Fire Codes & Safety

Fire-Thomass PicsWe all know that having working fire/smoke detectors, alarms, and fire extinguishers in our homes can prevent tragic loss and irreparable damage.  The same holds true for business facilities.  However, the codes and standards for a commercial space versus a home are different, and they can vary by jurisdictions as well.  According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) codes are the rules and standards are the method by which the rules are applied.  There have been major events in history that have triggered modifications to national fire codes and standards.  The Station Nightclub fire in West Warwick, RI in 2003, and The Cocoanut Grove Nightclub fire of 1942 in Boston, MA are a couple examples of why and how fire codes have changed throughout the years.

If you are a business owner, you know the importance of protecting your facility, employees, and assets/inventory.  How can you be sure your business meets the proper fire safety codes?  In all likelihood, if you’re currently in operation, you’re building/facility has passed an initial inspection.  However, yearly inspections are required and codes are revised every 3-5 years.  If you are renovating or adding on to a space you will have to schedule a new inspection.  For this reason its best practice to involve an expert from the start of a project to avoid any major hiccups.

You’ll need the proper fire safety equipment which can include smoke detectors, fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and possibly a sprinkler system.  Integrating these features with your alarm system is crucial for a quicker response from emergency services.  Installing a wireless smoke detector that is not connected to your alarm system doesn’t notify local services in the event of an emergency.  The only person that type of detector benefits is someone on site or nearby during an emergency.  What if no one is around?

Failure to comply with the proper safety and code requirements can lead to inspection rejection and fines.  Our licensed professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc. can ensure the safety and code compliance of your business by installing the proper fire safety equipment as part of a comprehensive business security system.  If your facility is located in Northern or Central New Jersey, our team can guide you through the process from initial assessment to final installation.  You have enough on your mind already, let us help you avoid mental anguish.

Reasons For Code Non-Compliance:

  • Egress is not met. This includes corridors, latching mechanisms, and access controls
  • Improper storage of combustible materials
  • Inadequate emergency lighting
  • Outdated fire extinguishers and other safety equipment
  • Electrical issues (i.e. improper use of extension cords)
  • Blocked access to fire hydrants
  • Sprinkler system isn’t labeled correctly
  • For more information check out com & NFPA

How Hiring A Professional Can Help:

  • They know what types of security equipment will work and comply with fire codes
  • They may already have a relationship with the local fire official
  • They can communicate technical information to contractors, architects, & engineers
  • They know how to integrate fire alarms and smoke detectors in a comprehensive security system
  • They understand the importance of code compliance and fire safety
  • They know how egress can be affected by different access controls
  • They will help you avoid penalties and failed inspections by implementing proper installation

Call our licensed professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc. to perform an assessment of your business facility.  Let us help you discover how to protect your business with a comprehensive security solution that includes fire alarms, smoke detectors, and CO detectors.

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 Thomas’s Pics-Flickr-Creative Commons

Complete Security Systems

CCTV-Wikipedia ImageIn an unpredictable world, one thing is certain, we all want to protect what’s ours.  Whether you’re a business owner or a homeowner, you want to keep safe that which you’ve worked so hard for.  One of the most effective ways to do that is to install a security system.  Well, what exactly is a security system and what makes it a complete security system? Security can be defined as, “the state of being protected or safe from harm,” and system can be defined as, “a group of related parts that move or work together.”  A security system is an assemblage of equipment that helps prevent imminent danger or damage.

As a licensed security systems provider, our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been helping protect homes and businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We believe that complete security systems should not only be a group of working parts, but that it should be comprehensive.  Comprehensive can be defined as, “complete; including all or nearly all elements or aspects of something.”  After decades of installing security equipment we’ve found that a truly comprehensive security system should include some form of access control, fire and burglar alarms, surveillance, and a monitoring service.

