What Does the End of 3G Mean for Your Security System?

Carriers like AT&T and Verizon have announced their sunsetting 3G wireless networks at the beginning of 2022 and the end of 2022, respectively.

Just like 2G, the 3G network has become outdated as more wireless customers demand greater bandwidth and faster speeds. Shutting down the older network will drastically increase data capacity and speed on 4G, 5G and LTE networks.

If you are like most Americans, your cell phone no longer runs on a 3G network anyway. And many carriers are no longer activating devices on the 3G network.

But what about your security system?

What is 3G and What is the Difference Between 3G, 4G and 5G?

Before we get into how the 3G sunset could affect your security system, here’s a quick rundown of the different networks available.

The “G” stands for generation. The newer the network, the more capacity for more devices to connect to that network. Introduced in 1998, 3G and is now considered a slower network compared to the current standard 4G. As more people get access to mobile devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) expands, as many as 24 billion devices are expected to need cellular network support by 2024. That’s where 5G comes in, offering peak capacity and latency.

Do Security Systems Run on 3G Networks?

Yes, some security systems run on cellular networks. 3G networks were the standard communication technology used in security panels starting in 2016.

When landlines became obsolete, there was a shift to wireless security systems that use cellular technology to relay messages. These systems were more reliable, convenient, and accessible than their landline counterparts.

Cellular security systems also do not have onsite wires, which can be tampered with by a burglar to render your security system useless.

What Does a 3G Sunset Mean for My Home Security System?

If your alarm system was installed with a 3G-compatible communicator, it will no longer work properly once carriers begin to sunset 3G networks—regardless of who your security provider is.

Although wireless carriers have published specific dates for 3G termination, this does not guarantee 3G services will be fully available until the sunset. It is common practice for carriers to reduce coverage during transition periods.

That is why it’s imperative to take action as soon as possible to avoid service disruptions.

What Can I Do to Limit Disruption to My Home Security System?

The cellular communicator on your security system will need to be replaced to operate on the new networks.

Your security provider should proactively reach out to ensure there is no lapse in service for your system. If you do not hear from them or you want to get the ball rolling on updating your system, contact your provider and ask the following questions:

  • Will the 3G sunset impact my security system?
  • When are cellular carrier changes expected to roll out in my area?
  • What is your company’s timeline and plans for customer updates?
  • Can I update my system in advance, or do I need to wait for a tiered rollout?
  • Will I be charged a service fee to upgrade my system? If so, how much?
  • Do I need to purchase new equipment, or will it be provided free of charge?
  • How can I schedule a service call to update my system, if needed?

Your home security provider should be willing and able to answer all of your questions about the impact on your system and should have a plan in place to prevent disruption.

If you want more information about how Boyd & Associates is handling the 3G sunset, just reach out. We are happy to work with you on getting your system updated.

Five Video Surveillance Security Tips For Businesses

Video surveillance is a vital and effective security solution that protects all business types. It acts as a crime deterrent and can help identify suspects in the event of a criminal incident.

To ensure your business video surveillance system is operating at peak performance, we have compiled a list of five fundamental video surveillance tips:

  1. Secure Your Surveillance System From Hackers

Advancements in technology have made it possible for hackers to gain access to security cameras. Today, many businesses utilize Internet Protocol (IP) cameras that require an Internet connection for operation. Consider the following practices when securing your video surveillance system from cyber criminals:

  • Change your surveillance system password every three months and utilize proper password management.
  • Always change default usernames and passwords. These factory-preset logins are often readily available online, making it easier for hackers to access your system.
  • Secure your business network. An unsecure network risks leaving open access points in your system, giving hackers the opportunity to compromise your surveillance cameras.
  • Never connect your cameras to a public network. Hackers can easily access information, like video surveillance credentials, through shared networks.
  • Choose cameras with encrypted signals. Encryption disguises information sent over the Internet, making it challenging for hackers to identify valuable data.
  1. Avoid Video Surveillance Legal Liabilities

Your business’ safety is a top priority, but so is the privacy of your employees and customers. When installing cameras throughout your business, be sure to avoid areas where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy. This includes:

  • Bathrooms
  • Dressing rooms
  • Exam rooms
  • Locker rooms
  • Hotel rooms

Additionally, understand the laws around video and audio recording so you don’t invade anyone’s privacy. Laws vary from state to state, so visit your State Labor Agency website to learn about camera privacy laws in your region.

