Using Edge Technology To Protect Your Home Or Business

Todd Huffman-SurveillanceWhen it comes to security systems you may have heard the term “edge technology,” “edge analytics,” or “edge devices.”  What exactly do these terms mean and why are they important?  When talking about security systems “the edge” is typically used when referring to video surveillance components.  Every security system integrator and industry professional will likely have their own definition of what it means, but in summary “edge technology” refers to surveillance devices that operate, analyze, and record at their source versus transmitting all that information over a network to the system’s core.  In traditional surveillance systems there is a central server where recorded data from peripheral devices is stored and analyzed.  In an edge-based system cameras perform these functions locally.

Why is this pertinent information?  Depending on your specific situation using edge-based technology can provide more efficient surveillance processes and enhance the overall effectiveness of your security system.  As every situation is subjective a licensed security systems integrator should always be consulted when determining what type of components will serve your business best.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed security system integrators are committed to providing comprehensive security systems that exceed your expectations.  We have been installing comprehensive security systems at businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We know how to assess your security needs and implement relevant technologies that will help keep business running as usual.

Surveillance components that can be considered on “the edge” are IP cameras, video encoders, and network attached storage (NAS) devices.  These devices have recently become more advanced and their capabilities that were once unique to the central server of the security system continue to improve.  According to Steve Gorski, general manager at Mobotix, “Edge-based surveillance solves the bottleneck problem by using the camera to decentralize intelligence and video data.”  This means the cameras themselves are more intelligent and effective.

Edge-based technologies allow for higher image resolutions and the ability to compress them without the loss image quality.  Even with the use of high resolution IP cameras becoming more commonplace, in a traditional system, the images still have to travel to the central server to be stored and typically compressed; this is where image quality can be lost.   Edge technology helps reduce the need for exorbitant storage space on the central server as many edge devices are capable of storing data locally on SD memory cards or NAS devices.  Traditionally these types of storage options were primarily used as backups for the system, but they can now be implemented as the main recording devices in smaller applications.  Cutting down on the need for centralized storage will reduce the need for high bandwidth consumption, ultimately cutting costs.

According to Fredrik Nilsson, general manager for Axis Communications, “It’s estimated today that a staggering 99 percent of all recorded surveillance video is deleted before it’s ever seen.”  How does that make surveillance useful?  It really doesn’t except for use in forensic investigations or after the fact viewing, but with edge-technologies providing intelligence and analytics at the source, detection capabilities increase which creates a more effective system.  With smarter edge devices that can detect patterns, motion, facial recognition, license plates, camera tampering, and people count, you can avoid potential catastrophe that could be caused by deleting recordings to free up space.  These types of analytics provide a platform for real-time viewing that can even be streamed to mobile devices, which are also often considered part of “the edge” realm.  The ultimate goal always being prevention and proactive approaches rather than delayed after the fact reactions.

With any technology “the edge” is a work in progress and will continue to evolve.  It seems edge devices are primarily implemented in smaller applications where the camera need is less than 20.  One of the reasons being a server-based surveillance system can run more analytics per camera because of the CPU power, so the more cameras you have the more processing power you’ll likely need.  For smaller facilities and businesses with remote locations that need surveillance, edge devices are a viable option as they provide real-time analytics, can store footage locally, and don’t require a ton of bandwidth consumption.

At Perfect Connections, Inc. we are committed to providing security system solutions that fit your specific needs.  Our team of licensed integrators has been providing comprehensive security system solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We realize that just because a new technology is available that doesn’t mean it is the appropriate solution to every problem.  Our integrators work with you to learn your needs and will design a custom system that addresses your subjective security risks.

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 Todd Huffman-Flickr-Creative Commons

Can I Keep My Camera System On My Office Network?

Network-Norlando PobreWhether you are installing a new surveillance system or changing an existing one you need to consider the type of system and the operating implications associated with it.  The desire for advanced image quality, video analytics, ease of integration, and remote access has ushered in the era of IP (Internet Protocol) surveillance systems.  IP surveillance systems have opened the door to a more integrated security system and they provide increased scalability which is important to company growth and future adaptation.  This type of surveillance system typically relies on an internet network, and as they say “therein lies the rub.”

