Business Security Systems Need to Protect Inside and Out

Business owners all strive to keep their businesses safe. Installing security systems, cameras, and access tracking are all part of burglar prevention for your business.

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But what about protecting your company from inside threats? According to a recent study, 20 percent of employees would sell their work passwords to a competitor.

“The research by identity management company Sailpoint, found that of those who would sell their passwords, 44 percent would do it for less than $1,000, and some for less than $100. This is made worse by the fact that 65 percent admit to using a single password among applications and 32 percent share passwords with their co-workers.”

Less than $100. That could be all that’s standing between you and a hacker who takes down your business. While we all want to believe the people we hire are good, moral employees who would not do something like that, we simply do not know what people have been through, what life situations may drive their behavior.

Business security systems that keep intruders out are important, but just as vital are your internal security procedures. Take a look at this checklist of things to review to keep your data safe:

  • Employee access – Secur-Tek can help you control access to the business itself, and to certain rooms. But what about who has access to your important data? Of course employees need to have a certain level of access to data, and programs to do their jobs. Maybe you already track who has access to what while they are employed with you. But what happens after that employee leaves? The above survey found that more than two in five employees still have corporate account access after they leave their job. Do you have security procedures in place to revoke access or change passwords?
  • Uploads to the cloud – Well-meaning employees may be uploading data to the cloud using various storage programs. While it’s useful to backup information in case of a crash, be sure to confirm which information is uploaded where. If you don’t have a secure server set up, your data may be at risk.
  • Downloads – In large companies, employees are supposed to check with the IT department before downloading any software or installing anything. Studies show this does not always happen. Employees get impatient with the extra layer of process. As a small business owner, you may not have an IT department, or may not have oversight of what your team downloads. But one wrong program means a virus or malware or spyware, putting your business at risk. Make a list of approved programs and check all the computers in the office on a monthly basis. While this sounds big brother, your employee is not the one whose business is at risk.

Secur-Tek works to keep your business secure from the outside. Be sure to consider what security measures you take inside your company to keep it safe.

Part 2: Q&A Continued: Secur-Tek Owner Discusses Changing Industry

Secur-Tek opened its doors in 1990 to provide the Triangle and central NC residents with security systems and home automation. In our last post, Owner Ken Henke spoke about his business and what customers should know about home and business security. This time, we continue the conversation, which includes his thoughts on a changing industry.Ken at Home Show

What question do you most often receive from potential or current customers and what’s the answer?

The most common question I get from people who call in, usually it’s do we have a contract for the system? We have a yearly agreement. A lot of our competitors have a three or five-year agreement, but we do one year.

Secur-Tek specializes in many audio and home automation services. What got you into this?

We work with a lot of builders and they have homeowners who request low-voltage products such as central vacs, audio systems, home automation, wired or wireless networking. Those are things we are able to install so it made sense to expand those services and offer them to the builders and in turn when a homeowner calls us to install them.

Not long ago, Forbes published an article on DIY home security and how it will affect the security industry. What do you think about those systems?

It mostly affects the providers of the “free” systems. A lot of the DIY systems are wireless. Some of these DIY systems are very cheap and are going to be easy for people to hack.  We do wired systems so there’s no interference so there’s no hacking or jamming of the system.

What changes do you see happening in the security/home automation industries?

I think security systems will start becoming more and more automated. The security system we install interfaces with the automation system we install. It’s going to be more and more integrated as time goes by. As it gets less and less cost prohibitive, these homes are going to have a package that includes lighting, security, music, blinds, who knows what they’re going to include. The prices keep coming down.

The one thing that will determine where it goes is whether there is enough level of expertise in the field. The companies who offer free systems, the technicians they hire, there’s often no expertise there. As these systems get more and more involved, my fear — is the field support going to be there to do the troubleshooting and the technical work that’s required in the field?

What’s important for someone to know about your business?

What’s important to us is the relationship with our customers. Our attrition rate for our customers is very low. We want to take care of that customer for life. That’s why we install a system at a market rate with the low monthly monitoring fee. Secur-Tek, Inc.’s monitoring rate is going to stay constant and not increase once the yearly agreement is over. Our employees all work for Secur-Tek and are licensed underneath my license. We don’t have subcontractors or people that I’m not familiar with that I’m sending to my customers. We trust our employees. We can let our technicians handle it and we feel comfortable that our customers are going to be happy.

