope of prohibition. Extends to purchases below the minimum purchasing threshold (up to $10,000 in 2019), regardless of the commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) waiver.

Government-only waivers. Contractors and companies cannot obtain waivers; they are only available for government entities.

Tailored approach to collected information. GSA has issued its tailored implementation rules.

For more detailed information about NDAA and FAR, including a answers to frequently asked questions relating to the ban, please check out SIA’s full analysis here, and attend SIA’s webinar.

Regulation implementing NDAA procurement ban announced

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

On Tuesday, Aug. 13, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) rule implementing the first subsection of the procurement prohibition on certain Chinese telecommunications and video surveillance equipment was announced.

Notably, the rule covers only the provision of the fiscal year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Section 889 set to go into effect one year following enactment — subsection (a)(1)(A) relating to direct government procurement of covered equipment and services. The remaining provisions of Section 889 (including applicability to the use of federal grant funds) are scheduled to go into effect in August 2020.

While the Security Industry Association (SIA) is working to provide members with a preliminary analysis of the rule as quickly as possible, these rules and contract clauses added to the FAR should be carefully reviewed by suppliers of video surveillance equipment to the government.

The rule prohibits federal agencies from buying “covered telecommunications equipment or services as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system” from designated Chinese entities, including:

•    Telecommunications equipment produced by Huawei or ZTE and their affiliates;
•    Video surveillance and telecommunications equipment produced by Hytera Communications Corporation (Hytera), Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company (Hikvision), Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co., Ltd. (Dahua) or their affiliates for the purpose of public safety, security of government facilities, physical security surveillance of critical infrastructure and other national security purposes;
•    Telecommunications or video surveillance services provided by any of these entities or using any such equipment; and
•    Telecommunications or video surveillance equipment or services produced or provided by an entity that the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence or the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, reasonably believes to be an entity owned or controlled by, or otherwise connected to, the Chinese government.

In a comprehensive analysis of the interim rule, Morrison & Foerster said, “DoD, GSA and NASA are working to update the online System for Award Management (SAM) to allow contractors to represent annually whether they sell covered equipment or services. Only contractors that provide an affirmative representation in SAM will be required to provide offer-by-offer disclosures in their proposals for contracts or task orders. This option is not available yet, so contractors should expect to see the representation incorporated into solicitations starting August 13.

“The second clause — FAR 52.204-25 — incorporates Section 889’s prohibitions and definitions into the contract and also imposes a significant reporting requirement on the contractor. The reporting requirement obligates the contractor to report through DIBNet if it identifies any activity prohibited by the rule during contract performance. Contractors must do so within one business day of identifying the activity, and then follow up within 10 business days with any additional information about mitigation actions undertaken or recommended.”

Morrison & Foerster also pointed out that by October 14, 2019, the Secretary of Commerce “must issue new restrictions implementing the May Executive Order declaring a national emergency over the influx of telecommunications technology developed by ‘foreign adversaries’ and entities controlled by them. Implementing regulations will identify covered entities and transactions, almost certainly targeting entities like Huawei and ZTE,” Morrison & Foerster analysts opined.

Stay tuned for more on this topic.

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