Preparing for a move? Check out these helpful security tips!

You have searched and found your new home, the contract is signed, inspections completed, and now you are preparing to move your family near Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Here are a few ideas to help secure your new property and ensure your family’s safety and peace of mind at your new location.

Thoroughly acquaint yourself with the neighborhood:

Take the time to get to know your new neighbors and find out if they have a neighborhood watch group. If there is, find out when and how you can meet with them to introduce yourself and offer to be an active member. In addition, take the time to locate the local police, fire, rescue stations, and hospitals to understand routes and response times. Finally, acquaint yourself with any enjoyable features of the location like community centers (for example, Bond Park Community Center, Cary NC), pools (Triangle Aquatic Center), walking trails/parks (Umstead State Park) and review safe usage of these areas with your family.

Take inventory and fix/enhance the safety aspects of the property:

Check how well the lighting illuminates the entry, walkways, driveway, yard space and window areas around your house. Take the time to install additional lighting (motion sensor lighting is great) where lighting is not adequate. Then examine the landscaping for overgrown or poorly placed bushes that can give potential intruders a place to hide, especially near doors and windows.

Re-examine the doors to the exterior:

The safest doors for your home are built out of metal or with solid wood cores. Having a deadbolt in addition to your entry locks is a must. Be aware that sometimes the most aesthetically pleasing decorator doors sometimes offer the least amount of safety from intrusion. For example, glass panels in or next to the doors offer burglars easy access. There are many companies in the Raleigh area, such as The Aluminum Company of North Carolina, that can help you select the safest as well as stylish doors for all the entryways in your home.

Home and property security system:

Having a security system can give you peace of mind when moving to a  area and home. If a system is already installed, have it checked out to ensure it is functioning properly, has the features that you and your family use, and consider having it monitored. The window and door sensors may need adjustment, as well as the location and alignment of the motion sensors to ensure they are properly aimed and positioned for maximum benefit. If the home doesn’t have a security system, think about the benefits of installing one, as they are an effective method for ensuring your new residence will offer you the safety and security your family desires.

Moving is an exciting and stressful time. Secur-Tek is here to serve the Triangle area’s home and business security needs 

We offer a complimentary security consultation of your home/business property and offer suggestions on upgrading your current system or new systems that Secur-Tek has to offer. Please call us at your earliest convenience — either before you move (which is best so we can help you get your new home secure before your family arrives) or soon after. 

Secur-Tek is locally owned and operated in Apex, NC, offering home and business security, monitoring, automation audio, and central vacuum systems. Our service area includes Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Chapel Hill, Clayton, Garner, Holly Springs, Durham, Raleigh, Morrisville, and Pittsboro in North Carolina.

Pet-Friendly Protection for your Home

Ever wonder what your pet is getting into while you’re at work?  Or wonder if they are doing something cute and you are missing it while you’re gone?  Wonder no more!

You can stay completely connected to your favorite furry friend by seeing, hearing, and talking to them whenever the mood hits you. Whether you are worried about them, or just need a break from your busy day, taking a few minutes to check-in on them and staying connected can make your day — and theirs go better.

With Resideo Total Connect Remote service, you can keep connected to your pet on an easy-to-use app — on your iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ device, or HTML5 website.

When custom installed by Secur-Tek, Inc. it will give both new and seasoned pet owners peace of mind by ensuring pets remain comfortable and safe when you are away from home.

With Secur-Tek’s Resideo Connect you can:

  • Check-in or talk to your furry friend anytime you want. If they look lonely or restless, distracting them by talking with them can be helpful and fun.
  • Have fun on social media — if your pet is doing something adorable or mischievous and you want to share it with your friends, you can take a screenshot or video of that activity.
  • Have increased peace of mind — monitor and talk with hired pet setters to ensure your special friend gets everything you want them to get. Or when you’re unexpectedly delayed, you can open locked doors for neighbors and friends to let your puppy out, feed, and play with them.
  • Ensure the safety of your pet and property — Total Connect can alert you, if you have detectors installed, for smoke, carbon monoxide, flooding water, or extreme temperatures. Additional precautions may include alerts for outside gates or certain cabinets containing chemicals being opened or left open.
  • Remotely adjust temperatures or lighting during the day and evening in the rooms your pet is located to ensure their continual comfort.

