A modern dome camera on an office building facade.

Tough Commercial Security Questions to Consider

A modern dome camera on an office building facade.

As a New England business owner or manager, you probably have questions about security that you weren’t sure how to ask. Here we have assembled a list of common, reasonable questions to help guide you in the future as you evaluate new (or existing) security solutions.

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A businessman is giving a presentation in a modern co-working space.

Four Tips to Improve Productivity by Leveraging Commercial Security

A businessman is giving a presentation in a modern co-working space.New England boasts the most well-educated workforce in the nation, yet productivity is still an issue – as it is everywhere in the United States. It is imperative for companies to find a way to increase employee engagement, and decrease stressors, pressures, and distractions that lead to a lack of productivity.

One of the best ways to do this is by implementing a stronger commercial security infrastructure. These added measures will fortify your business against wasted hours, employee distrust, and other productivity stealers. The following four tips show you how to use commercial security to increase productivity among your employees – across all areas of your business.

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Two people discussing CCTV project. Video security equipment and blueprint on a table

5 Warning Signs You Need to Upgrade Your Business Security

Two people discussing CCTV project. Video security equipment and blueprint on a tableAs a New England business owner, you may not think much about your various security and surveillance systems — until you need them. That means your existing solutions may have become outdated, suffer from gaps, or are just plainly obsolete and not fully functional.

It may be too late to address these security shortcomings by the time you realize them. This is most relevant in areas where the growth of new technology, such as the Internet of Things, is creating even more risk than before.

Is Your Security Ready?

With the arrival of COVID-19 and new safety and health regulations, businesses face a whole new set of challenges to protect their employees, customers and partners. As the Boston Herald notes, a failure in protection might lead to a crippling lawsuit that could financially ruin a small firm.

Members of your company, or your partners, may be working remotely in unfamiliar environments or conditions, as mentioned in a recent Boston Business Journal article. Your security procedures and solutions may be vulnerable, given they must function across geographically distributed locations, or at hours and in circumstances they weren’t designed for.

Protection Assessment and Evaluation

Given the current situation, here are five indicators to consider if you’re in doubt about how current and robust your current business security system is. You might want to consider an upgrade or revamp if:

  1. You can’t view/record activities in key areas for ongoing compliance and safety. This particularly applies to customer-facing businesses, such as restaurants or retail stores. Given the new rules around hygiene, you must be able to demonstrate you follow social distancing and similar guidelines.
  2. Your business has changed or expanded substantially since the last surveillance/alarm installation. Are you in the same location? Did you expand your existing one? Are new areas sufficiently protected? You have to regularly re-evaluate your existing infrastructure to match your growth.
  3. You can’t respond in real-time to disruptive or risky situations. Thieves or vandals can strike at your business at any time. Plus, given the various restrictions caused by COVID-19, members of the public have lately demonstrated disruptive behavior, as mentioned in this blog post. A high-resolution camera system feeding into a 24/7 control system can enable the fastest, safest responses.
  4. You lack communications and/or power redundancy. Thieves are shrewder than ever. They can take out your landline to prevent a burglar alarm reaching first responders. As we’ve previously noted, you should have backup communications in place, such as cellular connectivity. Likewise, if the power in your facility goes out, back up battery power will ensure the alarms stay live until electricity is restored.
  5. It’s been years since you upgraded your surveillance/security systems. High tech criminals never rest. They create new viruses and hacking schemes. You can help defeat that by making sure your network has all the latest software patches and security protocols in place. Can your cameras clearly record all activity on your premises? High resolution cameras improve regularly and enable ever better visibility into your facilities or shop floors. Cloud-based solutions can provide further security by allowing securely encrypted off-site video storage and streaming 24/7.

If any or all of these situations applies to you, it’s worth considering a security upgrade. New surveillance and sensing systems can protect you and your business in this ever changing and challenging commercial environment.

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Reopening Your Business During the Pandemic: Security Solutions for Restaurants

Restaurants Opening in COVID-19 Era Need New Security Solutions

As New England restaurants begin reopening to the new normal, their owners and managers are discovering new uncertainties and risks.

Happy business owner opening the door at a cafe wearing a facemask to avoid the spread of coronavirus – reopening after COVID-19 concepts

New regulations and policies for hygiene add complexity to an already difficult business. As noted in a prior blog, some patrons are impatient or unwilling to conform to the new rules. Businesses in cities like Boston and Brockton are now facing vandalism and theft as well.

Some of these challenges can be mitigated with technology solutions.

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video surveillance camera

Reopening Your Business During the Pandemic: Considering High Tech Protection

Businesses Reopen: Consider High Tech Protection 

Idling New England business owners and managers look forward to opening up to the public once again, but COVID-19 regulations bring challenges and risks.video surveillance camera

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has imposed a variety of restrictions on how businesses must operate to ensure workers and customers are protected from infection. Violations could result in fines and closure.

More customer-facing businesses, such as retail or restaurant operations, face special new challenges. There are rules around social distancing and the need for everyone on the premises to work masks, and so on. This requires completely new processes for security and safety.

