electronic access control

Exciting News From Axis Communications – Device Manager Extend is a Major Innovation!

Device Manager ExtendBy David Strickland, Vice President of Kenton Brothers

Axis recently announced a huge innovation that will impact Axis camera users all over the world. Innovation is one of Kenton Brothers core values and we use the tagline “Innovate or Die” all the time. We enjoy seeing technology evolve and take the next step. In this case Axis took a huge leap!

Device Manager Extend

Axis rolled out the Axis Device Manager Extend tool that will help users worldwide manage all of their Axis Communications devices. It’s an easy-to-use utility tool that allows users to interact with AXIS devices in real time and make updates from a single dashboard. This is a huge advantage for enterprise level commercial surveillance systems.

Axis Device Manager ExtendThe New Axis Device Manager Extend will give you real time status awareness of all devices across all sites. It also gives you an inventory of all devices and if there are any anomalies. The dashboard provides warranty information and if components are reaching end of life. You can even determine the replacement model and start to budget for new equipment. The dashboard also allows you to export a list of all your devices including serial numbers, MAC addresses and model numbers.

Device Status

A user can get real time device status including firmware, cybersecurity status and how applications are working on the device. You can access your Axis devices remotely, giving you centralized control of your security platform. You can discover the firmware of your devices and then push the updates to your entire platform in three clicks. (This used to be a device-by-device task that would take days or weeks to accomplish.) You can remotely fix many problems without the expense of rolling at truck.

Have you ever updated a device’s firmware and found a problem?

Axis Device Manager ExtendAxis Device Manager Extend will also allow you to roll back firmware updates if an issue pops up. Before you upgrade, the manager will analyze your system and make recommendations on what firmware versions to use during the upgrade.

How about Cybersecurity Control?

You can now control device settings remotely for the entire platform. You can require password changes, turn off anonymous access, turn off port forwarding and log every interaction with every device. Using the tool will ensure and maintain compliance and consistency across your systems. (The key word being consistent.)

The best news about this tool is that it’s available today! Whether you’re an IT Professional trying to stay on top of a 6,000 camera commercial video surveillance system or a business owner trying to make sure your 16 camera system isn’t creating a cybersecurity risk, this tool is for you!

Please give us a call to learn how you can deploy this amazing, innovative tool today.

Project Spotlight: City Union Mission

By Alana Hanly, Security Consultant at Kenton Brothers

City Union Mission LogoMany natives recognize City Union Mission as one of Kansas City’s long-standing organizations committed to ending the cycle of homelessness and poverty for the underserved men, women and children in the area. Since 1924, City Union Mission has run, operated and flourished in part through the donation and assistance of many individuals, churches, groups, foundations and businesses that have a heart for the poor and homeless in Kansas City.

Recently, City Union Mission reached out to many integrators in the area seeking proposals on how to help their organization, now occupying 14 different properties, keep their people, property and assets safe. We are so fortunate to have won their business and the opportunity to show them how it’s done: two large projects each completed in a single month. That’s the KB Way.

One Building at a Time? Not Kenton Brothers

City Union Mission Project - 2022In order to upgrade multiple facilities, most organizations have to go through the process one at a time.

For City Union Mission, their first priority was their Admin Building. Initially they had an idea of the direction they wanted to go for access control at this facility, but ultimately decided that a Gallagher Security solution was the platform they wanted for their facilities. For this project, Kenton Brothers was tasked to electronically secure 16 doors and their vehicle gate at this location. On the surface, that might seem simple enough, but there are no projects without hurdles.

For this particular project the obstacle was understanding and organizing all of the key players to develop a complete solution that encompassed the most important mission objectives. Our Senior Security Consultant, Kevin Whaley, worked extensively with City Union Mission’s IT and Security team to ensure the final plan would meet their current and future needs. Upon completion of the project and following up with the CIO, Mark Rondaeu shared, “The Gallagher System is just impressive, and when we have questions about anything your team is quick to answer. Your team really knows what they are talking about.”