Access control is the means by which you limit admission to a specific point of entry.  It’s essentially your first line of defense against unauthorized entrants.  Probably the most conventional form of access control is a standard lock and key.  Today, the lock and key method is either being eliminated or used as a backup to more technologically advanced controls.  Traditional keys when lost or stolen can be easily replicated whereas using readers, fobs (tokens), and sometimes biometrics in combination with a password are more concrete and less susceptible to duplication.

Card and proximity readers are typically placed next to a point of entry and a fob or card that is programmed with the appropriate credentials is used.  The card or fob is either tapped or swiped on or near the reader to gain access. The benefit to using a swipe card or fob is if they are lost or stolen they can be deactivated in the operating system whereas you can’t deactivate a physical key unless you change out the entire lock.  Biometrics, which uses physical credentials like a fingerprint, is similar in the sense that access information isn’t as easily stolen or duplicated.  This type of access control isn’t as widely used today because they tend to be more complex and costly.  However, as technology progresses we may see a rise in biometric applications.

Fire and burglar alarms are critical alerts in potentially life-threatening situations.  Fire and burglary can strike at any given time without warning, wreaking havoc on your business or home.  With burglary occurring every 14.6 seconds and national fire departments responding to an estimated 1,240,000 fires a year (2013), it’s critical to the safety and security of any home or business to implement preventative measures.  Physical structural damage and property loss incurred by a fire or burglary is only part of the aftermath, the emotional and psychological damage is even harder to repair.

In conjunction with burglar alarms and access control, surveillance is essential.  When installed correctly surveillance equipment is not only a helpful crime deterrent, but a useful tool in solving crime.  In the wake of IP (Internet Protocol) and wireless technology, surveillance equipment is no longer limited to hardwired installations.  This increases scalability, flexibility, and ease of installation.  It also helps reduce the cost of installation by not having to pull as much cabling through walls.  Another benefit to having a surveillance system is the potential capability to access footage remotely.  With a plethora of mobile apps at your disposal, you can access your surveillance system to see what is going on at your facility or home when you can’t be there.  Being able to remotely access your security cameras adds a layer of monitoring and convenience that, up until recently, wasn’t widely used or available.

Lastly to complete the effectiveness of a security system you should have an alarm monitoring service.  Without a monitoring service who is going to respond to an active alarm?  If you’re lucky someone nearby will call the authorities, that’s assuming someone is actually near your facility or residence when the alarm goes off.  An alarm monitor can help save you, your family, or your business from potential disaster by decreasing the response time from local authorities and emergency responders.  When an alarm is triggered the monitoring station is instantly notified; they typically try to contact you first, and if they don’t get a response within a given amount of time authorities and emergency crews are dispatched.  This is a particularly beneficial service in the event that you’re out of town or unable to respond in an emergency.  Having an alarm monitoring service can mean the difference between catastrophe and a manageable situation.

A security system is so much more than the equipment that comprises it.  It helps provide protection and life safety in a volatile world. Remember, a system is only as effective as the parts that comprise it.  For a security system to be comprehensive it should include fire and burglar alarms, access control, surveillance, and a monitoring service, at least.  As a security systems expert, Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security solutions to homes and businesses in northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We understand the importance of mitigating the unpredictable and what it takes to do so.

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 KRoock74-Google-Creative Commons

Are Security Guards Better Than An Alarm System?

Garry Knight-Security GuardYou might think that hiring a security guard or team of security personnel is all you need to protect your business. On the other hand you might think that installing a comprehensive security system is all you need.  The two on their own are no doubt effective in different ways, but are even more beneficial when combined.  However, security guards on their own are limited to their singular entities whereas a security system provides full coverage of an entire specified area, lacking only the immediate physical response that a guard would possibly have.  No protection system is perfect, but there are certain advantages and disadvantages that are unique to each.  As a security system provider our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. believe a comprehensive security system can help businesses avoid potential catastrophes.  We have been securing business facilities throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  Our systems have provided their owners with a peace of mind hard to obtain from anything else.