Should your surveillance system operate on the same internet network as your office computers?  The answer is not a simple yes or no.  The short answer being it certainly is a viable option, but it could depend on the size and type of business you run.  It’s also possible to set up an IP surveillance system on its own network but it may not be cost effective or necessary.  For these reasons it is imperative to consult a licensed security system professional when altering or adding a surveillance system.

When it comes to a company’s network there seems to be some trepidation about how and what devices can and should be allowed on it.  It’s understandable, a company’s network is often a basis for its everyday functions, but where does the worry come from?  A lot of it usually has to do with a communication gap between security integrators and IT professionals or end users.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed experts are able to provide clear and understandable information about the surveillance equipment we implement and how it will affect your company’s network.  We have been providing comprehensive security system solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  Our team has witnessed and been a part of the migration from mainly analog surveillance to IP.

Let’s discover the common concerns about network devices and how they can be dissolved, but first we’ll review some quick terminology when talking about networks.  LAN, MAN, and WAN are three basic types of networks you’ll likely hear about from integrators and IT professionals.  Local area networks (LANs) are typically found at most small to medium sized businesses as they cover a smaller more specific area.  In all likelihood your company operates on a LAN network.  Metropolitan area networks (MANs) cover a larger area and are usually present in cities and across large campuses.  Wide Area Networks (WANs) provide the most coverage, anything from expansive distances to the whole world.  According to Fredrik Nilsson, general manager for Axis Communications in North America, WANs are often comprised of multiple smaller networks including LANs and MANs.

All networks are comprised of some sort of cabling and equipment such as switches, servers, and hubs.  The most popular type of network configuration used with LANs is called star.  A star configuration allows all network devices to be connected to a central point where if one device crashes the rest will remain in operation.  However, redundancies are typically incorporated to account for the possibility of a central station crash.

Now that terminology is out of the way, what are some of the major concerns one might have when adding surveillance equipment to a company network?  One of the most common is bandwidth consumption.  This often stems from companies that have had to deal with employees streaming or downloading videos via company networks which eats into the available bandwidth.  According to James Marcella, director of technical services for Axis Communications, IP surveillance equipment is wrongly accused when it comes to bandwidth consumption.  He says most IP cameras today can be customized to fit a company’s network and storage guidelines.  To help limit their consumption surveillance can be setup on a Virtual LANs (VLANs) which Marcella says, “prevents video traffic from grabbing the lion’s share of bandwidth.”

Then there’s the ever-present question, “what about hacking?”  In our world where virtually everything is connected through the IoT (Internet of Things), it’s hard not to worry about who can access private information and how that information is being protected.  Having surveillance equipment on the same network as your company computers may seem scary, but in reality, more oft than not, there are procedures in place to prevent hacker access.

When it comes to adding network devices and keeping the network safe authentication protocol and data encryption are key.  According to Marcella authentication protocol protects the network at the physical port level.  If someone were to unplug a network camera and try to plug in their own device, all “traffic” to that port’s switch would automatically be shut down as the foreign device wouldn’t have the proper authorization.  Data encryption is essentially creating a password to your network whether it’s wired or wireless.  This prevents someone from getting into your network or freeloading on your company’s internet.  Encryptions can be highly effective as long as they are not something obvious or easily guessed.

Lastly, network storage is a top concern.  This is often directly linked to bandwidth consumption concerns.  Due to high image quality of IP camera recordings it’s not uncommon for businesses to store video footage for longer periods of time.  Fortunately, with IP surveillance systems you don’t necessarily have to store recordings directly on the network.  For smaller installations there is the option to utilize in-camera storage through internal SD cards (Secure Digital Cards).  Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices and cloud-based systems are other viable options.  In order to determine which method is best for your company an evaluation of camera quantity and storage needs should be conducted.

Whether you are adding a new surveillance system or updating an existing one it’s imperative to consider the impact it will have on your company’s network, if any at all.  Always consult a licensed security system professional as they can help guide you or your IT department through the process from initial assessment to final installation.  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 can help break down the communication barrier that sometimes creates apprehension when installing network devices.

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 Norlando Pobre-Flickr-Creative Commons

How The IoT is Changing Physical Security

Jonathan Briggs-Network CableOur world is constantly changing and evolving.  Progression is an inevitable force that influences the way we live our daily lives.  This is especially true of advancements made in the techy devices we interact with on a daily basis.  Everything from our smartphones to our security systems.  It’s the manner in how we interact with all of these devices that is driving innovation and product design.  The internet and networking of devices is creating a connected environment that offers ultimate convenience and changes how we perceive the potential of security systems.