From Kansas City to Warsaw

City Union Mission Project - 2022While we were working on the Admin Building Project, the City Union Mission team also tasked us with their next important location: their Youth Camp.

The Youth Camp covers over 800 acres! The City Union Mission Camp in the Ozarks is a place for children from low-income families to get away, learn and grow in a positive setting. For them, having a good surveillance system that allows them full viewing coverage of their critical risk points was crucial. Kenton Brothers installed a Hanhwa Techwin commercial video surveillance solution that can withstand the fluctuating outdoor climate of the Midwest. We also recommended a maintenance plan to ensure their investment lasts.

This project required close coordination with City Union Mission because of the tight deadlines we needed to meet along with the various players that were in charge of the completion of the many project milestones. Like creating flawless rows of Tetris, the project management team had a lot of people putting a great amount of effort into what became a great result.

Sometimes our most remarkable project moments take place after a project is finished.

It’s not often when reviewing a project with a customer for feedback that we hear their most memorable part of it was our billing. This is something we rarely hear about when getting post project feedback. But as the project completed and City Union Mission paid off the investment of their new systems, it came to our Accounting Department’s attention that we were actually overpaid! When speaking to Mark about this, he declared, “When your team called us and let us know we overpaid, I went to our [leadership] and told them we cannot do business with anyone else in the area. To have such high integrity means so much to us! And because of that, we look forward to a long partnership with Kenton Brothers.”

At Kenton Brothers, we’re proud to partner with organizations as compassionate as City Union Mission. This project was a great reminder why Customer Focus and Integrity are some of the core values we live by.

Thank you again to City Union Mission for a wonderful new relationship and a successful project.

City Union Mission Project - 2022 City Union Mission Project - 2022 City Union Mission Project - 2022

Does your access control have a WOW factor?

By Neal Bellamy, IT Director at Kenton Brothers

Does your access control have a WOW factor?Access control is typically a Ho-Hum discussion. Who gets access to your doors? When during the day do they get access? Do you want pictures on your badges? What doesn’t get discussed often is how access control can make it easier to manage your facility. Ease of use is vastly different across access control platforms. Your decision on access control software can significantly affect how you manage your facility!

First, let’s start with site plans, or maps. 

Suppose you have someone that is watching your facilities, like a guard, SRO, or facility manager. In that case, a site plan can give you a visual representation of your facility and its security at a glance. For instance, in Gallagher, the site plan can show you if all the doors are open or closed, locked or unlocked, the last person who scanned through the door, whether it has been propped open or even forced open.

Does your access control have a WOW factor?If your Gallagher system is integrated with your camera system, the site plan will show you nearby cameras on the site plan. Likewise, if the intercom system is connected, the site plan allows you to talk to the person at the intercom, all through one interface.

Since Gallagher has a built-in intrusion system, showing the alarm status as well as arming and disarming can all be done through the site plan as well. Finally putting it all together, for facilities that are actively monitoring their system and you have an alarm where a door is forced open, or any other type of event, the alarm manager can show you on the map where the event is taking place, any cameras in the area, whether the alarm is armed and the last person who swiped through the door.

Although a common phrase at Kenton Brothers is that security and convenience don’t mix, mobile credentials are the exception.

Does your access control have a WOW factor?From a convenience perspective, mobile (or sometimes called Bluetooth) credentials can be issued easily through a web portal or software via text or email. Mobile credentials can be issued from hours and hundreds of miles away. From a security perspective, mobile credentials are already more secure than most physical cards. Usually, the cards have to be activated by the user, which makes cloning harder. In some instances, the credential is tied directly to the access control system and has a more unique identifier. Then on top of the already more secure credential, they normally can be combined for a multi-factor authentication like face id, fingerprint, or pin number.

