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Surveillance Systems

Workplace Surveillance

Some may argue that video surveillance in the workplace can be an invasion of privacy. However, as long as employee privacy is respected and existing surveillance laws are abided by, it can actually benefit both the employer and employees. Aside from decreasing misconduct and increasing safety, workplace surveillance has its advantages.

  • Reduce Risk Of Employee Theft & Fraud

Employee theft, also known as “shrinkage,” is a growing problem for businesses. It is a bigger threat than identity theft and cyber fraud according to the FBI. In addition, fraud by employees is still a major issue, mainly for businesses in the financial and retail sector.

Video surveillance systems work to combat these issues, providing a way to keep a watchful eye over employees while producing video evidence when necessary.

  • Improve Operations & Productivity

Businesses thrive on success and profits, therefore, anything that can increase productivity and improve operations is good thing. Installing security cameras in the workplace influences employees to stay on task, thus, plays a role in productivity and efficiency.

  • Ward Off Illegal Visitors

Security cameras not only safeguard the business, but work to keep employees safe and protected. An effective surveillance system will help deter intruders and provide video evidence should a break-in or other incident occur. Security cameras can also monitor the different visitors your business has throughout the day.

  • Enhance Safety

Workplace safety is expected and non-negotiable. All employees should feel safe in the workplace and security cameras can enhance that feeling. When safety measures are blatantly disregarded, management can review these instances and deal with them accordingly to prevent any unnecessary accidents in the future.

Share your own thoughts on workplace surveillance with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Whether you’re looking for a surveillance system for your home or business, let us help you! Visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call us at 888-203-6294 for more information or to request a FREE quote!

Secure Your Home

When was the last time you evaluated your home security? With summer, and likely a vacation or two, around the corner, now is a great to time reassess your home security measures and upgrade or improve them as needed.

Doors
A surprising amount of burglars enter homes through the front door, so be sure that all of your doors (especially the front door) are strong and secure. Inspect the door frame, ensure the hinges are protected, and if your door has a mail slot, make sure someone can’t reach through and unlock the door.

To further safeguard your doors and entryways, you can install a deadbolt and/or add a strike plate. You can even upgrade to smart locks or install a doorbell camera. And if you have any sliding glass doors, remember to reinforce them by using a window bar or dowel in the track. Or you can invest in a door sensor or glass break sensor, which will alert you if the door is opened or tampered with.

Windows
Another common entry point for burglars is windows. And unfortunately, window latches and locks can be flimsy and rather ineffective. To better secure your windows, install improved locks or key-operated levers, or implement window bars. You can even reinforce the glass with window security film and install window or glass break sensors. In addition, you can plant prickly bushes under first-floor windows, but be sure to keep them trimmed.

Lighting & Landscape
Intruders want to be as inconspicuous as possible, so why not shine a light on them? Outdoor lighting can help to keep burglars at bay. Light up your yard (front and back) and pathways and place lights near the garage or other outdoor structures. Motion-activated lighting, solar-powered lights and timers can be helpful as well.

While the lights help to prevent burglars from hiding in the darkness, maintaining your landscape plays an important role, too. Be sure that trees and shrubs are trimmed down to eliminate any hiding spots. If there are trees near windows, remove them or add extra security to those windows. And remember to put away stools, ladders, and other tools and lock your gates and sheds.

Garage
An attached garage offers another way to access your house. But even if it is detached, burglars know there’s likely good stuff stored in there. You should always lock all doors to the garage, both interior and exterior. Consider keeping your garage door opener in the house. That way, a burglar can’t steal it from your car. You may even consider upgrading to a smart garage door opener, which alerts you when the door is opened or closed and enables you to control it remotely.

Wi-Fi Network
Securing your home wireless network is also an important part of your overall home security. To keep hackers off your home network, be sure to secure your wireless router and enable WPA (Wi-Fi protected Access) or WPA2 encryption. You should also rename and hide your network, use a firewall, install antivirus and anti-malware protection, and always create strong passwords and change them periodically.

