Is Your Security Provider Licensed?

There are many reasons to make sure the person you hire to do a job is qualified. When it comes to installing camera systems, it’s the law.Video Surveillance-Christian Schnettelker

In New Jersey, a professional surveillance system installer needs to be licensed by the Fire Alarm, Burglar Alarm, and Locksmith Advisory Committee. According to Eric Marcy at Wilentz Attorneys at Law, “many local Informational Technology Companies have begun to dabble in installing CCTV monitoring as part of their product/service offerings.” While it may make initial sense to hire an IT professional to install network-based cameras, they may lack many of the qualifications that a licensed surveillance system installer has due to the training required to obtain the proper license.

Eric Marcy also states that “While Information Technology businesses may find the installation of CCTV and surveillance systems a natural extension of the services the business may offer, failure to have a proper license for such services will result in legal exposure and penalties. Prior to any Information Technology firm from offering, marketing or providing such services it should fully investigate the requirements necessary to allow it to provide such services. IT companies would be well served to consult with counsel to review the proposed services and proposed marketing to insure that the IT firm is not in violation of State law. ”

If you’re not sure if the person or company you are hiring is licensed, you can verify on the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs website.

If you live in Central or Northern New Jersey and are considering installing cameras in your home or business, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE. Our licensed integrators at Perfect Connections, Inc. have been providing custom and comprehensive security system solutions since 1992.

Smart Homes and 5G – How To Stay Protected

For those who own alarm systems, whether they are video surveillance, access control, burglary, or fire protection, our systems watch over us and protect us around the clock.

But in today’s day and age, just about everything is connected to the internet. In many cases, this includes our alarm system. And like any device that is connected to the internet, if not taken care of properly, it can be at risk of attack from hackers. With the upcoming launch of 5G, it is extremely important this year to protect anything connected to your home network.

“Attackers used an army of hijacked security cameras and video recorders to launch several massive internet attacks” said a news piece by the Wall Street Journal. Many times, these cameras were infected by pre-compromised routers that already existed.

Here are some tips about how to protect your alarm system as well

Router security:
We recommend using WPA2 security for your router. Most routers, unless they are fairly old, are capable of this type of security. For more information on this, check out your router’s brand’s website – Belkin, Linksys, and Netgear are common brands.

Firmware updates: It is very important that any device that connects to the internet, from thermostats to alarm systems to routers to televisions to computers, always has the most up to date firmware. Each device’s manual or website will have instructions on how to do those, and if there is a phone application that interfaces with the device, you can often do it through the application.

Password protection: Many devices come with generic user names and passwords. These are easy targets for hackers. Make sure you change any default passwords, and try not to use the same password on multiple devices. It is most important that this is done on the router.

New hardware:
According to Kenneth White, a security researcher and director of the Open Crypto Audit Project, “If the company that made your [device] isn’t selling that model anymore or offering security updates, that’s a good sign for you to throw it in the trash.”

Not Just Peace Of Mind: Security Systems and Home Value

American Advisors Group-House SoldHow do you judge the value of your home? Is it the market price? Is it the neighborhood where it’s located? Or maybe it’s the aesthetics. Actually it’s all of the above and then some. If you’re a homeowner one sure fire way to add value to your home is by installing a comprehensive home security system. A home security system offers a peace of mind to homeowners they can’t get anywhere else, but that’s not all.

With a comprehensive home security system you’re better protected from burglary and break-ins, house fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, and vandalism. While the initial cost of a home security system may seem like a substantial investment, the return is even greater. Having installed comprehensive home security systems throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992, our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. can attest to the added value.

There might not be a direct correlation between the market value of a home and whether or not a security system is present, but the indirect impact is evident in buyer interest. If you anticipate selling your home in the future having added safety features adds a perceived value to your home. Like with anything we purchase throughout our lives, prospective home buyers are likely to feel better about a price tag if safety is a factor. In the mind of a potential buyer the more security features a home comes with, the less they have to spend after the fact which makes spending more upfront less of an issue. That is why installing a comprehensive security system that includes surveillance, monitoring, fire and burglar alarms, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, motion detectors, window and door sensors, and home automation is worth the investment. The more homes in your neighborhood with these features the better. In fact, according to HomeGain.com, “A neighborhood that has more home security systems will, over time, have a lower crime rate. That lower crime rate, in turn, leads to higher property values for the neighborhood.”