  1. Strategically Place Cameras

Strategically placed cameras help business owners easily identify and promptly respond to potentially hazardous situations. Video surveillance cameras are most effective when they are:

  • Installed above all entrances and exits, to see who is coming and going.
  • Capable of watching over areas with high-value items, like office technology, stockrooms, and cash registers.
  • Placed under sufficient lighting for higher-quality video footage.
  • Positioned to capture wide angles for fuller surveillance coverage.
  1. Store Video Footage in the Cloud

Cloud solutions can help businesses increase storage capabilities and more easily access surveillance camera footage. Cloud-based systems offer a strong alternative to traditional analog systems. If properly installed, cloud storage can boost your business’ overall security measures because it is:

  • Cost-effective: IP cameras can eliminate the need for an onsite digital video recorder (DVR) or network video recorder (NVR).
  • Accessible: When housed in the cloud, surveillance footage can be viewed via smartphone, tablet, or a desktop web browser at any time.
  • Flexible: New users, locations and cameras can be added to your existing infrastructure without rewiring.
  1. Increase Business Security with Additional Camera Features

You can also improve the effectiveness of your business surveillance system with some additional features, including:

  • Adjustable angles: Cameras that are mobile and can tilt or zoom for multiple views.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) technology: Cameras hosted on monitoring platforms powered by artificial intelligence can automatically monitor all footage and alert users about unusual events.
  • Day/night capabilities: Cameras with night vision use infrared LEDs to provide clear images in near low-light conditions.
  • High resolution: Higher resolutions give the best quality image.
  • IP-based versus wired: Video cables are not required with IP-based systems.
  • Weatherproof: Cameras that can withstand outdoor conditions.
  • Remote access: Sync your video surveillance system to your mobile security app to control settings and view footage on your mobile device.

Do you have questions about ways to enhance your video surveillance system? Talk to our security experts today.

Is It Time To Manage Your Company Security System With A Mobile App?

Managing your office and employees’ security is good business. 

Your alarm system can do more than just keep your office secure. You can turn your lights on and off, set your thermostat, lock your doors, view cameras, and receive notifications, all from the Virtual Keypad™ app.

Choose your level of protection with options to arm All, Perimeter or Area, you can have the peace of mind that your investments are well protected. Set alerts you want to receive Choose to receive notifications in cases of Alarms, Trouble, and Arms/Disarms. Manage system schedules Schedule Arming/Disarming, your Favorites, Doors, Z-Wave devices, and other outputs. Control multiple devices with one tap With the Favorites settings you can group your most-used devices and turn them on or off with a single tap.

Multiple system control Manage multiple locations seamlessly from the same app.

Give us a call today to learn more.

How to Effectively Place Motion Sensors in Your Home

Outside of the physical structures of your home, motion sensors are often the first line of defense for your security system. But how does a motion sensor work? Basically, motion sensors trigger alarms and direct the home security feed to wherever the alarm was triggered. This is usually based on motion or intrusion (hence the name!)

Taking the time to plan out motion sensor placement for your home is so important. If your motion sensors are not in locations where they work the most effectively, your entire system may be flawed. Check out these helpful tips for motion sensor placements:

The most effective motion sensor placements

Motion sensors work to detect movement in an area where there should not be. When thinking of the best placements for your motion sensors, consider important access points and any potential vulnerabilities in your home or business that an intruder might exploit.

Corner spaces

Put a motion sensor in the corner of each room, aimed toward the doorway. That way, if the door opens or someone passes through, the sensor will detect the motion and set off the alarm.

Near valuables

What exactly are you looking to protect with your motion sensors and security system? Place motion sensors directly at your most valuable items. Or, in the case of a small business, consider where you keep or display any important products or business profits. No one will be able to get close to them without you knowing.

Second floor bedrooms

Even if you feel as though a burglar could not enter the house through the second floor, it is a good idea to keep a motion sensor near the bedrooms in your home. As a rule of thumb, all entry points should be accounted for. This way you will be alerted if anyone approaches while you’re asleep.

Basements

It never hurts to be extra careful. Especially if there are any access points or vulnerabilities from the basement. Having several sensors down in that area is a great idea. If you have lots of clutter, make sure they are placed in an area where they won’t be blocked. Also consider installing one near the staircase leading upstairs to the main levels of your home or business.

Ceilings

When an intruder enters the home, they may already be looking for motion detectors. A great place they would not immediately look is the ceiling. Sensors work on any angle, so this is a great way to keep a thief from easily avoiding detectors. And these days, sensors are made to fit discreetly wherever you place them. So, they won’t be an eyesore in your home either.

