This month's expert, John Krumme, examines the questions to consider when choosing a security integrator
Ask the Expert
- By John Krumme
- Jan 05, 2009
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
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
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
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.