The latest from NW Systems Group

Security health checks – are your systems ready for the new academic year?

A new academic year, new security challengesThe next academic year is just around the corner and new security challenges are sure to present themselves along the way. The previous year saw a number of emerging and growing concerns, ranging from physical dangers including the rise of weapons in schools, to cybersecurity and a proliferation of ransomware attacks against public bodies such as the NHS. As students across the UK head back to the classroom, educational facilities must conduct their own security health checks to ensure they are effectively safeguarding their students and staff.

This will be no easy feat; it is imperative that educators themselves are fully informed regarding the convergence between physical and cyber threats. Creating a bespoke mitigation strategy, encompassing a thorough review of all systems to effectively tackle the double-threat, is of critical importance this coming academic year.

Download our 8-point security health checklist


Joining the pieces in the physical and cyber security puzzle

Security integrator and IT manager - where physical and cyber security meetFor the last couple of decades, physical security and cyber security have generally been treated as separate aspects of security provision in most organisations – served by two different industries growing alongside each other and using technology that’s been steadily converging.

It’s this convergence that has seen physical and cyber security become increasingly more entwined, leaving many security integrators and IT professionals puzzled about the blurring of lines and responsibilities. This has now culminated in the current frenzy around “Cyber”, the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and a wider discussion on personal freedoms and privacy.

The increasing overlap between physical security and cyber security is changing both industries, but what does this mean for security integrators, the end user and their IT departments?


GDPR and compliance: what does it mean to an Academy Trust?

image of classroom and data protectionWith the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) recently reporting a 40% growth in data security incidents in the education sector1, it comes as no surprise that regulation is also increasing. The topic of compliance is rising up the agenda for senior leadership and operational management professionals, and top of the agenda should be the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – due to come into force on 25th May 2018.

The GDPR contains requirements pertinent to the education sector, outlining how organisations should process and safeguard Personally Identifiable Information (PII). This includes ensuring data breaches are reported to relevant authorities within 72 hours and policies to secure data portability. The new regulation is expected to not only simplify the complex regulatory environment, but to ensure adequate protection of student, staff and stakeholder data.

See the 8-point compliance and best-practice checklist in our education security white paper


The key to the crown jewels; why supply chain security is essential under GDPR

Why supply chain security is essential under GDPRData breaches have shifted from being a rare occurrence to an almost daily challenge for businesses across the UK. In today’s climate of insecurity, industry giants across multiple sectors have been affected, ranging from Tesco and TalkTalk, to as of this month, The AA. While media attention is often focused on high-profile organisations, the security threat is affecting all parts of the supply chain, with almost two thirds of businesses in the UK reporting a cyberattack or breach in 2015/16. To help manage the growing threat, the UK Government introduced the Cyber Essentials scheme, a set of best practice security recommendations to minimise the risk of cyber-attack.

Security is rising up the agenda for many organisations and an area currently under scrutiny is the use of third-party systems. The use of poorly-secured endpoints, ranging from IoT devices to poorly manufactured or installed CCTV technology is still common, providing backdoor access to a company’s network for any given attacker. In an environment where a company’s data represents its crown jewels, businesses must ask themselves whether they can really afford to trust an unknown party in their business. Are the systems and processes in place to avoid letting an unsecured third-party supplier into their supply chain, or are they exposing themselves to unnecessary and significant risk – operational, reputational and financial in nature?


Flash and HTML5 in Streamdays

Streamdays player and HTML5 / Flash logosIn response to questions from some of our Streamdays customers regarding Flash and HTML5 support, I’d like to explain a bit about our recent live stream player update and when the use of HTML5 will be enforced.

Until recently, Flash was the main means of delivering live video over the web into your browser and our Streamdays webcam hosting service used Flash for many years to showcase thousands of live webcams around the globe to a huge audience. As is always the case with technology, eventually things move on and Flash is no longer the go-to multimedia app for the web – the world has already begun moving to HTML5, a new standard for web pages, interactivity and video playback.


A changing regulatory landscape: safeguarding in education

Understanding the latest regulations applicable to the use of security systems in educationManaging the pressures of safeguarding in education is no easy task. With a growing number of pupils in the system, funding cuts, occurrences of crime, and pressures to make greater use of advanced technology, senior leaders already face a series of challenges in maintaining or improving student safety and security. A number of facilities have integrated advanced security systems such as CCTV in schools and access control in colleges to help ease the burden of keeping people and assets secure. With the capabilities of this technology increasing, and adoption continuing to rise, the regulatory landscape is evolving to match, with bodies such as the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and ATL, The Education Union updating guidance relating to surveillance technologies.

See the 8-point security checklist in our white paper


Crime in education: Are ageing security systems keeping up with the threat?

Crime in education: Are ageing security systems keeping up with the threat?With the recent news that close to 1,400 weapons were seized in UK schools over the last year , representing a year-on-year rise of 20 per cent, it is clear security remains high on the agenda for leaders in the education sector. While many organisations have sought to effectively manage this risk with the use of advanced security systems such as CCTV and access control, the practice has also introduced questions as to how effective these systems are, and whether institutions are adhering to best practice set out by professional bodies such as the NUT and NAHT, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the Department for Education.

Download our whitepaper for a best practice and compliance checklist:
Security: A need for effective risk mitigation in education


The importance of regulatory change as big data and surveillance merge

Surveillance camera code of practice - a guide to the 12 principles

Today sees the launch of the national surveillance camera strategy for England and Wales, headed up by Tony Porter, the government’s Surveillance Camera Commissioner.

