Reporting And Transparency In Security Partners

When seeking a security partner, there are a number of things to look for but a high degree of transparency in both their work and reporting should be near the top of the list.

There are obvious reasons why transparency and accurate reporting are vital; you want to know that your security partner has your company’s best interests at heart, is charging a reasonable price, and is reliably meeting KPIs. But excellence in security today goes beyond this.

When looking to advise on monitoring solutions, installers will want to recommend a cost-effective and efficient solution. So, what should organisations and installers look for in their security monitoring provision?

The benefit of accessible and transparent reporting

 Leading manned guarding solutions today should have an accessible and intuitive customer portal through which clients can access relevant information about the services provided. Such portals are less common for remote monitoring solutions, but we believe that they should be one of the priorities of any provider.

These portals allow customers to access a host of information about the service in a single place. They make it easy for the client to get an overview of their premises and provision. The portals should be accessible on multiple devices, making access to information easier and faster. They will often allow clients to download their own reports rather than request them from the provider. This can streamline processes and improve customer service.

What to look for in a security portal

There are a number of elements that clients can hope for in a well-designed, well-performing security portal.

  1.  User friendly – Possibly the most important feature of a security portal is that it is user-friendly and easy to access. If the portal is not clear to use or certain features are not easily accessible, the client won’t use it. It should also be accessible on multiple devices including smartphones.
  2. Real-time data – Security today is data-driven. Portals are a place to collect and interpret that data. Elements such as site statuses and site use statistics can all be stored in one place and these should be regularly updated with real-time data to guide accurate decision-making.
  3. Current statuses – Alongside real-time data, the portal should show the current status of any onsite tech such as alarms and sensors. This can hugely simplify the process of checking in on what needs to be done. Currently, a faulty alarm or camera may trigger an email to all relevant people. If it is repaired or flicking on- and offline, this can result in multiple emails being sent. An online portal will immediately show the current status of the device, saving you from hunting through a series of emails.
  4. All the paperwork in one place – One of the biggest advantages of a security portal by far is keeping all relevant details in one place. Reports can be easily downloaded without having to send a request to the security partner. Invoices are collated in one place, and new equipment can be ordered with forms accessed through the portal.

When searching for a security provider, remember to look past the security itself. Communication and day-to-day planning have a huge impact on how well a solution will work for you.



The Benefits Of Remote Monitoring

Whether you are looking to secure a shop, office, warehouse, or any other premises, your security requirements have likely changed over the past year. Many premises have closed entirely, are open for much shorter hours or are functioning at much lower capacity.

Security officers have been in high demand in front of house positions to enforce Covid precautions in premises that are in use. Security systems, particularly, have been important for vacant premises. Fire, gas, and flood warnings alongside many others have been vital. As we move out the pandemic, the importance of technology in security will not diminish. Alongside these systems, remote monitoring continues to be a core element of most security provisions.

Cost effective and consistent

Remote monitoring is the most cost-effective way to have eyes on your premises 24/7. Having cameras signalling event alerts to a monitoring centre rather than a security officer onsite means there are always multiple eyes on the alarm boards so there is no chance of missing anything. An officer onsite could have another task to complete or become distracted for a moment which increases the risk of something passing unnoticed. Utilising remote monitoring allows for onsite officers to focus on patrols and other tasks that make the most of their skills.  With the continued innovation and falling cost of technology, there is no need to compromise.

Scalable solutions

As organisations move out of this challenging time, many are looking to make adjustments by scaling down or adjusting opening hours, for example. These changes are likely to continue for some time to come as we see business practices settling into the ‘new normal’. Remote monitoring systems are easy to scale up and down, adjusting camera numbers and the duration of monitored periods according to need.

When manned guarding isn’t the right option

Often, combining manned guarding with technology is a great option for tailoring a security provision but there may be cases where manned guarding is not an option. It may be that 24/7 manned guarding is cost prohibitive, that the risk of working through the night in certain areas is not worth the benefit, or that the client works with sensitive technology or data and doesn’t want outsourced staff onsite. Here, remote monitoring is the ideal alternative.

Our central monitoring station model is particularly valuable where in such scenarios, allowing the relevant authorities to be rapidly notified even without an officer onsite.

An obvious deterrent

Finally, prevention is always better than mitigation. Visible security acts as a deterrent to opportunists, who more often than not will simply move on to the next premises with less prominent security measures in place. Cameras and lights can make a huge difference to the likelihood of a building being targeted.

The reality is, there are many options out there for a security provision and when talking about something so vital, this can become overwhelming. Remote monitoring has numerous advantages that should not be ignored. It can be an effective, standalone security solution or work in tandem with manned guarding depending on the environment. Work closely with your provider. Ensure they listen to your needs and create an approach that is tailored to you.


