Ask the Expert Sample Article

This month's expert discusses Warehouse security, and more.

READER QUESTION: I own three warehouses that I lease to tenants. I provide security that consists of fire and burglar alarms, and two card readers and cameras at each location. Lately, there have been several break-ins. I am recording the cameras, but not monitoring in real time. Would it be wiser for me to hire a couple of guards to monitor at night or work with a local monitoring company?

SOLUTION: The development of systems that digitize video and transport it via TCP/IP across the Internet has made it possible to monitor video remotely. In fact, many monitoring companies now offer video monitoring services that work in conjunction with existing burglar alarm systems. These services consist of both video alarm verification, where operators at the monitoring company view video that has been associated with an alarm sent from an alarm panel, and video tours, where operators periodically check-in at a site and look for unusual activity as defined by the owner.

In both cases, two-way audio can be used in conjunction with the video monitoring to provide an added level of service.

Ask questions when making a decision on whether or not to use video monitoring services. Will the security and video systems need to be upgraded to provide adequate protection? Are the cameras placed in such a way as to provide quality video? Will the monitoring company be able to remotely monitor the existing video system? What are the legal and ethical commitments to tenants regarding site security?

In summary, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.


READER QUESTION: We will be opening offices in Kansas and Missouri, in addition to our home office in Ohio. We have been well-served by our security integrator in Ohio, but the company does not have the reach to help with our new facilities. Can you give some advice on how to pick security firms in Kansas and Missouri that will give us the same type of service we have come to expect in Ohio?

SOLUTION: I would begin by itemizing the service deliverables you value that are being provided by your Ohio integrator—prompt service response, qualified technicians, systems design expertise and system documentation. Next, ask your Ohio integrator if they are networked with reliable integrators in Kansas and Missouri. If the answer is no, you or your Ohio integrator can get the names of product-certified integrators from your access control software supplier. After identifying software-certified integrators, narrow the field and find a reliable integration partner by asking these questions: What is the financial stability of the integrator? How long has the integrator been in business? Does the integrator have the technical strength and personnel to manage your project? Does the integrator employ network-qualified personnel? What do existing customers of the integrator say about their technical capabilities and service response time?

READER QUESTION: I own four convenience stores in a mid-sized city, and I currently have cameras monitoring front and back doors and the register at each location. Even so, I've had five robberies in the past six months. By the time police arrive and we run the video for the officers to review, the robbers are long gone. Would a network allow me to share video with the police department more quickly? I'm tired of my stores being seen as an easy mark.

SOLUTION: A video transmission system can be installed and set up to report to a central station monitoring company. This allows operators to remotely view your video cameras upon an alarm being activated. Video verification of alarms can improve police response time, since it has been verified that the alarm is not a false or nuisance alarm. The monitoring company also can assist in identification of intruders when reporting the alarm. There are a number of municipalities where verification of alarms is required before reporting them to the police.

There also are systems that incorporate features like remote control and intercom systems. These features can assist the central station operator to further identify and challenge an intruder to hopefully prevent any damages or losses before they happen.



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