Security: Which is better and what do I ACTUALLY need?
While we would hope to have honest employees, customers, and visitors that isn’t always the case. Did you know that more than 80% of physical security breaches are caused by someone that knows you and your business? It is a startling percentage that should put security in perspective for you. While we always recommend Network security, we also recommend physical security as well. So what do you need to know to make informed decisions about your security? We know that comparing all aspects of security can be daunting. That's why we have included a guide to help you along the way!
When looking into security systems the first question you need to ask yourself what you are wanting to achieve by having a security system. Believe it or not, there are many different security system consumers out there. Some are wanting to prevent burglaries, some are worried about natural disasters, some want to be able to review actions that happened in the past, and some (like me) just want to make sure their teenager isn't sneaking out of her bedroom at night. They all result in peace of mind for you.
Indentifying problem areas:
If you're like me, you've identified the problem area: your daughter's window. For those that are trying to prevent burglaries, 85% of burglaries happen from the front door during the day. For the ones worried about natural disasters, you'll want to focus on sensors that make sense to where you live (you don't need a carbon monoxide detector if you don't have gas). Once you have found your problem areas you can start looking into equipment.
What comes after why?:
Technology has revolutionized the security industry in the past decade. We now have wireless sensors, touch screen base stations, systems that are backed-up by cellular data, and my favorite improvement: HIGH definition cameras. So what exactly do you need? How much of THAT do you need? Although finding out WHY you need a security system is first on the list, second is finding out which system and it's components work with your budget and your circumstances.
Door and Window Sensors
Glass break detectors
Fire & Co2 detectors
Base Station w/ loud siren & backup
Indoor & Outdoor Cameras
Door and Window Sensors:
Some companies use one type of sensor for both doors and windows while others have seperate door sensors and window sensors. These sensors are one of the most important aspects of your system. This isn't something you want to skimp on but it's not something you need to go overboard on either. It's a common misconception that you need window sensors on every single window. Not only is this completely inaccurate, it's a total waste of money. As I've said before, most buglaries happen through a door. That's because most individuals don't leave their windows unlocked. As long as your windows aren't unlocked they aren't vulnerable unless they are broken. In that case you would need a glass break detector or a motion detector instead of an actual window sensor.
Motion Detectors cover what door sensors aren't able to. So if by some off-chance you do leave a window unlocked the motion detector will pick up the movement in the house as the intruder makes their way through your home. These are best places in an area of the house that you have to pass in order to get out. Typically that's your living room but every floor plan is different. Some homes will require more than one detector to be fully protected. If you have pets you want to make sure and look for motion detectors that are "pet-friendly". I don't know how many times I've had the cops at my house because my small dog was moving throughout my home.
Glass Break Detectors:
Glass break detectors can cover any area in your home as long as there is not a wall blocking the signal. In those cases you'll want to get a few if you haven't invested in enough motion detectors. In all honesty most homes don't need glass break detectors. In my experience they do more harm than good. I have had my alarm go off just from clinking glasses together for a "cheers". These are mainly needed in businesses with extremely large and open floor plans and are typically placed in the middle of the area on the ceiling.
Fire and Co2 Detectors:
There isn't really any place that doesn't need a Fire/Smoke Detector. We are all always at risk of fire. I would suggest always getting a smoke detector. Carbon Monoxide Detectors aren't always needed, though. If you have any gas appliances I would highly recommend that you invest in atleast one for your home. Carbon Monoxide is known as the silent killer because there really isn't a way to detect it without a Co2 detector. Carbon Monoxide is the opposite of a fire and starts at the floor which means the ones that are most susceptible of Carbon Monoxide poisoning are those that are lower to the ground such as: infants, toddlers, children, and pets.
Heat and Water Detectors:
Heat detectors are a great back up for a smoke detector. If for some reason your smoke detector doesn't detect a fire a heat detector senses extreme and rapid changes in temperature. These are typically placed in the highest point of your home or office, such as an attic. Water detectors are placed in the opposite areas, we want them in basements and lower levels of the property. These sensors are great at detecting floods or leaks. Neither of these sensors are considered a necessity but they can play an important part in some security systems.
Having a base station is an absolute must. They come in various sizes and colors with many different features. Your base station is the brain of the entire system. You'll want to make sure that your base station is equipped with back up cell signal and a back up battery. All of the sensors will send signals to this very important component. The base station is also what you hear sounding when an alarm goes off. You'll want to make sure and research the decibles of the siren to ensure that it is loud enough to either notify neighbors or wake sleeping individuals. If you already have a quiet base station you can look into getting an added siren or strobe lights to bulk up your sound and awareness. In some cases your base station will need a wifi-repeater if you're sytem is wireless. This is extrememly important in bigger areas because some sensors may be too far from the base station to communicate with it. These wifi-repeaters (also known as range extenders) take the signal of your wifi and extends the distance that your wifi reaches so that no sensor is left behind.
Key pads come in many different forms as well. From bulky old school key pads that are hard wired into the system and hung on the wall in one spot to small and sleek touchscreen key pads that can be mobile in the area. The type of keypads you'll need are dependant on the size of the property, where you typically enter, and how many people are entering. It is wise to usually have atleast 2 keypads(one on the wall near the door and one that is mobile and can be moved to any room).
Indoor and outdoor cameras:
Lastly, we move on to cameras. Some features to consider while looking into cameras are: ability to view from mobile devices, 24/7 recording, recording when motion is detected, nightvision, water resistant, audio recording, and most importantly viewing quality.
The 1080p HD camera has at least 1080 vertical pixels (or horizontal lines). 720p cameras usually have a sensor with at least 1.0 megapixels. Pixel resolution is 1280 x 1024, or it can be 1280 x 800. As a rule of thumb the higher the number the better the picture. I would suggest never going below 1080p to ensure that you are able to see details in your recording.
Your budget vs. your needs:
Recently, alarm systems have become much more common and affordable. The catch is that being affordable has also came with lower quality and reliability. I'm sure you've heard the saying "you pay for what you get". Well, it's true folks. I have had the "supposed" best: ADT and a cheaper knock off: "Ring", and boy were they right. I guess I was just spoiled with my first alarm system's reliability, that I figured all alarm systems would be that way.
When it comes to yours and other's safety reliability is the #1 selling point.
You can't have sensors randomly going "offline"(in my case staying offline for weeks). This defeats the purpose of paying for the security system in the first place. Maybe these people writing these reviews didn't have the same experiences as me, or maybe they just hadn't been previously spoiled with an ACTUAL working alarm system. Which finally leads me to our next topic: how to get a system that is indeed affordable AND reliable.
Do your research:
While shopping around for alarm systems or cameras it is always best to do your research. Any reputable company will offer a free consultation and risk assessment. During your appointment they will look for problem areas that you may not have noticed, show you their equipment and how it works, show you how your system can integrate with other devices, offer smart home options,and give you the option of self-monitoring or professional monitoring. Click here to learn more or set up a free consultation with yours truly!