Pros & Cons: Security Guards

One of the most obvious pros to hiring security guards to watch over your business is their physical presence.  Being there in person allows for an immediate reaction if the need arises.  Having a security guard present at your business also creates a sense of security among employees and customers.  Their physical presence can also act as a crime deterrent making a targeted location less appealing to a thief or criminal.  As a business owner instead of hiring another individual or taking time out of your schedule, security guards can also be assigned to monitor surveillance footage.

What are some of the potential cons?  Unlike a surveillance camera that is constantly keeping watch because that’s its inherent function, humans are not guaranteed to be vigilant 100% of the time regardless of their pay.  To that point, the cost of hiring security personnel can sometimes be a financial burden for businesses.  Costs can vary depending on the type of security guard you’re looking for (i.e. armed or unarmed etc.).  The costs for a security guard can range anywhere from $10-100 per hour.  Knowing  that you hired a reputable guard can be tricky too.  Some guard service companies may not be licensed and this can affect the quality in training, background checks, and insurance of the guards they represent.  To be sure you’re hiring a professional that has a solid background it’s important to use a licensed and bonded guard service company.  Security guards are only human which means they can’t see absolutely everything.  On the other hand security cameras can be set up to cover an entire store or facility so if that shoplifter or thief isn’t caught red-handed, they can be caught on camera.

Overall, hiring a security guard seems to have more pros than cons for many businesses.  However, the human element shouldn’t be the only line of defense for a business.  Incorporating technology is an important and cost effective aspect to safeguarding any business facility.  In fact according to SecurityMagazine.com, “It is at the critical interface of manpower and technology that the greatest cost efficiencies related to security management can be gained.”  While the physical response of a guard is ultimately the desired outcome of any security situation their reaction time and effectiveness would be greatly enhanced with the technological aid of a comprehensive security system.

If a guard were able to monitor what surveillance cameras are capturing via a mobile device versus having to sit in a designated room, their reaction time to an issue would ultimately be quicker.  They would have the security info and alerts they need in the palm of their hand versus having to look or wait for it.  This holds true for an activated alarm, if it goes off, a notification will be sent directly to the guard’s mobile device.  Remote monitoring is a helpful security feature that is becoming commonplace in many comprehensive security systems nowadays.  It makes sense considering our “on the go” society lifestyle.

While no system is infallible a combination of customized security features will help protect any business facility.  Adding the human element of a security guard couldn’t hurt either, just be sure you’re hiring someone reputable.  You might consider combining the two, technology and guards, it really depends on the type of business you operate.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. we believe a customized comprehensive security system can greatly decrease the chances of catastrophe at any establishment.  Our team has been providing expert service to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  Security systems provide a peace of mind you can’t obtain from anything else and they let you get back to what is most important, running your business.

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 Garry Knight-Flickr-Creative Commons

Upgrading An Old Security System

Old Tech-Steve JurvetsonMaybe you’ve had a home security system installed years ago or perhaps you recently moved into a new home with an existing alarm system.  Whatever the case, how can you tell if your home security system is still valid?  There are some tell-tale signs that you may be dealing with an antiquated system.  However, if you have a security system and are concerned it’s not as relevant as it once was the first thing you should do is contact your security system provider for an assessment.  As a security systems expert, our professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc. understand the importance of maintaining a functional security system and keeping up with advancing technologies.  Our team of professionals have been providing comprehensive and customized home security systems throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We can help assess the validity of your alarm system and offer solutions specific to your security needs.

Maintaining an effective alarm system isn’t just about running annual tests, it’s making sure it progresses as you, your home, and technology press forward.  It’s not like buying the newest IPhone just to keep up with trends, it’s making sure the technology you’ve invested in is providing the best protection.  If you’ve had a security system for a while and can’t remember the last time the software was updated, or if updating isn’t even an option it might be time for an upgrade.  Outdated software may leave you susceptible to hacking and viruses, plus you may not be getting the most out of your system.  You don’t want to pay for a system that’s subpar right?

