New Security Industry Association (SIA) member RaySecur has developed breakthrough imaging technology based on millimeter waves. The company’s MailSecur systems provide real-time 3D imaging to detect even the smallest threats. RaySecur is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and serves customers all over the world.
SIA spoke with Alex Sappok, Ph.D., CEO of RaySecur, about the company, the security industry and working with SIA.
Tell us the story of your company.
AS: RaySecur was founded by Eric Giroux with the recognition of an unaddressed and too-often exploited physical security gap affecting organizations each year and with a desire to develop solutions to keep people safe. Eric’s mission was to make security scanning technology available to everyone everywhere.
Following a long career in X-ray imaging, Eric understood the benefits and pitfalls of this long-established technology. While spending a year as an entrepreneur in residence at the National Optics Institute in Canada, one of the world’s leading optics and photonics research centers, Eric learned of millimeter wave (mmWave) technology originally developed for military and space applications.
Eric recognized that, unlike X-rays, mmWaves produce no harmful radiation yet provide the ability to “see through” items like letters, packages and backpacks and see items concealed within them.
“There was a huge disconnect in the market,” Eric said. “On one hand, you had technology like copiers and document scanners widely available at low cost to the mass market – and on the other hand, security scanners like X-ray systems were only available to a select few.”
RaySecur was founded to change that.
Today, our MailSecur scanners are used by the security teams of Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and even heads of state to screen incoming mail and detect dangerous items.
What solutions/services does your business offer in the security industry? And what makes your offerings/company unique?
AS: RaySecur provides a complete, scalable enterprise mail security solution. The foundation of this solution is the MailSecur scanning technology, which makes “seeing inside” mail and packages to detect threats as simple as operating a document scanner or copy machine. All MailSecur scanners are connected to the company’s remote support network. Staffed by former military explosives ordinance disposal (EOD) experts 24/7, RaySecur provides its clients with real-time analysis of suspicious items by some of the world’s leading threat experts where and when they need it.
RaySecur’s complete enterprise-level solutions scale easily across global organizations with multiple sites, each with varying risk levels and unique security needs to provide the following benefits:
- Detect more and smaller threats than X-ray scanners: Using safe mmWave technology, MailSecur detects all of the threats that X-ray mail scanners can – including more and smaller ones – and it is 300 times more sensitive than X-rays for detecting harmful powders and liquids, which make up the most common mail threats.
- 3D real-time interactive imaging: MailSecur’s exclusive 360° Rotation video imaging technology exposes mail contents instantly. Operators watch a live video as they move objects by hand in MailSecur, allowing full 3D dynamic imagining for detection of suspicious items compared to 2D static imagining with X-rays.
- Lightweight, portable, quick and easy to set up: MailSecur is about the size of a copier and can be set up on a tabletop in minutes. It can easily be moved within your facility or even to other locations. MailSecur is the only scalable screening solution that can be quickly and easily deployed across many sites and geographies to protect an entire enterprise.
- Safe for the operator: Using mmWaves eliminates exposing operators to dangerous X-rays. MailSecur operators do not need costly certification, and sites do not need licensing for radiation management and safety programs.
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designation: DHS has designated MailSecur as a Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technology and is the first mail scanner to receive such recognition. This designation provides both validation of the effectiveness of the technology and provides important liability protections to our customers.
- Simple and intuitive: If you are unsure what an item is, just rotate the package within MailSecur to view the internal contents from another angle. Grains of powder or liquid droplets can easily be seen moving or shifting inside the item. With MailSecur you can detect potentially dangerous items in just a few seconds, eliminating the need to do your mail screening in a remote location.
- Real-time expert screening support: MailSecur is backed by EOD expert remote support avoiding the need to maintain highly-trained experts on staff. Military-trained EOD experts are only a click or call away 24/7. All systems support remote login for our EOD experts, providing you with the same level of expertise as if our EOD techs were in your mailroom.
RaySecur’s patented security scanning technology is a paradigm shift because the imaging is dynamic — similar to ultrasounds, MRIs or CT scans, but at a fraction of the cost of those comparable technologies. As a result, it provides an accessible, scalable and, most importantly, highly effective solution for detecting more threats and smaller threats than traditional detection equipment.
