Features of a Security System


Alarm Systems
Besides the basics, you can add different features to “beef up” your business security systems. For an alarm system there are a few different features to ponder over. The first is a back-up system. Most alarm systems offer a 24-hour back up that takes over in the event the phone line goes down. Usually a radio or cellular backup system will send a signal to the central monitoring station alerting them the phone line is no longer working. A backup battery system is also used if the electricity goes out, and ensures your alarm system is still effective. If your company relies on Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP, a backup system is important because most alarm systems are compatible with regular phone systems.
Another feature for an alarm system is two-way monitoring. This is helpful in an event the alarm is triggered, the central monitoring station can instantly communicate with your office. In this scenario, the security keypad also acts as an intercom system and the central monitoring service can help assist the situation.
If you would like to track who has opened and closed your office door, that feature is also available. One way is to have a supervised system that will tell you who armed or disarmed the alarm system, and at what time this happened. You can also have the central monitoring station notify someone if the system is left off. If you decide against a supervised system, you can choose to have the alarm system keep track of when it is armed and disarmed, but you need to call the central monitoring station for the status any other inquires.
Fire alarms are another add-on to consider. For businesses, fire alarms can be tricky because the National Fire Protection Association has strict guidelines for businesses, but most alarm system companies will help you stay within these guidelines.
Card Access Control Systems
One choice for access control systems is called a proximity card. These cards allow access by placing the card anywhere from one inch to three feet of the sensor. You can add to these cards photo IDs of your employees and you can also create an automobile tag, which allows entrance to a parking lot without the driver having to get out of their car. If your company already uses magnetic strips or bar codes on employee ID cards, you can save some money by using these cards as your access card as well.
A newer feature that is slowly making its way into access control systems are smartcards. These cards carry larger amounts of information which include employee records or spending account balances. The costs are still a little high for example, cards can cost anywhere from $2-$10 per card, and the terminals can cost over $500 per terminal. Despite these costs, they are getting some good press and may have increased popularity in the future.
Video Surveillance
Deciding on the right video equipment for your company can be a daunting task. There are many things to choose from when looking at cameras for your video surveillance needs. The first option to consider is if you want a charged coupled device (CCD) camera which is analog, or a digital signal processing (DSP) camera which converts the analog signal into a digital one. The main difference between these two options is the picture quality. If you aren’t going to be closely monitoring your video surveillance, you might not want to spend the extra money on a DSP.
Another factor to look into is the size of the video camera. Most are between 1/4" and 1” in size. A bigger camera doesn’t necessarily give better image quality. Other factors to consider are:
  • What lenses you would like to use
  • If color or black and white images are best
  • What quality resolution do you need
  • If you need the camera to pan, tilt or zoom
  • The location of the camera or cameras


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