5 Ways You’re Wasting Your Money on an Alarm System

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You might be wasting your money on that home alarm system.

That might not sound like something a security company like Secur-Tek should say to potential customers. But yes, we’ll say that. Here is why: We believe in alarm systems as a large part of your home security. While we install high-quality alarm systems, we know that you are just as much a part of your home security as the alarm.

You might be wasting money on an alarm system if …

  1. You don’t set the alarm. About one in every 36 homes in the U.S. will be burglarized this year. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, financial losses from burglaries increased between 1994 and 2011. Alarm systems have been proven to decrease the dollar amount of items stolen. But only if you set the alarm.
  2. You don’t use the stickers or sign as a warning. Homes with alarms are less likely to be targets; those stickers and signs are a good way to deter them from even trying to enter your home.
  3. You don’t test the system. Our home security systems are high quality. But technology sometimes fails. Be sure to call us each month using your system so we can run a test and make sure everything is functioning properly.
  4. Your system isn’t monitored. You may have inherited a home alarm system that no longer has a contract for monitoring. Although the noise of an alarm may scare off those who enter your home, it’s vital that you have a company monitor those alarms so that a police officer will check for forced entry. Monitoring is also useful in case of a fire or carbon monoxide alarm.
  5. You leave windows open. Thirty percent of burglars entered a home through an unlocked door, window or other opening — no force necessary. Windows are a favorite, especially those left open in warmer months and obscured by bushes or buildings. Many lower-priced alarm systems do not activate if someone enters through an open window. If you don’t install glass-breaking alarms or alarms on the windows, be sure to at least close and lock your windows while you are not home.

Help us protect your home by keeping your security top of mind. That way your dollars — and your belongings — aren’t going out the window.

7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Security Company

Home Security Image

A security system is one important way to keep your home or business safe. Security systems can deter crime, but you also want to make sure your security starts with scrutiny of the company itself.

When deciding which company to choose, be sure to check them out by asking these 7 questions:

  1. Are they insured? Any proper security company will have insurance to protect all parties.
  2. How do they choose employees? Are the employees part of the company or are they contractors? Whether your business needs security officers and guards or your home simply needs someone to install the system, a security company’s employees should undergo vigorous background checks. After all, the person installing your system will have access to your home and its contents. Background checks should include a criminal history, the sex offender list, and the employee should have multiple references.
  3. Are the company and its employees licensed? In the State of North Carolina, any person, firm, association, or corporation engaged in an alarm system business needs to be licensed and all service and installation technicians need to be registered.
  4. What is the company’s response time? If you need emergency assistance, you want help as soon as possible.
  5. How much will the service cost? You will ask this question naturally, but be sure to confirm installation costs, service costs, and fees. Some companies advertise one cost but charge you another.
  6. Do you have a contact person at the company? Or is there customer service available 24/7? When you have a question or concern, you shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to manage it.
  7. How does the company document any incidents that require your attention? Depending on your level of security, this may not apply. But if so, be sure the company has a policy in place, including logs and written reports. You should be able to acquire copies of those when necessary.

More questions about security? Contact us to find out about different options for security systems.

 

Four Reasons to Rely on 24-Hour Security Monitoring

Affiliated Central - Monitoring Center

Whether you’re fast asleep in your own bed in Raleigh or away on an international vacation, it’s important to know your home security system will work the way you expect.

One expectation most people have for home or business security systems is a response to the alarm — no matter what time it occurs. This 24-hour security monitoring means authorities will be notified as needed when the alarm is activated at your home or office.

Monitoring isn’t just to alert the police or fire departments. Here are some other advantages to making sure 24-hour monitoring is part of your security system:

  • True Protection — Some homeowners assume a burglar alarm making a lot of noise is enough protection. In truth, like car alarms, home alarms are often ignored by people nearby, who assume it is going off by accident.
  • Other Home Issues – While not as urgent as a fire or break-in, a gas leak can cause serious problems in your home. Monitoring systems can be set up to alert you in case of a gas leak or to let you know your freezer is no longer on — indicating a power outage.
  • Assistance — Monitoring systems can also notify people that you need assistance in case of a fall or other personal accident.
  • Sleeping Easy — Monitoring means someone is always keeping an eye (and ear) on your home or business. Many security system clients say knowing someone is there offers peace of mind, making it easier to sleep at home and while away.

