Finding The Missing Puzzle Piece

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

What’s lacking?

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

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

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

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

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

What Are My Access Control Options?

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

Campus Security

Duke University-Nan-Cheng TsaiApplying to college can be one of the most exciting, albeit nerve-racking, times in a young adult’s life.  Same is true for the parents.  It seems to be a bittersweet experience for parents, part of them is excited for their son or daughters future, and the other part is sad to see them “leave the nest.”  Nevertheless, parents are typically by their child’s side throughout the process.  And the process of applying to schools often includes frequent trips to different campuses.  Choosing a school is not all about the campus, even though a student may be slightly swayed if it happens to be located by a beach.  Aesthetics and location aside, parents are looking for what types of safety and security measures are implemented.  They need to know that when they send their baby (no longer a baby) out on their own that they are going to be safe.

Life is unpredictable and no matter what precautions you take, you simply can’t be protected from everything, you can however be prepared.  That is what parents will be looking for during their visits, what types of safeguards are in place in preparation for the unpredictable?  As a leading security system company our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security solutions to facilities throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We believe a comprehensive security system includes some form of access control, video surveillance, fire alarms, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and alarm monitoring.  That being said we realize college campuses pose a unique security situation.

Today it seems that the majority of schools have a campus security or police force to help manage and maintain safety throughout school grounds.  Campus security often deals with issues of safety pertaining to drugs and alcohol abuse, physical and emotional abuse, gender equality and discrimination, cultural diversity, and violence.  It’s an undeniable fact that certain events have shaped the approach to campus safety over the past decade.  For example the brutal shooting at Virginia Tech in April of 2007 which claimed 32 student and faculty lives.  To help avoid such senseless tragedies todays campus officers work on effective crisis planning.  Having a plan for such an unlikely event helps students, staff, and the community be better prepared ultimately leading to a swifter recovery time.

Aside from an onsite security force there are security features parents and students will be looking for when visiting a campus.  They’ll want to know about campus access, who and where can people gain entry to the campus?  Are there emergency call boxes throughout the campus?  How do students and staff gain entry to educational buildings and dormitories?  Are campus facilities equipped with fire suppression sprinklers and alarms?  These are just a few of the questions parents and potential students might have when visiting a campus.  For a more complete list of potential security concerns see the following from College Parents of America.  Another tool prospective parents and students might use to evaluate a campus’s security is data required by the Jeanne Clery Act.  “Originally known as the Campus Security Act, the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act is the landmark federal law that requires colleges and universities across the United States to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses.”  Under the Jeanne Clery Act colleges and universities are required to:

  • Publish an Annual Security Report
  • Have a public crime log
  • Disclose crime statistics for instances that occur on campus and adjacent non-campus property
  • Issue warnings about Clery Act crimes
  • Create an emergency response, notification and testing policy
  • Compile and report fire data to the federal government and publish an annual fire safety report
  • Enact policies and procedures to handle reports of missing students

For more information on what students and parents will likely be looking for when college hunting check out the following links:

When looking at a college campus you can see the integration of security features that are part of the bigger security picture.  For instance, many schools provide college ID cards to each student.  Sometimes these ID cards are used as credentials access control systems.  These systems allow or deny students access to certain buildings or specific parts of buildings.  Arizona State University uses this type of access control on their campus.  This feature can be tied into an alarm system that can be activated if someone tried to enter a location without the proper permissions.  ID cards also tend to act as access to school cafeteria meal plans, money for campus stores and sometimes local businesses, and sometimes entry to school parking lots.

Video surveillance is security feature that is becoming more prominent on campuses nationwide.  According to Campus Safety Magazine the camera growth among colleges shows, “no signs of slowing down.”  As technology progresses and the need for security increases surveillance systems are being integrated to enhance any and all existing features.  A report published by TechNavio in 2014 predicts, “…school and university spending on video surveillance and access control will be more than $1.1 billion four years from now.”

With the help of technology college campuses across the U.S. are becoming safer for their students, staff, and visitors.  While no security system is infallible, by implementing comprehensive features schools are better preparing themselves for potential disaster.  As leading professionals in the security industry, our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. understands the importance of being prepared.  We have been providing comprehensive security system solutions throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  If you’re looking for expert security service for your campus facility do not hesitate to contact our specialists at 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image by Nan-Cheng Tsai-Flickr-Creative Commons

Want A Thriving Business? Avoid Employee Theft!

Biz man pointingIn an ideal work environment everyone would get to work on time, perform their duties efficiently, and respect one another.  Unfortunately, the ideal is not always reality.  The success of a business is dependent on many factors, hiring the right employees is a major one.  Your employees are the life-force that drive your business, but they can also be the metaphoric “poison apple” to its success.  The often hidden threat to a successful business is employee theft.