And, if you’re worried about the security sensors being set off by your pet – with Secur-Tek’s expert custom installation, you can rest easy in that the motion sensors can distinguish between your pet and intruder for pets (up to 80 lbs.) so Fido can roam freely around the house without tripping an alert.

Unleash your peace of mind with real-time alerts, live video, and best-of-breed solutions that help ensure the safety, health, and comfort of your pet.

The advantages of staying connected to your pet while away are many and varied, so let Secur-Tek help you think through this wonderful home/pet security advantage today!

To learn more, contact us at 919.387.1800  or fill out the form below.

Five Reasons to Install an Access Control System

 

If you are a commercial property owner, or responsible for controlling building access, you may be looking for ways to increase convenience while protecting business assets and employees.

Installing an access control system can reduce security risk. Most structures – commercial, business, and private have certain parts of the building where restricted access is desired. With access control, there is an array of system options so you can choose one that fits your specific needs.

Some of the specific benefits offered by these systems are detailed below:

 1) Protect Valuables

Does your building contain valuables? This is especially important for items that are easily transported, sold, or “fenced”. With controlled access keycards, you can identify who enters the space day or night. This information can help prevent items from going missing and help catch a guilty individual if this occurs.

 2) Control and Track Employee Access

What happens when an employee is fired or quits? With access control systems in place, the card or code they used to access the building or certain areas can be changed/deleted with ease, so they can no longer enter that space. You do not have to collect door keys from an exiting employee and there is no need to pay a locksmith to rekey the doors. With an access control system your property and personnel are protected from any unwanted intrusions.

3) Control Specific Access to Certain Areas at Specific Times

For most structures, every individual who enters doesn’t necessarily need to have access to every office, inventory/records room, lab, equipment/storage area, or even floor. For example, a business’s accounting department may have highly sensitive/confidential information that most people should not have access to.

In this case, an access control system is invaluable. It allows managers or owners to restrict access to those who should not be able to enter these areas. Another example could be maintenance or janitorial staff, who work at certain times and on certain days. You can program your access control system to restrict their access times to when they are scheduled to be there.

 4) Monitor Who is Coming and Going

With access control systems, you can have a full report of every door that opens for all areas throughout your building. You can check on who is accessing certain parts of the building and when they do it. If there is ever a dispute about something, you can easily pull up this information to help figure out what happened. You can also use the system to track employee’s worktime.

5) Remote Control

Secur-Tek systems make it possible for you to control the locks in your buildings using a smart device (i.e. tablet, phone, etc.). With this type of system in place, you can easily let a trusted individual in without having to meet them on location, or lockdown the buildings if an emergency occurs. This technology also allows you to add or remove credentials as needed.

 If you have responsibility for a structure and the safety of the people and items it contains, installing an access control system will be beneficial.

If you have further questions or are interested in having an access control system installed, please contact us at 919-387-1800 or check out our Access Control Webpage.

We will work with you to customize your access control system, so it is the most effective and cost-efficient for your unique structure and situation.

How a Smart Home Adds Value

 

A smart home can increase your safety and convenience to help you enjoy it!

It’s a new year and believe it or not, spring is right around the corner. Now is the time for planning those 2019 home improvements you’ve been thinking about. Installing smart home features is not only a great investment and wonderful convenience; it can give you greater peace of mind.  

How does it do that you might ask? Think about:

           Traveling– If you are a person that travels a lot – either job related or if you just enjoy exploring on the weekends — you can check on your property and valuables anytime you like. Furthermore, it allows you to let family/neighbors into your home to check on plants, pets and/or elderly parents you might have living with you.