Other security features prospective buyers might be looking for are strong sash locks for all windows, including those above ground level. Reinforced or hardwood exterior doors, commercial grade door locks, and automatic or motion detected exterior lighting are all pluses in the eyes of a potential buyer. While all of these features are appealing to a buyer, resale isn’t the only reason to invest in your homes security. It’s that peace of mind every homeowner desires, you can’t put a price on that.

Perceived value is great, but so it monetary value. A home security system can actually affect you monetarily. How? Insurance! As a homeowner you know that everything has a cost, insurance is no exception. Wouldn’t it be great if you could save money on your homeowners insurance? Good news, you can. Many insurance companies offer discounts to homeowners for having a security system and various security features. Every company has different policies, but some offer up to 20% discounts. Be sure to contact your provider for details and exceptions. If you have home automation as part of your security system, you’re setting yourself up for savings again. With home automation you can remotely adjust lighting, temperature, and sometimes select appliances. This can save you money on your utilities bill every month by using energy when you specify. It also helps prevent energy waste which benefits the environment as well.

Whether you’re looking to improve the value of your home for resale or simply want to do what is best for your family, adding a comprehensive home security system will always be beneficial. It’ll save you money and provide you and your family with peace of mind. To assure you are getting the best deal and system for your home, it’s imperative you hire a professional. A haphazard mix of security parts assembled incorrectly doesn’t add value to anything.

Professional security system experts, like our team at Perfect Connections, Inc., will provide an initial in person assessment of the security risks specific to your home and create a custom system from there. Every home is unique and should be treated as such don’t fall for a one-stop solution. As industry professionals our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing custom comprehensive security systems to northern and central New Jersey residents for the past 23 years. We know there is no substitute for personalized service that suits your individual needs.

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image By American Advisors Group-Flickr-Creative Commons

How Many Tiers Of Security Do You have?

One of the most important techniques to protecting your home is creating tiered security. It’s not very difficult for a burglar to get past one line of defense. The more difficult it is and the longer it takes a burglar to break into your home, the more likely they’ll run away. Neighbors are also more likely to spot someone breaking in if you are able to slow any potential thieves down. Adding additional tiers of security can easily mean the difference between staying protected and a potential robbery.

House with lock-Ts_pasha

The first tier is your exterior. Make sure your exterior is well maintained and looks occupied, even if you’re away. Unmowed lawns, newspapers on the porch, and mail piling up are all signs that no one is watching the house. Motion detector lights and well trimmed bushes/hedges protect you from people sneaking onto your property. If you need to leave a spare key outside, make sure it is well hidden and not in commonly checked places (under the mat, in the mailbox, under an out of place fake rock). For the most effective security, external weatherproofed security cameras with a 24 hour monitoring company can provide a high level of protection.

Your house itself is your next tier. About 85% of burglaries take place with the thief entering through the front or back door. About 60% of break ins are accomplished using force. Replace hollow doors with solid-core doors, add a dead-bolt, and reinforce the door jamb with metal. Adding a security film to windows will make them much more difficult to break. Most importantly, make sure all windows and doors are locked when you leave the house, even for a quick trip to the store. 30% of burglaries occur through an unlocked window or door.

Inside your house is the most critical tier. Use thick drapes and keep valuables out of view so burglars can’t see inside what you have inside your house. Electronics and jewelry are often the most sought-after items for criminals. Identify theft is also one of the fastest growing crimes. Make sure these valuable assets are protected – a large heavy Internal motion detectors, glassbreak detectors, and video cameras on an alarm system provide a comprehensive defense against potential burglaries.