Another sign it might be time for an assessment or system upgrade is the dependence on a singular keypad for control.  In today’s fast-paced world we often have the need for convenience.  Is it convenient to have to drive home from work because you forgot to arm your security system?  Is it convenient to have to make it to the security keypad to punch in your pin while your arms are chalk-full of groceries?  No, so why not look into interactive services or home automation?  With home automation you no longer have to worry about forgetting to arm or disarm your system because you can do it from your mobile device from virtually anywhere.  You could access your surveillance system through an app on your mobile device, allowing you to view what is going on real-time at home.  Other advantages to an interactive system is the ability to adjust your thermostat and lighting from afar.  As Alarm.com puts it, “Using a smartphone to manage an interactive home security system is like having a remote control for the system right in your pocket.”  This added technology will save you time, money, and lots of headaches.

How was your security system originally installed?  Was it hardwired?  While there is nothing necessarily wrong with a hardwired system it’s important to consider current technology benefits and how your system compares.  Just as our phones have become wireless many industry professionals are installing wireless security systems with cellular capabilities.  Why?  For one there’s no need to tear open walls, which is costly and laborious.  Technology has advanced to the point where wireless capabilities have become more effective and ubiquitous making them more viable, dependable, and available.  When comparing wireless to hardwired systems a noticeable difference, aside from the wires, is the continuity of service.  With a wireless system you don’t have to worry about burglars cutting wires to disable your system because there are none.

Lastly, a common sign of an antiquated security system can be low-res (low-resolution) cameras.  While cameras alone can sometimes deter an intruder from attempting a break-in, what good is a surveillance system that offers fuzzy picture quality if a break-in does occur?  The purpose of a camera is being able to record quality footage to positively identify intruders and sometimes their vehicles if need be.  Clear footage can be a helpful tool for law enforcement and in court.  Effective cameras can also be used to monitor the arrival of packages, expected and unexpected visitors, interiors and exteriors, remote properties (i.e. barns, sheds etc.), and distant areas of your property.  Fortunately there is a vast array of high-resolution cameras available today.  Your security system company will be able to provide the best solutions for your specific needs.

Whether you’re unsure your current security system is functioning optimally or if you’re looking into home security for the first time, contact a specialist.  They will be able to assess your current security situation and provide customized solutions.  Our team of experts at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing custom home security systems throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We can help you update an outdated system and offer comprehensive systems for new installations.

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 Steve Jurvetson-Flickr-Creative Commons

Intercoms and Access Control Troubleshooting

We were recently approached by a public housing authority in Northern New Jersey with a problem. They had a 36-unit apartment building with electronic locks for entry, and were experiencing multiple issues. Tenants could no longer allow their guests entry to their apartment by pushing a button. They would have to leave the apartment, get on the elevator, and manually let the visitors in. The access control system was also no longer unlocking the main door – residents had to walk around to the back of the building to get into their own apartment building.

The housing authority had tried for months to get their previous vendor to fix the problem. The vendor rewired the intercom system and replaced parts on the access control system, all to no avail. After multiple expensive service calls, the system still had the same problem, and no solution was in sight. Frustrated, they decided to give us a call.

Drawing on our 25 years of experience, we discovered that the problem with the access control system was not with hardware, but rather with the installation. After troubleshooting, we saw that the expansion board was not mounted properly to the main board, and that the card reader was wired incorrectly. After rewiring, the system worked properly.

The intercom system, on the other hand, had larger problems. We found that the control center had failed. We also found that the previous technician, while trying to repair it, had made a mess of the wiring. A replacement was not readily available, as the company that manufactured the control center had been out of business since the early 2000s. Due to our knowledge of the industry, we were able to secure a source to manufacture the unit for us, at a reasonable price. We replaced the control center and fixed the wiring mistakes. The system works properly today and the work was done on time and under budget.

For over 25 years Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing custom access control systems to Northern and Central New Jersey. Our specialists are licensed and understand the complexities of a comprehensive system. We know how to guide you through the process from an initial on site assessment to final installation, and how to work with you to help troubleshoot your current system. Let us help you connect and protect what matters most.