Corps Monitoring Launches KeySafe integrated key holding solution

Corps Monitoring launches KeySafe – an integrated key holding solution

Corps KeySafe, the latest innovation from Corps Monitoring, combines the sophistication of a Sentrikey safe with the convenience of a nationwide network of accredited service partners to ensure quick site access, all managed by Corps’ state-of-the-art remote monitoring centre in Glasgow.

Corps Key Safe provides organisations with a C1-rated key safe, the highest-level security rating internationally which is used by numerous high street banks to secure their branches. Access to the key safe is by smartphone app, or by entering a one-day passcode. It provides valuable data such as a full audit trail of who has been granted access, when, and how long they stayed on site helping the organisation to understand their estate and understand problem areas.

For organisations needing a rapid site response, Corps KeySafe also includes a nationwide network of ACS accredited service partners enabling organisations to access local security personnel wherever they are in the UK.

The Corps Monitoring Alarm Receiving Centre in Glasgow provides a single online platform, giving a detailed and consistent audit trail across an organisation’s sites, from which reports can be generated and trends analysed.

“Gone are the days when security officers would have to carry keys or collect them from a secure office which could be many miles away,” says Rob Hill, Managing Director of Corps Monitoring. “Now, organisations can have a sophisticated key safe on site which ensures a quicker response as we can despatch the nearest security officer, or even grant access directly to contractors or the emergency services. Supported by our Alarm Receiving Centre, Corps KeySafe provides a one-stop-shop for keyholding across the country.”



Corps Monitoring Donates Laptops For Struggling Home Schooling Students

Corps Monitoring has provided numerous laptops to help colleagues across the business struggling with the challenges of home schooling their children without this essential resource.

Corps Monitoring has provided numerous laptops to help colleagues across the business struggling with the challenges of home schooling their children without this essential resource.

Corps has erased and reconfigured all the spare laptops within the company as well as adding Microsoft Office 365. This will help students and their parents to access home learning tools. In addition, where laptops were set to be upgraded in 2021, we have expedited that process, so even more laptops are available now, when parents really need it.

“The third lockdown and the second school closure within a year is a challenging time for every parent,” said Rob Hill, Managing Director of Corps Monitoring. “By providing parents who don’t have access to a laptop for their children with the necessary technology, we hope to ease the burden slightly. We’ve had a fantastic uptake so far and this has spurred us on to make even more resources available. Corps Monitoring is committed to looking after our people, and we will do all we can to extend our support where it is needed most. We’re in this together.”

Rob Hill

Rob Hill has worked for Corps Security since 2011 in a range of business development and commercial roles. He’s been Managing Director of Corps Monitoring since September 2019.

There are plenty of misconceptions when it comes to monitoring. What do you actually do?

We monitor a wide range of devices  – typically CCTV intruder or fire alarms, personal attack alarms, or even the detection of water or gas leaks, but really anything with a sensor that can transmit a signal over IP. We can patrol a site remotely using cameras and even confirm questions like whether the site’s broadband is working correctly. We also support organisations to grant remote access to buildings or sites.

The signals will come over the internet to our Alarm Receiving Centre in Glasgow and our specially-trained officers will receive an associated alarm and respond in accordance with a strict protocol which is specific to the site and the type of event. There’s a perception that it’s just people staring at walls of TV screens and live CCTV images. That’s how it used to be. Now it’s more about sensors, video analytics and artificial intelligence. Most camera systems will detect movement, and then communicate the signal to us, however some are now so sophisticated that they can tell the difference between a fox triggering an alarm (which we don’t have to worry about) and a person walking across a site, which might be cause for concern.

Our customers are both security installers (people installing camera and sensor equipment for an individual or organisation who need us to monitor them) and end-users (the individuals and organisations who already have cameras and sensors and want us to monitor them).

So monitoring is all about protecting property and assets?

Yes and no. Much of the work is about physical assets but we’re keeping people safe too – just like security officers in buildings do. We monitor several high net worth individuals, including TV and sports personalities who rely on the monitoring centre to not only to protect their homes but also keep their family safe. We also support people working alone who use personal attack alarms through our Corps Guard app. Through that we’ve helped people escape from very dangerous situations including an attempted kidnap and an attempted robbery.

You and your team must have experienced some memorable moments?

Yes, we’ve had almost everything you can imagine, both good and bad. On the more light-hearted side,  we’ve witnessed a drunk man falling over the wall into a site who then couldn’t get out. We had to inform the key-holder who went to site to let him out. Then there were some naked hippy types in Cornwall who were dancing through protected areas blowing kisses to the camera operators as they were issued audio warnings to leave the area. There was also an incident where a man armed with a rifle was seen on a customer’s site. We naturally reported it to the Police, who attended site with armed colleagues. He turned out to be a pest control officer commissioned by the customer to rid the site of unwanted pests. The customer had simply forgotten to tell us!