While the physical barriers to a burglar getting in is extremely important, another aspect to remember is the psychological defenses. Signs and stickers that an alarm system is installed in the house are great deterrents. A dog is also a very large reason many potential burglars would avoid a house – even if you don’t have one, making it look like you do by posting a sign or leaving a leash outside can help. Audible alarm systems are not just to alert you or neighbors to a potential intruder, but also to scare away anyone that has made it into your house.

 

If You Recently Purchased Your Home, Read This!

Helpful Security Tips For New Homeowners

There is no doubt that moving into a new home can be exciting; however, between getting all your belongings moved in, unpacking and getting organized, it can be quite easy to overlook security in the new home.

Thieves work where there is an opportunity. They will prey on people or locations they believe are “easy targets.” With movers coming and going from the space and the homeowners being distracted, a burglar can easily take advantage of the situation.

Prior to settling into your new home, take some time to address a few security concerns. Some tips that can help to keep new homeowners and their belongings safe include:

 

American Advisors Group-House Sold

Change the locks – this should include window locks. You never know how many other copies are “out there.”
Perform a security audit – walk around and try to think like a criminal. Address any issues such as broken fences, bushes near the house or windows or doors that do not shut securely.
Install a security system – monitored security services are perhaps the best way to help keep your home secure.
Install plenty of outdoor lighting – motion or sensor lights are great at deterring would-be intruders.
Get to know the neighbors.

 

Moving into a new house is a huge occasion, but you cannot ignore the security issues that may be present. Be sure that you take note of the tips here to keep your new home and yourself safe and secure.

 

Helpful Additions You Can Make To Your Home Security Alarms

Your home is your castle. For most people, protecting it is a top priority. One of the best investments you can make to provide superior protection for your home, belongings and family is a home security alarm. Modern options are far more advanced than the security systems that were available as little as a decade ago. Getting to know some of the new features and advancements offered by these security systems will help you see why they are such an invaluable asset.

Remote Access Viewing – One of the most helpful additions that you can add to your home security alarm is a set of cameras. With the advances in modern security technology, it is now possible to access the video cameras in your house from anywhere in the world. This will allow you to view your home – no matter where you are – to make sure that everything is safe and that no one has broken in.

Increased Electrical Safety – Another helpful feature offered with modern home security alarms allows you to determine whether or not any electrical components, such as a stove or outlet, have been left on in your home. This will help to improve the overall level of safety in your home.

Added Fire Safety – Yet another beneficial thing that you can add to your home security system is smoke detectors and sensors. In most cases, these are very easily added to your system and they can provide a lot of added safety. When a fire is detected the alarm will sound and if you are paying for monitoring, the proper authorities will be contacted. This will help to increase the response time and it will help to reduce the damage that you have to your home in the event of a fire.

Installing a modern security system or upgrading your existing one just makes sense. It will provide you with peace of mind that your home and family are safe and secure.

How Lighting Affects Your Video Quality

When it comes to surveillance cameras, visibility is key.  Some of the obstacles surrounding a camera’s capability to retain high video quality such as lighting, camera installation, and type of camera are somewhat within our control, others are not.  Uncontrollable issues of extreme brightness, like light produced from headlights and the sun, or extreme darkness are not necessarily easily overcome.  However, as with anything, technological progression helps change these harrowing limitations.  As industry professionals our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing security system solutions, including surveillance, to organizations throughout northern and central New Jersey for over 25 years.  We’ve seen the impact changing technology has on the equipment we install and how it can be beneficial to our customers.

Surveillance systems are in the midst of a transition from using conventional analog equipment to IP (Internet Protocol).  Why? For one, image quality.  The tricky thing with IP cameras is not all are created equal.  There isn’t necessarily a defined industry standard that is accepted by all integrators and camera manufacturers when it comes to “best” image quality.  For example some might argue that the higher the megapixel count the better, but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee a better image.  At least with HD (high definition) cameras there are standards manufacturers must comply with in order to be considered HD.

