Questions to Ask Your Commercial Security Provider

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A commercial security system ensures a safe and secure business environment for all employees and guests. An effective security system will protect against unlawful entry and theft, and foster a safe and productive work environment for all staff.

Thieves are always on the lookout for their next opportunity, and a business provides plenty. To stay one step ahead of a potential thief, businesses should protect and secure their property, data, resources and employees. Beyond the risk of a typical criminal, a business is also at risk of fraud, embezzlement, arson and other white-collar crimes.

Not all crimes can be prevented, but utilizing common commercial security devices like access controls, video surveillance and emergency communications can deter them. These are reliable resources should a business owner need to conduct any type of investigation.

Security services are imperative to a business, but before you decide on a professional security provider, make sure to ask the following questions.

1. How many years of experience does your company have in commercial security?

This may seem like an unnecessary question, but it is quite the opposite. Just as you would prefer to have an experienced doctor perform your surgery rather than a medical student, you want a security provider with extensive experience in designing, building and maintaining commercial security systems. It is also wise to choose a company with fire and life safety knowledge, as you may want to integrate safety and security systems.

2. Are you and your technicians licensed, certified & trained?

This is a basic, but valuable question. Reputable security companies are happy to tell you their technicians and employees are well-trained and provide details on the certificates and licenses they hold. ESA, NICET and manufacturer certifications are just a few common elements to look for, as well as checking to see if they have any complaints or incidents with the Better Business Bureau.

3. Have you worked with businesses similar to mine? Can I contact them?

It will benefit your business if the provider has experience in industries or businesses similar to yours. Each business is different and understanding the industry you are in is vital for your provider to develop a system to meet your specific needs. Never be afraid to ask for case studies and references.

4. Which brands of security equipment does your company use for clients?

Reputable commercial security businesses are generally certified distributors of leading security and life safety brands available. It is a good idea to consider the providers using equipment and services from well-known security brands, as they will provide you with a higher level of support and service due to more stringent requirements and training required by the brands.

5. Do you provide fully-integrated systems?

Even if you only need one type of intrusion detection system at the moment, you want a commercial security company capable of providing all life safety and security needs, as you never know what your business may need in the future. This ensures your provider is familiar with integrating any existing systems with new ones. You want a company who can design, install and maintain video surveillance, as well as systems for access control, intrusion detection, emergency communication and fire protection.

6. What monitoring solutions do you offer?

Most commercial security companies partner with a professional monitoring company to supervise the businesses fire and security systems. This company should be able to oversee your system 24/7/365, and offer redundant backup solutions, like multiple monitoring centers and generators, to handle natural disasters, power failures and human error.

7. Do you provide 24/7 support?

You never known when a thief will strike. It is important for your security provider to be easily and quickly accessible which includes offering 24/7 support. More established commercial security companies should be available for assistance any time any day.

8. Are your technicians knowledgeable of the NFPA codes and standards?

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) establishes over 300 codes and standards per year to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other risks. While compliance with NFPA standards is voluntary, often times they shape local and state mandates. Even though these standards do not deal directly with commercial security, they are important to understand when integrating commercial security systems with life safety systems, so having NFPA knowledgeable technicians is a huge asset to your company.

A professional security provider is a necessity for your business, and there are many to choose from. Is it important to pick the right one, and not just the right one for now - but for the long-term outlook of your business. Make sure whoever you select can answer these questions to give you the peace of mind you need. After all, they are the ones making potentially life-saving decisions for your business.

Jeff Wyatt is president of Koorsen Fire & Security.

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