Mobile credentials come in a couple of flavors, two independent systems for mobile credentials and access control, which is a little less convenient, and one combined, or integrated, system which is easier to use. Gallagher offers all of these convenience and security features. Furthermore, five mobile credentials come with every system so you can try it for yourself!

The next WOW! factor component is a mobile app to control your system from afar.

Does your access control have a WOW factor?Mobile apps are split fairly well among access control systems. Systems that have been around for decades are struggling to convert their very robust systems to also include a mobile app that has basic functionality. Newer systems that might have only been around for 5-8 years may only have a mobile app, but lack deeper access control features you might need. Gone are the days when our workforce comes in at 9 am, takes an hour’s lunch, and leaves the office at 5 pm.

People are working the hours that work for them, their family, and their business. This means visitors might come at all hours, people could get locked out while walking their dogs or stepping out for a late-night snack. A Mobile app gives authorized people the ability to allow approved staff into the office from anywhere with internet access. Good mobile apps also allow viewing and disabling cardholders as well as arming and disarming alarms.

Gallagher offers all of these features and even adds an evacuation process where you can account for everyone quickly, in case of an emergency. Just like mobile credentials, Gallagher includes one mobile app connection for each system.

Does your access control have a WOW factor? Does your access control have a WOW factor?

Gallagher is releasing new features constantly.

Does your access control have a WOW factor?There are some new features that we haven’t been able to use yet, but look great. The first is a VoIP/SIP server. Without getting too technical, most IP intercoms now are basically IP phones installed next to a door. Each have basic capabilities to call another IP phone. The Gallagher implementation offers the ability to answer intercoms, directly through the Gallagher app. While this won’t replace full integration of intercom systems, it will start to replace intercom integration where the end-user only needs a few intercoms.

The next new feature is a client web application, this new application allows users to connect with Gallagher over a web interface, rather than the full client or mobile app.

Although not a feature of the Gallagher software itself, the supply chain issues continue to haunt most access control providers.

Getting readers and access control boards is extremely difficult with backorders measured in months. Some manufacturers are quoting anywhere from 12 – 50+ weeks to get the product. However, since Gallagher manufactures their own products, including the plastics that go around the components, and they control most of their supply chain, Gallagher has no shipping delays. The most important WOW factor is that it can actually be obtained!

If you want to know more about how you and your company can take advantage of these WOW factors, give us a call!

How secure is your access control platform?

By Courtney Emra, Lead Customer Service/Sales Assistant at Kenton Brothers

Gallagher - Award WinningWe all know that the perfect security solution doesn’t exist. But we must always do our best to provide strong security for our people, property, and possessions. Did you know that in just 60 seconds, a simple $10 device is able to copy unattended, lost, or stolen key cards? This effectively leaves a wide open door for hackers to enter your company, systems, etc.

Gallagher has won several awards for their cyber security solutions. They perform various testing procedures and public information regarding these tests can be found on CVE. Included in those resources, they also have a free Security Health Check tool that helps you understand and identify weaknesses within your system, hardware and even users.

Let’s take a look at “The Four Horsemen of a Security Breach” from Corey Russell, a System Engineer with Gallagher.

1. Network

It doesn’t matter how much you’ve spent on your system if you leave it wide open for people to find on the internet. The system itself is solid, but if your access control is out there, there’s a good chance some usernames and passwords wouldn’t be hard to come by. Secure your networks, keep them up to date, and make sure you have email phishing training; your IT admin will thank you. If at all possible, take your access control system to a private network. Seclude it on its own island like Tom Hanks in ‘Cast Away’.

2. Hardware

Gallagher - Award WinningSo, you have your network secure? Great! Now what kind of hardware are you using? Something as simple as a plunger switch on a cabinet can be bypassed and let someone short the lock to the back door. Do your cameras still use ‘username’ and ‘password’ for the login? Did you put resistors in line with the reader you hung on the wall? Lastly, did you leave the keys in the cabinet lock because Steve keeps losing them? Get Steve a retractable key chain and make sure your hardware is as secure as your network.

