Security Tips at Christmas

Santa Holding Stack of GiftsIt’s the most wonderful time of the year with the kids jingle belling and friends coming to call. There’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, presents to be buying, and lots of fun for all!

But, a word to the wise: Even though you may be like most people who are enjoying the holly jolliness of the season, don’t get so lost in the festivities that you forget some of the harsh realities of the world in which we live.

It’s unfortunate that there are folks out there who will and do take advantage of other people’s situations, including their distractions. So be mindful of what’s around you and what can possibly happen.

  • Your perfectly positioned beautifully decorated Christmas tree with all its brightly colored lights and exquisitely wrapped presents underneath can draw compliments as well as the attention of burglars. In recent years, there have been reports of burglaries during the holiday season. You don’t want to come home from an outing to find that someone has broken into your home and made off with all your gifts.
  • Speaking of Christmas decorations, if you put up outdoor decorations use an outdoor outlet in lieu of pulling cords through a slightly opened window for a power source. Burglars will find the easiest access to your home, and a cracked window is simply too hard to resist.
  • When out shopping all the attractive sales, try not to laden the backseat of your vehicle with all your goodies. This can be a big temptation to passersby.
  • If you’re an online shopper, you still need to be cautious with your packages. Be wary of deliveries left at your door. This is another invitation to passersby to casually walk up and take a peek or take the entire package. Leave instructions for the deliveries to be dropped off at a time when you or a neighbor will be home to receive them.
  • In this modern age of social media, refrain from “checking in” while you’re out and about. This alerts friends and possibly friends of friends that you’re not home. Also refrain from posting news of extravagant purchases… also a broadcast to people and an invitation for the criminal elements in your extended circle.

Even though there are realities to consider, it is the holiday season and it is a time for joy, peace, love and togetherness. Enjoy the season but be mindful at the same time.

If you’d like some professional help with securing your home and assets during the holidays and throughout the year, there are security companies that offer a variety of options, from the simple to the complex. Secur-Tek is one of those companies and a consultation is always complimentary. Contact us at 919-387-1800.

Upgrade Your TV Room – Superbowl 2015 is Coming!

Football Fan Watching GameYou get three hints: (1) Glendale, Arizona…. (2) February 1, 2015…. (3) Home of the Arizona Cardinals…your final answer? If you replied, “What is the Super Bowl?” give yourself a high-five!

There’s little doubt you had difficulty knowing the answer to those hints… after all, football is America’s favorite pastime. As we approach Super Bowl XLIX, you’ve probably already cleared that entire Sunday, have a list of buddies you’ll have over, and made plans for the kids to be just as entertained as you surely will be.

Football is a huge part of American culture. Scroll through the news online, turn on the TV or the radio, and there’s news, commentary and articles about the game or the players on or off the field. We can’t get enough of the sport or its athletes. Come Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays, life comes to a standstill while you sit in front of your television set watching as your favorite team tries to move 80 yards down the field to score the winning touchdown.

Here’s another countdown for you: there’s less than 2 weeks ’til Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year with sales on everything from apple pies to zebra-striped socks and everything in between, including large-screen, ultra high-def TVs. What better time to indulge and update your entertainment system?

If you take advantage of the upcoming holiday sales, and bring home new components for your TV room, but find that you may need a hand getting everything set up, Secur-Tek can help with the placement, the wiring and the overall set-up of your new television and any other equipment (even projectors for full-wall viewing) so that you can get the most viewing pleasure from your new devices.  Most importantly, you’ll get the experience of watching your favorite football team take down its competition and take it all the way to Glendale, Arizona for Super Bowl XLIX!

Call 919-387-1800 for more information on how Secur-Tek can take care of all your TV and Media Room installation needs.

Halloween Hootenanny & Home Security!

PumpkinYou know it’s Halloween time when there’s a slight chill in the air, the leaves have begun to turn and fall, and there’s the frenzy of ghoulish-super-hero-ninja-giant-banana-princess costumes vying for space among the Christmas decorations!

Like most of your friends, family and neighbors, you’ve probably decided on the costumes, purchased the candy corn, chocolates, and pretzels, and am waiting ever so patiently for October 31st to arrive so that you can begin the trek around the neighborhood, just to get home and see who has gotten the most candy and treats. While trick-or-treating can be a fun-filled adventure, a time where family and friends can gather together with a shared agenda, it is also a time that opens your home up to criminals.

Vandals, burglars and other like characters know that you won’t be home, not just from a visual perspective, but this is one time where they can ring your bell and have a reason for doing so. Before you go out with the kids, make sure that your home is safe and secure. Don’t make the mistake of assuming your most valuable possession is safe because you’ll be just around the block – always be aware of your home security. Lock your doors and windows.  Set your security system.

Take the few minutes before you go spookify the neighbors to help ensure that you’ll return to your home just the way you left it.

And have a safe and fun-tastic Halloween!

IP Video Surveillance—A Step Above CCTV

IP CamerasWhether for your home or your business, knowing that you have the right security in place will help give you peace of mind. CCTV systems are one of the preferred security measures for both residential and commercial use and may be set to operate continuously or for a specific time period, with the video feed(s) can be controlled from one central location.

