For a business that caters to Valentine’s Day shoppers, diners or spectators, the most romantic weekend of the year may actually be the riskiest. If you own a restaurant, retail establishment or destination property, check out these tips on Valentine’s weekend security for your business.

LIGHTS LOW, CAMERAS ON

Your dining room may have the lights down low, but your wireless IP video cameras should still be rolling. On a high-traffic night like Valentine’s Day, the security risks are higher and your vigilance should be as well. While you’re busy watching the floor, supervising the staff or managing the reservation list, keep your virtual keypad app handy to remotely access your interior and exterior cameras. Record clips that look suspicious, view images that pique your interest and have clips emailed to you for future reference if necessary.

MIND THE STORE

If you own a retail establishment that’s in high demand on February 14, then it’s a day to amp up security measures during peak hours. Own a jewelry store? The same guideline about your cameras applies, and it may not be a bad idea to have the entire staff on hand that day. Florists, thieves may not be in the market for roses – but they are prone to act on days they know will be profitable for you. After all, they want to get their hands on as much register cash as possible. So whether you sell 24 karat gold, flowers or heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, be on high alert this Valentine’s Day.

CLOSE CAREFULLY

How about businesses that don’t provide the services Valentine’s Day is famous for? Those establishments are at risk too. Maybe you plan to close up early because Valentine’s Day is a notoriously slow day or evening. If so, be sure to check all entrances to make sure locks are securely in place and cameras are operating. Then, don’t forget to arm your system before you leave. Don’t like giving your employees the alarm code? Pull out your phone and use your virtual keypad to do it yourself, from wherever you happen to be.

No matter what business you’re in, your security system can be indispensable this Valentine’s Day. To learn more, contact Security Instrument and request a free security consultation.

ABOUT SECURITY INSTRUMENT

Security Instrument is Delaware’s largest full-service independently-owned security company, serving thousands of customers throughout Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

Exchanging outdated door locking hardware with a wireless access control system is one of the smartest ways to upgrade the security at an enterprise of any size. At this point, it’s inarguable that the ability to replace keys with electronic credentials has transformed commercial security for the better.

But is there an access control option for organizations that want even more advanced systems? There sure is. It’s biometric access control, and it takes standard access control into cutting edge territory.

What is Biometric Access Control?

A biometric access control system is powered by infrared technology, which it uses to verify the identities of individuals who attempt to enter the controlled building or area. Often, biometric access control is associated with fingerprint scanning. True, fingerprint authentication is one of the most popular biometric ID technologies; however, biometric access control encompasses everything from facial recognition to retina eye scanning.

Using this technology, biometric access control confirms the identity of employees and other approved individuals entering an area; this may be contractors, vendors, or frequent visitors who exist in the database. These systems are designed to verify identities quickly and precisely, even when lighting is low. It is also designed to scan simultaneous subjects, so that groups of people entering at or around the same time can be authenticated one by one in seconds. This makes biometric access control perfect for large employers, public buildings and other applications where groups of people are entering in waves throughout the day.

Biometric Access Control Applications

At this point, you may be thinking that biometric access control is exclusively for high-profile locations. True, sensitive locations do benefit from it – but biometric access control can fit a variety of applications. Everything from aviation, to finance, to manufacturing, to healthcare regularly benefits from biometric access control technology. Even childcare is becoming an emerging opportunity for access control. With all these trades incorporating sites of different sizes and levels of security vulnerability, this underscores the wide range of needs access control can fill.

When it’s time to consider enhancing building security with biometric access control, Delaware Valley organizations can contact Security Instrument for a complimentary consultation. We will be glad to speak with you.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned security integrator that offers numerous electronic security options. We serve thousands with commercial and home security in Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

 

Now that the key to business security is actually keyless (at least in terms of building access), more businesses are looking into their options for cloud-based access control. It should be an easy decision to convert outdated, traditional door locks to access control; the absence of keys is enough reason on its own. But for those business owners who still need convincing, here are a few advantages of making this shift.

Lower Installation Costs

For business owners who were early adopters of access control and left dissatisfied, it’s important to be aware that modern, cloud-based access control is much easier to retrofit than the first generation of systems.

For one, high installation costs are a thing of the past; those complex wiring requirements have been replaced by simple engineering that replaces the door locking hardware with the access control reader. With the communication powered by wi-fi, it’s easier, more affordable and totally wireless.