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Man enters business wearing face mask during COVID-19 pnademic

Reopening Your Business During the Pandemic

Reopening Your Business? Check Your Security.

Idling business owners are still awaiting the opportunity to reopen, both here in New England and across most of the country. When these businesses finally come back online, cash and inventory will be flowing again — enticing potential burglars.Businessman with mask is going to work during COVID-19 pandemic

Given all the other challenges businesses face, besides the lost time and revenue, protecting future revenue should be a priority. Now is a good time to think through the safety and security processes involved in ramping back up your business’ physical location. 

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Need a Business Security System Provider? A Few Tips

Are you a New England business owner looking to protect your operation with an electronic security solution? If so, you will save yourself time, money and potential loss by doing due diligence in your search upfront. 

You’ll need to evaluate your specific needs first. Do you want an electronic alarm with high resolution camera surveillance? Perhaps you also need  24/7 monitoring service? No matter what solution you choose, you need to select a reliable security vendor/service provider.

Why Security Systems Are Important

It’s wonderful when integrated security systems work as intended and limit losses for a business. According to a local news story in Brockton, Massachusetts, a triggered alarm in a seafood store led police to apprehend a suspect on the premises. When officers arrived at the scene, “they encountered a man wearing a ski mask next to a trash bag filled with items from inside the business.” Police made an on-the-spot arrest.  

Similarly, also in Brockton, police interrupted the robbery of a pharmacy last June after a telephone alarm was triggered, says one press account. In this case, the alarm company also had surveillance cameras on-site.  “The alarm company then called police to report glass had been broken at the store and they could see, through remote surveillance video, a man inside the store near the pharmacy.” The police apprehended the man, who was hiding in the locked pharmacy.

In both cases, alarms prevented the suspects from escaping with their ill-gotten goods. These examples show real- time security systems can help stop crime in its tracks.

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What Will 2020 Hold for High-tech Security in New England?

With a new decade upon us, we should stop for a second to consider any new high-tech threats that may arise nationally and in New England. A key area of worry is the ever-expanding risk of cyber attack.

We can’t know the future, but we can always be prepared to protect our property and loved ones. To that end, we’ll do a quick and informal review of the potential risks that lie ahead in the areas of home and business cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity and Other Dangers

When it comes to web/cyber-based threats, we must recognize the scope and scale of the problem. Even the biggest companies and public agencies are vulnerable to hackers and social engineering threats.

Just recently, in response to a U.S strike in Iran, Massachusetts cybersecurity providers warned of potential retribution from Iran via hacking attempts. Per Tom Kellermann, head of cybersecurity strategy at VMware, based in Waltham, “I fully expect a holy war to be waged in American cyberspace.”

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3G Sunset Hits Security Industry

A major change in mobile communication networks is on the horizon and will affect millions of security systems nationwide. The sunset of 3G cellular networks has begun, and you may need to take action to ensure your home or business security system will be able to communicate with our 24-7 monitoring station in the future.

“This is part of adapting to technology evolution,” said Maria Moretti, director of corporate operations at American Alarm. “We went through it, on a smaller scale, several years ago when the 2G network was shut down. So, we understand the impact and the importance of getting ahead of the curve for our customers.”

As many as 10 million home and business security systems in the United States now use 3G communicators to transmit signals to a monitoring station. The transportation industry is also affected significantly, with millions of tractor trailer trucks and delivery vehicles using 3G communicators for their wireless telematics systems.

“Anyone using a 3G communicator today will have to update their technology to make sure their systems can still send signals,” Moretti said. “We are staffing up now to help our customers make the transition.”

The end of 3G is occurring because the national wireless carriers, including Verizon and ATT are deploying new technologies to accommodate growing demands for streaming content, and for the exponential growth of networked wireless devices, often called the Internet of Things. To make room for the new network technology, both with frequency bandwidth and equipment on their towers, the wireless carriers will shut down their existing 3G networks.

The exact timing of the 3G sunset is an evolving matter, as the change will occur tower-by-tower in specific areas of the country, not all at once. Verizon and ATT are expected to keep most of their 3G networks operating until at least 2021. However, some parts of the country, including areas here in New England, are already losing 3G coverage.

“What we saw during the 2G sunset is the timing can be unpredictable,” Moretti said. “We want to make sure our customers’ security systems can always communicate with our central station so we can react to emergencies. That’s why we are launching our 3G update program now.”

American Alarm will be reaching out to affected customers by mail with more details.

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Enjoy Small Business Saturday Securely and Successfully

Since its launch in 2010, Small Business Saturday has given smaller retailers and other local firms a chance to compete against the major online powerhouses, such as Amazon. As one of these smaller companies, you want to make the day as successful as possible.

That means using every tool and platform available. Ensure all your goods and cyber assets are secure, and your personnel both honest and competent. This way, you’ll increase your chance to end the day in the black and not the red.

Small Business: Big Results

The event has had a real-world impact throughout New England and the rest of the United States. In 2018, it drove nearly $18 billion in sales, according to the National Federation of Small Business (NFSB).

That’s not too surprising when you realize that there are:

  • About 28.8 million U.S-based small businesses
  • And these represent 99.7% of all U.S. businesses

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