This month's expert, John Krumme, examines the questions to consider when choosing a security integrator

Ask the Expert

Selecting the right security integrator can be a challenging task. Many organizations may not know where to start. With nearly 30 years of experience in the security industry, John Krumme, president of SecurityNet, has developed a few pointers to consider when choosing a security integration firm. We sat down with him to find out more.

ISSUE: What’s the best way to start the search for a security integrator?

SOLUTION: Experience is a good indicator of quality. If a security company has survived for many years in the industry, then its level of service and the quality of installations have likely impressed customers. Seasoned security firms will be happy to produce references—ask for them. Research what end users say about their experience with the firm. Also consult peers and colleagues for recommendations.

Technology has played an incredibly important role in changing the face of the security industry. It is important to find an integrator that understands complex new technologies and can navigate the convergence of security with IT. Ask questions to gauge how current the firm is on new technologies and practices, and see if they can explain how certain products may affect your company’s network. Some questions to consider are: In how many installations has the firm used IP cameras? How much bandwidth will the video system require? What role will the IT department play in a new installation?

Invite an integrator to assess the security at your business. Evaluate how much time the project manager spends with you and how carefully the property is examined. Inquire about any relationships with product manufacturers— it is best to have impartial advice so the integrator makes product choices based on your needs.

ISSUE: How will an organization know if a particular security integrator is a good fit for its needs?

SOLUTION: In most small- to medium-sized projects, there will be a blend of new and older technologies. It takes an expert to determine, for example, what kinds of cameras are needed or whether to upgrade from a DVR to an NVR. A project manager who rushes through the evaluation process and attempts to sell the most expensive new technologies should raise an immediate red flag.

Visit the integrator’s office to see if it is adequately staffed, uses modern equipment and employs knowledgeable staff members. The business headquarters can reveal a lot about the integrator, as can previous installations. Ask for photos of completed work and, if possible, take a look at a previous installation.

ISSUE: What role does the SecurityNet network play in the system integration field?

SOLUTION: SecurityNet is a network of independent system integrators that provides clients with a single source for all electronic security needs. The 24-member network spans across the globe, with more than 50 offices and 1,100 employees in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, China, Japan, Brazil, Australia and the Dominican Republic. The group works to ensure that each member has the technical expertise and financial stability to provide clients with the highest quality service. The network is set up to ensure peace of mind when choosing a security company.

When preparing for your next security upgrade or installation, look for in-depth experience and knowledge in a security integrator to ensure that your business is secured in the safest and most cost-efficient manner possible.

READER QUESTION: Our school is trying to implement new visitor management procedures, but we are struggling with finding ways to keep the system effective but not intrusive. Previously, guests and parents entered and exited campus by signing a logbook, but this system is no longer adequate. What methods can we use to more closely manage visitors?

SOLUTION: Technology has made great strides with visitor management systems. It has become commonplace in commercial environments for guests to sign in via a signature capture device that logs them into a software- based visitor management system. Further, you can scan the guest’s driver’s license, capturing all the data. This gives the institution a complete record of who has been in the building on any given day. All data is recorded via time and date. Many times, the company will issue a temporary guest badge, which is generated at sign-in.

Most visitor management systems are a module to a security management or access control system. This allows facilities the ability to use their existing technology, which eliminates the need to invest in a separate visitor management system and allows for seamless integration.

Visitor management systems that are part of an access control system allow users to issue access cards with colorcoded formats that only allow guests into specific areas. In an education environment, for example, you may have visiting teachers who need access to a building for several hours to attend a meeting. You can grant them visitor access to a training room only. You program the rights of the card so the card expires when you want it to, not when the visitor remembers to return the card.

This article originally appeared in the January 2009 issue of Security Today.

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Digital Edition

  • Security Today Magazine - October 2018

    October 2018

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