Basic Home Security System

What are the basic parts of home security systems?

1) Entry Limiters – this part of the home security system limits the people who will have access to your house. An entry limiter may be as simple as a padlock or it could be as complex as a biometric identification system. The purpose of this part of the home security system is to let you pre-arrange the people who will have access to your home.

Entry limiters are the most fundamental part of the home security system. Some of the forms of entry limiters available today are:

A) Locks – this, of course, refers to deadlocks and padlocks wherein a person must use a key in order to gain entry. This is probably the simplest and cheapest way to limit access to a certain place.

B) Electronic magnetic strip scanners – this type of entry limiter makes use of an electronic device to lock the door. Access can be gained by swiping or scanning the magnetic strip of an identification card. Electronic magnetic strip scanners are commonly used in offices and business establishments.

C) Biometric scanners – there are three types of biometric scanners commonly in use today: voice identification, thumbprint scanning and retinal scanning. What’s common about all these devices is the fact that they all verify a person’s identity using unique identification marks. A person’s voice, thumbprint, and retina are unique and cannot be copied. Thus, the home security system can identify whether or not a person is allowed to access a certain area.

2) Alarms – these inform the owners or the authorities if someone has attempted to access their homes without the proper authorization. Some alarms are motion-sensitive and send out signals in case a person triggers it. Others are directly connected to sensors that are sensitive to motion or to sound.

There are alarms which make a lot of noise and thus, startle trespassers. This, of course, discourages would-be thieves from doing any more harm.

Some “silent alarms” notify the authorities without letting trespassers know that they have been alerted. This is because of the fact that panicking trespassers could be capable of more damage than ones caught unaware.

Homeland Security or Home Security

The New York Times of Sunday, Sept. 3 reported on the Homeland Security Department’s failures in applying more efficient, cutting-edge technologies to screen U.S. airports for bombs. The report blamed “poor management for stumbles in research, turf fights, staff turnover and underfinancing. Some initiatives have also faced opposition from the airlines or been slowed by bureaucratic snarls.”

No one who has followed public interest stories for any length of time is surprised when any government – federal, state, local, or foreign – fails to accomplish its goals as quickly and efficiently as planned. Government and its Siamese twin, politics, are not designed, nor have they evolved, to follow the principles of the marketplace. Whether you applaud or fret over the government’s approach – whether you want it run “like a business” or prefer it to serve as a counterweight to “unbridled capitalism” – the fact is that the political balance of power invariably creates tensions and conflicts that keep it from operating like the ordered marketplace.

By contrast, the real marketplace, with its unending competition for customers and the search for the perfect balance of price, quality, and volume – all aimed at maximizing profits – usually operates with stunning efficiency. And once we admit there’s not much you or I can do to ensure greater security in our national transportation system, we’re free to turn our attention to the security we can control: protecting our own homes or businesses.

With the exception of bomb-detection, nearly every sort of security screening device imaginable is available to protect your family, employees, and property. Some systems, such as electronic scanners and key-card readers, have become so common they’re almost taken for granted. Others, like retina and fingerprint scanners, are not yet in widespread use but are available to those who want (and can afford) them. A third group of home security devices that were unheard of a generation ago are now common in cars: electronic locking systems, touch-key entry, and even ignition lock-down systems that register a driver’s alcohol content (using technology similar to that in police departments’ Breathalyzers.

For home security today, the most efficient access control is an electronic entry system that uses keypad coding. No one can copy a key code that’s kept in your head, and you don’t have to carry a key if you have keyless entry. It’s very simple to change your code, eliminating the need to have new keys cut to block access for someone who previously had it. It’s also a relatively simple matter, in most communities, to tie your system in to local law enforcement and fire departments, ensuring that unauthorized entry, attempted or successful, or an unexpected disaster will alert officials whether you’re home or not.

