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New UL Guidelines Address Working from Home

Aug 10, 2020 10:30:00 AM

Underwriting Laboratories - or UL for short - has begun the process of revising UL 827, The Standard for Central-Station Alarm Services. The proposed changes will address the ability of operators to work from home, specifically during the pandemic.

The New Normal

A temporary solution was reached months ago during the start of COVID. However, many assumed this would be a short-term ordeal, and that these regulations would only be required for a minimal amount of time. Well, as the days continue and there is no end in sight for the pandemic, UL has had to create a task force specifically to adjust their verbage to accommodate the new normal: working from home.

The proposed changes take words like “should,” and make them words such as “shall.” Currently, the revisions have undergone public review and the UL/ULC Joint Virtual Workplace Task Group plans to meet online to apply the changes from the feedback that they received.

The Changes

The nod to COVID is undoubtable here, but also allows for other extreme events such as weather or civil unrest:

  • The provisions for off-site monitoring shall be permitted when there is a regional or national disruption event.
  • Operations must return to normal operation within fourteen (14) days of the disruption event being declared over.
  • There shall still be staff supervising the central station so that equipment can be maintained and supported, such as receivers, automation systems, emergency generators and so forth.
  • The connections between the station and the remote sites shall be through a secure pathway, such as a virtual private network that uses a minimum of 256-bit AES encryption.
  • There shall be a form of multi-factor authentication in order to gain access to the station's network and automation system.
  • The remote operator workstations shall not be used for personal use and shall be the property of the monitoring company.
  • The location of the remote operators’ station shall be set aside within the home so that there would be no unauthorized viewing of the information on the screen and that the operator would not be distracted during the work period.
  • There shall be a means of continuous communications between the remote sites and on-duty managers.

It is worth noting that UL, ULC and the various affected users of the standard deserve acknowledgement for their rapid response time on this. The initial language was even produced within three weeks.

While we are sifting through these unusual times, it's always reassuring to know that there are companies out there that have your back. Reach out to AvantGuard today to find out what we can do to help you. 

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