            Maybe you have children that are at the age where you know they will be okay staying at home alone but just want the peace of mind and convenience of being able to check and monitor what is happening while your away. Or even let them in when they lock themselves out (as kids often do). Again, it is also a great way to handle the logistics of senior care or infant babysitting, freeing you up to do what you need to do.

            Beyond providing essential home security, smart home system can also save you time and money. Say goodbye to wasting PTO being stuck at home during one of those infamous “anytime between noon and 5 pm” delivery windows – just have us add a Skybell video doorbell to your home security system.

            When you have smart door locks, you can let people in to drop off deliveries or make home updates from your smartphone app. An exterior door camera lets you see exactly who is arriving, indoor monitors watch the progress while they are in your home, so you know everything that is happening. In addition, a Smart Home can start saving you money immediately. Your system can turn lights on and off and smart thermostat can help automate your temperature settings saving energy while making sure your home is comfortable when you arrive. You’ll be able to remotely access and control the thermostat, set up schedules, and receive temperature alerts, all through the app on your smartphone or tablet.

            It’s a Great Investment! Statistics prove that a home security and automation system can actually help sell your home. Coldwell Banker’s annual smart-home survey, published in January 2018, asked potential homebuyers about the importance of smart home devices:

                        63% want smart locks pre-installed

                        66% want smart home security cameras pre-installed

                        75% want smart smoke detectors pre-installed

                        77% want smart thermostats pre-installed

            Flexibility, with a Smart Home from Secur-Tek, Inc. – you can start with the level of features you would like and based upon your timeframes and resources, build on as you go!

As you can see, installing a Smart Home in 2019 can make sense from an economic, safety and convenience perspective. At Secur-Tek Inc., we have highly trained, reliable and friendly people to help you choose the features and level of Smart Home that is right for you.

If you would like to learn more about the Smart Home features offered by Secur-Tek, Inc. give us a call or fill out the form below.

8 Tips for Package Theft Prevention

Will you be receiving packages this holiday season?

Packages left on the porch/mailbox are vulnerable at any time of year, but the holiday season usually means there are a few more parcels arriving at your doorstep. A study from InsuranceQuotes that examines holiday hazards  notes there were approximately 26 million thefts of deliveries from doorsteps and economic indicators show online shopping is up over 28% so far for this holiday season over last year.

Whether you’re ordering gifts online for family and friends, or receiving them from others, you’re more likely to have packages sitting vulnerable on your porch this time of the year.

To prevent your deliveries being stolen, check out these EightTips for Package Theft Prevention. 

  1. Customize delivery. If the ordering system allows you to choose the time of delivery, select a time you know you’ll be at home.
  2. Get a smart doorbell.Swap your current doorbell for a Skybell and enjoy a higher level of safety and security with remote monitoring and cloud recording features. When the delivery person rings the doorbell, you can see how and when packages are delivered. No more interruptions during family dinner or missing important packages while you’re gone! You can also check for unwanted visitors at your doorstep.
  3. Deliver decisively. If you’re not home much, consider having the package delivered to your office or a friend or neighbor’s house for safekeeping.
  4. Hold the post. If your package contains very valuable items – Have the post office or carrier hold the package. Request UPS, FedEx and the Postal Service to hold packages at their facility for you to pick up later. UPS has created a service called Access Point that enables you to choose an alternate delivery location in your neighborhood.
  5. Alert a neighbor. When you are expecting a package and won’t be home, you can ask a neighbor or friend to keep an eye out for it. If you use Nextdoor.com or a similar neighborhood app you can let neighbors know if something has been stolen from your porch so they can keep an eye out and report suspicious behavior.
  6. Talk to family and friends who may be mailing your holiday gifts. Ask them to let you know when they send packages so you can watch for them.
  7. Light it up. Install outdoor lights. Your package is more likely to be stolen during daylight hours, but night falls early this time of year. Outdoor lights with motion or light sensors are a good way to keep unwanted people away from your home in any season.
  8. Monitored home security A home security system can do a great deal. If there are visible security features like cameras or alarms, potential thieves will be more likely to move along to a less protected house rather than risk getting caught by a security system. And you can even tie in your Skybell with security and automation features for greater convenience, like letting in out of town guests that arrive when you’re out doing those last-minute errands.