If you live in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like more information, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Wireless Locks For Your Home

Alan Cleaver-Key in doorLast week in our blog, we wrote about how your cell phone could be your key at your business. Now, we’d like to tell you how it could work for your home too!

The days of struggling to carry 50 pounds of groceries while simultaneously trying to dig your house keys out of your pocket or purse, might be coming to an end. As a homeowner your door locks have always been an essential line of defense when it comes to protecting your home. While our everyday lives are saturated with technological advancement, it only makes sense that our physical structures should follow suit. That being said, using a key to unlock your doors may be a thing of the past with wireless access control on the rise.

What is wireless access control? Essentially, wireless access control in a residential setting means replacing the standard lock and key with a keypad, remote control, biometric reader, card reader, or Wi-Fi access. Keys are no longer the only method for unlocking your doors, in fact, they become the back-up. At Perfect Connections, Inc. our team of licensed experts have been providing comprehensive security solutions to homes throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992. We stay in touch with current technologies and how they might benefit our customers. Protecting entrances is key (no pun intended) to the safety and security of any home, and we aim to provide the best solutions to each individual residence.

How does a wireless lock work? Most traditional locks operate on some form of a “pin and tumbler” method. This is when the serrated edge of an inserted key moves pins on the interior of the lock a certain distance allowing you turn the lock cylinder and open the door. With a wireless lock (which typically operates on electricity or battery power) has “actuators,” which connect the cylinder or bolt to a motor within the door or frame. The motor is electrically activated by a keypad, card reader, or wireless remote controller. On top of that there are locks that work on Wi-Fi signals used in conjunction with your smartphone or mobile device, sometimes referred to as smart or automated locks. Lastly, biometrics are sometimes used to control home access. Typically a fingerprint or hand print is the credential required for such a system.

There are many advantages to a wireless locking system. For one, you never have to worry about losing or forgetting your keys. This eliminates having to leave spare keys outside or giving them to people who need access to your home. Instead of using a key you can, depending on the type of wireless lock, give your visitor the access code or with an automated system you can unlock the door from your smartphone. With a wireless lock there are no wires. Typically this means an easier and seamless installation. It’s a technology that would allow for a more ubiquitous integration that includes old and new construction homes. Wireless locks offer a convenience and extra layer of security you can’t get from a standard door lock.

While there are multiple benefits to a wireless locking system, none of them are perfect. With a regular lock you might lose your keys, with a wireless keypad lock you could forget your access code or the code could be hacked by a savvy burglar. Fortunately, if you forget your code many keypad locks come with a physical key as a backup. As for code hacking, it’s usually best practice to pick a random code, so don’t use a birthday or something easily guessed. It’s also prudent- and some systems may require it anyway-to change the code every few months or after you’ve let an outsider use it.

The main drawback with a remote controlled lock is, just as with keys, you could lose the remote. Unlike keys, a remote is usually programed by a computer. Therefore, in the event that you lose the remote you can deactivate it from the convenience of a computer. With a smart or automated lock you run into the issue of not always having a reliable Wi-Fi signal. Then there’s the dreaded question of what happens when the power goes out? As some of the wireless locks run on electricity, a power outage could be an issue. However, many of these locks tend to have multiple redundancies in place including backup battery power. The main deterrent when it comes to biometric locks is the price as they tend to be a fairly complex system that isn’t as pervasive in the residential market as the other technologies.

Whether you are building a new home or want to enhance the security of your current residence, wireless locks can reinforce your first line of defense and provide a convenience you can’t obtain with conventional locks. As with any security device or installation you should always consult a licensed security systems professional, especially if you’re looking for full system integration. At Perfect Connections, Inc. our team has been providing comprehensive security system solutions to homes throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years. We help you connect and protect what matters most, offering a peace of mind you can’t get from anything else.

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 Alan Cleaver-Flickr-Creative Commons

Using Cell Phones with Access Control Systems

Access-ErvinWe use our smartphones and other mobile devices for many functions in our daily lives. It’s almost impossible to go through an entire day without seeing someone tapping, scrolling, or swiping through their phone, never mind using your own phone. We’ve created a mobile environment where convenience lies in the palm of our hands.

