The change to Daylight Savings at the end of October in the UK highlights that winter is on its way! Whilst we all get an extra weekend hour, it also means a bit more light in the morning at the expense of evening daylight. Even in the modern age, with our addiction to artificial light, this still makes outdoor activities more difficult and equally it is an important consideration for the management of security.
It is vital that any security system is able to cope with the time change and doesn’t offer any unwanted advantages to intruders.
It might sound obvious, but losing an hour of daylight in the evening can have a significant impact on a security regime.
Take a secure office for example, using a mixture of CCTV surveillance and human security teams to watch over the facility. Unless you are using night-vision cameras the CCTV system will rely upon natural light or electric lights to operate outside daylight hours. With the consideration of energy costs and green issues, many lighting systems are sensor-controlled, only being used when needed. This obviously makes it harder to view less well-lit all areas, particularly around the perimeter.
During shorter days this doesn’t just apply out of hours– mornings have less light as do the evenings, which affects staff/visitors that are arriving and leaving. Areas such as carparks or perimeter exits with lower levels of light can be a potential security issue, both to people and property. It’s vital that security systems, operators and teams adapt to these changing needs and prepare for potentially higher security risks.
Ensuring automated systems know the time difference
Many modern integrated security systems can automatically adapt to the time changes with pre-set changes. However, older systems or those that employ certain legacy components may not always adapt unaided. Equally, when the clocks go back one hour the same ‘clock hour’ is recorded twice (albeit in two different time zones – in the case of the UK that’s British Summer Time and Greenwich Mean Time), so it is vital that any security systems can register the difference.
An integrated security system (including CCTV, access control and intruder sensors/alarms) is based around the prediction and expectance of authorised visitors and shift patterns, as well as relative inactivity outside these times. Access control systems tend to take the lead through the working day, whilst CCTV and intruder alarms become the 'eyes and ears’ of security to track potential intruders outside of office hours. It only takes one component to be unaware of the time changes and the security network can be compromised.
It could be as simple as a legacy analogue CCTV camera showing the wrong time stamp – but this could well cause all sorts of issues and confusion when investigating a security incident for example.
Wider Security Needs
It’s not unusual for modern integrated security systems to be linked across a number of locations, including different countries and time zones. This is already a complex prospect, but when daylight savings are involved (some of which can occur on different dates), it can become even more complicated!
It is also worth mentioning that not all countries operate daylight savings changes, in fact many don’t use it at all - examples being Russia, China and Saudi Arabia.
All in all, it is essential that all security systems are operated with the changes in official time and shifting daylight hours firmly in mind – otherwise there can be worrying gaps in your normally stringent protection.