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

When a conventional alarm system is activated by a door contact, glass-break or motion sensor, the central station operator receives an alarm signal. What the operator doesn’t know is whether the alarm was caused by something other than an intruder or not. The cause could be a loose overhead door moving in the wind, or a banner may have fallen off the wall or a bird in the warehouse may have set off the motion sensor. Even something like a spider web on the motion detector can set off the alarm. These types of false alarms are a big concern to police departments across the globe. Video and audio verification can give the operator a more precise understanding of what is happening at the alarm site by either looking at a camera that shows what set off the alarm or by listening at the alarm site to hear if there are voices or other continuous threatening sounds. The operators are verifying that the alarm situation is continuing and not just a false alarm. It’s like having a live person there gathering information that can then be relayed to the proper authorities.

Can I use just cameras as security?

You could but it would not be a very good idea. The main reason it is not recommended is cameras show you only what you would discover when you walked 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 contract lengths 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 that resides 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 of business you may sustain 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 call informing your client would not be a pleasant one. What seems like a 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 that you take security, and if you’re going to pay for it you might as well use it and maintain it. The best systems will self-test themselves daily, but if they don’t you should test your system at a minimum monthly. You should 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, if you have panic buttons, these should be tested 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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