How Monitoring Works
Secur-Tek works with Affiliated Central to monitor your home or business. The team at Affiliated Central is CSAA Five Diamond Certified and uses the most up-to-date technologies including live digital video. The company has installed a redundancy system for its telephone and automation, ensuring dependability.

Secur-Tek, Inc. does not require a long-term monitoring contract when you have your home or business connected to our monitoring services.

While most security companies offer 24-hour monitoring, some companies may consider it an add-on feature. When contacting a security company to keep your home or business safe, be sure to confirm you are receiving the service you deserve.

Security Tips at Christmas

Santa Holding Stack of GiftsIt’s the most wonderful time of the year with the kids jingle belling and friends coming to call. There’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, presents to be buying, and lots of fun for all!

But, a word to the wise: Even though you may be like most people who are enjoying the holly jolliness of the season, don’t get so lost in the festivities that you forget some of the harsh realities of the world in which we live.

It’s unfortunate that there are folks out there who will and do take advantage of other people’s situations, including their distractions. So be mindful of what’s around you and what can possibly happen.

  • Your perfectly positioned beautifully decorated Christmas tree with all its brightly colored lights and exquisitely wrapped presents underneath can draw compliments as well as the attention of burglars. In recent years, there have been reports of burglaries during the holiday season. You don’t want to come home from an outing to find that someone has broken into your home and made off with all your gifts.
  • Speaking of Christmas decorations, if you put up outdoor decorations use an outdoor outlet in lieu of pulling cords through a slightly opened window for a power source. Burglars will find the easiest access to your home, and a cracked window is simply too hard to resist.
  • When out shopping all the attractive sales, try not to laden the backseat of your vehicle with all your goodies. This can be a big temptation to passersby.
  • If you’re an online shopper, you still need to be cautious with your packages. Be wary of deliveries left at your door. This is another invitation to passersby to casually walk up and take a peek or take the entire package. Leave instructions for the deliveries to be dropped off at a time when you or a neighbor will be home to receive them.
  • In this modern age of social media, refrain from “checking in” while you’re out and about. This alerts friends and possibly friends of friends that you’re not home. Also refrain from posting news of extravagant purchases… also a broadcast to people and an invitation for the criminal elements in your extended circle.

Even though there are realities to consider, it is the holiday season and it is a time for joy, peace, love and togetherness. Enjoy the season but be mindful at the same time.

If you’d like some professional help with securing your home and assets during the holidays and throughout the year, there are security companies that offer a variety of options, from the simple to the complex. Secur-Tek is one of those companies and a consultation is always complimentary. Contact us at 919-387-1800.

Halloween Hootenanny & Home Security!

PumpkinYou know it’s Halloween time when there’s a slight chill in the air, the leaves have begun to turn and fall, and there’s the frenzy of ghoulish-super-hero-ninja-giant-banana-princess costumes vying for space among the Christmas decorations!

Like most of your friends, family and neighbors, you’ve probably decided on the costumes, purchased the candy corn, chocolates, and pretzels, and am waiting ever so patiently for October 31st to arrive so that you can begin the trek around the neighborhood, just to get home and see who has gotten the most candy and treats. While trick-or-treating can be a fun-filled adventure, a time where family and friends can gather together with a shared agenda, it is also a time that opens your home up to criminals.

Vandals, burglars and other like characters know that you won’t be home, not just from a visual perspective, but this is one time where they can ring your bell and have a reason for doing so. Before you go out with the kids, make sure that your home is safe and secure. Don’t make the mistake of assuming your most valuable possession is safe because you’ll be just around the block – always be aware of your home security. Lock your doors and windows.  Set your security system.

Take the few minutes before you go spookify the neighbors to help ensure that you’ll return to your home just the way you left it.

And have a safe and fun-tastic Halloween!

IP Video Surveillance—A Step Above CCTV

IP CamerasWhether for your home or your business, knowing that you have the right security in place will help give you peace of mind. CCTV systems are one of the preferred security measures for both residential and commercial use and may be set to operate continuously or for a specific time period, with the video feed(s) can be controlled from one central location.