What is employee theft?  Employee theft can be defined as, “any stealing, use or misuse of an employer’s assets without permission.”  Now most people typically think this means cash or items of monetary value but that’s not always the case.  The following will discuss what constitutes employee theft, how it affects businesses in the U.S., who the main offenders are, and how you can combat it.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. we can help protect you and your business from untrustworthy employees.  We’ve been providing security system solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for over 20 years.  While a comprehensive security system can’t detect an employee’s honesty, it can help prevent employees from stealing as the chances they might get caught increase.  We don’t advocate blindly mistrusting your employees, we simply provide effective equipment to help prevent theft and loss.

When employees steal, they aren’t always stealing cash.  Some of the most common assets stolen are time, supplies, cash, merchandise or company property, and company information.  Time may not be a tangible asset, but it is often abused or stolen.  Think about the employees that consistently show up late or take extended breaks and never make up the time.  When you have one person doing this it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but looking at the big picture the numbers add up, and fast.  It’s not only companies paying people who aren’t actually working their designated hours, it’s the loss of work and potential business for a company.  This has an effect on the entire nation economically.

According to The U.S. Chamber of Commerce employee theft costs American businesses anywhere from $20 billion to $40 billion annually.  That’s capital that could be reinvested in a company to create new jobs, grow, and/or innovate.  This doesn’t mean people don’t deserve breaks or time off, it’s just pointing out the fact that if given the opportunity some people will take advantage.  In fact 75% of all employees will steal at least once and some will become repeat offenders.  The employees that steal are not always the ones you’d expect either.  Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly) managers account for 55% of all employee theft.  How do they get away with it?  They’re typically in a position where they are well trusted, hence being a manager.

So what can be done to combat the damaging effects of employee theft?  Fortunately there are some guidelines you can follow as an employer to help prevent, or at the very least, limit employee theft.  Caron Beesley for the U.S. Small Business Association has 6 general tips and they are as follows: pre-employment background checks, check candidate references, communicate conduct guidelines, don’t be afraid to audit, recognize the signs, and set the management tone.

Running a background check is a good idea for any employer, it’ll provide insight into an applicant’s history that may not come through in an interview.  Checking references will help speak to a candidate’s character from sources other than the candidate themselves.  Being upfront about your expectations for employee conduct will set the stage for ethical behavior, this can be a code of conduct that is reviewed upon employee orientation, and companywide on an annual basis.  Auditing your business is an effective way to discover theft and fraud especially because it’s performed by a third party and unbiased professional.  Recognizing the signs can be a little more challenging, but according to Beesly there are some behaviors to take note of.  You should be conscious of an employee not taking any vacation time, a change in normal behavior, being overly protective of ones work, disappearing financial records, and unexplained debt.  Lastly, setting the management tone will let your employees know you take your business seriously.

Aside from company policies and expected behaviors, installing a comprehensive security system can help deter fraud and employee theft.  Surveillance equipment can prevent theft and catch it in action.  If employees know their environment is being monitored they’re less likely to attempt theft for the possibility of being caught.  Using some sort of access control within your facility can help by limiting who can enter and sometimes exit specific areas.  This would allow you to store items of high value or importance and limit who can access them via key fobs, swipe cards, or other credentials.  Here at Perfect Connections, Inc. we understand no system is perfect or infallible, but they can help significantly decrease the chances of substantial loss and/or damage.  Our team of experts has been providing comprehensive security system solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  Call on our specialists to help you protect your business so you can get back to what’s most important, running it!

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 Kev-shine-Flickr-Creative Commons

What’s Your Business Missing?

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

What’s lacking?

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

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

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

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

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

Access Control

Protecting your business is a top priority.  You’ve done your homework, found a security systems professional, and are ready to customize a security system that fits your needs.  When browsing the vast array of available security system options you’ve probably come across the phrase access control.  What is it, and does your business need it?  In general, access control is exactly what it sounds like, it grants, denies, or limits entry and sometimes exit to an environment.  To get a little more specific, “Access control systems are physical or electronic systems which are designed to control who has access to a network” (wisegeek.com).

One of the most obvious and simplistic examples of access control is a door with a lock and key.  Being a business owner, you know it may take more than a door to protect you, your employees, and company assets from potential crime and danger.  Including an access control device, whether it’s a proximity card reader, keypad with password, fingerprint scanner, or a combination of these, as part of your comprehensive security system can help prevent costly and disastrous interruptions in your day-to-day business.  It can also keep you informed on who is coming and going, where your employees are going throughout the day, limit access to specified areas, and keep unauthorized people out.  Security systems companies like Perfect Connections, Inc. can provide a variety of access control solutions to better secure the integrity of your business.

Types of Access Control

As previously defined access control can consist of physical or electronic systems.  Today, many systems are a combination of both.  There are a few basic types of access control systems, that when used in conjunction with monitored alarms and surveillance can provide comprehensive protection for your organization.  Locks, readers, keypads, cards or fobs, and biometric scanners are some of the most common forms of authentication devices.  So what are they, and how do they work?