But our people also witness distressing incidences and we provide counselling support when this happens. One of our clients has a large cash and carry chain and we saw the staff being held at gun point with several armed masked men. We informed the Police and guided them into the site silently to ensure the safe release of the staff. Armed holdups are the most common incidence we come across and we work very closely with the Police across the country. But for us it’s about detecting potential offenders before they have the opportunity to commit crime so we can keep people and property safe.

How have you and the team adapted during Covid?

Customers’ working patterns have significantly changed. Many sites that were monitored only overnight are now unoccupied during the day so they need 24-hour monitoring. This has meant an increase in our workload whilst also having to ensure our team’s safety through social distancing and deep cleans between shifts.

What would you say to anyone looking to join the monitoring industry?

Join us! It’s a fast-paced industry that is always challenging but very rewarding. The single most valuable piece of advice would be to visit our Alarm Receiving Centre so we can show you what’s possible. You’d be amazed!

So, what’s the future of monitoring? Is there any new technology coming down the line?

All the time! There are constant improvements in cameras and technology. This is a sector which never stands still. Thermal imaging cameras, which can detect people with an unusually high temperature, are an example of technology being introduced into many buildings in preparation for the return to work post-lockdown. Over the past few years, we’ve also started to see automated access control around whether people are wearing the correct PPE, such as hard hats in construction sites, with signals notifying us if someone is flouting the rules. Analytics are also getting better all the time. We used to get lots of false signals for foxes, or tree branches in the wind. That’s much less of an issue today. Now our systems have learned to ignore people walking away from the camera but to focus on those walking towards a site or loitering. They’re becoming so intelligent and that’s where the future is.

Corps-Monitoring - Looking Back To Look Forward

January is always a chance to look back on the previous 12 months and look forward to the coming year and 2020 certainly gave us plenty to reflect on.

While the pandemic has undeniably been devastating too many lives and livelihoods, it’s also seen an enormous shift in the security profession. This year will see many of those changes permanently embedded into the way we do things.

Firstly – and most importantly – our people have been recognised as being essential workers, something that many businesses wouldn’t have thought about before. Security officers served on the front line of the pandemic and were a visible presence in empty buildings and those operating a skeleton staff. But less visible, but not less important, were those working in our Alarm Receiving Centre in Glasgow monitoring thousands of alarms and cameras across the country keeping people and premises safe and secure. Businesses now appreciate their security teams a great deal more and that change will be permanent.

While our monitoring teams support our customers, it’s important that we support them. Our teams’ wellbeing has always been our main priority but the pandemic has really brought this to the forefront. As a result,  our colleague portal has been improved up and now has a colleague wellbeing section that offers support on mental wellbeing, exercise and nutrition.

Like everyone else, our customers have needed to constantly adjust their security provision as the pandemic changed working practices. As part of being adaptable and flexible, we’ve seen officers change their shift patterns, often becoming more mobile. We’ve also been increasingly using our monitoring capability, as many customers complemented physical security officers with security technology. We believe this increased use of security technology will also be a permanent change, accelerating a long-term trend.

The pandemic has taught us a great deal. It’s sparked a new level of compassion and made us more united, collaborative, resilient and innovative. It has also elevated the importance of our frontline security workers – both officers and those in our monitoring centre. We have always been an advocate of the Living Wage and we will only beat that drum louder now. Security is not just about security anymore. It’s about keeping people and places safe and secure


Corps Monitoring Awarded Carbon Neutral Status

Corps Monitoring has achieved carbon neutral status after a drive to reduce carbon across the business while offsetting where carbon creation was unavoidable.

Carbon Neutral ­– also known as Net Zero Carbon – is used to describe the state of a company, service, product or event where carbon emissions have been balanced out by funding an equivalent amount of carbon savings elsewhere.  Over the past 12 months, Corps Monitoring has reduced its carbon in a number of different ways such as reducing its diesel fleet and air travel and cutting the use of paper. At the same time, Corps has funded green projects to offset its 477 tons of carbon. This includes a wind-based power generation project in Maharashtra, India which is helping to reduce reliance on coal while also creating more jobs. The project was suggested by Carbon Footprint, which awarded Corps Monitoring with its carbon neutral certification.

Corps Monitoring is also rolling out more electric vehicles and installing electric charging points at its Glasgow and London locations.

“Our move to being carbon neutral is to ensure we met the Streamlined Energy & Carbon Reporting scheme that came in last year. “But we wanted to go one step further and demonstrate that we’re carbon neutral,” said Mike Bullock, CEO, Corps Security. “As an organisation with a 160-year history, we take a very long-term view and we want to make sure the world is around for future generations to appreciate.”