Why are security systems so critical to your safety and the protection of your facilities?
Whether you know them as burglar alarms, intrusion detection systems (IDS), or security systems, all too often they are designed, installed, and maintained with little or no regard for any standard—almost random, with little thought as to your needs and the goals of your organization. These systems lack a thorough understanding of the policies and procedures they are there to support.
Over the last two decades, security systems have become more of a commodity, and the protection they are entrusted with providing is sold out. Short cuts are taken and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. We encounter an endless supply of potential clients that have been victimized by their security company; if these companies were doctors it would be considered malpractice. Clients have placed their trust, faith, and the safety of their staff, customers, and asset’s into the hands of these providers with no knowledge that they are living with a false sense of security. That is precisely what some of these practitioners are counting on: that nothing will happen, so you will never find out.
What you don’t know will certainly hurt you.
Like any industry there are basic principles, rudiments, and fundamentals of protection that must be followed, system design, installation, and service must adhere to an independent standard (not just any company’s chosen philosophy through the sales process that good is good enough). I’m not talking about making every system like the proverbial Fort Knox; we are discussing what you believe as a client is reasonable and necessary. Your expectations should certainly be met, even if you are unable to articulate exactly what they are—this is the job of the professional security consultant who performs their duties through the application and guidance of published standards. Without these standards, you are simply left in the dark hoping for the best, and wondering what happened when the system you invested in fails to perform.
So what standards are there, and how do you know if your provider follows them?
First let’s talk about the oldest and most widely respected standards for security in the world. Underwriters Laboratory (UL)’s certificate program is the equivalent of placing the UL mark on a product onto your security system installation. UL annually audits sites under several classifications where certificates are issued:
- Making certain that the service provider (security company) is adhering to record keeping, including monitoring center and service
- Auditing response times, including dispatch of authorities and field service staff correcting systems that are impaired in some way
- Most importantly, ensuring that the system was installed and is maintained in accordance with the criteria set by the applicable UL standard
What does this mean for you?
It begins by identifying those companies that actively participate, offer, and follow these standards. When evaluating your present or future provider and proposed systems, it allows you to have the opportunity to assess them on a level basis. With the partnership and support of Underwriters Laboratory, you truly know the company is right beside you, rather than having to sort out who is right, wrong, or indifferent in the proposal process. Thus, you can be certain that your system will meet the standard that best fits your organization’s needs.