Technological progression has taken us so far in a short amount of time; we can pay our bills on our phones, we can chat with someone a world away, we can make everyday purchases, and now they can be used as an extension of our security systems. In particular as a means of access control and authentication in commercial applications using near field communication (NFC). According to Jeremy Earles, Readers and Credentials Portfolio Manager for Allegion, NFC technology, “provides simplified transactions, data exchange and wireless connections between two devices that are in close proximity to each other…” This is essentially the same technology you may have seen advertised by Samsung where two phones can be tapped together to share information, see HERE.

At Perfect Connections, Inc. our team of licensed professionals provide comprehensive security system solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey. We have been helping a wide range of businesses secure their facilities for over 20 years. As with any technology, progression in the realm of security components shows no signs of slowing. At Perfect Connections we realize it is our responsibility to stay on top of these changes and provide our clients with solutions that are current but practical as well.

NFC technology is an exciting new venture in access control applications. However, it has yet to become as ubiquitous as traditional access controls like key fobs, swipe cards, and proximity readers. One of the many reasons being NFC technology has yet to become an innate feature in the spectrum of devices in circulation today.

In theory NFC access control would work by allowing your employees and authorized users to utilize their mobile device, likely their cellphone, as their access credential. The user’s phone would have an embedded NFC chip that would wirelessly receive an authorized credential from an administrative control. This process can be similar to how you would download an app or retrieve information stored in a cloud service; or it could be easily managed by plugging the phone into an administrative device via a USB cord. Once the phone has the proper credential it can be used in the same fashion as a fob or proximity card, simply tap the phone or be within range of a reader that will grant or deny access. Imagine the convenience!

With 5.9 billion, or 87% of the world’s population, being mobile subscribers it’s no wonder NFC technology is creating buzz among end users and security integrators alike. Of those mobile subscribers 91% keep their phone within and arm’s length throughout the day and night. It only makes sense that phones would become part of integrated security protocols. With younger generations the desire for new and streamlined processes is endless, especially for those now entering the workforce. They don’t want to be bothered with having to search through their pockets or purses for badges or fobs when their phone like an extension of their hand. While NFC technology may not be the universal method for access control yet, the case for it exists today.

One of the many benefits NFC technology offers is no longer having to print or buy new ID badges which can be costly and time consuming. It also allows you to change credentials on and as needed basis. This would be helpful if you have a contract or temp worker who needs provisional access. You would simply send or upload a temporary credential to their phone and when their job is done you can delete access from the administrative network.

According to Ron Oetjen, president of Intelligent Access Systems (IAS), NFC technology saves money by not having to replace lost or stolen card credentials. Oetjen argues that security may be even better when using smartphones than cards or fobs considering how obsessively people guard them, and the fact that in order to use it as a credential the phone first has to be unlocked using a PIN or biometric identification. So many companies already employ a BYOD (bring your own device) policy at work that the transition would be easy for the user. If a phone is lost or stolen it can be remotely tracked, disabled, and/or wiped preventing an unauthorized user from gaining access.

Like any other developing technology, NFC is not perfect and consumer perception is still evolving. Currently one of the major drawbacks is that it’s not universally integrated in mobile phones and access readers. Certain manufacturers like Apple and Google have yet to include NFC technology in their devices making the user purchase external accessories that can be bulky and unattractive. Then there are some businesses that don’t want to lose the traditional ID badge that displays a photo of the user for security reasons. The issue of existing security infrastructure can be tricky too as it may require the removal and reinstallation of new system components which adds cost.

