BBB Business Review

A reliable home security system is necessary now more than ever with new threats brought about by technology. Burglars use social media to choose their targets and plan their attacks. “[The suspects] monitored the travel plans of the victims based on the publicly available schedules of their games, tours, or other engagements—and used the victims’ social media posts to confirm their locations before burglarizing the homes,” according to R. Kris Coleman, CEO of intelligence agency Red Five.

How do you protect yourself from tech-savvy criminals? Exercise diligence in using social media and equip yourself with home security technology. Monitoring services add a layer of protection by sending out alerts to you and/or authorities for immediate response. These services cover break-ins, fire, and other emergencies.

You may go for self-monitoring or central station monitoring. Knowing about these services can help you protect your loved ones and valued properties.

What are the major types of monitoring services?

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Self-monitoring, which involves an alarm system that makes noise when breached, sends notifications to the homeowner. A recent option is through EVL4 IP module that sends text and email notifications to your electronic device. Self-monitoring allows you to seek help during an emergency.

Central station monitoring will receive signals from your alarm system upon breach and operators will dispatch emergency services and call list contacts. The central station is staffed by people 24/7 that receive and verify alarms. Once a breach or emergency is confirmed, it notifies the appropriate authorities for immediate response.

What are the types of self-monitoring services?

A self-monitored alarm system is more affordable than one that uses central station monitoring. The former typically requires a one-time upfront payment, while the latter, requires an ongoing service fee.

Self-monitoring may be “no cost” or “premium.” On one hand, no-cost self-monitoring involves a one-time cost on the equipment used, but no ongoing monitoring fee. This type of service sends notifications via a phone line, though it often does not indicate further information such as the type of emergency or zone involved.

On the other hand, the premium requires a hardware cost and an ongoing self-monitoring charge. It uses cellular networks in sending notifications and allows remote control of wireless alarm systems, enabling you to arm and disarm your alarms off-site.

A premium self-monitoring service may cost you more, but it offers a more reliable protection. It informs you of the type of alarm that set off to make sure you call the right responders. Since it uses cellular networks, it offers a more efficient communication and no-cost service via phone lines.

What should you know before choosing a self-monitored alarm system?

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There is a wide selection of self-monitored alarm systems in the market today. Take note that when choosing self-monitoring, you are solely responsible in addressing emergencies and/or notifying the appropriate authorities.

Go for a self-monitored alarm system that sends text or email alerts to you and all designated contacts when your security system is breached. It should also allow you to control your devices remotely (arm and disarm alarms and customizing the system). A self-monitored alarm system must enable you to automate various devices in your home. If sensors detect carbon monoxide, the heating system should turn off automatically.

Choose a self-monitored system that allows you to incorporate a security camera. This will let you know the type of emergency happening in your home when you are away.

What are the pros and cons of central monitoring?

Central station monitoring takes the extra step. A hub, manned by real people 24/7, confirms signals from your alarm system to check for possible false alarms. Once a threat is confirmed, it alerts the police, fire department or medical responders for immediate response. The central station also sends notifications to you and those designated in your call list.

A home security system linked to central station monitoring operates on phone line, cellular, or internet networks and include backup batteries. You can be assured that your home is protected even if the power goes out.

Despite the many benefits of a central station monitoring service such as professional alarm response and often even discounts on insurance that may cover a large portion of the ongoing expense, only few sign up. Many simply do not like the idea of recurring fees. Moreover, you should still be on alert for accidental alarms. If one of your kids trip a sensor, make sure you disable the alarm right away before police are called to respond. False alarms, in some localities, are charged to your account if responders were already dispatched.

It is advisable that you compare and contrast monitoring services from various providers. Central station monitoring may cost more than self-monitoring, but you can score amazing discounts on your home insurance and choosing an online wholesale service provider can provide significant savings over a local company charging retail rates. Whomever you go with make sure the service provider is UL certified and ideally rated by an independent 3rd party such as CSAA.

How to boost your home security system on a budget?

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You do not need to break the bank to have a monitoring system. A DIY alarm system can be linked to an optional alarm monitoring system. Alarm System Store offers Pro Grade systems which are typically exclusive to professional alarm installing dealers. Not only are these Pro Grade alarm systems affordable, you need not worry about long-term monitoring contracts or hefty monthly fees. Alarm System Store offers optional monitoring service at a lower rate than most other providers as well. You can save as much as 75% off the typical retail monitoring price and the central station is UL certified and 5 diamond rated by CSAA. Alarm System Store also provides free insurance certificates to aid in earning a discount on your owners or renters insurance, as well as provides all monitoring customers with free Premium Technical Support for their systems for as long as they are monitored.

Do you know that about 2 million burglaries are reported each year in the US, and nearly 66 percent are home break-ins? Criminals are now more well-equipped and skilled because of the availability of new technologies. They use social media to choose and stalk targets. They learn hacking skills to breach security programs. They intercept signals to prevent victims from seeking for help.

Arm yourself against burglars and criminals. Choose Pro Grade alarm systems linked to a reliable monitoring service. Most importantly, learn how to use technology with due diligence. “Technology is a convenient double-edged sword. General social media tips are common sense—edit yourself before posting; don’t publicize travel plans; don’t post selfies while on vacation; monitor your kids’ accounts; disable cell phone location settings; disable GPS while checking in on Facebook; download a neighborhood app; and form a neighborhood patrol team. But it takes more than a Ring doorbell or a Nest camera—you need a full security plan,” advised Keith Flamer on Forbes.

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