The three year strategy is a welcome step forward but it also comes with a stark warning from Mr. Porter, the government’s CCTV watchdog, who is concerned that regulators and the government were struggling to keep up with the pace of technological change.

“What most worries me is the impact of big data and integration of video surveillance… I’m worried about overt surveillance becoming much more invasive because it is linked to everything else.”

Tony Porter – Surveillance Camera Commissioner

The new strategy acknowledges that most people currently support the use of CCTV in public places but the Commissioner’s concerns are whether this support can continue because of the way surveillance is changing. As technology advances and converges, the possibilities for its use are expanding at breakneck speed and there are undoubtedly some cases where it’s been invaluable – such as drones helping the police solve crimes and hunt for missing people but, it’s also creating problems with privacy.


Why Milestone XProtect is our go-to Video Management System (VMS)

Milestone XProtectAs a company formed in the very early years of IP video and geared from the beginning to work with and deliver solutions around video over IP networks, we have seen many video management systems (VMS) come onto the market and many disappear, and our exposure to a large number of them has been significant.

We are well-placed to form an opinion on the state of the VMS marketplace and as a Milestone Platinum Partner, I’d like to explain why we have chosen to focus mainly on Milestone XProtect as the go-to VMS.


CCTV & Security Technology keynote event, 3rd November 2016 at FACT, Liverpool

CCTV & Security Technology Keynote Event 2016NW Systems and Axis Communications are hosting a CCTV & Security Technology keynote event at FACT in Liverpool on Thursday, 3rd November.

The event is aimed at IT and Security Managers, technicians and security technology decision makers.

If you’d like to learn about the latest trends in connected CCTV & security, this event will be of great interest – you’ll come away not only knowing about the full benefits of an IP-based system but also, how to get the most out of your investment.


NW Systems Group wins Axis Enterprise Project of the Year award for IP CCTV upgrade at Chester Zoo

NW Systems Group Managing Director Frank Crouwel accepts Axis Award NW Systems picked up the highly-coveted Enterprise Project of the Year Award UK & Ireland in this year’s Axis Communications’ VIP Northern Europe Partner Event, held in Liverpool on the 21st September.

The event which was attended by more than 40 of Axis’ top-performing Gold partners from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and the UK & Ireland, saw NW Systems being recognised for its work in upgrading Chester Zoo’s CCTV systems to a state-of-the-art IP video system which now provides surveillance, animal welfare and crowd management benefits to this world-class zoo.

The award was received by Frank Crouwel, Managing Director at NW Systems from Ray Mauritsson, CEO at Axis and Dave Needam, Axis UK and Ireland Sales Manager.

The two-year project, which continues to see expansion, has involved migrating from 150 ageing analogue-based CCTV cameras to almost 300 Axis network cameras – all being managed via Milestone XProtect Expert video management platform.

We will give you more on this project in a more detailed case study later this year.

NW Systems wins People Development prize at Wirral Business Awards

Award accepted by Frank Crouwel, Managing Director at NW Systems Group NW Systems was given the award for People Development at the Wirral Business Awards held last Friday at Thornton Manor, Wirral.

Frank Crouwel, Managing Director at NW Systems Group, received the award from Sue Higginson, Principal & Chief Executive of Wirral Metropolitan College, on the night.

Over 500 people celebrated Wirral’s business achievements on an evening that showed huge progress in innovation, the diversity of the local economy and the reach of Wirral businesses internationally. A total of 13 prizes were handed out to the most forward-thinking and successful businesses.


NW Systems nominated for People Development Award

Wirral Business Awards 2016 - People Development Award finalistWirral Chamber of Commerce will hold this year’s Wirral Business Awards at Thornton Manor this Friday. We’re excited to be involved in this key regional business event and this year we’re a finalist too! NW Systems has been nominated as one of the four finalists in the “People Development Award” category.

We’ve long believed that it’s the people in our teams that are the key to reaching each successful milestone in our growth over the years, so it’s very satisfying to have our commitment to supporting staff recognised.

Fingers crossed for the night and if last year’s ceremony is anything to go by, it’s set to be a great evening all round.

NW Systems sponsors 2016 Wirral business awards

Wirral Business Awards 2016This year’s Wirral Business Awards are set to be another huge success with a variety of Wirral businesses being recognised by the Wirral Chamber of Commerce for their achievements, dedication and good old fashioned entrepreneurial spirit. The awards event consists of a glittering gala dinner and last year over 600 key business leaders attended, making the ceremony one of the largest business events in the North West.

As a Wirral-based technology company and members of the Wirral Chamber, NW Systems are proud to be an active member of the business community and we will be supporting the 2016 Awards by sponsoring the category “Business of the Year (50+ employees)”.


IP video as a platform for smarter safety, security and operations

We are seeing rapid IP convergence of security, safety and building control systems so that Internet of Security Things (IoST) is now finally emerging as a real concept. So what does IoST really mean and what practical benefits does it offer end-users?

Illustration of IP convergence in security, safety and building control

Until relatively recently most systems geared to securing and making premises safe, were standalone. They were based on domain-specific, proprietary communications protocols which did not enable them to be easily connected into multi-input central control consoles.

These made inter-connection and integration of different systems very difficult. But these issues have begun to dissolve as all security systems are being networked using common Ethernet infrastructure for the first time. We have been involved in some of the first fully networked and integrated access control and surveillance systems projects. The advantages of tightly integrating these systems are clear. It enables you to verify that the person using the swipe card at a gate or door is the actual owner of that card by cross-checking the identity card details with live CCTV images. But this convergence of security and safety systems does not stop there.


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