Security System
These days, you can find a home security system that suits your needs and budget. Depending on your unique situation, you may consider DIY versus professional installation, along with the upfront and monthly costs, and the different features offered.

If they are not part of your security system, you may want to install security cameras outdoors, indoors, or both. Some features to look for include remote access, motion detection, night vision, and Wi-Fi capability. If you need assistance, you can visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call us at 888-203-6294.

Your security is our priority. Contact us to learn more about our products and installation services, site surveys, or to request a FREE quote! You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Video Surveillance For Businesses

Installing a video surveillance system for your business protects your employees, customers, inventory, and your business itself. Understandably, such an important asset can take a considerable amount of time and money when it comes to shopping, deciding, installing and implementing a comprehensive security solution. If you’re on the fence on whether or not to purchase and install a video surveillance system for your business, review some of these priceless benefits you can enjoy.

  • Reduce & Prevent Theft
    Strategically placed security cameras can prevent vandalism and theft. Year after year, companies lose thousands due to theft, whether internal or external. By installing surveillance videos, you can deter bad behavior or collect evidence when needed.
  • Real-Time Monitoring
    Most modern cameras allow for remote video monitoring. This can be extremely helpful for business owners who are not always on site. In addition, approved employees can monitor critical areas of the property, enabling continuous surveillance. If you have multiple locations, you can connect all the cameras to the same network, allowing you to keep an eye on every location remotely.
  • Improve Productivity
    The presence of security cameras can influence employees to be efficient and on their best behavior. The cameras can also improve communication between different locations and departments, which can boost productivity overall.
  • Resolve Business Disputes
    Much like cameras can provide evidence for thefts or vandalism, video footage can prove valuable when a dispute arises as well. Managers can reference video footage along with firsthand accounts to find out what happened in order to come to a fair resolution. Security cameras can also play a role in reducing workplace violence.
  • Provide Evidence For Investigations
    As mentioned, video surveillance footage can provide evidence when an incident occurs. By reviewing the footage when criminal or suspicious activity occurs, you can potentially identify the persons involved. And you may submit footage to authorities as needed.
  • Make Digital Storage
    In relation to reviewing footage, digital storage makes it much easier to search and find footage when needed. IP camera systems store all recorded footage digitally using a hard drive, network served or an NVR (network video recorder).
  • Improve Customer Experience
    With the use of data analytics with your surveillance, businesses can optimize store traffic patterns and improve product placement. They can also offer a better shopping experience as customers may perceive the presence of security cameras as the business caring for the safety and security of their customers and employees.
  • Save Money
    Video surveillance systems can be more affordable than hiring full-time security officers for the grounds. And thanks to advanced night vision features, most security cameras can give you peace of mind even when your business is unoccupied overnight.

Whether for your business or home, shopping for a security camera system can be overwhelming. If budget is a concern, or you are unsure of what you need, we can help. Call 888-203-6294 and we can guide you to the cameras and equipment that would best suit your needs and budget. We offer a wide variety of affordable security cameras and surveillance systems – browse our stock online at SecurityCamExpert.com. You may also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Restaurant Security: Night Vision Cameras

Night vision cameras offer a bit more than standard security cameras. The ability to see in low light to near darkness enables surveillance around the clock. While you may understand how this can help you feel safer at home, many businesses can also take advantage of these benefits. Here are some of the ways night vision cameras can be a great asset for restaurants.