What is something we might not know about your company – or something new you are doing in security?
AS:Mail has long been one of the largest unaddressed physical security gaps for most organizations. Consider the multiple layers of security, including cameras, checkpoints and guards used to screen everyone and everything coming through the front door of a building. Similarly, 100 percent of all emails are scanned for harmful and malicious content. Contrast these measures with the fact that in many cases, 100 percent of the mail gets dropped off at the back door and delivered to its intended recipient without even a second glance. Historically, this security gap has existed due in large part to a lack of effective, scalable and easy-to-implement scanning technology. RaySecur is revolutionizing mail inspection by eliminating cost and technical skills as barriers to affordable, reliable mail screening, and we provide a comprehensive mail security solution based on the Five Pillars that were described in our recent blog post for SIA that include:
- People: While your staff will be the first line of defense and the primary operators of MailSecur, RaySecur supplements them with 24/7 remote expert support to help interpret suspicious images and determine if they constitute a threat.
- Standard operating procedures (SOPs): We help companies develop SOPs for the proper inspection of incoming mail and packages across their entire organization, including high-, medium- and low-risk sites, how to detect threats and what to do when they are found.
- Training: RaySecur provides a comprehensive online mail security learning platform to enable your team to learn not just how to properly operate MailSecur, but mail security best practices. In addition to interactive courses, the platform includes up-to-date intelligence briefs and support to keep your teams informed of new and emerging threats as they evolve.
- Technology: RaySecur’s MailSecur detects more and smaller threats than any other mail scanner and is perfectly suited to high- and medium-risk sites. We have other products to enhance the security across your entire enterprise, including low-risk sites.
- Emergency response: When a potential threat is detected, RaySecur’s EODSecur team will help your people quickly determine how to handle it and escalate it to the proper authorities in keeping with your established SOPs.
What is your company’s vision, and what are your goals for the security industry?
AS: A third of major companies report receiving mail threats annually – most report more than one – yet most do not adequately screen their mail. Every person, package and backpack coming in the front door is inspected, but threats can easily enter via the mailroom. DHS defines mail security guidelines for 13 at-risk industries spanning from banks and financial services companies to health care providers and manufacturing organizations. Our goals are to make companies fully aware of the prevalence of these threats and provide best-in-class solutions to mitigate them.
What do you think are the biggest opportunities in the security industry right now?
AS: There is tremendous opportunity around delivering not just technology or a piece of equipment, but a complete solution. Combining technology with expert knowledge, context and understanding enables companies to deliver tremendous value not previously possible. One example is our EOD expert remote support, which enables leading threat experts to access our imaging systems anywhere in the world to provide remote analysis and interpretation as if they were physically on site. In many cases, we are able to resolve the situation in a matter of minutes or provide the support to escalate when needed.
What do you enjoy most about being at your company – and in the security industry?
AS: As a venture-backed technology company, RaySecur provides a fast-paced and innovation-driven culture, continually focused on how we can deliver better, safer and more effective security solutions for our clients. The best technology in the world is not worth much if it is not easy to use effectively, and we are relentless in our pursuit of delivering intuitive and scalable solutions that our customers love to use each and every day to keep their organizations safe. One of the most exciting things for me is seeing our customers interact with our system for the first time – that aha moment – where they hold an item in the scanner and immediately see what’s inside.
Something I enjoy most about working in the security industry in general is the diverse range of use cases – whether delivering solutions for the head of a government, high-profile political candidates in the U.S. 2020 elections or global organizations requiring a comprehensive enterprise solution – each case is unique and provides its own set of challenges and rewards.
What does SIA offer that is most important to you/your company? And what do you most hope to get out of your membership with SIA?
AS: The security industry, and security technologies in particular, are fast evolving, and SIA provides a platform to both stay abreast of the current developments and also contribute to the discussion. Organizations such as SIA play a key role in facilitating this exchange of information, which is vitally important. As a new member, we have already benefited greatly from SIA’s existing knowledge base and contributed via our recent guest blog post. We look forward to many fruitful engagements in the years to come.
The views and opinions expressed in guest posts and/or profiles are those of the authors or sources and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Security Industry Association.