More Frequently Asked Question

Security system FAQs

More Security System FAQs

Here’s the second episode of frequently asked questions about security systems. We’re all about giving you more information to help you make the best decision.

What are video and audio verification?Sonitrol operators using audio verification

Conventional alarm systems are activated by a door contact, glass-break or motion sensor, then a central station operator receives an alarm signal. The operator doesn’t know whether the alarm was caused by an intruder or not. It could be a loose overhead door moving in the wind, or a banner fell off the wall or a bird flying in the warehouse set off the motion sensor. Even something like a spider web on a motion detector can set off the alarm. False alarms are a big concern for police departments. Video and audio verification give the operator a more precise understanding of what is happening at the alarm site. Looking at a camera that shows what set off the alarm. Listening to the alarm site to hear if there are voices or other continuous threatening sounds is very effective. Operators verify the alarm situation is continuing and not just a false alarm. It’s like having a live person there gathering information to relay to the proper authorities.

Can I use just cameras as security?

You could but it would not be a very good idea. Cameras show you only what you would discover when you walk in the door; just that you were robbed. Most cameras are set up to be an after the incident device. As far as seeing who the intruder was, there is a slim chance that they allowed their face to be seen. If you did get a clear enough picture, do you know that person? Probably not, and neither do the police.

What is the length of the monitoring contract?

Standard contracts in the security industry are 60 months in length. There are some security companies that will accept a shorter term, but chances are you are going to pay a higher installation or higher monthly monitoring fee. Security companies with their own central monitoring station make their money on the recurring monthly revenue. The installation of the equipment is usually done at a loss, with the difference being made up over several years of the monthly monitoring. So companies are not usually willing to gamble that you are going to continue with them without a long-term contract; it doesn’t make good business sense. If you are concerned about the length because you only have a short lease on the building, the contract can be tied to the length of the lease with the provision that the system is transferred to the next tenant or it can be moved to your new location.

Why have a security system? I don’t have anything worth stealing.

Maybe the product kept in your building has little market value to anyone other than your customers or you feel it will be covered by insurance. Consider the loss businesses suffer because of damage to the building from a fire or vandalism. Can you go days, weeks or months without anything to sell or ship to your customers? Why open the door to your competition to move in while you recover. What if you just have an office with no product? Is the data stored on your computers and servers safe? What if someone stole a laptop with customer information on it? The calling your client to inform them will not be pleasant. What seems like aย small loss could put you out of business. Vandalism can also cause significant expense.

Do I need to test my system? How often?

That all depends on how seriously you take security. You’re paying for it so you might as well use it and maintain it. The best systems self-test daily, but if yours doesn’t you should test your system at least monthly. Put the system in test mode and do a walk test in front of motion sensors and do a door check by opening each door to see if it is working properly. Also, test any panic buttons at the same time. Work with your central monitoring station, they should be glad to help.

If you have other security-related questions, feel free to ask. Email us at or call us at (630) 293 – 4497. We love answering questions.



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