  • Vision In Darkness
    Aside from keeping an eye on the premises overnight, night vision cameras can do their duty during late night business hours. If customers are staying late, it can help make the closing staff feel safer.
  • Easy To Install & Use
    Most night vision cameras are fairly straightforward with their design, some being plug-and-play, making them easy to install and use.
  • Central Monitoring
    Depending on your system, you should have access to any camera feed at any location at all times. If your system permits, this may even be accessible remotely via your smart device or a laptop.
  • Transferrable Feed
    Your recordings can immediately transferred to disk for long term storage. This backup allows you to review past video or share footage promptly should authorities require video evidence of an incident.
  • Prevent Theft
    The simple presence of a security camera can deter burglars from acting. However, in a restaurant setting, these things can easily be overlooked. With surveillance cameras, you may be able to improve inventory control and prevent employee theft.
  • Prevent Over-Pouring
    Along the same lines, if you have a bar in your restaurant, you can keep an eye on your bartenders. Over-pouring is way to lure customers to leave larger tips, but can leave you at a loss. If you come across this issue, you can refer to your footage and correct the problem.
  • Reduce Violence
    Whether among customer, employees, or both, security cameras can help to reduce violence or provide helpful evidence when a problem arises.Night vision cameras can also make your employees feel safe, as mentioned. Employees are happier with employers who show that they care about their safety and well-being.
  • Boost Productivity
    Security cameras in the workplace can alleviate management from the task of security as well as motivate employees and keep everyone on task.

For a wide selection of night vision cameras, surveillance system packages, and more, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Investing In Business Surveillance

Installing video surveillance for your business may be a significant investment, but it can also provide numerous benefits. Although concerns about privacy and costs may prevent businesses from seeing their true value, many will find that business surveillance not only protects the owners, but also the employees and customers alike. Overall, a business surveillance system can prove to be a valuable asset for businesses. Here are just some of the reasons why.

  • Deter Thefts
    While video surveillance may seem to be targeted toward outside threats, it can very well prevent insider thefts. Unfortunately, employee theft is a serious and common occurrence for many businesses. Security cameras can help to monitor employees, account for anything that goes missing, and deter employees from misconduct.
  • Increase Profits
    Analyzing video can help businesses learn how to improve their strategy and increase productivity. Managers may supervise employees remotely, allowing them to determine which employees are helping or hurting the business overall (for example, too much conversation or inappropriate internet habits). Reviewing footage also helps businesses see which times of day are over or understaffed, enabling them to adjust shifts accordingly to maximize profits.

    In addition, businesses with video surveillance systems may be eligible for savings on insurance. The potential savings for having a security system installed may be significant and should be taken into account when determining whether or not to invest in surveillance.

  • Workplace Incidents
    Frivolous lawsuits are more common than we would like to admit. Luckily, video surveillance can help to protect your business in these instances. Surveillance footage may be used as evidence for legal purposes. And as mentioned previously, the presence of security cameras can deter harassment, violence, and other misconduct from employees, customers, or other outsiders.

Does your business have a surveillance system? What other advantages can business surveillance provide? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

If you need help choosing the right security camera system for your business or home, please feel free to contact us at 888-203-6294 or visit SecurityCamExpert.com to browse our selection.

Protect Your IP Surveillance System

These days, IP security cameras are much easier to use and are more commonly utilized for home security. Whether home owners want to watch their property or their pets, IP security cameras seem to be the surveillance solution of choice.

Unfortunately, these home security systems are often targeted by hackers and bots. To better safeguard your IP cameras and privacy, check out these helpful IP security camera tips.

Update Firmware
Modern IP security cameras provide user-upgradeable firmware. When a security vulnerability is found, the manufacturer will fix it by issuing a firmware update. If your cameras are operating with an older version, they may be vulnerable to exploitation from hackers or online voyeurs. Always be sure that your firmware is up to date and routinely check for updates to protect your system.

Keep Cameras Local
The concept is simple – If you are worried about your live feed ending up on the internet, do not connect your cameras to the internet.

To protect your privacy, keep your security cameras on a local network and assign them non-routable internal IP addresses (ex. 192.168.0.5 or the like). But even then, your cameras may still be exposed by camera software that sets up port forwarding or uses UPNP to expose your cameras to the internet. Make sure your cameras are set up on local-only mode – consult your installer or check the manufacturer’s website to learn how.