Within decorations

A great way to hide motion sensors is by making them part of your household decor. Hide them amongst photos and knickknacks so they are not easily spotted by intruders. Plus, they won’t detract from your home’s look and feel.

The least effective motion sensor placements

Motion sensors are designed to detect motion, that means any kind of motion. Placing your motion sensors in certain areas can not only detract from the functionality of your system, but it can also cause false alarm triggers. Avoid placing motion sensors in the following locations:

Near windows

This is a bad location for a few reasons. The first is that heat activated motion sensors can be confused by direct sunlight, which most windows receive a lot of! The second is that the sensor works best when a burglar walks parallel to them rather than straight ahead. Finally, you would not want a false alarm trigger from every single passerby, or even just an innocent visit from the neighborhood cat.

Near heat sources

A heat source could potentially create a false alarm, so it is a good idea to keep motion sensors away from hot air vents and radiators. Any change in infrared heat could trigger the alarm. Plus, extended exposure to high temperatures could potentially damage your equipment as well.

For more security tips and solutions, stick with Boyd & Associates

Ensure that your security system is working to its full potential by strategically installing the motion sensors that are included with it.

And, if you are looking for more ways to keep yourself and your family safe, check out our home security and automation services at Boyd & Associates. We offer a wide range of home security options to protect you and your family. If you are ready to discuss our custom solutions, contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you prepare for what is next.

Small Business Security Tips: Why You Need A Security System

Small business owners might not always think about security on a daily basis. When you’re too busy worried about the day-to-day operations of owning a business – from managing employees, keeping financial records, to the actual customer transactions of providing products or services, it can be easy to forget that entire operations often hinge on proper security. But, maybe now more than ever, small business security is an essential aspect of any entrepreneurial venture.

But it can be overwhelming knowing exactly where to start. Which is why we’ve compiled some quick-hitting tips to small business security. It’s time to start operating your business with complete peace of mind.

BASIC SECURITY TIPS

There are a few basic security measures any business owner should take on their own. Most are probably fairly obvious, but it never hurts to run through the basics!

KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD

Any business should understand the community they are becoming a part of. And that starts with taking stock of the physical places your business is existing. What are the crime statistics like in the area? Are you located in a region that could be affected by natural disasters? Are there any safety or security concerns with the business structure itself that could pose risks?

Don’t forget – your business space should have a smoke alarm and CO detector in every room!

LOCKS AND LIGHTS

This is another pretty simple, obvious point, but the end of every business day should come with security checks. Is your workspace clean and organized? Are products and any cash from transactions locked away in a safe, secure location?

Always be sure to lock every entry point. Shutting off lights is a great way to let people know your business is closed. But it can also be an indication for burglars, especially if there are dark areas to hide. Keep lighting balanced to save on energy, but also ward off intruders.

HAVE A BASIC CYBERSECURITY PLAN

These days it’s not enough to just have physical security in place. As more and more businesses operate online, the greater the risk for cyberattacks like malware, phishing, hacks and scams. Get ahead with a basic cybersecurity plan to protect your business:

  • Use firewalls and antivirus software
  • Make sure your Wi-Fi network is secure
  • Rotate passwords quarterly
  • Protect payment processors
  • Back up any business data to a secure cloud network

Secondly, remember to educate yourself – every business is going to have unique risks inherent to individual business structure and industry that must be considered.

While these basic measures are a good start, overall they limit security options for small businesses. It is important to understand when it’s the right time to upgrade to a full small business security system.

FEATURES OF A SECURITY SYSTEM

Small business security systems come with many of the same perks and advantages that are present in home security systems. And in most cases, security solutions can be customized to fit the unique needs of any business in any industry.

INTRUSION MONITORING

Just like your home security, you can (and should!) install sensors on all doors and windows. This will allow you to know when people are coming and going on a daily basis during normal operation hours. Additionally, with 24 hour monitoring, you can trust that when you arm your system that first responders will quickly dispatch in the event of an intrusion.

OPEN/CLOSE REPORTING

Business sizes vary, and maybe you can’t always be onsite. With open/close reporting, you can keep an eye on your business operations from afar. Know which employees open and close, track shifts, and keep detailed daily log records.

VIDEO SECURITY

Security cameras are a popular small business security measure. And they can be taken to the next level. While there is certainly a market for business owners to purchase and install video systems themselves, they lack the nuance and technical advancement of a system installed by a professional company.