CCTV systems have been used in such applications as crime prevention and traffic monitoring for motor vehicles or for people (such as in schools or office buildings). Studies have found that the use of surveillance systems has a definite impact on negative activity.

With technology ever on the move, surveillance systems have changed for the better. IP video surveillance is one of the newer types of surveillance systems available to residential and commercial users.

What is IP Video Surveillance?

Like CCTV systems, IP video surveillance records events. However, IP video surveillance is completely digitized, using an IP camera with the video distributed over an IP network. Benefits of an IP surveillance system include:

  • Easy installation and user-friendly
  • Better quality images than standard CCTVs
  • Easily distribute recordings via email
  • Easily store video contents
  • Viewable, storable and manageable via mobile applications or web applications, from anywhere, anytime

To learn more about how your home or business can benefit from using an IP surveillance system, contact Secur-Tek at 919-387-1800.

Boost Your Network Signal!

Smart TV

First the laptop, then the smart phone, then the tablet, even the newer refrigerators, and now the smart TV. Technology and the Internet have become entwined with so much of our lives (and electronics). If you’re a smart TV owner, you can appreciate the beauty, the ease, the reach of your technologically savvy television. You can stream movies and videos, watch Netflix and YouTube, check your email, update your social media accounts, and surf the Web, all on a large screen. Convenient, easy on the eyes, crisp and clean clarity… unless you get the message that you cannot connect to the Internet.  However, a smart TV’s inability to connect to the Internet through a poor network signal, even though all our other wi-fi devices are connected, defeats the whole purpose of having one.

 

There are several reasons why your smart TV may fail to connect to the Internet or have a poor network signal.  Most homes with wi-fi can accommodate standard devices (smart phones, computers, laptops) getting online; but smart TVs require more bandwidth than your standard devices. And multiple devices drawing from the same network signal source could affect the speed of the signal. Other obstructions to your smart TV gaining access to the Internet can be metal objects or walls in the house.

 

Fear not. There is a solution. You can boost your signal strength using a range extender, which can extend the range of your wireless network by 10,000 feet by repeating and amplifying the signal. The increased strength not only allows you greater distance, eliminating those dead spots in your house, but also allows the wireless signal to penetrate walls and other obstructions.

 

With a range extender, your smart TV should have no trouble getting a signal; and, of course, once online, you’ll be able to take full advantage of all the wonderful features of the TV.

 

For more information on signal boosting, call Secur-Tek today at 919-387-1800.

Whole House Intercom Systems

 

OnQ IntercomDo you enjoy listening to music at home? Are you confined to the one area of the house that has the stereo, or do you have the music blaring in order to hear it from room to room?

When you need to say something to someone in another part of the house, do you get up and walk over or do you find yourself speaking at a high decibel?

With a whole house intercom system, there is no more yelling across the house, and no more complaints about the loud music that no one likes else except you. Whole house intercom systems allow you to communicate from room to room via speakers/intercoms that are installed in each room (or in as many rooms as you choose). You can talk to or listen in on any of the rooms that have a speaker installed. Privacy buttons prevent others from listening in on any particular room.

You can also play your favorite music in one room, while someone in the next room listens to a genre of his/her choice, and yet another person listens to the news elsewhere in the house. Or why not set the mood with soft background music throughout your home? With a whole house intercom system, the choice is yours.

A System generally includes a speaker for your front door, which allows you to communicate with visitors without opening your door; an AM/FM radio with presets that can be chosen from the speakers installed in the rooms; and optional outdoor speakers for your deck or patio. Each intercom/speaker has its own volume control and privacy button. A System not only makes it convenient to communicate, but can offer peace of mind, as you can listen in on other rooms, for example, a child’s room on the other end of the house.

For more information on how your home and life can benefit from a whole house intercom system, call Secur-Tek at 919-387-1800.

Win the War Against Dirt and Debris with a Central Vacuum System

VroomYou see it in the corners of each room of your house, under the sofa, along the baseboards, on the mantle, on the book shelf, floating through the air, glistening in the ray of sunlight that streams in through the front window.

It can be dust, dust mites, fur, hairballs, pet dander, pollen or any combination of it all.

It makes you sweep every day, even twice a day. It is the reason you pull out the vacuum cleaner and drag it and its cord around from room to room every day; and yet, after all the sweeping and the vacuuming, you look around and wonder why it looks like you barely did a thing.

Give yourself an advantage over all those allergens and unwanted foreign objects that constantly entrench themselves in your home.

Consider the installation of a central vacuum system. A central vacuum system allows you to move freely about your home, carrying only a lightweight hose and brush unit. Inlets located around your home transfer debris through tubing set within the walls to a receptacle usually located outside of your home in the garage. This set-up makes it easier for you to clean your house and, unlike traditional vacuum cleaners that recirculate air, keeps the dirt, dust, and dander out of your living space.