Coupled with window break-in sensors and good outdoor lighting for visual security, a keyless entry system [http://www.vertexsecurity.com/products/59/ELECTRIC_LOCKS_-_BIOMETRIC,_CARD/PROXIMITY_READERS/] offers invaluable protection for your home and family. For most families, even in vulnerable neighborhoods, it’s not only an ideal option but likely to be all that’s needed to ensure peace of mind. (For those who want an even higher level of safety, Vertex Security carries a full range of other home protection systems.)

For the office or business, among the most popular systems are those that use magnetic stripe cards. Like keypad systems, these are simple to reprogram to add new employees or deny access to departed ones, and they simplify the process of gaining entry to limited-access areas ranging from parking lots to sensitive-document storage rooms. These systems can also make it easy to track employees’ comings and goings, alerting the owner or manager of inappropriate activity. For example, by tracking key-card use through a central computer monitoring system, a business owner can identify (and take appropriate action against) an employee who consistently takes long lunch hours or slips out to do errands, pilfers from the supply room, or even is engaging in industrial espionage.

The drawback with magnetic stripe cards is that they can be used by an unauthorized person. I have used a friend’s card to “borrow” free space in his employer’s parking lot downtown; the access reader accepts the card regardless of who is driving in to park. In an office, if one employee asks another, “Would you open the supply room door for me? I need to grab a ream of paper and I left my card at my desk,” the computer will register the card owner, not the borrower, as the person who gained access.

In situations like that, higher level security systems become especially valuable. Fingerprint or retina scanners using biometric identification [http://www.vertexsecurity.com/products/127/Fingerprint_Readers/], which can’t be borrowed by an unauthorized user, are worth the investment for businesses with high security requirements.

Whether or not Nero fiddled while Rome burned, whether you roll your eyes at or give a thumbs up to Homeland Security’s fumbles, you can at least ensure that your home and business are secured against people you don’t want coming in – without forcing them to arrive two hours before an appointment or remove their shoes, jackets, and belts every time they stop by.

Home Security Includes Virtual Security

The advent of the internet has been a boon for businesses, consumers, and families. It makes the world smaller and more accessible, makes shopping easier, makes information more accessible. In short, it connects you to the world around you at the click of a button, from the comfort of a living room chair or the desk in your office. It also changes home security, as getting into your home, in a figurative sense, has gotten easier as well. We do not need to fear the dangers of technology, however. We just need to adapt to deal with them. Taking stock of your virtual home and family security is an important step in establishing a complete home and family protection plan.

Some Basic Tips for Virtual Security

Your computer is your property, part of your home. You may have private documents or simply treasured memories stored their, but you should protect it as you do the rest of your home. Make sure your computer has antivirus software and firewall technology to prevent hackers from gaining access to your hard drive and stealing information. All antivirus software needs to be continuously updated, so set your computer to automatically accept updates at a convenient time.

Make sure your internet browser is secure as well. Internet sites can run automatic programs that both place things on your computer and take things from it. An easy fix is to disable JavaScript for all sites except those you visit most regularly.

Never open spam, just delete it.

Stay away from anonymous peer-to-peer file sharing sites for music and video. Some of these sites can leave you incredibly vulnerable to having viruses or spyware implanted on your hard drive.

Stay up to date on internet scams and stay away from them. These can cost you lots of time, headache, and money.

Virtual Security for Kids

Kids are perhaps most vulnerable to the dangers posed by the virtual revolution. They are often more adept at navigating the internet than their parents, but they do not often have the judgment or presence of mind to know if they are putting themselves or the family at risk. As such, a parent’s main priority with regards to his or her child’s virtual security is to be vigilant and know what they are doing, as well as to establish a set of ground rules. Here are some ideas to get you thinking.

Be Informed. Stay up to date on trends such as social networking so that you are literate enough to fully understand potential dangers.

Make sure your kids are informed. Keep them aware of potential dangers and the seriousness of the internet.

Use parental controls available on your browser to restrict access to dangerous or inappropriate sites.
Do not let your children use a credit card number or give out their address, name, age or other personal information on the internet without your supervision. Do not let children enter chat rooms or create accounts on social networking sites without your permission and supervision.

Keep the computer in a common space in the house to monitor its use.