Keeping students safe: ensuring security in Canadian K-12 campuses

Improving security in K-12 schools

The top priority for any K-12 school board is to keep its students, staff, and guests secure. But for most Canadian school boards, security is a reactive process; administrators tend to look for solutions as problems appear. Over time, this results in patchwork of applications that risk introducing new vulnerabilities and are costly to maintain.

Creating a secure environment requires more than just hardware like cameras, intercoms, and locks. It requires a solid security process that is efficient, resilient, and accounts for human error.

Genetec unified physical security for kindergarten to 12th grade

An ad hoc approach to security isn't secure

Nobody's perfect – keys get lost and self-locking doors can be left ajar. But a lost key means an unauthorized person may have access to that area until the locks are changed. A door that's left open will stay that way until someone notices and shuts it.

Add outdated technology like grainy, unencrypted analog security cameras and 'honor system' protocols like pen-and-paper visitor logs, and it can be impossible to identify who's inside the school during a critical moment.

Integrating your old analog security cameras with more modern security applications doesn't necessarily help. Your staff would have to log in to separate applications which is more time consuming. And because these integrations were never designed to work together, it limits your freedom to upgrade since it could break a connection, increasing system downtime and maintenance costs.

What to look for when upgrading your school's security

It's clear that Canadian K-12 schools need to overcome managing different security systems, but integration is not enough. So what's the solution?

A unified physical security platform brings together video monitoring, access control, and licence plate recognition, as well as intrusion and more – all under one operator interface. It also gives you access to hundreds of add-ons to match the unique needs of your K-12 school operations

Here are few things to think about when upgrading your school security:

Analog is out

Schools need a video management system that gives administrators the confidence of knowing that video is not only being recorded, but that necessary areas are being monitored. They also should be able to track situations throughout the school and seamlessly switch from camera to camera – helping them make the right decisions at the right time

Say goodbye to the honor system

Access control systems strengthen your school security by restricting access to facilities through policy-based rules and permissions. Your school administrators can automatically lock and unlock doors remotely and monitor the access points of your school – from keeping students out of certain areas to alerting security of intruders.

Upgrade the intercom

A communications management application that enables SIP-based communications between operators and intercom devices can enhance collaboration. With embedded video-based communication your administrators can share live video and better respond to incidents. They can communicate with teachers in classrooms, visitors at entrance points, or even directly with the school board.

Think beyond simple alarm management

Choose an alarm management system that provides your administrative staff with new levels of situational intelligence, visualization, and complete incident management capabilities. It can help your staff make the right decision when faced with routine tasks or unanticipated situations.

Lower maintenance cost and cyber vulnerabilities

Not all systems can be updated in lockstep with new releases. But staying up to date is a critical part of a strong cybersecurity strategy. Look for a unified physical security solution that performs regular system health checks and ensures that your system is safe, until you're ready to upgrade to a newer version.

Parking is part of your campus

Automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) systems automate license plate reading and identification, allowing administrators to track who enters school grounds. It also helps manage parking lots and enforce parking by controlling the entry of unauthorized vehicles.

Don't forget the buses

Using a fleet monitoring feature, schools can easily track bus routes, driver behavior, and most importantly – children's bus boarding and disembarking activity, helping ensure that students get to and from school safely. 

Simplifying elementary and high school security

Moving away from the traditional approach of having multiple independent systems, to one with a user interface that displays all possible physical security functions as one seamless experience, lowers maintenance costs and empowers your school administrators. It gives them the information they need to be more efficient, make better decisions, and help keep everyone safe.

To learn more about Genetec solutions for K-12 schools, visit www.genetec.com/education

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