Friday, November 12, 2010

Wauwatosa School Grant Would Partially Fund Better Security Cameras

A $500,000 expenditure by the Wauwatosa School District - plus a matching federal grant - would help keep Wauwatosa s schools safer and could set the stage for a more expansive safety and building management system across the district in the coming years.

The nearly $1 million project, expected to be completed by July, would add security cameras to schools across the district, as well as make school entryways more secure, said Jamie Price, district technology coordinator. The system also could be expanded to provide a hub to control functions like heating and cooling in buildings across the district. "It s important to understand that this is really just a foundational project," Price said. "The intent is to build on it in future years, both from a video surveillance and access controls standpoint."

The School Board still needs to vote on the plan, although the district s financial share was included in the recently approved budget.

The project started out on a smaller scale last year and was intended to be done incrementally, but a $492,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice s Community Oriented Policing Services program helped push full implementation up to this school year. Wauwatosa was one of eight municipalities in Wisconsin that received money through the grant program. The district has cameras and other features in place now, Price said, but the schools resource officers have said those systems are outdated and inadequate for the current school population.

Some of the new cameras - especially those placed in heavily traveled, "high-risk" areas - would be 180-degree cameras, meaning they would not have the 30-or 40-second-long blind spots associated with traditional panning cameras, Price said.

One of the questions that still has to be settled is who will get access to the surveillance system - and what form that will take. The Wauwatosa Police Department s dispatch center will have access to the system, but that doesn t mean there is going to be somebody watching the video feed all day long. "We don t have people sitting on these cameras and watching them all day, every day," Price said. "If there is an incident, it s very important from their perspective for them to be able to review that incident."


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Announcing: Security Week!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Report Says Private Medical Practices Lag Behind Hospitals in Data Security

Private medical practices lag behind hospitals in performing risk analysis and implementing information security controls, a survey by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) found.

According to the <em>2010 HIMSS Security Survey</em>, sponsored by Intel and supported by the Medical Group Management Association, 33% of medical practices said they did not conduct a security risk analysis of their electronic health records, compared with only 14% of hospitals. Overall, 75% of all respondents did conduct a security risk analysis of their organizations.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued rules, known as the Electronic Health Record Incentive Program, for healthcare facilities to qualify for incentive funds. One of the requirements is that hospitals and medical practices conduct a security risk analysis of their electronic health records. These organizations must then implement necessary security updates and correct security deficiencies as part of the risk management process to qualify for the incentives.

&#8220;As the survey results indicate, one-quarter of the sample population would not qualify for meaningful use incentives based on not having a process to conduct risk analysis. With almost 80% of respondents indicating that they would share electronically stored data outside of their organizations, healthcare organizations must ensure that proper security protections are operative and based on an ongoing risk analysis process&#8221;, commented Lisa Gallagher, senior director of privacy and security for HIMSS.

The survey also found that 17% of medical practices outsourced their information security function; none of the hospitals outsourced information security. Only 40% of medical practices used multiple types of controls to manage data access, compared to more than half of the hospitals surveyed. Medical practices were less likely to report that an instance of medical identity theft had occurred within their organization (17%), compared to those working for a hospital (38%).

Overall, 33% of respondents said that their organization had at least one known case of medical identity theft. About half of the respondents indicated that their organization spent 3% or less of their IT budget on information security, although federal incentives have increased the level of their security budget compared to 2009.

The survey polled 272 healthcare IT and security professionals, with one-quarter of them working for medical practices and the rest working in hospitals.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

N.Wales Scientists Help Build Airport Security Device

Scientists at Bangor University are helping develop new technology to protect air passengers from terror attacks. The scientists are working on sensor technology which they hope will detect explosives at airports.

They are part of Nanosecure, a European consortium of academics and industrialists developing an integrated system which will detect airborne explosives, narcotics, chemical and biological agents. The system will also be able to decontaminate the air from chemical and bio agents should some be detected by integrating with a building s air-conditioning units.

Chris Gwenin, from the School of Chemistry, said the group s aim is to integrate the new system with existing security measures at airports One of the consortium s partners is Amsterdam s Schiphol Airport where the units will be trialed.