At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed integrators provide comprehensive security systems to businesses and homes throughout northern and central New Jersey.  We believe in installing quality systems that are in line with the best technological advancements the market has to offer.  This doesn’t mean we use the trendiest devices for the sake of being “trendy,” it means evaluating current products that will add value and provide a platform for future adaptation.  With the Internet of Things (IoT) it’s imperative to implement devices that are not only relevant but can stand the test of time, within reason.

The definition of the IoT can be summed up as, “the interconnection of uniquely identifiable embedded computing devices within the existing internet infrastructure without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.”  This means devices that are able to “talk” to one another via an internet connection without third part interference.  An example would be a motion detector that automatically uploads a video clip to an authorized smartphone when it senses movement.  The IoT is influencing changes in security system components like video cameras, access controls, recording equipment, fire and burglar alarms, locks, and monitoring services.  The devices themselves are evolving but so is the manner in which end users and system operators interact with them.

A higher level of remote connectivity to security systems and their components is a result of the IoT.  End-users can now login to security systems and their devices via an app on their mobile device.  This would allow the business owner who is away on vacation to periodically check-in on the day-to-day by logging into their surveillance system on their smartphone.  The homeowner who forgot to lock their doors and arm their system can now do so remotely via a mobile device or computer.  Automated notifications can be setup to send an alert when an alarm is triggered, someone tries to gain entry without proper access credentials, when a camera or motion detector capture movement within their range; the possibilities are extensive and continue to be developed.

According to Steve Hausman, president of Hausman Technology Keynotes, we are still at the beginning of the “IoT revolution.”  Some research suggest by the year 2020 there will be over 30 billion wirelessly connected devices in operation.  With everything becoming more and more connected one has to wonder, what are the risks?  In this highly connected world, there is a plethora of data being recorded, stored, and shared but who has access and rights to this data?  Therein lies the problem.

As with anything connected to the internet, the risk of being hacked or stolen is inherent.  In the security world this would be a problem for IP cameras, cloud storage and recording solutions, networked access controls, and basically anything running on or connected to an internet network.  With that in mind, industry professionals and developers are continuously working on solutions to prevent and minimize vulnerability.

Hausman says, “Security standards need to be established and enforced at the design and manufacturing levels.  As the IoT evolves, we can also expect that society will not only adapt to its usefulness but come to expect that appropriate safeguards be implemented to ensure both privacy and security.”  Today, those “safeguards” are being provided by licensed security integrators who understand the risks associated with system automation and the IoT.  Often times this means strong encryptions for not only the network, but the connected devices as well.

The IoT isn’t something that’s going to disappear.  Its presence in the security industry will continue to shape the way manufacturers develop products and how they are implemented by security integrators.  As licensed professionals our integrators at Perfect Connections, Inc. provide comprehensive security system solutions to businesses and homes throughout northern and central New Jersey, and have been doing so for the past 23 years.  Our team has witnessed decades of advancements in the industry.  We realize it is our duty to continue our own education as well as offer knowledge to our customers when implementing new technologies and component counterparts.

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 Jonathan Briggs-Flickr-Creative Commons

What is VoIP and how will it affect my security system?

Telephone-Billy BrownWe live in an exciting time where it seems every day a new technology is being born.  Everything from our computers to our phones to our everyday accessories are advancing at a rapid pace.  The implications of a technology may not be fully realized until after the fact, and it may not always be an issue with the technology itself, but how it interacts with existing components of our already complex systems.  This is especially true of security system components.

In a comprehensive security system there are access controls, burglar and fire alarms, video surveillance, a monitoring service, and sometimes motion/glass break detectors.  With all of these moving parts security integrators have to understand the functions of each component and how they will affect one another.  As licensed security systems integrators our professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc. we deal with the changing technological environment by being educated and thoroughly evaluating what technologies will actually benefit our clients.  Our integrators have been providing comprehensive security system solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.