And with Video Verification, in the event of an alarm, live operators will monitor your surveillance footage and can notify police the moment any suspicious activity is verified, increasing first responder intel, and expediting response times. Plus, real-time analytics help provide advanced metrics, secure video data via Cloud storage, and allow you to view footage with searchable timelines.

SMART BUSINESS AUTOMATION

Just like Smart Home Automation solutions, adding automation to your business can take those basic security measures to new heights. Plus it’ll add major improvements to how an installed system functions.

Smart business automation allows you to access your business security through any computer, smartphone or tablet. That means you can remotely arm your system and monitor those daily security reports from your couch at the end of a long day. Plus you can pull up your surveillance feeds at a moment’s notice to check in.

AUTOMATION SAVES TIME AND MONEY

As a business owner, every penny counts. And smart business automation can help you save more money in the long run on your energy bills. Smart thermostats and lights allow you to set schedules and routines, and change on the fly based on real-time analytics.

And with automated lights and locks, you will never second guess whether you closed up shop or not. Want to make sure the back door is locked? Worried about your front light being left on? Not a problem. You can remotely arm your system, check locks, and even turn lights on and off, long after you have left your business.

 

BOYD & ASSOCIATES UNDERSTANDS YOUR BUSINESS SECURITY NEEDS

 While most fundamental security needs are pretty standard across the board, at the end of the day, every business is unique. The security needs of a small neighborhood coffee shop might vary greatly from that of an auto-body repair business. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions for business security.

At Boyd & Associates, we understand that every business is different. Which is why we offer custom security solutions for your business. That way, you choose the combination of services that best suits the needs of your business.

If you’re looking for more ways to keep yourself and your family safe, check out our home security and automation services at Boyd & Associates. We offer a wide range of home security options to protect you and your family. If you’re ready to discuss our custom solutions, contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you prepare for what’s next.

 

 

 

 

How To Efficiently Review Surveillance Footage

Surveillance cameras help you feel secure that your business is always safe and protected. If anything happens on the premises, you can look at the footage and find the problem. But, while having the cameras and footage provides you with security, it can feel tedious to have to sort through hours or even days of footage to find a specific incident.

Fortunately, there is a much easier way. Learn more about how you can better review your surveillance footage and video surveillance to keep your store protected and safe.

Look For The Telltale Signs

You don’t want to miss anything while skimming through your video surveillance footage, so it’s important to know what to look for so you can spot it quickly. Some telltale signs can help you identify potential moments of crime. Remember, these are potential signs, so they do not guarantee that something suspicious or criminal is happening.

  • Loitering– For each business, there is a different amount of time that is reasonable for customers to stay around before it becomes suspicious. Anyone who is hanging in or around your business with no apparent reason should be considered suspicious.
  • Attempts to Conceal Identity– Excessive headwear, sunglasses at night, sticking to shadows, avoiding eye contact with your cameras, and avoiding being seen by any employees can be signs to keep an eye out for when you are reviewing your surveillance footage.
  • Multiple People– Many criminals do not work alone, rather they work as a team. If a group of people comes in together and exhibits some of the other telltale signs, it could be a red flag you will want to keep your eye on.

Time Stamps

Having accurate time stamps on all surveillance footage lets you narrow down your review to a specific date and time.

Not only are time stamps effective tools in reducing the hours you have to spend looking through footage, but if anything does happen, they make the footage admissible in court. Footage without accurate timestamps that include the date and time may become inadmissible in a court of law.

Can Customers Request Surveillance Footage?

You might start to have customers requesting footage. Legally, there is no obligation for a business to provide any security footage to a customer. You can ignore the request as long as it is only a customer requesting the footage. As soon as there is a warrant or subpoena involved issued by the government, you are legally obligated to hand over the surveillance footage.

Some customers might have this law confused with public entities. It is possible to obtain video footage from public entities under the freedom of information act. However, private entities, like small privately-owned businesses, are not subject to that law.

How Long Should I Keep Surveillance Footage?

It is best practice to keep your footage up to 90 days. In some situations where multiple cameras are recording for longer periods and at higher quality levels, you can go down to 30 days. It is recommended to keep footage accessible for a longer amount of time because the legal process might be slower in some locations and not realize there is vital footage or even a crime, until after the first 30 days.

Boyd & Associates Live Video Verification

With Boyd & Associates, we have live operators available at a moment’s notice to review any suspicious activity in the event that an alarm is triggered. Our trained professional can quickly review your live feed and provide important information to first responders so they can prioritize your business security—likely resulting in a higher priority emergency dispatch. This gives you the peace of mind that a helpful eye is always looking out for you, so you can spend your time focusing on growing your business.