Aside from pixel count, an IP camera’s display threshold in extreme conditions is critical, but limited.  This limit, specifically when referring to extreme brightness or darkness, is typically known as “dynamic range.”  Wide dynamic range (WDR), “allows cameras to capture much more detail in scenes where there are varying levels of light, much like the way the human eye ‘processes’ these types of scenes.”  You know the feeling of widening your eyes in the dark to try to see clearer because you’re eyes haven’t quite adjusted yet?  It’s sort of the same idea with WDR cameras and how they adapt in both light and dark conditions.  However, their adjustments aren’t a physical strain and transitions are typically quicker than ours.

WDR footageThe images above show the difference between a parking garage being monitored by a camera with no WDR or WDR turned off on the left, and on the right the same area monitored by a camera with WDR enabled.  The difference is clear as day.  Why do they differ so much?  The camera with the WDR enabled has two internal Charge-Coupled Devices (CCD).  The two devices, or sensors, scan an image at different speeds, one low and one high, the image processor then combines the separate images producing a clearer, more balanced picture with better contrast and lighting.  This process happens quickly enough to produce a stream of clear recorded footage.  There are many different manufacturers that produce these WDR cameras in the market today, and not all of them use the same type of sensor and image processing combinations.  The best way to ensure you are getting the best camera for your specific application is to hire a licensed security systems integrator who is educated in which camera specifications will work best in variant conditions.

WDR technology, like anything else, is not perfect.  Depending on the camera manufacturer, you could end up with a camera that takes up to 15 seconds to adjust with varying light levels.  That doesn’t sound like that long, but it could mean the difference between catching a perpetrator and them getting away.  Another issue you might run into are cameras that don’t have the ability to turn WDR settings on and off automatically.  Without the automation the transition becomes the responsibility of someone on site, which can be time consuming and ineffective in a time sensitive situation.  This is why it is vital to consult a professional security systems integrator who is educated in the differences between product specifications and their appropriate applications.

The clarity of recorded video footage is crucial to the security of any organization.  As a business owner you don’t want to be left wondering why your recordings are grainy, washed out, or so dark they become unusable.  No one can control the external factors that affect an organization, but you can be prepared for them by taking the proper precautions.  Licensed system integrators are there to help.  Our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security system solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We recognize the importance of utilizing quality security products that not only perform well but perform to their intended specifications.

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image by IQinVision-Google-Creative Commons

Why You Should Go With A Pro

Experts-Mai LeIn a world where you can find virtually anything on the internet, there are endless “Do It Yourself”-commonly referred to as DIY-solutions for pretty much everything.  This holds true for home security systems.  However, that doesn’t mean you should rush to your computer/mobile device and buy a 4 star rated surveillance camera off Amazon, and start poking holes in your walls.  As with anything on the internet, you end up wading through a sea of options, resources, and opinions; you might start to feel like you’re drowning in information.  Don’t worry you’re not alone.  You’ll likely have a ton of questions like how do you know if you’re making the right choice?  Are the reviews accurate, or paid for by a company?  Am I getting the best deal?  How do I know one product will be compatible with another?  Is this an honest company?  The list goes on and on.

At Perfect Connections, Inc. we’d like to help you avoid the drowning in information effect.  Our team has been providing residential security systems solutions to Northern and Central New Jersey since 1992.  While we believe our customers are capable individuals, we also believe in providing a customized, comprehensive, and clear cut solution to your home security needs that you can’t get through purchasing products piecemeal on the internet.  You know that old adage, “you get what you pay for”?  It’s true, and in some cases you end up getting less.  You can’t expect a few $50 cameras you bought online, and a monitoring app on your phone, to fully safeguard your home and family.  Surveillance cameras and mobile monitoring are only a couple components in an effective home security system.  Think about the other issues you need to be cognizant of like access control, fire and carbon monoxide detection, burglar alarms, and alarm monitoring. What good is an alarm if the local authorities aren’t contacted when it goes off?  Our team of professionals are informed and informative on the products we install, and they understand the importance of a solution tailored specifically to your home.

Hiring A Professional

If you’ve never had experience installing or operating security systems equipment, doesn’t it make sense that you’d want an industry expert to do it?  Hiring a professional alleviates the pressure on you, wasting less of your precious time and money.  An expert will be able to assess potential weak spots in and around your home that you might not pick up on.  The sophistication of your home security system is dependent on professional products and how they are installed.