Many, if not most, security systems are migrating to a network based solution where system components are tied to an internet network.  This is where VoIP technology may come into play.  What is VoIP?  It stands for Voice over Internet Protocol.  Essentially VoIP technology allows voice signals to be transferred over a network versus the traditional POTS (plain old telephone service).  How does this tie into security systems?  In the not so distant past security system components were hardwired and heavily relied on traditional phone lines for communication capabilities.  Even with the surge of wireless components available there are still many hardwired systems that rely on the dependability of a phone line connection. VoIP technology essentially replaces the traditional phone line and can be used to bundle all communications, like cable and internet, into one service.

Sounds convenient, but like any technology there are bound to be issues, particularly with how it can potentially interfere with security systems.  Where you might run into trouble is when an alarm is triggered.  Typically, when an alarm is triggered a signal is sent to the monitoring station prompting them to alert the proper authorities.  Depending on the installation and the service, it could cause unpredictable or failed communication of alarm signals to the central monitoring station.  Some VoIP services can’t connect directly to 911 and on the dispatchers end they might not be able to see your phone number or address when you call, which is problematic when a response is needed.

The reasons why VoIP can cause unreliability are not always obvious especially to the end user.  According to Kenneth L. Gentile, a senior consulting engineer for Rolf Jensen & Associates Inc., “Digital alarm communication transmitters (DACTs) and other alarm transmitters initiate tones designed for transmission over POTS.”  Sometimes these tones meant for the monitoring station do not translate properly over VoIP lines due to signal distortion.

Installation error can be a factor in the reliability, or lack thereof, in VoIP services as well.  If the initial alarm wiring was installed on the existing telephone service it could prevent the alarm from transmitting properly and it’s up to your security systems integrator to recognize that. Alarm system tests can typically be run to ensure its operability, but according to Gentile, an on-site test with a VoIP service can’t always determine proper function or what the problem may be.  Instead he suggests VoIP service providers and the alarm monitoring service should be asked to conjointly demonstrate transmission of alarm signals under normal circumstances, when there is a power failure, and when VoIP is in use.  Doing so should help point out any potential issues with alarm signal transmission.  Gentile says, “VoIP service must be engineered so as not to jeopardize the essential emergency communications upon which public safety depends.”

Issues aside, VoIP service promises to be a beneficial technology.  Apparently it comes with great cost savings.  According to Eduard L. Telders, director of enterprise information security at T-Mobile, “VoIP can eliminate the entire expense stream of establishing and maintaining a circuit-switched network for telephone connections.”  Being able to bundle all communications into one service is appealing to end users and vendors alike.  It makes maintenance and service calls more convenient, having to call only one provider versus one for each service.  Facilities that employ VoIP technologies in conjunction with their security systems have the advantage of real-time response to criminal activity.  With VoIP, central monitoring stations can actually speak directly to an intruder caught on camera, transmitting a voice message through speakers installed at the subscribers on site location.

While it may have yet to be perfected VoIP technology seems to be a leading change in communication capabilities.  The implications it may have on security system transmissions and emergency responses are critical issues that need to be addressed by VoIP providers, security system integrators, monitoring services, emergency responders, and industry professionals.  Keep in mind that just because something is available, doesn’t make it the best option for your specific needs.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed integrators believe in providing comprehensive security solutions that will enhance the safety and security of your facility, not hinder it.  We have been installing comprehensive security systems at businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992, we have the experience and knowledge to design a system that will work best for you.

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 Billy Brown-Flickr-Creative Commons

Defining Edge Technology

Todd Huffman-SurveillanceWhen it comes to security systems you may have heard the term “edge technology,” “edge analytics,” or “edge devices.”  What exactly do these terms mean and why are they important?  When talking about security systems “the edge” is typically used when referring to video surveillance components.  Every security system integrator and industry professional will likely have their own definition of what it means, but in summary “edge technology” refers to surveillance devices that operate, analyze, and record at their source versus transmitting all that information over a network to the system’s core.  In traditional surveillance systems there is a central server where recorded data from peripheral devices is stored and analyzed.  In an edge-based system cameras perform these functions locally.

Why is this pertinent information?  Depending on your specific situation using edge-based technology can provide more efficient surveillance processes and enhance the overall effectiveness of your security system.  As every situation is subjective a licensed security systems integrator should always be consulted when determining what type of components will serve your business best.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed security system integrators are committed to providing comprehensive security systems that exceed your expectations.  We have been installing comprehensive security systems at businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We know how to assess your security needs and implement relevant technologies that will help keep business running as usual.