The world of security systems is constantly evolving. This requires integrators and end users to be aware of changes that will affect and potentially enhance their systems. NFC technology is an exciting addition to the access control component of a security system that will likely become more ubiquitous in the coming years. It will provide a new level of security and convenience that has yet to be fully realized. At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed integrators are constantly educating themselves on changes in the industry and how they may benefit our clients. We provide comprehensive security systems that include access controls to businesses and facilities throughout northern and central New Jersey, and have been doing so since 1992. Our experts will help guide you through the process from an initial security assessment to final installation, implementing technologies that are not only effective but make sense for your specific situation.

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 Ervins Strauhmanis-Flickr-Creative Commons

Investing in Access Control

Steven DepoloWhat is access control?  In the simplest of terms it can be explained as a means to allow or deny entry to or exit from a designated space.  Think of the kinds you likely use on a daily basis, a key to lock or unlock your front door or an electronic gate that lets you into the parking garage at work.  But what does it mean, what are the options when it comes to business integration and security systems, and why might your facility need it?  As licensed security systems providers our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We have extensive knowledge and experience in creating comprehensive security systems that often include some form of access control.

Before looking at the different types of access control available it is important to understand why it may be necessary in the first place.  In most cases access control is used as a layer of protection.  What warrants this added layer of protection is subjective.  It could be company assets, valuable materials, sensitive or confidential information, medication (assisted living or healthcare facilities), staff and employees, or any combination of these items.  Regardless of what needs protection, the point is it warrants reinforcement.

The most simplistic and ubiquitous form of access control is a door lock and key.  While this system is effective at creating a temporary barrier, it is not sophisticated enough to prevent a break-in on its own.  Consider how easy it is to lose a key or duplicate one for that matter.  An experienced burglar or criminal could easily pick a standard lock.  This is why many companies turn to more advanced technologies typically provided in conjunction with a comprehensive security system.

An access control system (ACS) consists of the user being issued a “credential” which is then used on an electronic reader typically at the point of entry or in close proximity.  A credential can consist of any predetermined physical item like a plastic ID card or token that is embedded with the appropriate access information.  When it is swiped, tapped, or within range of the electronic reader, access or exit will be permitted.  According to SecurityMagazine.com, “A credential is presented to an electronic reader that gathers information stored on the credential and compares it to preset parameters and information stored in the ACS computer.”

A fairly common form of access control is using a keypad and PIN number or code.  When used individually this type of technology is not always effective.  PINs can be easily stolen by an onlooker observing you entering it.  Wear and tear on the same digits on the keypad can also be a dead give-away to someone looking to gain entry.  When used in combination with other access control methods a keypad can become more effective as an added layer of security.

One of the most secure and pervasive electronic technologies being implemented in the access control industry today is proximity technology.  How does it work?  Basically a plastic card or token (fob) is embedded with an electronic chip and antenna.  The internal chip is coded and when presented within range of the electronic reader the code is transmitted.  If the code is recognized and verified by the reader access will be granted.  The obvious downfall of this type of system is if you were to lose your card/token or if it were stolen.

Looking toward the future a less popular form of access control is sitting on the back-burner.  Biometrics.  According to Steven Hausman biometrics involves, “analyzing physiological and/or behavioral characteristics of the body, both classes of which would be presumably unique to an individual, and thus more reliable than traditional methods of verifying identity.”  This could be anything from fingerprint to vocal recognition.  This technology isn’t as widely used as some of the more traditional forms of access control because of its cost and reliability issues.  Although it may be difficult to replicate physical traits, it can be done.  The television show “Mythbusters” proved that fingerprints can be replicated using latex and ballistics gel.  While this technology may have some kinks to work out, it’s something to keep an eye on in the future.

There are many viable options when it comes to access control integration.  When combined with a comprehensive security system access control technologies become more effective at deterring crime.  A comprehensive system includes not only access control but video surveillance, fire alarms, burglar alarms, and alarm monitoring.  Our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing access control and security system solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We understand you have many concerns when it comes to the security of your business, and we are here to help guide you through the process from an initial assessment to final installation.