Broader Scalability

Now, security integrators can offer access control systems that range from traditional, computer-based systems to the latest in IP, browser-based technology. This can be done on a single door at a small business, a high-rise structure, or a multi-building campus. That’s what broad scalability is about.

More Customization Options

The days of “one size fits all” access control are long gone. From popular options like card readers and keypads to more advanced options like magnetic locks and electric strikes, cloud-based access control is available in tons of choices. As for the cloud? That’s what keeps the encrypted data for your system stored safely for your security.

If your organization is ready to take the next step in building security, we would be glad to speak with you about cloud-based access control. Delaware businesses of all sizes, please contact Security Instrument for more information.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned security integrator that offers numerous electronic security options. We serve thousands with commercial and home security in Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), hotel fires represent 1% of all structure fires. That may not sound like much, but it is; the NFPA goes on to say that U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 3,520 structure fires in hotels and motels each year. In figures provided in 2015, these fires resulted in annual losses of 9 civilian deaths, 120 civilian injuries, and $84 million in direct property damage.

With that in mind, it’s safe to say that hotel fires happen frequently. So, how can a hotel notify guests on the property when a fire or other emergency is identified? Does the audible sound of the fire alarm suffice? Not always – and that’s why mass notification solutions are so important.

Mass Notification Options for Hotels

Hotels have several options when it comes to mass notification of emergencies. They include:

Text notifications: Deploying personal alerts to guests’ wireless devices is a emerging as a popular mass notification solution. A scripted message can be deployed, with evacuation instructions and an assurance that guests will be notified again when it is safe to re-enter the property. Although the scripted messages can be stored as templates, there is also the capability to alter the message to address the specifics of the event.

Social media: Although social media is a broader platform that may invite outside responses, some hospitality establishments find it to be an effective mass notification tool that can supplement text notifications (which do not allow guests to reply). If your establishment is a good fit for utilizing social media notifications via targeted Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts, consider utilizing a secondary method as well.

Audio notifications: An audio notification that emanates throughout the property can be a way to instantaneously reach everyone who is on the premises. In the event of a fire, it may indeed be the fastest way to reach everyone, particularly if the property caters to an older clientele that may not own smartphones or be familiar with their use. In the instance of a violent attacker on the premises, mass notification via audio notification can be even more valuable. Deploying an audible lockdown message can ensure everyone retreats to the safety of designated areas or uses instructed exits for evacuation.

No matter what mass notification method a hotel property uses, the content of the notification matters. It is critical that the establishment has protocols in place that ensure message content is accurate, instructional and straightforward. The goal is to notify guests, not confuse them. To discuss mass notification systems for hotels, contact Security Instrument. We will be glad to answer your questions.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned security integrator that offers numerous electronic security options. We serve thousands with residential, commercial and hotel security in Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

The hospitality industry has its hands full when it comes to security. Here are just a few of the challenges the average hotel property must address:

  • Achieving perfect symmetry between creating an inviting atmosphere for guests while simultaneously implementing access control procedures
  • Analyzing camera footage for potential security threats 24/7
  • Securing valuable assets on a property that caters to hundreds, if not thousands of transient guests every day of the year

How can a hospitality establishment maintain its welcoming environment and culture of customer service, while also ensuring everyone on the premises remains secure? It’s a delicate balancing act, but it can be achieved. Here are some tips for making it happen.

Upgrade Access Control

Any establishment that continues to use actual room keys is behind the game on security. When access control cards are issued to every guest, it’s easier for management to keep track of guest room entry – but it’s also a valuable way to control access to guest-only areas, including the fitness center, pool and other locked areas that only guests may use. For higher end establishments, access control can be categorized so that only a certain class of guests may enter members-only and VIP areas. If your establishment is still relying on keys, it’s time to upgrade.

Upgrade the Upgrade

Of course, even access control cards can come with some pitfalls, such as cards being misplaced by guests or deactivated by employees unnecessarily. If a hotel has graduated from the initial convenience of key cards and is looking for a next-generation access control solution, one avenue to consider is a system that syncs access with the guests’ smartphones. This is an up-and-coming solution being adopted by some of the nation’s most prestigious hospitality establishments, and managers are finding that it offers a fluid, more rewarding guest experience.

