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Washington, DC watchdog brings security ideas to NY.

It's President's Day and by noon-time Kastle Systems' monitoring center operators ahve already responded to 10 fire alarms, a dozen tampers and intrusins, several stuck elevators, over a hundred propped doors and long access indications and spoken with thousands of visitors who have appointments at offices that are open while the buildings are closed.

This is a just typical morning for a command center that is guarding more thatn 650 properties. There is no panic, just a quiet murmuring as callers are greeted politely and computerized signals are dealt with efficiently by the highly trained operators.

Behind a glass wall, racks of computers blink religiously, testing themselves in what is one of the coolest spots in Kastle headquaters. Several levels of back up generators are part of the company's ongoing attention to its customers.

Kastle Systems is also now concerned about the safety of New York City's offices and is bringing its distinctive method of securing office buildings to one of the most dangerous cities in the world.

Kastle is completing an installation at the Louis Dreyfus propert at 527 Madison Avenue and more are being contracted by other top owners and mangement companies.

Cushman & Wakefield, JMB Properties, Charles E. Smith Management, The Olive Carr Company, Boston Properties, Jones Lang Wootton, GalbreathRuffin and Boston Properties are among Kastle's Washington D.C. area customers where they guard 74 percent of the office properties.

Kastle also operates in Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago and Sydney, Australia for a total of about 1,200 properties worldwide. Each city has its own command center.

"The tenants in New York City do not realize they're operating in buildings that just aren't as safe as buildings in Washington, Houston or Dallas," says Kastle Systems President Zachary C. Fluhr, an MIT grad and former ATT exec.

The reason Kastle is so successful, says Fluhr, who also holds an MBA from Chicago, is that it has developed a system that is unduplicated in the industry.

The Kastle system provides security through perimeter control, which must allow people in; tenant secruity, which keeps people out and has intrusion capabililty; a life safety element to de tect fires and respond to elevator emergencies; and building operations protections that provide early detection of technical failures that could harm equipment.

Additionally, buildings where HVAC system can be individualized for tenants are candidates for the Kastle TONE control that permits off-site operation by touch-tone telephone -- a way to create the right climate when heading for the office on nights and weekends.

"That totality of capabilities is something nobody else provides," says Fluhr. 'It's an amenity for an office building to provide the Kastle Systems security to its tenants and in some cases, money can be saved.'

Founder Gene A. Samburg agrees: 'It makes that building more leasable than a building without a Kastle System. '

The two have been friends since their days as undergraduate lab partners in electrical engineering at Cornell University.

Samburg, a former Westinghouse Electric security expert who developed the system that guard the White House, says his mother has a saying, 'they should ... ' So if 'they should' make a locked door open automatically from the inside, Kastle does it.

If "they should" make one electronic key to fit the front door and the tenant's door, they do. Samburg says Kastle has so many 'they shoulds,' the system becomes transparent to the user.

"It's hard for us but easy for our clients,' he explained, since they have to work hard to make the devices easy.

Kastle cards, for instance, swipe upwards in what Samburg calls a natural motion. The in-house research and development staff is constantly modifying equipment and methods for particular user situations.

"We don't sell this stuff and run, we put it in and we monitor and operate it," Samburg observes. "So there is a gigantic additional incentive to make sure it works."

Samburg learned the analytical method of threat analysis from working with the Secret Service securing places like San Clemente and the Johnson Ranch. Today, Kastle employs these procedures to assess and meet the physical and operational requirements for each individual building.

A recent installation was made to President Bill Clinton's transition headquarters and the then presidentelect carried his own swipe card and Kastle ID number, as did Bush during his transition period.

One Thanksgiving parable is that if the Watergate complex had been secured by Kastle - as it is now -- the 'plumbers' never would have gained access to the Democratic National Headquarters suite.

Joan E. Mazzu, now vice president of operations in New York and a longtime Washington, D.C. Kastle representative, says every building has its own personality. "We treat every building differently because every company operates their building differently and every tenant operates differently than another,n she explained.

When Kastle's security experts design a system for a particular property they take into account what will work in the tenants' spaces as well. 'We recognize this is a commercial office building with a lot of needs for a lot of different people," Mazzu said. "It's not like your home."

One ThanksgiVing weekend 22 years ago, office building owner Stanley Westreich was playing bridge with Samburg's father-in-law, when he received a call saying that in spite of security guards, every tenant had been broken into.

Westreich and Samburg joined forces to design the first Kastle System specifically to guard office buildings. But Samburg realized he needed devices that were not available off the security store shelf. So he made them.

Today, Kastle continues to create new systems and devices in-house to meet customer's needs and works in conjunction with companies such as Sensor to individualize equipment.

Tenants, through their Office Knight system, can have individual doors custom Controlled and may also protect objects such as computers and artwork. "Whatever they feel is important to their business," Mazzu added.

Mazzu says Kastle does not merely monitor premises but is in constant touch with owners, managers and tenants. "Once a building becomes a Kastle building and the system is operational, a very important part of the system is keeping people abreast of security concerns," she said.

As a part of the security package, Kastle monitors fire command systems through its off-site central station as required by New York Fire Department regulations. Kastle systems links up with control boards already in place.

Patent pending on-site controls also allow engineers or building managers to test fire panels without setting off false alarm. "It is convenient for the building engineer, is virtually foolproof and eliminates false alarms," said Fluhr.

Should any breach of security occur in a Kastle property, signal is received in the local Command Center that tells he system operator exactly what has been breached and here. A databank of office plans and device locations can trace the area under review onto the screen as well, if necessary.

"We will be able to direct the guard to the precise place where the. breech of security has taken place," Fluhr noted.

Should an employee be fired, that individual's key access an immediately be revoked by computer and the key will no longer work. In fact, if the fired worker is allowed into he building later by a friendly security guard, the key is no longer work in the tenant's lock.

A computerized record is made, however, noting an attempt was made by that person to come in with a revoked key - records the building owner and tenant can access by request to Kastle.

On the other hand, if someone hides within the space and tries to leave with equipment, as soon as the door opens, Fluhr says, "there will be a racket. We will ring an alarm and sound the siren and will take whatever action the tenant has worked out with us in advance. if there is an intrusion."

"It also enables tenants to secure themelves within a space and that provides peace of mind," Mazzu adds.

"Our major benefit to the owner and the tenant is deterfence," Fluhr summarized. 'A thief learns very quickly to respect a Kastle building and will take his business elsewhere."
COPYRIGHT 1993 Hagedorn Publication
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Title Annotation:Kastle Systems provides security services for New York, New York
Author:Weiss, Lois
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Feb 24, 1993
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