There are so many pros of having a security company customize and install an alarm system for your home.  For one, they know how and which products will work together, everything from the cameras to the central control panel.  They can hook you up with an alarm monitoring service.  Having a 24/7 monitoring service as part of your system automatically contacts the authorities in case of emergency.  According to Erin Raub for SafeSoundFamily, “This does not happen with a DIY system, which notifies you (and others you put on the notification list), making it your responsibility to decide on the next course of action.”  It’s chaotic enough in the event of an emergency, you don’t want to have to figure out who to contact, or struggle to find your phone.  The convenience of having a fire, burglar, and carbon monoxide alarm/detector that communicates directly with a monitoring service is priceless; it provides a quicker response time which could ultimately save lives and property.

Home automation is a security feature that connects various aspects of your home to the central control panel in your home.  Lighting, temperature control, locks, garage doors, and sometimes appliances can all be controlled either from your control panel or even a mobile device through and app provided by Alarm.com.  You can’t get this type of connection to your home through a DIY system.  Even if you could, you shouldn’t be installing it yourself.  According to Anne Reagan for Advice Porch “To ensure that all sequences are correct, a professional should always complete home automation.”

Think about the future of your home when it comes to security systems.  If you plan on ever putting your house back on the market, having a customized professionally installed security system can actually increase the value of your home.  Like Anne Reagan points out, “…every prospective homeowner wants to live in a safe and secure home.”  That being said, potential buyers aren’t going to want a house with system they have to remove or update themselves, especially if it’s installed improperly or in adequately.

People might think a DIY security system is cheaper because you’re not paying for labor, but in reality you could end up paying more.  If your system fails or becomes completely defunct, it is up to you to replace it out of pocket.  With a professional service you would likely be covered for certain damages and/or malfunctioning equipment under your service contract.  Adding parts or features to your DIY system after the fact will add up, whereas an initial assessment from a professional will provide a more complete result from the get-go.  Any required maintenance, repairs, and updates are your responsibility which will further drain your wallet.

Before jumping online and buying a bunch of equipment, or punching holes in your walls, check out a professional service for your home security needs.  They can guide you through the process from initial assessment to final installation.  If you reside in Northern or Central New Jersey find out what Perfect Connections, Inc. can do for you.  Our team understands the value in a comprehensive home security system catered to your specific needs.

If you live in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image by Mai Le-Flickr-Creative Commons

What’s Missing From Your Security System

Missing puzzle pieceWhile businesses have a lot to offer, many are lacking the protection they need.  No I don’t mean stowing an arsenal below your cash-wrap, but rather an effective security system and security features.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. we can help you protect what you’ve worked so hard for.  If you run a business in central or northern New Jersey, let us assess your security risks and provide a custom solution to fit your needs.  Many don’t know what they are lacking and how it can be rectified – our licensed professionals can help in that arena.  Don’t fall victim to preventable disasters – find out what a comprehensive security system can do for you and the health of your business.

What’s lacking?

An incomplete security system is a bit like working on a puzzle with missing pieces.  There are essential features that should be included in a comprehensive security system.  Maybe you already have a security system installed at your business, but is it monitored?  What good is a security system if no one, except those in the area, is alerted when the alarm goes off?  Having a 24/7 monitoring service as part of your security system is crucial for the quickest response times.  Surveillance equipment can also help deter employee theft which is, “the fastest growing crime in America,” according to the FBI.  Employee theft costs businesses up to $200 billion each year.  Installing surveillance equipment not only in the main customer space, but in offices, storage, and inventory spaces can help decrease chances of employee theft and misconduct.

Other areas that tend to be overlooked or under-protected are doors and safes.  While a door typically locks, if it’s not sturdy and linked to an alarm, what’s preventing someone from kicking it in?  To protect your entries, exits, and interior spaces be sure that your doors are not only sturdy and alarmed but protected by some sort of access control.  Whether it’s a swipe card, key fob, passcode, or some form of biometrics, access control will help prevent unwanted entrants.  Safes that are out in the open and easy to grab or crack open provide minimal protection for whatever is in it.  If you’re going to store valuables or cash in a safe at your business be sure it’s secure either bolted to the ground or in a fortified room.

