McGraw-Hill consolidates and upgrades security
McGraw-Hill consolidates and upgrades security

Oct 1, 1998 12:00 PM

The publishing industry provides us with communication, information and education in the form of newspapers, periodicals and electronic publishing. Publishing companies house not only people, but also equipment and data that must be protected. Such is the case at The McGraw-Hill Companies, headquartered in New York City.

McGraw-Hill is a global publishing and financial services company with brands in three core businesses: financial services, which includes the Standard & Poor's company; educational and professional publishing - McGraw-Hill is the world's largest educational publisher; and information and media services, which provides business-to-business information on aviation, construction, health care, energy/utilities, chemicals, plastics, computers and telecommunications. Through the publication Business Week, the company claims to reach more people than any other business magazine in the United States. The McGraw-Hill Companies has 430 offices in more than 30 countries.

Director of corporate security Bill Fernhead, a 22-year company veteran, is in charge of worldwide security. Prior to his current position, Fernhead was a sergeant in the street crime unit of the New York Police Department. At that post, he helped develop decoy tactics involving police officers in disguise on patrol in areas prone to robbery and mugging. "Mugable Mary," who became a media star in the early 1970s, reported to him.

At McGraw-Hill, Fernhead is responsible for all security operations at the company's world headquarters, and other New York City facilities. He serves as an advisor for security at other locations. His responsibilities also include ensuring the safety of company executives traveling abroad. The New York facilities are currently in the process of being updated by PEI Systems to a Sensormatic Software House Secure 800 access control system. The system's proximity cards are separate from employees' ID cards. Why? "Because if the card is lost or stolen outside the company, no one knows where it belongs," says Fernhead.

McGraw-Hill is currently spread out over eight New York City locations. However, it is in the process of consolidating into three locations: 1221 6th Avenue (world headquarters), 55 Water Street and 2 Penn Plaza. At world headquarters there are approximately 80 Motorola Indala card readers. Currently, the company is giving up floors at the headquarters facility, and moving some departments to 2 Penn Plaza where the Secure 800 system, including 100 card readers, has been installed. Card access points include main elevator lobby entrances on each floor, freight elevator lobbies, computer rooms, telephone system control rooms and other technical areas.

The company is installing the Secure 800 system in the Wall Street area's 55 Water Street building. The facility will interface, as does the 2 Penn Plaza operation, with the world headquarters facility. Turnstiles will be installed in the lobby because the company will have 15 contiguous floors and its own bank of elevators.

CCTV is used at reception areas within the buildings, and in certain high-tech locations such as the company credit union, cashier areas and company parking facilities. Elmo pinhole and regular cameras are used with variable focal length Tamron 13VG lenses in wedge housings. An American Dynamics speed dome is used in the parking garage.

When necessary in cases when thefts have occurred, Fernhead uses covert surveillance equipment such as cameras mounted in everyday office supplies. The security operation also conducts investigations - in most cases using in-house personnel. Another responsibility is conducting security inspections and audits of the company's larger holdings across the country. The central control room, located at headquarters, incorporates Robot multiplexers, and VCRs, monitors and switchers from American Dynamics. The New York facilities employ more than 55 security professionals including supervisors, managers and contract guards. Fernhead trains guards over and above training mandated by the State of New York. Each officer receives a minimum of two eight-hour, on-site training tours that include patrol and console operation. They also receive CPR and first-aid training, as well as training on in-house procedures such as filing accident reports, dealing with the public, recording hazardous conditions, and using communications devices. Key staff and experienced officers are trained in the use of the access control system.

Forever vigilant Recently, a team of three burglars entered the the McGraw Hill world headquarters building in the early morning hours before employees arrived. They "jimmied" open a reception-area door on one of the company floors. Moving quickly, they used cable cutters to snip cables securing laptop computers to desks. The computers were placed in artist portfolio cases and carried out of the building.

"They were able to enter and exit the building easily because it is a multi-tenant structure," says Fernhead. "Using our CCTV equipment and the building's elevator cameras, we were able to produce excellent images of the thieves. We then 'staked out' the lobby, apprehended the perpetrators when they returned, and turned them over to the NYPD."

Another successfully handled incident also involved the theft of several laptop computers. Fernhead explains, "Over a period of months, a number of laptop computers were reported missing from a particular area. We planted three laptops in an office near that location, and monitored it with a covert surveillance camera. The thief turned out to be a temporary employee, and was apprehended attempting to steal one of the planted units." Fernhead says the perpetrator was actually caught under surveillance on a return visit to the office. He continues, "The thief had lifted one laptop. However, he returned in a short while to exchange it for one he felt was a better model. He was turned over to the police and is doing time."

A third successfully handled incident involved a theft of greater proportions. "Publishers destroy out-of-print or unsalable books on a regular basis. A book-destruction vendor that The McGraw-Hill Companies retained was diverting the books into the used book market. He was peddling not only our books, but also books from other major publishers - and making millions of dollars at it. He was selling the books to used-market wholesalers at a fraction of the retail price of the latest editions. McGraw-Hill salesmen were discovering these books at college book stores," recalls Fernhead.

Fernhead mounted an investigation, and set up a covert surveillance operation of the book-destruction company. Not long after, a truck was observed leaving their warehouse with books originally marked for destruction. How did this illegal operation work? "The destruction company would scan the bar codes of each book to determine if the books had a value on the used market," says Fernhead. "Any books that did were put aside, and moved out the back door for sale to wholesalers. The mistake they made was that they used a van that had a window in it, and the McGraw-Hill name on the boxes was clearly visible." Fernhead's men followed the van to another location where the books were off-loaded onto another van which eventually delivered the books to a book store in Newark, N.J.

McGraw-Hill, along with other publishers, recovered more than two million books. The destruction company was taken to court, along with 17 other defendants. The defendants made large monetary settlements with McGraw-Hill.

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