Check out Boyd & Associates Security services to help secure your small business today.

 

Small Business Security Checklist

Most small businesses work with a tight budget and profit margin. This makes it even more important for small businesses to protect their company. Here is a quick checklist to make sure your small business is protected and to help prevent unnecessary losses.

PHYSICAL SECURITY

It is not always obvious what you can do to improve building security. That is why a building security checklist should be part of every small business, to make sure your store is protected from all angles.

Here are a few things you should consider as part of your security checklist. Depending on your store’s location and layout, you should add more to this list:

EXTERIOR DOORS AND WINDOWS

  • Exterior doors are locked and are made of solid hardwood or metal.
  • All entry points have a sturdy deadbolt lock and the keys to the lock are with a trusted manager or employee, not stored under a doormat or in a mailbox.
  • Consider using keyless entry. Not only is it a secure way to keep your business safe it also helps you identify who is opening or closing the store.
  • If there is any glass close to or near your doors, it is reinforced so it cannot be shattered.
  • Every window that can be opened has a lock or is securely pinned.

OUTDOOR SECURITY

  • Shrubs or bushes near your business are trimmed so there is no place for someone to hide.
  • Back or side entrances are well lit with bright working lights. Floodlights are used appropriately to ensure effective illumination around your building.
  • Outdoor lights are enabled using a timer or a motion sensor, no matter if the business is open or not.
  • The building or office number is clearly displayed and viewable from the street so first responders can easily locate your company if anything does happen.

INTERIOR SECURITY

  • Exit signs are properly lit.
  • Fire extinguishers are inspected and charged.
  • Emergency exits are accessible and not blocked.

SECURITY MONITORING

  • Surveillance cameras are operating properly and there are no dead zones (areas that are not being recorded) in your store.
  • Footage is recorded and stored properly offsite and archived at least once a month.

CYBER SECURITY

Your physical security checklist keeps your office or storefront safe, but if you are like most companies, the most valuable things you have are stored on your computers and shared networks. Customer’s personal information, billing details, and private information are just as important to protect as your physical store, and they deserve their own cyber security checklist:

MULTI-LEVEL SECURITY

  • A firewall is installed on your network.
  • Antivirus software is set up on all devices connected to the network and a password is required for access.

NETWORK OPERATIONS

  • All firewalls, virus protection, or other forms of computer security software are updated at least once a week.
  • Operating system updates are installed as soon as they are available.
  • Key programs and applications, like web browsers or content management systems, are updated weekly.
  • A record including users and their network permissions is updated at least once a month.
  • Use separate guest and corporate networks.

MOBILE DEVICES

  • Identify all devices that touch your network, and who the owners of those devices are.
  • Clarify security elements with devices that have access to your network.

PASSWORDS

  • Change passwords at least once a month and never reuse them.
  • Require passwords to be strong with a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols, rather than weak passwords that are easily guessable or short.
  • Implement multi-factor authentication to allow extra account protection.
  • Require password changes when data breaches occur.
  • Require different passwords for every account and program, even if used by the same employee.

BOYD & ASSOCIATES HELPS SMALL BUSINESSES

Small business security does not need to be complicated. At Boyd & Associates, we offer automation options to make securing your business a breeze. We even offer services such as video verification with live operators standing by to notify police the moment any suspicious activity occurs and, smart business automation that sends notifications right to your phone.

Tackling small business security by yourself should not have to feel overwhelming. Secure your business with Boyd & Associates and find out how we can help your business be safe from both physical and cyber threats.

Things to Consider when Buying a Home Security System

 

If you look around your neighborhood, chances are you will see a handful of home security yard signs. Home security systems are a popular addition to homes for good reason. It is a fact that homes with monitored security systems are less likely to be targeted for a break-in. However, today’s home security systems deliver more than security. They let you talk to visitors and remotely turn on lights. With home security cameras, you can see who is in your backyard or check in on an elderly parent. Home security systems that include home automation devices can help reduce energy use, turn on sprinkler systems, and so much more.

When looking for the best, a local home security company or considering your security needs, consider these questions:

What does a basic home security system include?

While it varies, most basic home security systems include door and window contacts, a keypad, a mobile app; an audible alarm, a yard sign, and 24/7 alarm monitoring. These home security components help detect or prevent break-ins and are a base for a more comprehensive system.

What types of home security cameras or upgrades are available?