Inadequate protection from fire and carbon monoxide can be a killer for any business.  Having detectors and alarms may not be enough if they don’t communicate with emergency services.  It’s the same idea as the unmonitored burglar alarm, if no one is around to hear the detectors go off a fire could easily escalate to the point of no return.  For the quickest response time, fire alarms and detectors should be linked to a monitoring service that communicates with emergency services.  Proper fire alarms, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be an integral part of a comprehensive security system.  Your business is likely your livelihood, protect it.

There are few certainties in life, but taking initiative to protect what you’ve built by installing a comprehensive security system is guaranteed to help.  No two businesses are the same, therefore no two security systems will be the same.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. we believe in customizing security solutions for each individual business based on their specific needs.  As security systems experts we have been providing security solutions to northern and central New Jersey businesses since 1992.

If you live in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Back To School Security Tips

With summer coming to a close, its time for back to school season. With both children and parents maintaining busy schedules of school, practices, and other events, now is a great time to make sure that your home is protected around the clock. Here are a few tips to start off back to school season the safe way:

Install An Alarm System With Remote Alerts – By installing one of these systems, parents are able to see when children arrive home. Including a surveillance camera can also let them see who is with them, and what they’re up to while they’re home alone.

Teach Kids To Use Alarm – Its very important to make sure everyone in your family knows how to work your alarm system. Assigning each person an individual PIN number allows you to keep track of each person’s comings and goings, and a quick run through of the alarm system functions can help avoid false alarms.

Help Kids Memorize Emergency Numbers – Even with the ubiquity of cell phones nowadays, its important to make sure everyone in the family knows their emergency contact’s phone numbers by heart. Phones break and batteries die – this can definitely help avoid stressful situations.

Make An Emergency Plan – We all hope the worst never happens, but one of the best ways to prepare is to get an emergency plan together. Sit down with your family and decide on a safe place to meet outside of your house in case of fire, away from the house. Make sure everyone knows the quickest way to the outside from each room.

Lost Keys – Who hasn’t at some point in their lives misplaced their keys? With a keyless/smart entry system, you don’t need to worry about this. But many people still keep a spare physical key outside, under the doormat. That is one of the first places burglars look. There are many other options that can help protect you more – keeping a key with a trusted neighbor, or in a fake rock are a few example.

Protecting Your Employees After Hours

When running an office, it is important to make sure that you are keeping your staff both happy and safe, but feeling confident that you are keeping them safe can become difficult when they stay late at night. If keeping your staff who go want to stay late is something of concern for you, there are a couple of things you can do to ensure that they will not be at risk if they stay late, and especially if they are staying alone.

One thing that can be done to ensure your employees’ safety after hours is to make sure that there is a clear plan for those who are last in the office. It can be helpful to create a system in which the last few people in the office make sure to notify each other that they are the last ones, and also that they notify others of when they are leaving. Along with this, it can be helpful to make sure that either all doors are locked, or that only one is left unlocked when there are fewer people left. This helps to make everyone aware when they are alone and when there are less people in the office later at night.

Another thing that can be done to ensure office safety for those who work late is to install a security camera system at the entrances to the office. This provides two layers of security because it is a deterrent for any unwanted visitors who may attempt to come into the office, and it also records anyone who is entering and exiting the office.

Key Card System

Image from Safe Tech

An additional layer of security that can be applied is a key card system. In this case, employees can be given key cards that will unlock doors to the office. In this case, the doors to the office can remain locked from the outside at all times, or just during certain hours of the day. This would not only provide security after hours, but would also have the potential to provide security during the day if this was something that you chose to apply to the office around the clock. This is also something that can be coupled with a security camera system for additional security.

Both the combination and individual use of all of these systems can help to secure your workplace, especially for employees that stay after hours and are sometimes left at the office alone, and can give you the peace of mind that your workplace is always a safe place.

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.