3. Software

With our network secure and our hardware locked down, let’s talk software. We need to make sure we have complex passwords and, no, ‘P@ssw0rd’ is not a secure password. Make sure software is kept up to date. Look to use a platform that puts security first and offers additional tools to secure your network and hardware.

4. People

How secure is your access control system?This one is the hardest. People are predictable… until they’re not. Training staff and enforcing policies can be difficult. That’s why having a system that can help you mitigate the exposures people are sure to cause is a must.

Gallagher offers something called competencies which restrict people from even entering certain areas without valid, up to date certification on their record. Out of the box you can utilize broadcast notifications to get important messaging out to everyone with a push of a button, control how many people can be in one area, or how long any person can stay in that area. Track assets utilizing the readers already on the wall. The list goes on and on. Can your current security platform do that?

Now that you have a pretty good understanding of what’s happening in the threat landscape, do you still feel confident in your current system? We would love to do a commercial security audit of your system and help you plug any holes we find. Just give us a call!

Finally! A commercial security solution built for small to medium sized businesses.

By Neal Bellamy, IT Director at Kenton Brothers

Gallagher SMB ProductsAccess Control systems seem to be designed for 2 scenarios. Either they’re designed for hundreds of doors with a very large feature set or 1-2 doors with very few features. And finally… an access control vendor has entered the space with a product that fills the gap. Gallagher has introduced their “SMB” line.

The Gallagher SMB Line of Products

The Gallagher SMB line uses many components of their enterprise line. They’ve kept a few of their enterprise features, and added a lot more to make their products easier to use and manage with just a smartphone. Let’s dive into the features.

The SMB line has many features, just like its big brothers. The system combines access control and intrusion detection capabilities, just like their enterprise line. Although the panels are designated for the SMB line, the same architecture is used. This makes it versatile in the field. The system also uses smart fobs and Bluetooth credentials just like its big brother.

Resource: Gallagher’s SMB Solution Brochure

The SMB line adds many convenience features that are necessary for the SMB space.

First, the system is server-less and connected to the cloud. This means that you don’t have another server to maintain and can access the system from anywhere you have internet access.

The system updates itself. You will always have the latest features and security fixes. Since it is cloud-connected, you can add and remove people and credentials from your mobile phone. You can also check to see if the system is armed and arm or disarm it from your mobile device.

Imagine being at a conference across the country and being able to arm your intrusion system in the middle of the night, because an employee forgot to do so when they left the premises. If you need to send a friend to check on your business, you can add them as an authorized person and assign a Bluetooth credential for instant access.

Multiple sites can be managed from one mobile app. This allows you to have multiple stores or locations that can be managed with one app and accessed through one fob or mobile credential. Speaking of Bluetooth credentials, an unlimited number of them come packaged with the system.

Case Studies: Kāwhia Primary School, Huntly College Old Boys Rugby Football Club, Hamilton City Gymnastics,  and Chesters Plumbing.

The Gallagher SMB line also offers options to only pay for what you need.

The intrusion system, by default, is self-monitored. This means that you get alerts through your mobile app and you decide if there is a real threat and call the police if necessary. However, if you want an option to have the system professionally monitored, that’s also an option. Access control can be licensed for 1-4 doors, 5-8 doors, or 9-10 doors per site, which allows you to size the system appropriately for your needs. The system has options for accessing the internet through the network, Wi-Fi, or even 4/5G cellular connections.

Kenton Brothers has already deployed the Gallagher SMB solution with great results.

The Gallagher SMB Solution fills the gap in security offerings between a single door at a single site and hundreds of doors at multiple sites. If you would like to increase your security while having a system that’s simple to manage without breaking the bank, give us a call. We would love to talk with you to see if the Gallagher SMB Line is the right answer for your commercial security needs.