Also, we use brand name products that people recognize. Everything we use has brand name recognition where we have the support of the manufacturer behind us. We’re planning for years down the road, not just for today.

And we’re a local company. What you pay Secur-Tek, Inc. is going to stay in the local community and not sent to another company’s headquarters located out of the state.

 

Part 1 Q&A: Secur-Tek Owner Reflects on Best Security Practices

Secur-Tek opened its doors in 1990 to provide the Triangle and central NC residents with security systems and home automation. Owner Ken Henke recently spoke about his business, the industry, and what customers should know about home and business security.

You had your first security job in 1983. How did you get into security?

A security company had a job opening that was appealing to me and with my associate degree in electronics it was a good fit. I worked for this company for seven years and then I started my own business.

What do you love about your job?

I love that I’m my own boss. Working for myself and having more control over what I am providing to the customers. So if I was working for somebody [and] I didn’t agree with what was being provided to the customer, but that’s the way the employer did it, you bit your tongue and got paid. But as the owner, we have a standard we want to meet and make the customer happy and they in turn refer us to neighbors, friends and business associates.

What’s the most important security thing a homeowner can do?

Lock their doors. Go online and read about the breaks-in that occur. For example, you’ll hear about a rash of car break-ins in a neighborhood. The police find out all the car doors were unlocked. A lot of times it’s crimes of opportunity. People will walk up to a door and turn the doorknob and if it opens, they might knock on the door to make sure no-one is home, and if no-  one is home, they’re going to go in.

Installing a security system is also important because it’s more than just security. It’s smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors. It’s protecting your home from burning down or the death of a person who lives in your house because of carbon monoxide.

For businesses, what’s the most important security measure they can take?

In that case, a monitored security system is important. With businesses, people do break in and randomly search for things to steal whether it’s petty cash or small electronic devices. They’re going to break open doors and cabinets. It could be more of a monetary loss from the vandalism versus anything that’s been stolen from your business. How much money are you going to lose from being out of business for a day?

Are there any security challenges unique to the Triangle area?

People in North Carolina face the same crime challenges everyone does. Crime is pretty much random. All it takes is for somebody that is living a life of crime or if someone gets into a financial situation and they’re desperate or need quick cash. Neighborhoods are getting broken into now where people have said, “Oh crime doesn’t happen in our neighborhood.” One thing I would pass onto people is: some sort of crime is going to come to your neighborhood in the future. There is no way that you’re going to stop it, and it’s random. So a security system is like an insurance policy. Things happen at the wrong time. A security system is there to minimize the impact and to allow you to have peace of mind and go on with your life.

What security mistake do homeowners or business owners make most?

They buy the “free” alarm systems. The public is susceptible to the marketers, who say “I’ve got a free alarm system.” But they charge the customer more for the monthly monitoring. In the long run, you pay more for the free system than you do a purchased system. A lot of our current customers have already gone through the free system and came to Secur-Tek, Inc. to get away from it.

Click here to read Part 2

7 Ways to Tighten Your Home Security for the Holidays

Every year at this time, you’ll read stories about the increase in home burglaries while homeowners are away. Studies show that increase is not always fact. Instead, many factors affect burglaries in different communities and when they occur.

21908228_sStill, it’s smart to play it safe with home security around the holidays. After all, you may have extra valuables inside after buying all of your gifts, and you may be absent more often as you attend holiday parties or head to grandmother’s house.

According to FBI data, in 2010, there were an estimated 2.1 million burglaries in the U.S. Victims of burglary offenses suffered an estimated $4.6 billion in lost property, an average dollar loss of $2,119 each. In the Raleigh-Cary area, including Franklin, Johnston, and Wake counties, there were 628 burglaries per 100,000 residents in 2010.