Surveillance components that can be considered on “the edge” are IP cameras, video encoders, and network attached storage (NAS) devices.  These devices have recently become more advanced and their capabilities that were once unique to the central server of the security system continue to improve.  According to Steve Gorski, general manager at Mobotix, “Edge-based surveillance solves the bottleneck problem by using the camera to decentralize intelligence and video data.”  This means the cameras themselves are more intelligent and effective.

Edge-based technologies allow for higher image resolutions and the ability to compress them without the loss image quality.  Even with the use of high resolution IP cameras becoming more commonplace, in a traditional system, the images still have to travel to the central server to be stored and typically compressed; this is where image quality can be lost.   Edge technology helps reduce the need for exorbitant storage space on the central server as many edge devices are capable of storing data locally on SD memory cards or NAS devices.  Traditionally these types of storage options were primarily used as backups for the system, but they can now be implemented as the main recording devices in smaller applications.  Cutting down on the need for centralized storage will reduce the need for high bandwidth consumption, ultimately cutting costs.

According to Fredrik Nilsson, general manager for Axis Communications, “It’s estimated today that a staggering 99 percent of all recorded surveillance video is deleted before it’s ever seen.”  How does that make surveillance useful?  It really doesn’t except for use in forensic investigations or after the fact viewing, but with edge-technologies providing intelligence and analytics at the source, detection capabilities increase which creates a more effective system.  With smarter edge devices that can detect patterns, motion, facial recognition, license plates, camera tampering, and people count, you can avoid potential catastrophe that could be caused by deleting recordings to free up space.  These types of analytics provide a platform for real-time viewing that can even be streamed to mobile devices, which are also often considered part of “the edge” realm.  The ultimate goal always being prevention and proactive approaches rather than delayed after the fact reactions.

With any technology “the edge” is a work in progress and will continue to evolve.  It seems edge devices are primarily implemented in smaller applications where the camera need is less than 20.  One of the reasons being a server-based surveillance system can run more analytics per camera because of the CPU power, so the more cameras you have the more processing power you’ll likely need.  For smaller facilities and businesses with remote locations that need surveillance, edge devices are a viable option as they provide real-time analytics, can store footage locally, and don’t require a ton of bandwidth consumption.

At Perfect Connections, Inc. we are committed to providing security system solutions that fit your specific needs.  Our team of licensed integrators has been providing comprehensive security system solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We realize that just because a new technology is available that doesn’t mean it is the appropriate solution to every problem.  Our integrators work with you to learn your needs and will design a custom system that addresses your subjective security risks.

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 Todd Huffman-Flickr-Creative Commons

What Is Web-Based Access Control?

Scott Lewis-smart lockThe technological climate is swiftly changing the way we connect and interact with the physical world.  Endless runs of cable and spaghetti wiring is becoming an antiquated notion with the development of wireless internet based equipment.  This is evident in the way some security system integrators are approaching system design and installation.  As industry professionals, our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security system solutions to organizations throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  It is our goal to not only provide innovative security equipment, but implement components that are effective and make sense within a specific organization.

Access control has always been a top security concern for any establishment.  Whether it means using a lock and key, card reader, or fingerprint, it’s a means by which your business is shielded from unauthorized personnel.  As an integral part of a comprehensive security system, access control mechanisms need to function on the same level as their system counterparts.  Meaning software and technology updates/applications should apply across the board without disrupting the system as a whole.  IP (Internet Protocol)/web-based technologies are making the advancement of security system components more attainable and desirable to both end-users and system integrators.  This is evident in the continuing migration from analog based surveillance to IP.  Web-based technology is not exclusively transforming surveillance, but security systems as a whole, including access control mechanisms.

What does web-based/IP access control really mean?  Your typical access control system is made-up of software, card/badge readers, controllers, and credentials.  In many existing systems today, the software has to be updated manually or on site, the readers and controllers have to be supplied with wired power, and credentials typically constitute a fob or swipe card.  With web-based or IP access control everything from installation to software updates changes.  Much like many IP surveillance cameras, web-based access control systems are connected to a company’s internet network.  Access control that operates over a network opens the door (pun intended) to increased scalability, installation flexibility, remote system access and management, reduction in the need for traditional power outlets, and cost efficiency.  This creates a more open platform for system management and integration.