Breathe cleaner air more often. Trip over cords less often. Enjoy the rays of sunlight minus the floating objects.

For more information on central vacuum systems, contact Secur-Tek at 919-387-1800.

Advantages of Having an Access Control System

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWikipedia defines access control as: the “selective restriction of access to a place or other resource.”

On-site security is extremely important. Whether it’s your business or the neighborhood’s community pool, no one wants unauthorized persons entering the property. With access control, you can help reduce the risk of unwanted visitors or even disgruntled former employees.

If you own a business or manage a property where people come and go, you might consider looking into having an access control system installed so that you can control, restrict or give authorization to specific people.

Why choose an Access Control System?

Access control systems are software-based and can offer a wide range of security solutions.

The access control system’s electronic key is harder to copy than the traditional metal key that one could bring to the local hardware store to duplicate. It would take a pretty tech-savvy person to copy a keycard. In addition, the keycard can be monitored. If it got lost or stolen, you have the ability to quickly and easily remove it from your system and issue a new card. As the system is computerized, you can access it from anywhere, anytime. The advantage here for businesses or property managers is that you don’t have to worry about someone making copies of keys and you don’t have to change locks when keys are lost.

Access control systems can keep track of employees’ comings and goings. You won’t need a separate time-clock. In addition, a few minutes of your time allows you to program keycards to authorize entry into only the areas designated per person. Gone are the days of having a ring full of keys for entry into different offices.

For more information on how to secure one of your most valuable assets—your business or property—with an access control system, contact Secur-Tek at 919-387-1800.

How secure is your home network?

hackersWe call it The Internet of Things. And it’s very likely that you have it in your house: you know, the connection of electronic devices to the Internet so that you can have access to them. It could be your baby monitor, your home security network, your heating/cooling system, your coffee pot or your refrigerator—all these things can be connected to the Internet so that you can check in and/or make adjustments to them via your computer or smart phone. The Internet of Things allows us to be connected to most everything these days, making it more convenient for us to access and control our devices from almost anywhere there is an Internet connection, as well as monitor our homes and the goings on inside.

No doubt the Internet of Things gives you peace of mind, knowing that you can check in on your baby from another room or while you’re out. It allows you to adjust the temperature in your- home, so that it’s that perfect 68 degrees when you get home from work. Or you can lower the temperature of your refrigerator so that your favorite beverage is chilled when you walk in the door. You can lock or unlock your doors from another location. The ease of it all is amazing, isn’t it?

Let’s take a minute, however, to play devil’s advocate. If you can access your home, others can, as well. The Internet opens the doors for many great things; yet at the same time that it opens the doors for you, it also presents the opportunity for hackers to get inside your home and take control just as you would. A hacker could take control of your home security system and disable your locks or cameras. A hacker could take control of your baby monitor and speak through it. That same person could take control of your computer and use the installed camera to spy on you.

A recent article in the News and Observer highlighted the risks to using companies that don’t  know what they’re doing – the non-experts that have got into the security game purely to make money.  So, how can you protect yourself and your family against these invasions of privacy?

To protect yourself from hackers, you need to make sure you have a system that is secure. Choosing a professional security company to install your systems is the best route. Security professionals can make sure that the equipment you use in your home conforms to safety standards and that any data you transmit over the Internet in order to control your devices is encrypted. They can set your system up so that the Internet of Things is convenient and secure, minimizing your risk to a hacker’s intrusion.

For more information on securing your family and home, contact Secur-Tek at 919-387-1800.  All consultations are complimentary.

Cut Through the Mess with Structured Wiring

wiring panelIn today’s technology-driven world, many of us have a multitude of electronic and video devices in our homes, from televisions, DVD players and cable boxes to computers, modems and printers. And while these products have added to our home experiences, there was a definite period of frustration we had to endure before getting to the point of enjoyment—you know that time when you had to connect all the pieces of the puzzle together, getting the right wires to the right places, all the while trying to minimize that bundled mess of cable, which is now tucked behind the console.

There’s a solution to the wire and cable chaos—and that’s “structured wiring”, a generic term used to describe a network that efficiently and effectively distributes data signals throughout your home, including all the audio, data, phone, stereo and video signals, as well as temperature controls, home security controls and lighting.

Structured wiring not only gives you a centralized location (a structured networking panel) from which all devices are controlled, but gives homeowners:

  • More consistent signal quality: splicing wires/cables decreases signal strength. Structured wiring allows each device its own connection.
  • Simplicity in control and troubleshooting, as everything is centrally located and uniquely connected, eradicating wiring guesswork.
  • Signal speed: Wired signals come through faster than wireless signals. For those who need faster Internet, an Ethernet connection would be preferable.
  • The opportunity to more easily integrate and add components as needed.
  • An increase in home value: structured wiring improves your home entertainment and work experience while adding value to your home.

So why wouldn’t you consider structured wiring for your home? Whether it’s a new construction or an existing home, structured wiring can add simplicity and ease to your lifestyle and value to your home.

For more information on structured wiring, contact Secur-Tek today at 919-387-1800.