Keep your holiday gifts and your home safe this season with a few simple measures:

  • Light your home. The strings of Christmas lights may bring good cheer, but they don’t keep burglars out. Mount exterior lights on your home, out of reach. These can be put on a timer or used as motion detectors. Put indoor lights on timers.
  • Burglars don’t want to spend all day trying to break in. Keep your doors and windows locked and install deadbolts on exterior doors, making it tougher to gain entry.
  • Check your doors. Your lock might be amazing, but if your door is weak, a strong kick will give a burglar easy access. Make sure your door is solid wood or has a solid wood core. You can also consider a fiberglass or metal door.
  • Trim the shrubbery. Don’t make it easy for burglars to hide behind bushes as they work to open a window. Keep the landscaping trimmed so it’s easier for a neighbor to spot the suspicious person standing outside your home.
  • Install a home alarm system. More than 90 percent of burglars say they would avoid a home with an alarm, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Effective alarms don’t just make noise, but alert emergency services. Many insurance companies offer a discount on homeowners insurance if you have an alarm.
  • Hide and lock your valuables. Once inside, a burglar doesn’t want to take too long. He or she knows to check the desk and the bedroom for important documents and jewelry. Put your important papers and expensive items in other locations and hide them well.
  • Heading out of town? Be sure to:
    • Have your mail held, or have a neighbor pick it up.
    • Schedule deliveries. Packages are at risk this time of year sitting on your front porch. Try to time deliveries so that they don’t arrive when you are out of town.
    • Leave blinds in their usual positions so it appears you are home.
    • Ask trustworthy neighbors to keep an eye on your home. Letting a few people know you are gone will help keep them on alert for something amiss.

Questions about home security? Give us a call: (919) 387-1800.

5 Technology Upgrades to Home Security

Home security has come a long way since the invention of chain link fences and guard dogs. Today, technology has made it possible to keep an eye on your home 24/7. Whether you’re looking for the latest cool tools in home security or just want an easier way to keep your home safe, here are 5 technology upgrades to consider:

  1. Door locks – Forget to lock the door? If you have an electronic door lock, it’s no problem. You can remotely lock it from anywhere. Electronic door locks work with your entire home security system. In addition to locking the door from your smartphone or tablet, electronic door locks track the history of opening and closing and can send you text message alerts if you want. You can also give visitors an access code that only works during certain times of day, making it easier to keep your home secure when working with household staff. Plus, no more digging around for your keys!
  1. Remote monitoring – Keep an eye on your home from anywhere with videos and photos of what’s going on. Home security systems now offer streaming security camera feeds, the ability to arm and disarm from anywhere, send alerts, and more.
  1. Cameras – Speaking of streaming, home security cameras are no longer for the super-rich mansion owner. Cameras are inexpensive and easy to install. If you don’t want to check the life feed, you can save it for later if you need to — a nice option if your home is burglarized or if you need to check up on working crews.
  1. Home Sensors – Your home is so smart, it knows you’re coming. Home sensors can open and close the door for you. They also work as part of your home security, for motion sensing when you’re away. They’re smart enough to work off of winks or waving and can be controlled from your smartphone or tablet.
  1. Garage systems – Many people use a button in their car to open the garage. The latest systems not only open the door when you want, but give you remote control from your smart device, allowing you to let people to enter when you are not home. It can also track how long the door has been open. Systems today also have motion sensors to protect those jetting through the door as it’s closing.

Secur-Tek can help you install a Control4 Home Automation System to help with these areas and more, including lighting, sound, and more. Contact us today to find out more.

5 Tips to Avoid Home Security Scams

Home security is an important part of your peace of mind. That’s why scammers will often prey on people with fear tactics.

39670032_sHome security telemarketing calls were the second most common telephone scam in 2014 — second only to credit card scams. According to the Federal Trade Commission, scammers will call someone and offer a free home security system. The caller will also mention several burglaries in the area, hoping to push the resident into action.