In the not so distant past access control systems would be designed with products from a single manufacturer.  While this may seem like a good idea, think about what happens if products are discontinued or the manufacturer goes out of business and no longer supports your system.  You’re left with having to start from scratch which is not only a hassle but costly as well.  With web-based access control, components don’t necessarily have to be supplied by one manufacturer.  Being able to source readers, controllers, and credentials from different manufacturers benefits the end user and security integrator by limiting the cost of repair or replacement, as well as creating a smoother transition between software updates and system upgrades.  The technology and software behind these products are becoming more universal which leads to better overall system operation and integration.

The flexibility of web-based access control systems far surpasses physical access controls used in the past.  You have the option to secure multiple entry points at a singular site or across numerous sites nationwide, even worldwide.  Unlike traditional systems, multiple sites can be controlled, updated, and managed from a singular location either on site or remotely over a secured network.  In this sense web-based security features help with system management consolidation; streamlining operation processes making the day-to-day more convenient.

One of the most desirable features of web-based access control systems is the reduction of required cabling.  Depending on the application, readers don’t necessarily have to be wired directly to the network.  This cuts down on cabling and labor costs.  It also provides flexibility in situations where cabling may not be an option, such as installations in historical buildings.  Same is true about the energy supply to readers and locks.  In the past it may have been difficult for integrators to place access control equipment because of a lack in electrical outlets or supply.  Now, with web-based access control equipment, often times power can be supplied through a direct network connection known as PoE (Power over Ethernet).  PoE connections provide power and data to a connected device through a singular cable.

According to Bill Moran, vice president of Sales for Red Cloud Security, “Web-based access control offers features and functionality that enhance an organization’s security posture. From one consolidated screen, administrators can view and manage alarms, video surveillance, facility maps, and identities including photo and personnel details.”  He also points out that in the event of a triggered alarm or someone forcing their way through an entry point, the network can be suspended while cameras at the scene can be accessed for live streaming.  This is where the idea of a comprehensive security system comes into play, where all of the components are easily accessed and essentially working together.

Web-based security features are transforming the way end-users and industry professionals perceive security in general.  In a world that continues to become more and more connected through technological advancement and the IoT (Internet of Things), it only makes sense that the infrastructure of the physical world should follow suit.  Web-based access control is just another step in the direction to a more convenient and secured future.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed professionals are always looking for and researching technologies that better serve our customers.  Our team has been providing comprehensive security system solutions to organizations throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We help you connect and protect what matters most.

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 Scott Lewis-Flickr-Creative Commons

Should Surveillance Systems Share A Network With Office Computers?

Network-Norlando PobreWhether you are installing a new surveillance system or changing an existing one you need to consider the type of system and the operating implications associated with it.  The desire for advanced image quality, video analytics, ease of integration, and remote access has ushered in the era of IP (Internet Protocol) surveillance systems.  IP surveillance systems have opened the door to a more integrated security system and they provide increased scalability which is important to company growth and future adaptation.  This type of surveillance system typically relies on an internet network, and as they say “therein lies the rub.”

Should your surveillance system operate on the same internet network as your office computers?  The answer is not a simple yes or no.  The short answer being it certainly is a viable option, but it could depend on the size and type of business you run.  It’s also possible to set up an IP surveillance system on its own network but it may not be cost effective or necessary.  For these reasons it is imperative to consult a licensed security system professional when altering or adding a surveillance system.

When it comes to a company’s network there seems to be some trepidation about how and what devices can and should be allowed on it.  It’s understandable, a company’s network is often a basis for its everyday functions, but where does the worry come from?  A lot of it usually has to do with a communication gap between security integrators and IT professionals or end users.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed experts are able to provide clear and understandable information about the surveillance equipment we implement and how it will affect your company’s network.  We have been providing comprehensive security system solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  Our team has witnessed and been a part of the migration from mainly analog surveillance to IP.

Let’s discover the common concerns about network devices and how they can be dissolved, but first we’ll review some quick terminology when talking about networks.  LAN, MAN, and WAN are three basic types of networks you’ll likely hear about from integrators and IT professionals.  Local area networks (LANs) are typically found at most small to medium sized businesses as they cover a smaller more specific area.  In all likelihood your company operates on a LAN network.  Metropolitan area networks (MANs) cover a larger area and are usually present in cities and across large campuses.  Wide Area Networks (WANs) provide the most coverage, anything from expansive distances to the whole world.  According to Fredrik Nilsson, general manager for Axis Communications in North America, WANs are often comprised of multiple smaller networks including LANs and MANs.