If you are going out of town, check out our Security Checklist before you leave.

We hope you have a great holiday season. If you’d like a quote on Skybell or would like to learn about other home Security System options to increase your peace of mind, please contact us.

 Happy Holidays to You and Your Family!!

Protecting Pollinators and Securing NC’s Agricultural Future

The Butterfly Highway 

You have probably heard about how important pollinators are to our state, country and the world. Because we are locally owned and headquartered in Apex, we support the North Carolina Butterfly Highway – an initiative that works to protect these delicate insects that are a critical part of our ecosystem.  

Did you know?

  • North Carolina has a $78 billion agriculture economy that relies on pollinators for crops such as squash, apples, blueberries and strawberries.
  • Global food crops are dependent on pollinators and more than 70% of these crops either require or have higher production because of a pollinator insect visit.
  • There are 174 species of butterflies in NC and approximately 1200 moth species.
  • Monarch butterflies journey through NC during both their spring and fall migrations. Because of the threats to pollinator habitats, there has been a loss of important nectar plants as well as a significant loss in the Monarch’s host plant milkweed, which can affect their ability to fly the long distances as a part of migration
  • There are 13 known bumblebee species in NC; several are threatened with extinction. 

These are only a few facts listed on the North Carolina Wildlife Federation website. Upon review, it becomes immediately clear how important it is to protect these critical insects’ habitat.

In response to this growing need, the Butterfly Highway project was initiated and nurtured by Angel Hjarding in Charlotte, NC and is now a key part of the N.C. Wildlife Federation’s programs.

“We began the Butterfly Highway project with several Charlotte communities that wanted to beautify their environment through planting gardens. Through the project, the communities transformed community gardens, backyard gardens, public spaces and park fragments into new pollinator and wildlife habitats,” said Angel Hjarding. “As we expand this effort statewide, we’ll start to fill in the map and see the connectivity of the Butterfly Highway from the mountains to the coast.”

Would you like to support the Butterfly highway initiative?

There are many ways to become involved. Either through being a NC Wildlife Federation member, donor, volunteer or creating a butterfly/bee space in your community or home. It is easy, fun, beautiful and the responsible thing to do.

For example, to become a designated Butterfly Highway pollinator garden, you only need the following elements:

 Size: No minimum size required as long as the appropriate plants and resources are provided. Even an apartment balcony can provide habitat for pollinators.

Sun: Pollinators and the plants that support them need lots of sun. Your garden should receive at least 6 hours of sun per day.

Soil and water: Various plants have different soil and water needs. See our recommended native plant list for appropriate plants for your habitat type. Most pollinators get the water they need from nectar, but butterflies do love puddling in a butterfly spa!

Shelter: Plants should be planted close together, but not crowded, to provide protection from pests and predators.

Place to raise young: Native bees typically build their nests in the ground and require open patches of soil. Leave space in your garden free of mulch and debris to provide this essential bee nesting habitat. Butterflies lay their eggs on trees and herbaceous plants.

Food source: Nectar plants provide an essential food source for butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators. It is important to provide plants that bloom from early spring to late fall to provide adequate food for breeding and migration. It is also recommended to provide a variety of plants in different colors, shapes and heights that may be attractive to a diversity of pollinators. Your garden should include at least 3 nectar plants that are native to your region. See a list of recommended plants.

Sustainable gardening practices: Many pollinators are insects and are vulnerable to the effects of insecticides. It is recommended to use organic gardening practices to reduce these effects.

If you are interested in learning more about NCWF click here: http://ncwf.org/about/

For more information about creating your own butterfly highway habitat:  Click here.

 

 

To Monitor or Not Monitor – That is the Question

 

People often ask: If I have a security system with an alarm, why should I pay to have it monitored? There are many things to consider when determining if you need a security system and if it should be monitored. Taking the time to clarify your security situation and needs is essential for making an informed decision.