Reevaluate Video Surveillance

Every hotel needs video surveillance, but implementing it is just the first step. After a period of time, managers may find that the security video is missing the mark. While the front desk, entry points, and lobby are all great places to start, they are not the end game of hotel video surveillance. Consider reevaluating the establishment’s security camera layout; if there are not sufficient cameras watching over guest hallways, retail areas, service corridors and dining rooms, then it may be time to add those to the network. To minimize the need for 24/7 monitoring onsite, consider embracing intelligent video analytics solutions that can identify suspicious events and significant patterns as they occur. Ask your security integrator to recommend a solution that can be scaled to the footprint of your establishment.

The more secure hotel guests feel, the more likely they will be to reward an establishment with repeat business and recommendations. To improve hotel security while still maintaining a hospitable atmosphere, contact Security Instrument. We will be glad to provide an onsite security evaluation of the property.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned security integrator that offers numerous electronic security options. We serve thousands with residential, commercial and hotel security in Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

There’s no deployment without design when it comes to commercial security. Wilmington business owners, here are some security system design considerations to make before contacting an integrator.

Partner Communication

Your security integrator should listen first, design second. If the vendor has a “one-size-fits-all” template for system design and refuses to listen to your needs as an organization, that’s a red flag. Partner communication is key when designing a commercial security system.

Equipment Readiness

Still, they should also have equipment at the ready so that installation can happen on schedule. If parts need to be ordered and too many workarounds are required, that’s an indicator of potential problems surfacing down the road. Make sure your integrator has equipment on hand to meet your needs before committing to an order.

Certification and Compliance

For organizations that are regulated and shouldered with compliance requirements, it’s critical that the security integrator is able and willing to help. Make sure the vendor is ready to uphold to your organization’s policies and procedures, and that they have been certified by equipment manufacturers so that deployment is as seamless as possible.

After design, other considerations to make when choosing a commercial security integrator include:

  • Project management experience
  • Web-based project management software
  • Simplicity of wiring
  • Project commissioning
  • Final termination policies

To speak with a commercial security integrator that designs expertly and deploys seamlessly, contact Security Instrument to request a consultation for commercial security. Wilmington, MD, NJ and PA organizations can reach us at (888) 326-8936.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned security integrator that offers numerous electronic security options. We serve thousands with residential and commercial security in Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

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After an organization is sold on the idea of upgrading to a commercial security system, the real work begins. Ideally, here’s what should be expected from an integrator after signing a contract for commercial security. Wilmington organizations, make sure your integrator upholds these standards.

Client Facetime

An experienced security integrator understands that the most valuable project management resource is the client. By actively involving the client in the initial assessment, property walkthroughs, site surveys, risk evaluations and product testing, there is greater likelihood for two important key indicators: 1) long-term project success, and 2) lower total cost of ownership.

Strategic Engineering

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

The expression is applicable to all aspects of entrepreneurship, but it also applies to the vendors that organizations tap to power their facilities. A client should choose a security integrator that will invest the time necessary to outline a strategy for installation and deployment of the security system. If the integrator doesn’t, there will surely be trouble ahead.

Technical Expertise  

The best commercial security systems are simple to operate, but complex in design. Choose an integrator that designs, tests and certifies the system for operational efficiency so that any problems can be troubleshooted and neutralized before the official deployment date. This integrator should have the technical expertise necessary to address issues immediately and effectively – not just during deployment, but for years to come after.

For long-term success of a security system, unparalleled service is a must. To speak with an integrator that invests in face-to-face time with clients, strategizes each project, and possesses outstanding technical expertise, contact Security Instrument and request a consultation for commercial security. Wilmington, MD, NJ and PA organizations can reach us at (888) 326-8936.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned security integrator that offers numerous electronic security options. We serve thousands with residential and commercial security in Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

On the site of a commercial business, government building or educational facility, the quality of security system installation and integration matters. Project management experience is a must; here are some reasons why a good track record in this arena is essential for commercial security.

Reason #1: Inimitable Design Needs

In many cases, a unique organization warrants a unique security system design. If there are multiple buildings, remote locations, restricted areas or high-risk spots, those needs should all factor in to the design process of the system. When a security integrator has successfully designed for those types of needs, that should be a prognosticate of the success on your project as well.

Reason #2: Project Scope Scalability

Once a security expert has taken on projects of massive scope, the experience of managing those larger projects can easily be scaled down to a smaller organization. Likewise, implementing a complicated project on a smaller property can be excellent training ground for projects of a larger scope. The ability to scale a plan according to the scope of the project is a skill that can only be developed while implementing a series of challenging projects over time.

