Michael Eisenberg   |   June 13, 2019

Wide-Eyed Security for Cannabis Companies

Nine Top Security Considerations for 24x7 Coverage
Mike Eisenberg is CEO of Digital Guard Force, a company that provides remote guard services to commercial, industrial, and residential buildings. An entrepreneurial visionary, Eisenberg is harnessing video analytics and AI-powered security…

The Cannabis Risk Management Challenge

Security in a cannabis facility is a highly charged risk management environment.  Across the chain of value—from growers to dispensaries to retail outlets. Therefore, it’s imperative for cannabis cultivators, infused product manufacturers, medical dispensaries, and retailers serving the recreational segments to understand their obligations concerning safety and security. Facilities, assets, and operations all require active measures to ensure that safety and security planning is practiced, and that compliance requirements are audited and maintained on an ongoing basis.

Today, remote guarding is one of the most powerful and cost-effective solutions today for on-site security. The fee is billed as a monthly operating expense. This article highlights how remote guarding approaches improve security including forensic search management with significant operational savings.

So – let’s get at it. Here are 9 top-of-mind issues that cannabis companies should consider when conducting due diligence for a remote guarding security solution.

1. Is the Solution Provider Expert In Compliance?

Security planning and risk management are of the utmost importance to cannabis business owners. Therefore, source a solution delivered by experts in all state and local regulations as well as laws and policies that continually shape the legalized cannabis industry. Look for compliance solutions founded upon risk management protocols to ensure business continuity, loss prevention, and legal compliance. Such protocols provide full facility review and compliance audits complemented by a broad portfolio of remediation actions to address any compliance gaps. Compliance solutions include tailored security and employee manuals, policies, and documentation. In addition, it should provide live and remote guard training that exceed licensing and use requirements.

2.  Can the Service be Tailored To Your Company’s Needs?

Business models are quickly evolving for the fast-growing cannabis industry, and every business has unique requirements. Look for a solution provider that can address your specific needs with custom-developed physical security service models designed to support different facilities and locations.  A customized service model aligns with the current cannabis industry regulations relating to physical security requirements that conform to local regulations.

Cannabis cultivating facilities and dispensaries have become a key focus for security regulations in states where cannabis is legalized. These may include video / camera surveillance; perimeter detection systems; physical perimeters (fencing, etc.); alarm systems; video analytics; artificial intelligence; lighting systems.

3. How Advanced and Up to date is the Security Equipment?

Security technology is continually evolving, and those who understand how to breach that technology continues to advance their knowledge as well. It’s of paramount importance to consider a solution that is cutting-edge and continually growing via a vital and well-funded R&D organization.

Choose a remote guarding solution provider that will design a unique security system for your facility; that can oversee installation, monitor the system both remotely and with live guards; and that can maintain physical and software-related aspects of the system on an ongoing basis. The solution should provide or allow for 24 x 7 365 day remote monitoring services - using either web or mobile applications. That way, cannabis business owners can rely on continual monitoring - both in-house and by the remote guard provider - at all times.

What's more, digital video recording capabilities are a must; and in compliance with regulations, must be able to store video records according to state and local requirements.

At a minimum, ensure your security solution includes:

  • Monitored alarms to protect against multiple threats
  • Dual infrared and full-color cameras
  • Integrated video analytics for threat detection
  • Crash and smash protections
  • Mobile app management

4.  Do You Get Historical 16-18 Month Forensic Video Monitoring Research?

To ensure your video surveillance can stand up in a court of law requires you to have forensic-grade video, which can be archived for at least 6 to 18 months. Your solution provider should deliver a video surveillance system that is reliable (no recording gaps), enables quick access, and produces high-quality images and footage. 

5.  Is Your Solution Provider’s Security Personnel Thoroughly Vetted?

In addition to remote security technology, a comprehensive solution incorporates physical security consisting of uniformed and ununiformed armed and unarmed guards to serve executives and any other company individuals who might face threats.

Your solution provider’s guards and security professionals must pass stringent background checks surpassing the security personnel screening requirements of each state. A training regimen all armed and unarmed guards must be rigorous with a laser focus on - professionalism, competence, vigilance, and discretion.

6.  Do They Offer Employee Monitoring?

In the cannabis industry, unfortunately, there is risk from within any organization.  Inevitably, the facility may have significant cash on hand as well as, of course,  cannabis and cannabis-derived products; these pose significant internal risks and threats, added to the obvious external risks.

These unique challenges mandate that only the most highly qualified, trained and experienced individuals are suitable for consideration as OSS security personnel. A solution provider must also provide background checks as well as 24/7 employee monitoring at the cannabis facility, which is a powerful deterrent against internal theft or robbery.

7.  Does the Security Solution Provider Reduce Your Liabilities?

A comprehensive remote guarding solution helps cannabis facility owners reduce liabilities and concerns related to security guards on the property. It can lower a company’s dependence on security officers, and the chances of them getting injured or killed on the job. Instead, highly-trained live agents address intrusions in a low-risk manner. This reduces legal exposure.  Employees rest easier as well, knowing that a remote guarding center has them covered.

8.  Can The Security Solution Provider Save You Hard Dollars?

While live guards are the staple of the traditional security system, it is a costly investment that has significant limitations.

Guards can get distracted, they take breaks, they need to eat, but most of all, they have limitations. Humans cannot monitor every element of your system.

Source a provider who can leverage best-in-class video analytics, artificial intelligence, a remote- guard center, and live guards to deliver a vast array of technology-powered services, which ultimately results in hard-dollar savings. Here’s a snapshot of what a remote guarding ecosystem should provide:

  1. Perimeter Protection - automatic intruder detection, indoor & outdoor
  2. Loitering Detection - automatic alerts for suspicious people and vehicles on site
  3. Vehicle Blacklist - automatic alert on specific vehicles approaching
  4. Object Protection - detection of removed objects (e.g., art, furniture, equipment)
  5. Congregation - automatic detection of crowding people
  6. Fall Detection - automatic detection of fallen a person
  7. Illegal Parking - detection of a car at forbidden parking
  8. Car Access Control - automatic entrance by license plate
  9. Free-flow Access Control - free-flow access control based on facial recognition
  10. Car Guard - detect people approaching or loitering near a specific car
  11. Virtual Bodyguard - remote escorting of residents
  12. Blocking - detection of blocking cars

9.  Are They Able To Offer Proactive Security Solutions?

Your cannabis facility’s security needs are constant, requiring a technology that never sleeps, never misses a trick and transforms your security from reactive to proactive. You need a system that is continually monitoring and alerting – suspicious activity, malfunctioning cameras, irregularities, and whatever breach may be on the horizon. This level of security is a total win-win enabling live on-site guards to be far more effective - responding only to real threats.

Bottom line: When conducting due diligence on a remote guarding security provider, get a head start by ensuring the provider can meet or exceed these top-of-mind security concerns – especially with regards to threat assessment, security planning, compliance requirements, and risk mitigation protocols. Keep your eyes open for remote guarding that supports and multiplies the impact of your on-site security people, processes and technology.  This is security wide-eyed 24/7 that doesn’t blink.


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