While a basic home security system can go a long way in helping protect areas of your home, there are many options available to increase the security of your home and family. Popular upgrades or additions to a basic security system include the following and help create a complete, secure smart home:

  • Home security cameras
  • A doorbell camera Smoke detection
  •  Carbon monoxide detection
  • Water leak detection
  • Glass break sensor
  • Window and door sensors
  • A smart thermostat
  • Smart lighting
  • Remote garage door control
  • Smart or keyless locks
  • Automated sprinkler systems
  • Temperature sensors
  • Panic button – medical alert pennant
  • Integration with a sound system

Most homeowners choose to install these upgrades because they add convenience and peace of mind. Busy families enjoy the ability to control home automation devices via an app or check in to see that all is well. In our daily rushing around, the ability to remotely close a garage door, lock or unlock a door, turn lights on or see if a package was delivered is invaluable.

Should I install home security cameras? Where are popular places to install the cameras?

Home security cameras are one of the most popular additions to a home security system. Homeowners enjoy checking in and seeing that all is well at home or reviewing video if something is amiss. Ideal placement for home security cameras includes the front porch, garage area, front gates, and around a swimming pool. Homeowners also like to install home security cameras near sensitive areas such as safes and back entries, or at vacation homes.

At Boyd & Associates, we offer a free mobile app, making it easy to view video or receive alerts and video clips based on personal preference. Our trained security consultants will also conduct a security evaluation to help determine the best security camera placement for your family’s needs.

Is the home security system monitored by a professional alarm monitoring center? Is the security alarm monitoring center in the United States?

When researching local home security providers, check if they provide their own alarm monitoring or if they pay a third-party monitoring provider and where the center is located. DIY security systems might be a quick fix but do not offer the assurance that someone is there to help even if you cannot get to the phone or cannot keep a constant eye on your security alerts. At Boyd & Associates, we are proud to provide a U.S.-based, UL listed alarm monitoring center that is Five Diamond designated and offers an average alarm response time of under 20 seconds.

Can I receive a discount on my homeowner’s insurance premium if I have a home security system?

Typically, yes! As we shared above, most home insurance providers offer a discount on your home insurance premiums if you have a monitored home security system. This discount helps the security system pay for itself!

What are some common and popular home security devices?

In the past, common home security devices included door and window contacts for intrusion detection. However, now, some of the most popular home security services are home security cameras, doorbell cameras, smart locks, and mobile app control of security devices.

Are other protective devices available, such as carbon monoxide, water leak and smoke detection?

You will want to ensure that the home security company you choose can offer security and home automation devices that meet your family’s changing needs through the years. You will also want to know you are working with a company that can provide multi-levels of home security protection including alerting you to carbon monoxide, water leaks and smoke or fire. A company that also offers 24/7 alarm monitoring can alert you to these dangers even if you are not home or cannot get to a phone. Early detection of these dangers can save lives and thousands of dollars in damage or complete loss of your home.

Does the company also offer home automation devices and services?

Top-rated, leading home security companies often include home automation devices that integrate with home security to make your home smarter and safer. Home automation solutions help busy families more easily manage things at home, increase security, and save money. Popular home automation solutions allow homeowners to remotely adjust the temperature, turn lights on or off, lock doors, turn on sprinkler or sound systems and so much more. When combined with home security devices, home automation products alleviate worry. You will know whether you left a garage door open or a door unlocked and be able to take quick action to secure your home if needed.

What does a monitored security system provide that DIY security cameras do not?

There are many up-and-coming tech companies that advertise the latest security services or easy-to-install security cameras. Often, these companies are not backed by experienced support or reputable technology vendors. Or, maybe they are startup companies and have difficulties maintaining financial backing to provide ongoing support or service. These smaller, online companies also most likely will not provide support with installation or if you want to integrate your cameras with other security devices.

Look closely at the costs and benefits of a DIY camera or security system vs. working with an experienced, local provider. Consider if support, professional monitoring, and a discount on your insurance premium are important to you. Another benefit of working with a professional installer is the ease in integrating security or home automation components. A full-service security company also provides the ability to control all your devices easily with one app.

When searching for a company to trust with your security, you will want to choose a top-rated, local company and ask the following questions:

  • Does the home security company have a local branch?
  • How long has the company been in business?
  • Does the company perform background checks on employees?
  • Does the company offer an insurance deductible reimbursement program?
  • Does the company offer a move program?
  • What is the security company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau?

