Security and loss prevention is a serious concern for most businesses. Luckily, there are options. There are many reputable alarm monitoring businesses that you can research and retain if they meet your needs. Alternatively, some companies choose to set up their own in-house monitoring stations.
How can you tell if an in-house enterprise monitoring system or a 3rd party monitored security system is the right option for your business? It requires a comprehensive look at the monitoring capabilities, how adaptive they are to evolving technology, how responsive they are to threats, and how well the security controls support your business practices.
The first critical step in determining the right option for your security monitoring is to understand your security risk by doing a physical security risk assessment. Do you have staff in one place that works consistent hours? Are you in a high-crime area? Do you have multiple locations with rotating shifts, or does everyone arrive at each within an hour or less? What you monitor, where you are located and the operating hours of your company may significantly affect your security risks.
Now that you understand where your greatest threats lie, you need to evaluate your security controls. Do you have trained, credentialed staff or the right infrastructure to provide comprehensive, quality coverage? If not, can you invest the time and money to hire, train, and manage staff and install the right infrastructure to be effective for your needs?
Another advantage of outsourcing is that the service provider must adhere to service level agreements or SLAs that guarantee a certain level of quality. For instance:
- Monitoring center availability
- Response time
- Resolution time
- Service/maintenance visit number and frequency
- Promptness of emergency notifications
- Penalties for violating contract terms or missing SLAs
On the other hand, an in-house monitoring team would always have the most current contacts when staff or vacation schedules affect availability, as well as changes to working hours, shift schedules, and maintenance timelines. These details can be difficult or impossible for a third-party to keep current if someone in your office isn’t vigilant about communicating the new information.
Small businesses may find putting the right infrastructure in place or updating outdated systems too daunting to take on, giving a clear advantage to third-party monitoring. Some of the capabilities that you may require from a monitoring service could take time and considerable training to implement in-house:
- Access control systems
- Automatic fire alarms
- Compliance, credentialing, and permit management
- Environmental hazard monitoring
- Facility security monitoring
- Inspection and testing
- Video surveillance
Integrated Alarm Systems
Another consideration for deciding between third-party monitoring or in-house monitoring is whether you can make the information your alarms give you valuable by sharing data between systems. Integrated systems allow you to more easily assess the alarm to determine whether it fits past false alarm activity, whether one alarm is related to another, and to quickly dispatch response, all with minimal intervention. In-house integration could allow for customization for your specific needs. This extended integration between physical, life/safety, and cyber systems may be more difficult with outsourcing.
If monitoring is not the focus of your business, you may need to leverage resources and systems to expand your operation to adapt. One of the advantages of implementing an alarm monitoring solution from a company like Security Information Systems is that security monitoring is their core capability. They have invested in the most qualified resources and certifications, as well as the highest quality software, hardware, and communications protocols to help you with a robust, comprehensive monitoring service. They provide the largest library of receivers to interconnect multiple alarm systems to streamline alarm monitoring capabilities. When you need experienced, dependable alarm monitoring, let SIS help you find the right solution.