Once a security expert has taken on projects of massive scope, the experience of managing those larger projects can easily be scaled down to a smaller organization.

Reason #3: Flexibility is Required

Even in the most plug-and-play security system designs, a measure of flexibility is required; by the same token, highly customized designs call for a certain amount of elasticity as the needs of the organization change over time. When the integrator has a broad project management portfolio, there is a higher likelihood of being able to provide new options to the client when they are needed.

These are some of the biggest reasons why project management experience matters in commercial security. Wilmington organizations looking to implement or improve security systems – including alarms, cameras, access control and more – may contact Security Instrument for more information.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned security integrator that offers numerous electronic security options. We serve thousands with residential and commercial security in Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

Remote video monitoring is a service that many organizations contemplate, but few truly understand until it is demonstrated to them. Here are some of the most critical things remote video monitoring can do for security.

Prevent Loitering, Vandalism and Theft

Schools, hospitals and office buildings are valuable institutions in our communities – but unfortunately, they are often prime targets for criminal activity. With remote video monitoring, administrators have crime prevention technology on their side. The service acts like a remote guard, touring the property on a scheduled basis just like a live security guard would. With a voice-down capability, the remote guard can communicate through a speaker to let trespassers know they’re being watched and law enforcement is on its way. This is designed to send them running and not return. Ideally, it won’t take long for word to spread that your property is no place for criminal mischief.

Supplement Live Security

Most institutional properties have a live security force; however, even the best guards cannot be in two places at once. With remote video monitoring, security staff can stay at their posts with confidence that remote areas of the property are still being watched closely. Clients can choose what types of security events warrant voice-down warnings, alarm activations, and notifications to onsite security.

 

The intelligent software communicates with the monitoring center when an event takes place, and an alert is triggered immediately. Guards can deploy to the site of the activity, but they are not required to have eyes in every direction; the service does that for them.

Make Security Budgets Manageable

Security staff is necessary, but hiring a full force of skilled guards can be expensive. Often, remote video monitoring costs a fraction of the amount a trained security guard earns. For organizations that need to manage the bottom line – and these days, that’s every organization – remote video monitoring can make good economic sense. Some clients opt to use the service afterhours only to ensure the property stays safe until morning. Depending on the type of organization you manage, there are different timeslots in which to consider utilizing the service.

Remote video monitoring may not be the only security service you need, but it can certainly fill security needs where gaps exist. To learn more, contact Security Instrument. We will be glad to answer your questions.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned security integrator that offers numerous electronic security options. We serve thousands with residential and commercial security in Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.

When an organization is ready to bring its video surveillance system up to the most current standard, that should mean upgrading from its outdated analog video technology. What’s the next step? Managed services. Progressing to managed services is the key to making sure video is always available, stored in an offsite server with airtight encryption. Here are some reasons why many businesses choose to make the shift.

IT departments are limited.

Even at the most robust organizations, many IT departments simply don’t have the bandwidth to support hundreds of hours of video storage. That’s when managed services can step in, with video management software that controls all video from a central location offsite. With video surveillance as a service (VSaaS), all the footage is stored in the cloud and the costs are scaled up and down according to the needs of the organization.

Scalability = Cost Efficiency

That scalability of managed services enables costs to be better managed by the organization. High quality IP cameras have experienced a dramatic cost decrease thanks to the mainstreaming of managed video surveillance services, and the subscription-based services are a great way to manage costs. Paying per camera can make building a video surveillance budget simpler and maximize every dollar – and if the budget doesn’t allow for a total replacement of the analog system, a cost-effective hybrid may be possible.

With video surveillance as a service (VSaaS), all the footage is stored in the cloud and the costs are scaled up and down according to the needs of the organization.

Near-Instant Gratification

Video surveillance in the cloud allows for near-instant gratification, as live video footage is viewable on not only a computer monitor, but virtually any connectable device including a mobile phone. Because the camera is only triggered by motion detection, the days of combing through hours of footage to find the clips that are needed are over. Instead, clips are easily searchable on demand. There is also the option to set up notification alerts when motion is detected, so managers can take a look immediately.

To find out more about managed video surveillance services in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey or Pennsylvania, contact Security Instrument.

About Security Instrument

Security Instrument is a full-service, independently-owned security integrator that offers numerous residential and commercial security options. We serve thousands of customers located throughout Delaware, MD, NJ & PA.