Choosing the best, local home security company does not have to be hard. Learning what security devices will best meet your family’s needs is easy with professional help and experience on your side. Boyd & Associates offers over 50 years of experience providing professional installation of home and business security systems, along with award-winning, 24/7 alarm monitoring. To learn more about your home security options and answers to the above questions, visit our website of give us a call today!

What to do if a Package is Stolen

It is an all-too-familiar scenario: A long-awaited package finally arrives, only to be grabbed off your front porch before you get home. Augh! If you are like most people, you probably feel violated, helpless, and really, really annoyed. And while you have every right to be upset, luckily there are a few things you can do to minimize the chances of getting a package stolen off your porch.

With the rise of online shopping has come the disturbing trend known as porch pirates. Porch pirates are thieves that steal packages right from your front door. This theft is happening to millions of homeowners and costing victims countless dollars.

These pirates may not be sailing the high seas, but they are just as clever. They are known to follow delivery trucks around and as soon as they drop off the packages, the thieves grab their loot. Research shows that more than a third of Americans have had a package stolen from their porch at least once. So, if it has not happened to you yet, you could be next—if you do not take the right measures to secure your property.

 

3 Tips for Stopping Porch Theft

 Let’s cut to the chase: Here are some ways to start protecting your packages today, plus some advice on what to do if a package is stolen off your porch.

 

  1. Install Doorbell Camera and Consider Extra Security Cameras

Thanks to modern technology, we can see what is going on in our homes even if we are miles away. A smart home security system that includes a smart lock and a doorbell camera gives you several ways to prevent theft.

You cannot always schedule when your packages are delivered, but you can use Boyd & Associates easy-to-install doorbell cameras that send alerts to your smartphone when a delivery person rings your doorbell. This allows you to go home to secure your packages or ask a neighbor to secure it for you. You can also receive real-time notifications of suspicious activity and share them with the local police.

 

How do Doorbell Cameras Work?

Doorbell cameras are one of the easiest and most affordable home security devices. Most cameras on the market today offer a 160-degree field of view and two-way audio that connects straight to your smartphone.

With doorbell cameras, you can both hear and see what is happening on your front porch. Even better, you can see when your package is being delivered and communicate with the delivery person to place it in a safer location.

 

Additional Security for your Home

Adding additional security cameras to your property allows a broader perspective of what is happening at your home while you are away.

If you, like many homeowners, have multiple locations a package could be left, adding security cameras will help keep every part of your property secure. The best part is, with wireless connectivity, you can still monitor everything from your smartphone.

 

  1. Use Real-Time Streaming

Today’s video technology allows you to live stream your home so you can see what is happening whenever you need to. This is a helpful feature because not only can you see and speak to a thief in real-time, but you can also see a delivery person, unlock your door, and ask the delivery driver to set the package inside the door. After the door closes, you can easily lock it. Porch pirates are not big fans of this technology and will stay away from homes that are equipped with these systems. So, whether you are worried about a neighbor who stole your package in the past or any other porch pirates, real-time streaming can minimize the chance of it happening again.

 

  1. Invest in Smart Home Security

When it comes to protecting you and your home from porch pirates, the most effective method is smart home security.

Using a single app, your smart home security allows you to monitor everything from who last accessed the system to whether a door was left open or a light was left on. You will never have to wonder what to do about stolen packages again because you will have all of the information you need to handle any situation and deter would-be porch pirates.

Smart home security is the most complete way to secure your property, your packages, and your family. Arm and disarm your system, switch off the lights, or adjust the thermostat from wherever you are. How do you think the porch pirate will feel about being greeted with the blaring Pirates of the Caribbean theme when they approach your packages? Between your smart home system and connected smart home assistant, you can make it happen. With real-time alerts, you will know what is always happening at home.

 

What to do if a Package is Stolen

By now you are a porch pirate pro. You have a much more secure home and a slim chance of getting packages stolen off your porch. But—never say never. In the small chance that someone does still swipe a package off your porch, there are a few steps you can take to possibly get a replacement or refund. Here are a few tips on what to do if someone steals your package from your porch:

 

  • File a police report. If you have had something stolen off your porch, your first item of business should be to file a police report. They may not be able to do much about it if you don’t have any evidence, but if you have footage from a video doorbell or other home security, they’ll have a better chance of catching the criminals. You can also use your police report to file an insurance claim.

 

  • Contact the sender.Some companies have generous policies relating to porch theft and will send you a new product right away if you reach out to them. Get in touch with the sender to find out if you can get a replacement or if you can at least get a refund on the item.

