Central Monitoring Values Consistency

Central Monitoring

Central Monitoring Checklists Create Consistency For Customers

Judy Randle, president of Central Monitoring, gave alarm dealers advice on creating consistency through checklists and manuals at last year’s Honeywell CONNECT, in the session “Run your business like a franchise: Why policies, processes and procedures are important.”

The benefit is that franchises—Randle gave chain restaurants as an example—can make customers feel more comfortable because they’ll be getting the same products and service at any location. An alarm company can use checklists to achieve that consistency.

“The processes and procedures are important,” Randle told Security Systems News. “If everybody’s doing it differently, then the customer’s not getting that common, comforting experience,” she said.

“When a technician goes into someone’s home, we want them to check everything … but we also want to make sure that they cleaned up their work area, and they left information with the customer, and took the time to thank the customer.”

These steps can be forgotten sometimes, Randle said, especially when a technician is in a hurry. “Checklists don’t mean we don’t know how to do it, it just means that we have so much else going on,” she said. An attendee pointed out that the goal is to manage the processes, not the people.

Checklists and manuals “definitely” create accountability, Randle said, which is another key benefit. They present employees with written examples of what’s expected of them.

When first creating checklists, Randle advised companies to start by documenting tasks they do daily, as those are often the most important. After that, gradually move on to tasks that are less frequent—perhaps weekly, then monthly duties.

Central Monitoring started as a wholesale central station in 1984; Randle became a partner in 1991. Central Monitoring became a full-service alarm company in 2000.

The company has 15,000 accounts, she said—about two thirds are wholesale, the rest are Central Monitoring customers. The company monitors in 14 states in the Southeast.

Put simply, Written protocols, like checklists and manuals, help create accountability.

Article Provided By: Security System News

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Biometrics and the future

BiometricsThe future of Biometrics

Most respondents to Security Systems News’ latest poll said they install biometrics solutions at least occasionally, and some readers raised concerns about the technology’s cost, false acceptance rate, and security of biometric data.

Biometric solutions have barriers to overcome, according to 45 percent of respondents. “Reliability (consistency) remains a concern and, speaking for what I’ve seen in my geographic area, there still seems to be a bit of reluctance from users to have their fingerprints ‘on file,’ as well as the issue of personal hygiene due to the physical touching of a device,” Rick Zies, senior account executive, security solutions, SIEMENS Building Technologies, wrote.

Another respondent said the biggest issue “is the need for a separate database for the biometric data.”

One reader said the need to safeguard biometric templates could hinder growth in the market. “As biometric information can not be changed, like passwords can, I see a reduction in biometrics. Once the information has been stolen, there is no way to get it back or change it.”

Sixty-seven percent of poll respondents install biometrics regularly or occasionally, while the remaining 33 percent said their company does not.

Twenty percent said biometrics are best used for high security applications.

“There’s plenty of interest in biometrics amongst the uneducated,” said Mike Wilson, commercial sales engineer with Vector Security. “When I share my experiences and the cost of these systems, my customers usually change their mind. Too bad, because the advantages of a reliable and cost-effective biometric solution would be many.”

Thirty-five percent predicted that biometrics will become more prevalent.

“I believe biometrics will become standard in the coming years, as pricing goes down on readers. Currently, we are using them only at high security applications but the idea of biometrics for access will eliminate the ‘I lost my card’ syndrome,” Warren Bujol, VP of corporate security for IBERIABANK, said.

Some respondents said that biometrics can save a company money. “As our society moves away from the need to have physical items like paper money and access cards that only drive cost, we are seeing a migration away from traditional forms of security to virtual forms,” one respondent wrote.

Almost half of respondents—47 percent—said facial recognition and iris scan technologies show promise for gaining ground in the market. “Facial rec is the most sophisticated and versatile biometric. It can be used for access control, threat alerts, concierge application in retail/hospitality, law enforcement,” said another reader.

Twenty-nine percent said fingerprint technologies will continue to be the most common biometric. Twenty-four percent said they expect other biometrics to rise or believe it’s too soon to tell which biometric technology emerge as the leader in the next couple of years.

Article Provided By: Security System News

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Alarm Monitoring Service: On-Call Emergency Responders

Alarm MonitoringHome alarm monitoring is one of the most essential services of your home security setup. After all, even if you have the best home alarm system that catches every burglar, this won’t do you much good if no one responds in your time of need. This article discusses central monitoring stations, how they work, and things to ask your alarm provider before signing on the dotted line.

Central Alarm Monitoring Stations

Lots of the top alarm companies will go on and on about the number and quality of central monitoring stations (the station that take your alarm alert and pass it to local authorities), and the inferiority of central monitoring stations other companies use. The bottom line is that you want an alarm company that doesn’t simply use a good central monitoring station(s), but does a good job of installing your system to your needs (or in the case of a self-install, helps guide you through the process), answers your security questions, and makes you feel comfortable with the service you are buying. You want your alarm system setup correctly and with adequate security measures (i.e. doesn’t allow cut phone or internet lines) to begin with. And just because someone has multiple monitoring stations, does not mean those stations are as reliable as the one that the companies that choose one excellent one use. See below under Rapid Response and Criticom for more info on the choice in monitoring station made by Frontpoint and ProtectAmerica, our top two contenders for best security system.

How Important Is A Monitored Alarm System?

According to research studies, homes with a monitored security system are 2.2 times less likely to be burglarized, and business with a monitored security system are 4.5 times less likely to be burglarized. In addition, 85% of police chiefs recommend the installation of monitored security systems.