All networks are comprised of some sort of cabling and equipment such as switches, servers, and hubs.  The most popular type of network configuration used with LANs is called star.  A star configuration allows all network devices to be connected to a central point where if one device crashes the rest will remain in operation.  However, redundancies are typically incorporated to account for the possibility of a central station crash.

Now that terminology is out of the way, what are some of the major concerns one might have when adding surveillance equipment to a company network?  One of the most common is bandwidth consumption.  This often stems from companies that have had to deal with employees streaming or downloading videos via company networks which eats into the available bandwidth.  According to James Marcella, director of technical services for Axis Communications, IP surveillance equipment is wrongly accused when it comes to bandwidth consumption.  He says most IP cameras today can be customized to fit a company’s network and storage guidelines.  To help limit their consumption surveillance can be setup on a Virtual LANs (VLANs) which Marcella says, “prevents video traffic from grabbing the lion’s share of bandwidth.”

Then there’s the ever-present question, “what about hacking?”  In our world where virtually everything is connected through the IoT (Internet of Things), it’s hard not to worry about who can access private information and how that information is being protected.  Having surveillance equipment on the same network as your company computers may seem scary, but in reality, more oft than not, there are procedures in place to prevent hacker access.

When it comes to adding network devices and keeping the network safe authentication protocol and data encryption are key.  According to Marcella authentication protocol protects the network at the physical port level.  If someone were to unplug a network camera and try to plug in their own device, all “traffic” to that port’s switch would automatically be shut down as the foreign device wouldn’t have the proper authorization.  Data encryption is essentially creating a password to your network whether it’s wired or wireless.  This prevents someone from getting into your network or freeloading on your company’s internet.  Encryptions can be highly effective as long as they are not something obvious or easily guessed.

Lastly, network storage is a top concern.  This is often directly linked to bandwidth consumption concerns.  Due to high image quality of IP camera recordings it’s not uncommon for businesses to store video footage for longer periods of time.  Fortunately, with IP surveillance systems you don’t necessarily have to store recordings directly on the network.  For smaller installations there is the option to utilize in-camera storage through internal SD cards (Secure Digital Cards).  Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices and cloud-based systems are other viable options.  In order to determine which method is best for your company an evaluation of camera quantity and storage needs should be conducted.

Whether you are adding a new surveillance system or updating an existing one it’s imperative to consider the impact it will have on your company’s network, if any at all.  Always consult a licensed security system professional as they can help guide you or your IT department through the process from initial assessment to final installation.  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 can help break down the communication barrier that sometimes creates apprehension when installing network devices.

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 Norlando Pobre-Flickr-Creative Commons

Never Thought You Needed a Security System. Now You Do.

System Lock-Yuri Samoilov-Creative CommonsIf you’re like most business owners, you’ve worked hard to keep your company running.  You’ve invested time, money, blood, sweat, and maybe tears to get where you are.  The facility, whether it be a corporate office, salvage yard, or healthcare facility, is where business happens.  No matter what type of business you may be conducting, there are physical and financial assets that warrant some level of protection.  Perfect Connections, Inc. a security systems company, servicing Northern and Central New Jersey for over 20 years, recognizes this, and we can help you in your quest to safeguard what you’ve worked so hard for.

Perhaps you’ve considered security systems in the past, but thought you could manage without one.  So why now?  Maybe another local business caught fire, and due to a poor smoke detection system, the building went up in flames before a fire station could be properly notified.  Maybe someone you know forgot to close their loading dock before leaving the premises resulting in substantial theft; with no cameras to help catch the crooks who committed the crime either.  Perhaps you or an employee was a recent victim of a burglar who gained access to your office by means of an unmonitored entry.  Whatever the reason may be, you now realize the need for a comprehensive security system.

Unfortunately, no business is immune to crime or natural dangers such as fires, flooding, and carbon monoxide poisoning.  According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) “In 2013, there were 1,240,000 fires reported in the United States. These fires caused 3,240 civilian deaths, 15,925 civilian injuries, and $11.5 billion in property damage.”  Of those reported fires 487,500 were structure fires.  It’s statistics like these that make it crucial for any business owner to invest in a comprehensive security system that includes a reliable fire alarm system in conjunction with a proper sprinkler system that meets local code requirements.