These variables should be considered when determining your security needs:

  • Do you have valuables such as jewelry, paintings, or irreplaceable family heirlooms in your home?
  • How about children, seniors or pets that are left alone during the day?
  • Do you travel frequently – for how long – is your workplace more than a 30 minute commute?
  • What are the physical properties of your home – do you have lots of bushes and trees or high visibility?
  • Are you near high traffic areas; do you have police patrolling?
  • Do you have a pool, fireplace or fire pit?

What monitoring does – While keeping burglars or prowlers out of your house and off your property is critical, minimizing loss through quick response time, fire detection, heat sensors, air quality and other features is also a great benefit.

How monitoring actually works – Basically, when your alarm is triggered, it sends a coded signal to the monitoring center. The security company will call your agreed upon pre-set number and ask for the password you have set – if they get no answer or the person doesn’t know the password, the police are immediately contacted. If a fire, flooding or air poisoning is detected the same routine is followed.

So why monitor your home if you have an alarm already installed?

The typical system will have a siren go off for approximately five minutes after it is tripped. If monitored and there is no emergency in progress, the alarm can be cancelled by giving the monitoring station your password. If a burglar or prowler trips the alarm, they usually leave the premise quickly. In many cases, the intruder will then hide and watch to see if there is any activity in the home, or if police/people arrive. If so, they typically will leave quickly to focus their efforts on an easier target — a non-monitored home

Low-voltage smoke detectors connected to your monitored alarm system give quicker response to smoke in your home than a neighbor seeing the flames shooting thru your roof — when it is too late to save your property or maybe someone’s life.

Tip: If you are away and unable to respond to an alarm, it is a good idea to have a relative, trusted neighbor, or friend know the code and meet the emergency responders if the alarm is tripped. They can let the police in and check to make sure nothing is missing; but are not to enter before the authorities arrive for their safety.

While there is a monthly cost to monitor your home or business, only monitored systems have professionals to help respond to emergencies 24/7. Once you assess your lifestyle, property parameters and situation, you may see that monitoring is the right choice for you.

If you have questions or would like to discuss your security system needs, please don’t hesitate to call us!

VOIP AND DIGITAL PHONE SERVICE MAY INTERFERE WITH YOUR SECURITY/LIFE SAFETY SYSTEM

13767649_sWe would like to inform you about the potential impact that new types of phone services may have on your security/life safety system.  Commonly referred to as “VoIP” (Voice over Internet Protocol) and “digital telephone service,” these new phone options are rapidly growing in popularity.  These technologies allow you to make telephone calls via a broadband connection instead of using a traditional, “landline” phone service.  The benefits include enhanced features and lower costs compared to the traditional service. Typically, these new types of phone services replace your landline service.

It is important that you are aware that these new services can adversely affect your electronic security/life safety system.

In almost all cases, your security/life safety system relies on proper operation of the telephone line, and its associated special security wiring, to reliably communicate alarm signals to the central station. There are several important things to consider before making the decision to use VoIP or digital telephone service:

  • With a self-installed VoIP service, such as Vonage or AT&T’s CallVantage, your alarm system may lose its connection to the telephone service, rendering the system unable to send alarm signals to the central station.  VoIP technology may also cause your alarm signals to get scrambled as they are sent to the central station.
  • With digital telephone phone services offered by your cable provider, your system may be unable to consistently and reliably send alarm signals to the central station.  This technology may also cause your alarm signals to get scrambled as they are sent to the central station.
  • In addition to the security system’s battery back-up equipment, VoIP and digital phone services may need additional battery back-up equipment to maintain communications in the event of a power failure.

Either way, there is significant risk that your security/life safety system will not be able to communicate an emergency signal to the central station.

We encourage you to check with Secur-Tek, Inc. before making any changes to your existing telephone service. If you have already made the decision to switch to VoIP or digital phone service, it is extremely important that you contact us after you have the new phone service installed and Secur-Tek, Inc. will arrange a service call to properly test your system and check the wiring.