 

  • Report it to the delivery company.Whether your package was delivered by Amazon, FedEx, UPS, or USPS, it is worth contacting the delivery company to see if they will give you a refund or resend the package. You may need to fill out a lost package claim, so keep track of your order number and emails relating to your package.

 

Expert Security for any Home

Before you get overwhelmed at the thought of deterring porch pirates, don’t forget—Boyd & Associates is here for you! We’ll use our over 50 years of experience to help you find the best home security solution. From smart home systems to alarm monitoring services, we have it all. We also know how important it is to keep your home, packages, and family safe. Contact us today and let us help with your home security needs.

Help Prevent Water Damage and Save Money with Flood Detectors

 

Nothing strikes fear into the hearts of homeowners quite like these four syllables: water damage. To understand how something so pure could be so scary, you need only check the price tag. It reads: Just 1 inch of water can cause $25,000 of damage to your home.

You may be thinking, no big deal, I have home insurance. But be careful.

First, many homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies don’t cover flood damage. Second, keep in mind when it comes to insurance coverage and water damage, it is not the total damage that matters, but rather how the damage was caused. If it started suddenly and incidentally, such as accidentally hammering a nail through a water pipe while hanging a painting, it may be covered. If the damage is caused by old, slow leaks — for example, your pipes are old — chances are it is not covered (check with your provider for specifics in your state). So those hefty repair costs may be coming straight out of your pocket.

Even if your bill ends up being just $2,000 — less than the average cost according to HomeAdvisor — that’s no small chunk of change. And you may find yourself asking a painful question as you swipe your credit card or crack open your checkbook — could this have been avoided?

How do floods and water damage happen?

If you live in an area prone to flooding, you may already be familiar with how water damage happens.

But for everyone else, some water damage is a result of natural causes, like a flood brought on by heavy rainfall. But it does not always happen that way. Water damage can be caused by:

  • A burst pipe
  • Cracks in your home’s foundation
  • A leaking roof (cracked or old shingles)
  • A failing water heater
  • An overflowing washing machine

One of the most insidious parts of water damage is that it tends to happen in places that are tucked out of sight, like in a basement or a closet. A leak that started out minor — and was in the beginning relatively easy to fix — can turn into a nightmare if it goes unchecked for too long.

Water sensors make smarter homes

Security is not just about preventing break-ins — although we can certainly help you with that! It is about protecting everything that matters most to you, whether it’s your family, your pets, your business, or your home. And as we just learned, water damage is one the most devastating things that can happen to a home.

Taking proactive steps to prevent water damage is likely to be far less expensive than making repairs after it happens. Luckily, your friendly neighborhood smart security company (that’s us) has a solution: We’re now offering wireless, easy-to-install water sensors (also known as flood detectors) that can really make a difference.

What are water sensors?

water sensor does exactly what you would guess — it detects the presence of water and alerts you to potential flooding before extensive damage may occur.

If it is part of your professionally monitored security system, it can also signal an alarm to your company’s monitoring center and also send you a notification via text or email.

How do water sensors work?

One of the cooler things about water sensors is their simplicity. They are easy to install, do not need to be plugged in, and, are incredibly small. You also do not have to be an expert to understand how they work.

The flood detector can rest right on the floor, or it can be mounted to a wall or baseboard. When the metal contacts at the base become wet, this completes the circuit.

The transmitter then communicates the signal to your panel, which triggers a notification that you receive. Boyd & Associates’ protection specialists in the monitoring center would read this as an environmental alarm and notify you accordingly to make sure you get the help you need. Easy, right?

It’s also important to understand what flood detectors do not do: They do not make your home flood-proof or water-proof, and they do not “stop” floods or water damage. For example, if you already have a leaky roof, a flood detector will not prevent water from getting in. Rather, the device will instantly alert you when it senses water so you can take action before that leak becomes a big problem.

Where should water sensors be placed?

You will want to place your water sensor anywhere flooding or water damage would be a concern. For example:

  • Behind an appliance, such as a washing machine or a refrigerator that makes ice cubes or dispenses water
  • In your basement, near the water heater
  • Inside a cabinet underneath a bathroom sink

Get proactive with Boyd & Associates

Water damage can cause thousands in home repairs, not to mention the loss of precious personal items. Catching drips and leaks early can mean the difference between a minor inconvenience and major disaster. But no need to worry — being proactive is easier than ever when you add monitored water sensors to your smart home security system.

Call (805) 650-3267 to talk to a Boyd & Associates expert. We’ll give you a free consultation to determine exactly what you need to help protect your world.