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Avoiding Commercial Alarm Mistakes

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Our commercial security customers face unique challenges. Of course, both homes and businesses face the security threat of robberies and other disasters. However, businesses often have more valuable equipment and products stored on site than homes do. Additionally, unlike homes, businesses often sit unoccupied almost every single night. Finally, our commercial customers must guard against an “inside job” much more carefully then our residential customers. For these reasons, we take extra care when designing and helping commercial customers use their alarms. In this post, we share how to avoid some common commercial alarm mistakes that we frequently see in the field.

We will begin with a look at the importance of getting system design right from the get-go. From there, we will focus on how letting your call list fall out of date affects your security. Additionally, we will look at the importance of using multiple alarm codes and managing them properly. Then, we will examine how cellular dialer-based monitoring services creates additional security for your business. Finally, we will explain the importance of proper system maintenance, as well as our most popular method of ensuring the completion of annual system checkups and maintenance. Now, let’s get started with a discussion on effective security system design.

A group of people working at a desk

Taking the time to map out a comprehensive and effective alarm system can go a long way towards increasing security.

Plug Security “Holes” with Effective Alarm Design

Many of our alarm customers try to stay as efficient as possible when mapping out their alarms. After all, business owners have to stay as cost-conscious as possible during their purchasing decisions. However, we believe that making sure you install sensors everywhere you might need them represents a worthwhile investment. For starters, leaving large areas of your building unsecured allows burglars to do quite a bit of damage before they activate your alarm.

We also recommend installing redundant layers of security in some areas. For example, consider installing both motion detectors and glass break detectors in areas with large picture windows. Most burglars will break this glass to breach the property. In this case, the glass break detector will catch the thieves before they every enter. However, more “sophisticated” burglars may cut the glass without breaking it. In this case, the motion detectors act as extra security to catch them after they breach the property. Designing a robust alarm, rather than a system with minimal coverage, will provide you much more security. Next, let’s look at how keeping your central station information current can keep you from falling victim to one of the most common commercial alarm mistakes!

Keep Your Central Station Call List Up to Date

A few weeks ago, we created a post that answers the question “What Happens After My Alarm Goes Off?” As part of that post, we explained how our central station reacts to an alarm activation. Initially, our central station calls the “premise” number they have on file for the customer. In the case of a false alarm, our customers cancel the alarm using a customized password or series of numbers. If nobody cancels the alarm, the central station will dispatch the proper authorities. Finally, the central station will call a list of numbers provided by our customers. This allows someone to follow up on the alarm event and meet the police at the property.

Unfortunately, customers often fall behind on the maintenance of their call list. This leads to extra time between an alarm event and our customers knowing about the potential emergency. For this reason, we recommend checking up on the information that we have on file every now and then. Additionally, we can make any changes you would like us to and forward them to our central station. Following through with this advice allows you to know about alarm events as quickly as possible. Now, let’s look at the importance of choosing the proper type of alarm monitoring for your business.

Choose Cellular Monitoring Over Phone-Line Based Monitoring Services

A hand holding a phone open to the Alarm.com app

Interactive cellular monitoring through Alarm.com allows users to control their security system through a cell phone app and receive important alarm alerts on their phones as well.

Traditional alarm monitoring services involve creating a phone-line based connection between your alarm and our central station. In the past, this represented the only way to create this connection, which in turn sets about the emergency phone calls and police dispatch described above. However, the last couple decades have seen the emergence of a more effective form of alarm monitoring. Now, we typically install a cellular dialer to monitor our customers’ alarms for them.

Cellular dialers use a cellular network, rather than a phone line, to monitor our customers’ accounts. This keeps your monitoring service up and running even if your phone lines go down! As an added feature, our cellular dialer powered by Alarm.com provides you with interactive cellular monitoring. This service allows you to turn your alarm on and off with your cell phone. Furthermore, it provides you with instant, customizable text alerts. For example, you will receive an instant alert if your alarm is activated. Additionally, you can create alerts for events such as alarm arming and disarming events, low sensor batteries, and much more. For more information on this service, check out our 5 Benefits of Cellular Alarm Monitoring. Next, let’s see why failing to manage alarm codes carefully represents one of the biggest commercial alarm mistakes.

Create an Effective Alarm Code System

Once we install an alarm, many customers have us program one code into the panel to disarm the system. At that point, everyone starts using the same code to operate the alarm. Unfortunately, this move leads to greatly decreased security. After all, following this method allows ex-employees to come back and disarm your security system long after they should have access to your building. For this reason, we recommend giving everyone within your business different alarm codes. We also recommend keeping track of who has which codes, and deleting the codes as employees leave. Following this advice will make your alarm system much more effective.

Our Alarm.com customers experience an added benefit to following this security tip. As we mentioned, our cellular dialer can send alerts as people arm and disarm your security system. If you use different codes for different individuals, these alerts will include the name of the person who arms or disarms your alarm, and when! This makes tracking alarm use easy. Additionally, it allows you to catch employees entering your building at unusual hours. This additional security makes our interactive cellular monitoring our most popular monitoring option for our commercial alarm customers. Last but not certainly not least, now let’s look at the importance of regular alarm maintenance.

A sticky note reading "maintenance"

Keeping up with alarm inspections, testing, and maintenance goes a long way towards ensuring that your security system works when you need it most.

Follow an Effective Inspection and Maintenance Schedule

Many of our alarm customers take a “set it and forget it” approach to their security system. Some of them even fail to regularly arm and disarm their alarm, saving it for long-term absences only. However, we recommend regular alarm testing. Following through on this tip provides a couple benefits. For starters, scheduling regular alarm inspections and testing ensures that your alarm’s sensors all work. It also provides assurance that your alarm can dial our central station when you need it most.

Moreover, these tests also catch sensors that do not work consistently, allowing us to change them out before they hinder your security. In our 5 Tips for Security System Maintenance, we also discuss our service plans. We have plans that come with free annual alarm testing. As an added bonus, these plans also negate the cost of replacing malfunctioning alarm components. Therefore, you will receive regular testing, maintenance, and alarm repairs without any unexpected expenses. This makes adding these plans a very popular option for many of our customers. If you have one of our alarms, feel free to reach out for us for information on our service plans!

Putting it All Together to Avoid Commercial Alarm Mistakes

We hope that this post will help you avoid many of the errors many commercial alarm customers make. Additionally, we encourage you to contact us with any questions you may have. We will happily answer your queries on the material here or on business security in general. Furthermore, we offer free site surveys to both new and existing customers alike. During our visit, we can address any concerns you may have. Moreover, we will also make recommendations based on what we see while onsite. Together, we can help you create a complete security plan that keeps your business, as well as everyone that works in it, as safe and secure as possible!