Rapid Response

So who does our winner, Frontpoint, use? They use Rapid Response for their central monitoring service (the center that processes your alarm event and dispatches local authorities). With a 40,000 square foot headquarters facility in Central New York, Rapid Response Monitoring is listed by Underwriter Laboratories and certified by Factory Mutual. Rapid Response is one of fewer than two dozen Central Stations approved to monitor fire alarms in New York City. In addition to fire alarms, Rapid Response also monitors burglary, supervisory & medical signals, and offers GPS tracking/monitoring. Rapid Response performs monitoring of military, commercial, and residential accounts as well as provides answering service capability for its Dealers. Video, voice and data are processed by highly trained personnel to ensure error free handling of calls and signals. Check out the Rapid Response website for more information.

Do Alarm Companies Monitor The Communication Path?

A very common misunderstanding of alarm monitoring service contracts is that people think that alarm companies monitor the communication path between the alarm in the home or business and the actual Central Monitoring Station. This frustrates a lot of homeowners who assume, instead of reading their contract or asking the right questions.

Typically, you are paying your alarm service provider to process, treat and respond to alarm signals originating from your home that the Central Monitoring Station actually receives.

You are not paying for your alarm company to monitor the communication path, unless this is clearly stipulated in your contract with the associated fees necessary to perform this additional service for you.

Program Your Alarm To Send Self-Tests

Alarm panels can be programmed to send daily €œself-tests€ to the monitoring station once every 24 hours. There are some alarm companies who will notify their clients if their alarm panel €œmisses€ its daily self-test. However, some alarm panels which I have taken over were programmed for a self-test only once every 30 days.

Questions To Ask Your Alarm Provider

I suggest that you ask your alarm service provider to explain what happens if your alarm panel stops €œcalling€ your monitoring station and find out exactly when you will be notified (if at all).

If you have interactive services and your alarm panel is programmed for daily self-tests, you can receive a notification on your cell phone each time that your alarm panel calls the monitoring station, reassuring you once a day that a transmission test has been successfully made.

You should test your motion detectors, door and window contacts on a regular basis to ensure that your home is properly secured. I recommend activating the “door chime” feature so that your keypad(s) make a tone each time your doors and windows are opened and closed. If you open a door and don’t hear a chime, it’s time to verify the contact with your security system.

Alarms and Sensors vs Complete “Home Security”

First and foremost, I think I need to differentiate the term €œhome security system€ from the phrase €œsecurity alarm system€. An alarm system is just that, a system of sensors strategically located around the property designed to pick up motion or some other stimulus and trigger an alarm inside the home, alerting the residents and potentially the local authorities as well. A home security system goes much further than that, although it does include an alarm system within the whole panel of services.

Home Security Monitoring Is Key To Home Security Alarm Systems

Alarm Monitoring

Home security is primarily focused around the concept of €œhome monitoring€ now. Again, a system of sensors and possibly cameras are integrated into the home and then connected to a network that is logged into a central command center. This center is manned 24 hours a day and seven days a week by staff that are trained to respond to triggers in the system and react accordingly. This may include calling the fire department if a heat sensor or smoke alarm is triggered. It may include alerting the homeowner themselves if the temperature of the house drops below freezing and the residents are away so the homeowner can make arrangements to avoid having pipes burst and other problems. It also includes monitoring agents to contact ambulance services if they see a homeowner is injured in the home or an alert is sent via network. The constant watch of an all-time security blanket is a powerful tool and a huge selling point of modern home security systems.

Home Automation And Interactive Monitoring Are An Added Perk

More than just security is being sold by these home security companies. The ability to control your home remotely and have access to what is happening there in real time is extremely alluring for many Americans, especially those who travel frequently for work. They can be told via text message or email alert on their mobile device when a particular door has been opened and a code has been entered into the system, potentially indicating that one of their children has come home.  The possibilities available via home security systems with a networked home monitoring and management system are increasingly limitless as we become more and more connected everywhere we go.

Wireless Communication Signal To The Monitoring Station Is More Secure

Lastly, the technology side of things, many systems are switching to 100% wireless equipment, eliminating the need for extensive wiring and increasing the potential for securing and secluding the hardware required to make the system work. But, it is important to note that hard-wired with supervised wiring or a hybrid alarm system (which is a combination of both hard-wired and wireless components) are just as secure as a wireless alarm system so long as they are installed by a true security professional. But, a top priority no matter how your security system has been installed (hard-wired, wireless or a hybrid of the two) is a wireless communication signal to the monitoring station (such as a long-range radio or cellular communicator).

Article Provided By: A Secure Life

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Convenience stores not yet widely EMV compliant, lack security tools

EMV compliantEMV Compliant

Several convenience store operators admitted they were not EMV compliant during the National Association of Convenience Stores convention in Las Vegas, and said they wouldn’t be anytime soon.

Which is hard to understand seeing that the U.S. accounts for about 25 percent of the world’s credit card transactions, it accounts for a disproportionate 50 percent of all fraudulent transactions, which is why these new chip-based credit cards (also called EMV cards, short for Europay, MasterCard and Visa), are being rolled out to consumers.

Store operators also expressed difficulties acquiring the proper equipment to ensure point-to-point encryption and tokenization beyond EMV compliant – with some of them saying the companies that process their payments and POS providers either don’t offer the options or that they are offered at an additional fee, according to a report in Data Breach Today. 

Many convenience stores don’t have the same bargaining power that large retailers have to renegotiate or break contracts with processors and point-of-sale (POS) systems and service providers because their transaction volumes are low.

But smaller merchants might find some relief by contacting their acquiring banks, which might be concerned with the plight of convenience stores, for assistance to gain leverage to renegotiate contracts that include consumer protections, the report said.

Some operators said that as small business, the shift to more secure technologies would prove onerous, with some 10 percent of the nearly 100 who attended one session at the conference saying they had no plans to become compliant.

Article Provided By: SC Magazine

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