Don’t fall into the home security scam trap. Follow these five tips to find a legitimate home security company to protect your most important asset:

  1. First, if you ever receive such a call, don’t agree to anything right away. This gives you time to make an informed decision.
  2. Keep your guard up. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. No business can afford to offer you free home security. To get the free alarm, you may have to sign a long-term and expensive contract for system monitoring.
  3. Research a company before making a large purchase. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if the company has any complaints against it. Ask friends and family for recommendations, and it’s OK to ask the company for references.
  4. Choose local. Triangle, North Carolina residents have many local options when it comes to home security. Choosing a local company makes it easier for you to check them out. Local business owners know they have a reputation to uphold within the community.
  5. Read any fine print before agreeing to anything. Most home security companies have contracts. Be sure you know what you are signing.

Other Security Scams

Some home security companies will send salespeople door to door. If you already have home security, they may tell you they are there to upgrade your current system or that your security company has gone out of business. Secur-Tek and other legitimate North Carolina security companies will not send another company to your door. Your home security company will inform you by mail if something has changed with your current system.

  • It’s best not to invite salespeople inside your home; it is much harder to get them to leave once inside.
  • Never let such a person into your home without checking his or her identification.
  • If you feel uncomfortable and the person will not leave, call the police.

Questions about home security? Contact us and we’ll be happy to help!

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.

What Is Sonos?

Sonos 2What Is Sonos?

Sonos is a wireless audio system of HiFi speakers and components that lets you listen to music in any room with no skips, delays, or drops. You place the speakers throughout your house and then use the Sonos app to combine and access your music collection. Individual songs can be listened to on each speaker or the whole system can play the same song.

Sonos works with a variety of music sources. Wherever you like to get your audio—iTunes, podcasts, radio stations, Spotify, or Pandora—you can find it and file it into a dedicated local Sonos network through wireless or Ethernet connections and stream it to any Sonos device on the network. The Sonos system creates a dedicated path for playing audio which means you get smoother playback.

The Sonos system can be controlled by PC or Mac desktop applications, or apps for iOS or Android. Having a computer-based system means that you can customize all the playlists and music you want to hear. It’s like having an iPod in every room of your house that plays all the music you like—with great quality.

How It Works

The Sonos system consists of Zoneplayers and Controllers. “Zoneplayer” is the Sonos name for an element which outputs audio either via digital or analog connections or via speakers. Zoneplayers can be set up through wired or wireless connections. The Controller is the Mac/PC or mobile phone that runs the Sonos app.

If you have a home where WiFi doesn’t reach everywhere, you can use the Sonos BRIDGE to extend the range of your Sonos network. The BRIDGE also creates a dedicated wireless network for your Sonos system. The BRIDGE plugs into your router with an Ethernet cable. If you’re in an environment where the WiFi has performance challenges, you can use a BOOST—it’s like a super-charged BRIDGE.

For speakers like the PLAY:1, PLAY:2, or PLAY:3 you can simply plug them into the power outlet and they will wirelessly connect to your existing WiFi network or your dedicated Sonos network (if you have the BRIDGE or BOOST).

Place your speakers in the rooms where you want to listen to music. Then download and install a Sonos Controller app. You can access your entire music collection from anywhere in your house with the Controller. Follow the quick set-up guide that comes with the system and simply tell the Sonos app where the Zoneplayers and music library are located.

Last, but not least: play music! You can use any Sonos Controller to make music selections. Choose a music source from the Sonos music menu on a handheld controller, or from the MUSIC pane if you’re using the Sonos Controller App for Mac or PC.

You can tell the system to play the same thing on every stereo that’s linked to it or you can have a different playlist or source going in every room of the house.

Once you’ve got your system set up, you can easily add more Sonos products whenever you want. Only one part of the Sonos system needs to be linked with your home network; the other components link together directly. Since the Zoneplayers each transmit individually, each player you add increases the range of the Sonos network.

Why it’s Great

The main benefit of the Sonos system is that it delivers HiFi audio while really simplifying wireless streaming. The Sonos app lets you easily control the system and access a variety of music sources. There’s no need to link your phone with any of the individual speakers—all the speakers are controllable through the same app, no matter where in the house they’re located. Sonos uses their years of wireless networking know-how to make sure your music is in perfect sync and skip-free. It’s also super easy to get it going and new features are constantly being developed that work even with some of the oldest components.

Contact Secur-Tek today to find out more about the benefits of Sonos in your home.

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.

Security & Home Automation