Locks

You’re probably aware of the general function and parts in your average door lock.  Typically there is a knob or lever that when turned releases the door latch from the strike plate on the wall.  Today, there are more advanced locking mechanisms that can provide better protection for your business.  Two of the more commonly known locking mechanisms are magnetic, or maglock, and electric strikes.  Magnetic consists of an electromagnet and armature plate; it works by a current passing through the magnet attracting the armature plate creating a locked position.  Maglocks are a durable and fast acting solution.  Electric Strikes either accept alternating or direct currents.  Like a standard strike, they accept a locking latch.  Unlike a standard strike, they can be configured to open without the use of a lever or knob turn, and are controlled by electrical currents.  These types of locks can be triggered by a readers that accept cards, key fobs, or keypads with passcodes, and biometrics.  It is important to remember that where you have locking doors, gates etc. egress and fired codes must be taken into account.  To be sure your locking mechanisms are code compliant, be sure to have them installed by a security systems professional.

Readers

According to William Deutsch ikeypad & reader-7263255n regards to EAC (electronic access control), “In a modern EAC system, the readers are designed to recognize codes (something you know), credentials (something you have), or biometrics (something you are).”  Readers take the given information from the potential entrant and either confirm identity by allowing access or deny it for being false or incorrect.  They are the means by which information is processed and they can be installed on the exteriors and/or interiors of a facility.

There is a range of readers available including proximity readers and smart card reader; hiring a knowledgeable and informative security systems professional like Perfect Connections, Inc. will help you better assess your facility’s needs.  You may think the construction of your facility wouldn’t allow for the installation of a reader.  For example, if you have a fully glazed entry, where would it go?  Luckily, readers can be applied to architectural elements that are as minimal in area as window/door mullions.  Don’t let the architecture of your facility dictate your security needs.  As with any system, nothing is perfect; if someone were to steal a key fob and hack a PIN, the reader will not know the difference, and the intruder will gain access.  This is why having a comprehensive security system that includes surveillance and monitored alarms in conjunction with access control is best.

Keypads

Keypad technology typically consists of a small mounted panel that requires a password, PIN, or code, that when entered correctly, unlocks or grants access to electric or magnetic door locks, gates, and/or security systems.  This method of identity validation is simple, economic, keyless, and not uncommon.  The benefits of a keypad they can easily be recoded, they can be standalone or tie into central control stations to protect multiple entry points, and they will help deter opportunists.  Unfortunately, they are not infallible.  Codes, passwords, and PINs can easily be shared, and if there is no protective housing for the keypad, onlookers can easily view a code being entered, or see wear and tear on the buttons or screen that are used most (Dan M. Bowers).  Used by themselves can leave a facility susceptible to outsider access, but used in combination with other technologies like card readers, key fobs, and/or biometrics will increase their effectiveness.  Combining the keypad with another verification control can be called “two factor authentication,”  and it’s more secure than the keypad by itself.

Access Cards & Key Fobs (“Credentials”)200248699-001

Access cards and key fobs also commonly referred to as “credentials,” are a popular security measure for many businesses.  Access cards or RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) cards contain specific information that is transmitted to the reader when within a given boundary.  Sometimes the cards, which are typically the size of a standard credit card, have to be held to or tapped on the reader, or they can be set up to read the contained information from a specified distance.  The same type of information is stored and conveyed by a key fob key fob which is usually molded from plastic or resin, and is small enough to fit on a keychain.  This is a more secure option than the keypad by itself, as the cards and fobs are not easily replicated.  However, theft or loss of a card or fob can be problematic.  Just as with the keypad, including layers of protection through a comprehensive security system can make all the difference.

Biometrics

What is biometrics?  “Security Biometric is the science of using physical characteristics (fingerprints, eyes, hands) to identify a person and some of the products used in this system include fingerprint readers and retinal scanners.”  While this type of technology may seem a little unconventional when it comes to access control, its presence is becoming more evident.  The most common applications being fingerprint readers and hand geometry scanners.  The benefits of a biometric system include never forgetting the item that will grant you access because it is part of you, and it’s harder to forge.  One of the major drawbacks of a biometric system is the cost.  Also, once the data is collected from an individual and stored, it can’t be changed because it so unique.  Biometric security is controversial topic for many as it can be perceived as an invasion of privacy.  While it may be considered controversial to some, it can provide the necessary means of protection for others.

What Are You Doing To Control Access?

Whether you’ve been considering controlled access to your facility for a while, have an old system in place, or this is completely new territory for you, don’t wait another minute!  Contact a trusted security professional at Perfect Connections, Inc. to help guide you through the process.  From an initial assessment to final installation, you can rely on our exceptional team of security experts that has provided service to Northern and Central New Jersey for decades.

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 Credits:  Image #1 by 7263255-Flickr-Creative Commons, Image #2 by IDenticardImages-Flickr-Creative Commons