Unlike natural dangers, criminals are opportunists.  If they perceive easier access to a certain facility, due to lack of security, it’s more than likely they will pursue that target.  As Henry David Thoreau once said, “The path of least resistance leads to crooked rivers and crooked men.”

Without a comprehensive security system any business opens itself up to catastrophic loss, substantial property damage, and financial crisis.  Company theft and burglary is not always an external issue.  According to CreditDonkey 95% of employees steal from their own employers, nationally this cost companies a total of $34.5 billion in 2011.  These substantial losses can be significantly decreased and potentially prevented by installing a proper security system.

On the upside, a nBurglar-Johnationwide report from the FBI shows that burglary was down by 8.1%, and larceny was down by 4.7% from 2012-2013.  These statistics are a “big picture” view of reported crime in the United States, reported being the operable word.  Many crimes go unreported, for example, employee theft often goes unreported because the employer is often unaware it’s happening until it’s too late.

There Is a Solution

Fortunately there are steps you can take to safeguard your business and its assets.  If this is your first time considering a security system you will want to do a little research on local system providers and installers.  Reviews online or from a personal reference can be helpful when trying to decide on a company.  Having a licensed professional come to your site and perform a security assessment would be the next step.  They will help you figure out where your weaknesses are, suggest an appropriate system solution, and provide you with a cost estimate.  When choosing a security company be sure they are experts in their field.  You wouldn’t hire an electrician to fix your plumbing, right?  One size does not fit all when it comes to selecting a security specialist.  Don’t fall for companies with false claims because you’ll end up with inadequate protection that will most likely cost you more than just a service call.

For new construction projects, it is imperative to contact a security systems expert early on.  This will help ensure a more integrated solution, and in all likelihood save money on the back end.  If you are a tenant in a larger commercial space, it is up to the landlord to provide code compliant safety measures for the whole building, but that doesn’t mean each unit comes equipped with a security system.  To ensure your unit is safeguarded, call a trusted security systems provider for an assessment.

Here are some questions to ask a licensed professional:

  • Where are my weaknesses?
  • How can I better protect my business?
  • How and what type of security system would work best?
  • What type of system will fit my budget?
  • What features are included?
  • Does the cost include labor?
  • Who will be installing the system?
  • Does the company have the proper state licenses?
  • Who/how is the monitoring managed?
  • How long is the system under warranty?
  • Will I own the system, or will it be leased?
  • Is the installation company insured?

The Benefits

What are you actually protecting or preventing when you have a security system installed?  What are the advantages?  You’re preserving the integrity and potential growth of your business.  With monitoring and recording systems you can be sure your employees will feel safer while on the job, and you can rest easy knowing your business is protected even while you’re away.  Through remote access by means of a smartphone, tablet, or computer you can keep an eye on what is happening at your facility when you are not there.  Incorporating an access control mechanism will give you peace of mind knowing who is coming and going, decreasing the risk of intruders.

Once a security system is installed making your security presence public knowledge through signage can help deter potential thieves or vandals from wreaking havoc on your facility.  Having proper fire alarms, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and flood warning notifications as integral parts of your security system will help prevent irreparable damages.  By installing a comprehensive system the chances of vandalism, information theft, employee theft, shoplifting, fire, flooding, carbon monoxide poisoning, burglary, break-ins, and crime in general will be decreased.

As technology evolves so will security systems.  The two are becoming more and more intertwined, so it’s important to select a company, like Perfect Connections, Inc., that is informed and informative on the fluctuating trends.  Don’t fall victim to the mentality that cheaper is always better, what good is a cheap system that fails when you are most vulnerable?  While nothing is perfect, installing a security system will help significantly decrease the chances of a potential disaster, saving you time, money, and aggravation.

Learn more about the security system features and services available to your business at Perfect Connections, Inc.  We have been a trusted security systems provider in Central and Northern New Jersey since 1992.  You can be sure we understand the challenges businesses face, and how to provide a comprehensive solution.

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.Smile you are on camera sign-Sept 18 2014

Image Credits: Image #1 by Yuri Samoilov-Flickr-Creative Commons, Image #2 by John-Flickr-Creative Commons, Image #3 by Intel Free Press-Flickr-Creative Commons,