For the utmost reliability, there are new security communications solutions available that use digital wireless transmission or the Internet to reliably send alarm signals to the central station. These services allow you to take maximum advantage of cost savings from VoIP or digital telephone services while maintaining, and even improving, the reliability of your security/life safety system.  We would be happy to discuss these options with you.

If you have any questions, we encourage you to contact Secur-Tek, Inc. at 919-387-1800.

 

Home Theater Without the Hassle: Set Up Your System for the Super Bowl

Home theater systems make watching your favorite movies — or the upcoming Super Bowl — way more exciting. With the right screen and sound system, you feel as though you’re part of the action.

This time of year, many people try to install their own home theater systems. While the process seems easy enough, like many DIY projects, it can be harder than it looks. Here are three fantastic reasons to call Secur-Tek’s team for help:

1. No hassle. The day before the big game, you’ve got cables and cords all over the place. Hours later, you’ve tested one way, tested another. You can avoid the hassle by calling on our team to make sure the connections are not only correct, but stowed away attractively and neatly. Plus, our team can answer any questions you have about the system and how it all works. You can then spend more time basking in the glow of the amazing system before your friends arrive. 

2. Better picture and sound quality. You just spent good money to buy the best quality products. Great! But setting up the system wrong means you won’t get the best quality audio or video. Why spend that money only to lose out due to an error? Proper calibration, set up, and the room acoustics all go into the right system. Our team can make sure your home theater impresses friends, visitors, and even you! 

3. Peace of mind. Many people can help you hide cables or mount a TV so that it won’t fall off the wall. Installing a good home theater system requires more than construction knowledge. Hiring experts who spend their days drooling over home theater systems will ensure you’ve got the best system for your space and budget. Plus, you don’t have to worry about making mistakes that leave holes in the wall or cause electrical problems. (Your spouse will appreciate that peace of mind, too.)

What questions do you have about home theater systems? The team at Secur-Tek is happy to help. Contact us to get your system installed before your next party.

Is Your Wireless Security System Safe?

54163030 - information security online privacy protection conceptWireless has made life easier in many ways. You can print something from your living room using your wireless printer. Your wireless phone means you don’t have to buy a 30-foot curly cord and drag it around the house. (Remember that?)

Security systems are wireless, too. While wireless has made life easier, it also makes our homes and devices more vulnerable and not all security systems are created equal. Here is what you need to know to keep your family and valuables safe.

How Wireless Works

Wireless security systems use radio frequency signals sent from your door or window sensors. Those sensors trigger an alarm if breached. According to a study done by two researchers, most systems do not encrypt or authenticate the signals sent from those sensors. That means a hacker could trigger false alarms or even block the signal, preventing the alarm from sounding and preventing the system from alerting fire or police officials. Some alarms come with anti-jamming measures, but hackers have found ways around those, too.

How to Protect Your Home

You really do get what you pay for in security. Inexpensive, DIY systems are vulnerable to hacking. Lyric Systems by Honeywell offers 128-bit encryption. It’s more expensive, but more secure. Any system you choose needs to have encrypted signals. Some alarm systems broadcast on multiple channels, making them tougher to jam. Ask your security team about these options. 

Another option is to install a wired system. Some security experts point out that thieves can cut the wires, but in some residences, the wires are difficult to access, making this a more useful approach.

Don’t buy a used system or used cameras. The previous owners may be thieves who retain access to those devices.

Change usernames and passwords. Anytime you buy an out-of-the box system, a new wireless router, or anything, you MUST change the username and password from the default. While this won’t necessarily prevent all hackers, you might as well make it a little tougher for them. As Forbes found, one security company mailed systems to people with the default login of username “admin” and password “admin.” Because those businesses never changed their login information, it was easy to guess and access their system.

If you have something to protect, such as valuable jewelry, electronics, or art, invest in a good security system installed by Secur-Tek. Our team can recommend a system that fits your security needs. 

Security & Home Automation