CCTV systems have been used in such applications as crime prevention and traffic monitoring for motor vehicles or for people (such as in schools or office buildings). Studies have found that the use of surveillance systems has a definite impact on negative activity.

With technology ever on the move, surveillance systems have changed for the better. IP video surveillance is one of the newer types of surveillance systems available to residential and commercial users.

What is IP Video Surveillance?

Like CCTV systems, IP video surveillance records events. However, IP video surveillance is completely digitized, using an IP camera with the video distributed over an IP network. Benefits of an IP surveillance system include:

  • Easy installation and user-friendly
  • Better quality images than standard CCTVs
  • Easily distribute recordings via email
  • Easily store video contents
  • Viewable, storable and manageable via mobile applications or web applications, from anywhere, anytime

To learn more about how your home or business can benefit from using an IP surveillance system, contact Secur-Tek at 919-387-1800.

Advantages of Having an Access Control System

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWikipedia defines access control as: the “selective restriction of access to a place or other resource.”

On-site security is extremely important. Whether it’s your business or the neighborhood’s community pool, no one wants unauthorized persons entering the property. With access control, you can help reduce the risk of unwanted visitors or even disgruntled former employees.

If you own a business or manage a property where people come and go, you might consider looking into having an access control system installed so that you can control, restrict or give authorization to specific people.

Why choose an Access Control System?

Access control systems are software-based and can offer a wide range of security solutions.

The access control system’s electronic key is harder to copy than the traditional metal key that one could bring to the local hardware store to duplicate. It would take a pretty tech-savvy person to copy a keycard. In addition, the keycard can be monitored. If it got lost or stolen, you have the ability to quickly and easily remove it from your system and issue a new card. As the system is computerized, you can access it from anywhere, anytime. The advantage here for businesses or property managers is that you don’t have to worry about someone making copies of keys and you don’t have to change locks when keys are lost.

Access control systems can keep track of employees’ comings and goings. You won’t need a separate time-clock. In addition, a few minutes of your time allows you to program keycards to authorize entry into only the areas designated per person. Gone are the days of having a ring full of keys for entry into different offices.

For more information on how to secure one of your most valuable assets—your business or property—with an access control system, contact Secur-Tek at 919-387-1800.

How secure is your home network?

hackersWe call it The Internet of Things. And it’s very likely that you have it in your house: you know, the connection of electronic devices to the Internet so that you can have access to them. It could be your baby monitor, your home security network, your heating/cooling system, your coffee pot or your refrigerator—all these things can be connected to the Internet so that you can check in and/or make adjustments to them via your computer or smart phone. The Internet of Things allows us to be connected to most everything these days, making it more convenient for us to access and control our devices from almost anywhere there is an Internet connection, as well as monitor our homes and the goings on inside.

No doubt the Internet of Things gives you peace of mind, knowing that you can check in on your baby from another room or while you’re out. It allows you to adjust the temperature in your- home, so that it’s that perfect 68 degrees when you get home from work. Or you can lower the temperature of your refrigerator so that your favorite beverage is chilled when you walk in the door. You can lock or unlock your doors from another location. The ease of it all is amazing, isn’t it?

Let’s take a minute, however, to play devil’s advocate. If you can access your home, others can, as well. The Internet opens the doors for many great things; yet at the same time that it opens the doors for you, it also presents the opportunity for hackers to get inside your home and take control just as you would. A hacker could take control of your home security system and disable your locks or cameras. A hacker could take control of your baby monitor and speak through it. That same person could take control of your computer and use the installed camera to spy on you.

A recent article in the News and Observer highlighted the risks to using companies that don’t  know what they’re doing – the non-experts that have got into the security game purely to make money.  So, how can you protect yourself and your family against these invasions of privacy?

To protect yourself from hackers, you need to make sure you have a system that is secure. Choosing a professional security company to install your systems is the best route. Security professionals can make sure that the equipment you use in your home conforms to safety standards and that any data you transmit over the Internet in order to control your devices is encrypted. They can set your system up so that the Internet of Things is convenient and secure, minimizing your risk to a hacker’s intrusion.

For more information on securing your family and home, contact Secur-Tek at 919-387-1800.  All consultations are complimentary.

Security & Home Automation