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 Steven Depolo-Flickr-Creative Commons

Beware of Cookie Cutter Systems

As we all know, every business is different. Each business has its own unique challenges when it comes to ensuring complete protection and safety. Unfortunately, we’ve seen numerous examples of people believing they were protected by “one size fits all” systems, when all they really do is provide a false sense of security. This year, one out three businesses will go bankrupt from theft. More than $3 billion dollars in damages will be assessed from business fires Are you able to take the risk that a cookie-cutter system will be able to defend against all the unique problems you face in your day-to-day business?

There are a number of factors that must be taken into account when designing a security system that works for your business. What are the local ordinances and laws that require compliance? How many employees do you have? What other types of buildings surround your business? Hospitals can require certain types of security systems, while manufacturing facilities will require a completely different system.

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Many larger security companies are willing to give you a quote on a security system sight unseen. We’ve seen so many problems arise because of this. Many times, these systems won’t work when you need them to – an incident won’t be recorded because a camera was not pointed the right way, or storage was full. Vulnerable entrances left unprotected. Valuable property not monitored properly. There is often fine print that will lock you in to high cost monitoring for extended periods of time, coupled with pricey charges if you need to end your contract early.

Surveillance systems are not the only part of a comprehensive security system though. At Perfect Connections, we believe a complete security system also includes fire protection, access control, burglar alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors, along with 24 hour monitoring. Fire alarm codes differ from town to town. Each company’s access control needs will be different. Burglar alarms and carbon monoxide detectors add important layers to any security system, protecting your property and employees.

With today’s technology, these systems can not only be monitoring 24 hours a day remotely, but can also be viewed with any smartphone or computer. Automatic notifications can be sent to alert you when something at your business happens. Climate controls can be set remote to help save costs on heating and cooling.

When you’re looking to install or upgrade a security system at your business, remember to make sure you’re getting a system that fits the needs and challenges your business faces on a day to day business. While a cookie cutter system may be a bit more affordable than a custom security system, the extra protection and peace of mind you get from knowing that your security system is tailor-made for your business is well worth the investment.

What should you look for in a video surveillance system?

Video surveillance systems can be beneficial for a number of reasons. They are often installed to prevent burglaries and vandalism, but can also be used to promote neighborhood or office safety, in addition to increasing peace of mind if used in a home environment. When installing a video surveillance system, whether it is for your home, your office, or for any other setting, there are a number of things to consider. First, you need to think about the area that you want to keep any eye on, as well as the type of surveillance system and cameras you want. All of these factors will help you to decide what kind of system is best for your situation.

The first question you want to consider is how many cameras do you think that you will need? Think about the size of the property you are looking to protect, and the perspective that a camera will you give you in various locations. Additionally, you need to consider what the areas are that you want to cover. If there are outdoor areas, you need cameras that can stand up to weather, whereas for an indoor setting you would not need to look for weatherproof options, which can often be more expensive. You also need to consider the time of day that you will be using your system: daytime, nighttime, or both. All of these factors play will play into your decision about what kind of camera you will need.

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After deciding what types of cameras you need for your space, you will want to think about the specific places that you want to have your cameras to be that will give you the best and widest ranges of visibility. These places will likely be at entrances and exits to the building, near garage doors, and by exterior or unattached buildings. If the video surveillance system is for a place of business, you will likely want to consider what areas typically have high traffic, and target these areas for camera installation.

Something else to consider when thinking about a video surveillance system is how you want to set up your data storage system. There are many options where you can save video footage onto a hard drive, and other options that save to this data into a cloud for storage. Along with this you will want to consider how much storage you think you will need. This will depend on two factors that affect the amount of data your system will use: both the quality of videos, and how long you plan to save video footage for. One final thing to consider is whether you will want to have access to a camera’s live feed, or if you will only want to be able to go back and look at footage when necessary. This will also contribute to the amount of storage space you’ll need, as well as help you to determine if your system will need the capability to connect to the Internet. This will also help you to determine if you want to have an analog camera, or an IP camera.

Once you have thought through this criteria and made decisions about what you think will work best for you and your space, you will be ready to look for a video surveillance system!

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: Ricco Security