Like shoppers in any industry, those in the market for security products often exercise cost-conscious behaviors. Obviously, as consumers we always want to watch what we spend. Moreover, it seems to many customers that similar security equipment all accomplishes the same goal. In other words, many people fail to realize the vast difference in quality and performance potential in one camera versus another, or in one security system compared to another. Unfortunately, customers seeking to maximize savings often end up getting what they pay for. In this post, we spell out the dangers of budget security measures that often haunt customers down the road.
First, we’ll describe our own approach to choosing security equipment to install. As a company, we pride ourselves in the quality of our equipment and our work. From there, we’ll look at some specific categories of security equipment. Namely, we’ll explain the differences between budget security equipment and the type of equipment we prefer to install in key areas including mechanical security, alarm system installation, and video surveillance. Now, let’s dive in by sharing our own mindset when it comes to selecting security products.
Our Approach to Installing Security Equipment
As we mentioned, customers seeking only to save money often end up with a less-than-ideal security experience. At Northeast Security Solutions, we aim to create the best possible security for each of our customers’ applications. Doing so accomplishes a couple important goals. First and formemost, we work with products that work best when you need tham most. Bargain-hunting customers often take a “set it and forget it” approach when it comes to security. Unfortnately, this can lead to a major letdown when something bad does happen. We see this time and again when it comes to locks, alarms, cameras, and any other security product. Getting burned by low-quality equipment happens quite a bit in this industry.
Additionally, choosing robust, quality products right out of the gate can actually save money down the line. After all, cheaper security products act up and cause issues much more often than their high-value counterparts. These issues lead to service calls to repair and replace failing equipment. More often than not, customers wish they had simply chosen the type of equipment we’d recommended from the beginning. On our side of the equation, we do not want to have to run out and service failing equipment any more than you’d want to pay us to do so! For these reasons, we install equipment that works well and that lasts. Now, let’s get into some of the product-specific dangers of budget security equipment, starting with mechanical lock hardware.
Mechanical Security Woes
Locking hardware makes up a huge portion of any security plan we create. After all, door-related security equipment provides a valuable first line of defense for your property’s most vulnerable areas. Unfortunately, many home and business owners buy cheap locks that ultimately raise their chances of experiencing a burglary. To help you choose the right locks for the job, our industry uses a three-point grading system designed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) to measure a lock’s quality!
Lock manufacturers often seek out ANSI/BHMA certification for their product lines. This certification involves putting locks through tests meant to gauge factors such as bolt strength, security, the ability to withstand impact and force, and quality of finish, among others. Allegion, one of the biggest global providers of security products, provides this helpful guide to door hardware testing. The lowest-quality hardware receives a “Grade 3” designation, with the best scoring in at Grade 1. Our preferred lock provider, Medeco, creates a complete suite of both commercial and residential Grade 1 locks. As you can probably guess, Grade 2 falls right in the middle. Grade 2 locks represent a step up from Grade 3, without having quite the quality of a Grade 1 lock.
Unfortunately, customers seeking cheap locks often end up with “Grade 3” quality standards. Burglars can easily pick these locks, or drill them to gain access to your property. Before purchasing locks, look at the packaging to see if you can determine what grade of lock you are buying. If you cannot find this information, assume that you are holding a Grade 3 lock. We recommend installing a lock that will last longer while providing the most security possible. Now, let’s turn our attention to the dangers of budget alarm design.
The Dangers of Budget Security System Design
Whether in a home or a business, we always strongly recommend that our customers install a burglar alarm. These systems can create both a siren activation and a police dispatch upon activation. Both of these results can greatly improve your property’s security. Unfortunately, customers looking for the cheapest alarm possible can negatively affect both of these security benefits.
For starters, designing a system with savings as the main goal can lead to an under-secured property. Some customers install minimal equipment to secure their home or business. For example, many people get by with placing a few motion detectors in main areas of their building instead of properly securing every window or potential entry point. In turn, this leads to a late alarm reaction to a burglary. Therefore, thieves have a chance to do some real damage before fleeing the scene. Of course, we recommend designing your alarm so that it catches criminals before they breach your property.
Additionally, getting stingy with your alarm monitoring can also lead to issues. Customers that choose the cheapest monitoring option generally end up with traditioanl phone-based alarm monitoring. In these instances, alarm companies use their customers’ existing phone lines to communicate with their central station. Unfortunately, this type of service fails people quite often. If you have phone -based monitoring and your phone lines go down, or if burglars cut the lines before breaking in, your alarm will not call out for help.
For this reason, we recommend monitoring your alarm through our Alarm.com cellular dialer. This piece of equipment uses a cellular network to monitor your alarm. Therefore, phone-related issues never affect your monitoring. Furthermore, this dialer also allows you to control your security system remotely and receive security-based text alerts. While it costs a little extra, the added security and convenience this type of monitoring brings always ends up being well worth it! Let’s finish up our discussion on the dangers of budget security with some common camera issues.
Common Camera Installation Failures
Over the past several years, cameras have tremendously increased in popularity for both commercial and residential security applications. When chosen and installed correctly, visible cameras can both deter criminals from targeting your property for their crimes as well as capture video of any suspicious activities that do occur. Just as with the other security measures discussed here, cutting corners can hurt your security. First and foremost, people who over-prioritize savings when designing camera systems often fail to fully cover their property. This can lead to criminal activity going “unseen” by your surveillance, despite your intentions.
Additionally, choosing “bargain bin” cameras over professional surveillance also gets you an inferior product. Cameras that are easy on the budget are also light on security features. Cheap cameras generally offer much lower resolution than the cameras that we would install for you. Therefore, your attempts to zoom in and gather details end up getting you a blocky, grainy picture instead. Moreover, our cameras have superior infrared capabilities for nighttime surveillance. Installing cameras that lack these features will leave you wishing for much more security from your cameras when you need them most.
Putting it All Together and Avoiding the Dangers of Budget Security
We hope that this post helps you avoid the dangers of budget security. Obviously, we understand the desire to stay as cost-effective as possible. However, we do not wish to place a small budget on achieving true security. If you have any questions about the material presented here, please do not hesitate to contact us. Furthermore, we also invite you to take advantage of our free site survey program. We offer complimentary security audits to both residential and commercial customers. While on site, we can address any existing concerns you may have. Moreover, we can make our own suggestions during our visit to maximize your security. Together, we can efficiently and effectively address your security needs to keep your property — and anyone on it — as safe and secure as possible.