Assign Passwords To Cameras
All too often, users forget to add password protection on their IP cameras, and sadly, this is not usually turned on by default. Without this, IP cameras are left wide open and vulnerable.

Luckily, most cameras offer at least some form of basic authentication, and although it may not be much, it is better than nothing. Remember to protect your cameras by assigning a username and strong password and changing it periodically.

Change Defaults
We cannot stress this enough – Always, always, ALWAYS change the default usernames and password for your devices. In case you didn’t know, the default admin name and password for your IP camera is usually available on the manufacturer’s website in the support section. That said, if you don’t change these defaults, anyone could potentially access your security system, view your feeds, and control your cameras.

WPA2 Encryption
If you’re using a wireless camera, you should only connect it to a WPA2-encrypted wireless network. This will minimize the risk of wireless eavesdroppers connecting to your network and accessing your video feeds.

Be Mindful Of Locations
Don’t place IP security cameras in areas of your home that you wouldn’t feel comfortable with strangers seeing. Regardless of the security measures to protect your camera feeds, there is always a possibility of getting blind-sided by a Zero-Day vulnerability that hasn’t been found by the manufacturer yet.

Share your own tips and experiences with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. For a wide selection of IP security cameras and more, visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 today!

CCTV Surveillance Cameras: Maintenance & Troubleshooting Tips

After you purchase and install a home security camera system, it is important to maintain it in order to preserve its quality and performance. From the surveillance cameras to the cables to video storage, all parts must be working properly to ensure optimal surveillance and security. Here are some helpful maintenance and troubleshooting tips for your surveillance system.

Maintenance

  • Hard Drives

Check your hard drive regularly by simply playing back recent video. To make sure your cameras are properly recording, check the field of view and filter through different dates and times. Make sure you are getting the proper recording duration. A surefire sign that something is wrong is if the duration of footage stored has significantly decreased. For example, you used to get weeks or months of footage, but now it seems you are only getting a few days worth.

  • DVR & Security Cameras

Cooling fans assist in preventing your DVR from overheating. Unfortunately, when they suck in the cool air, dust begins to build up as well. The accumulation of dust can damage the fan, resulting in overheating. Cleaning your cooling fan regularly can prevent this and is relatively easy. Computer dust sprays are available at many computer stores and you simply aim at the vent areas and spray.

The IR (Infrared) lights on your security cameras tend to attract spiders and bugs. Because of this, spiders tend to build their webs around the cameras in order to catch the bugs attracted to the light. Consequently, these spider webs interfere with your videos. Check your playback or live feed to see which cameras are affected. If you cannot kick the problem, it may be better to use cameras without IR and install a separate light source to illuminate the area.

Every so often, you should use a soft cloth or wipe to remove any dust or debris and clean the camera lens. A dust mop with a long handle can help you reach higher mounted cameras that are typically out of reach.

  • Day/Night Recording

Camera sensors and other parts can wear out over time and will eventually need to be replaced. In addition, camera connections may need maintenance as environmental factors such as heat, cold, and moisture can affect them. If you see any signs of connections issues, such as lines in the image, flickering or other image issues, you should address these immediately to prevent further damage or total image loss.

Troubleshooting
Issue: Security cameras are out but the DVR is working.

  • Restart the camera power box.
  • Make sure the power box has power.
  • Look for lights on it (sometimes these are inside the box and may be difficult to see).
  • Many larger boxes have fans so look for signs of life.
  • If these don’t work, schedule a service call as it may be a power box issue (although rare, power boxes sometimes go out).

Issue: DVR or NVR is not reachable by Internet (no phone or computer access).

  • Did you reset your router to default or get a new router? If yes, then this needs to be repaired professionally.
  • Try restarting your DVR and router as well as any other network devices (ex. network repeaters, adapters). If this does not resolve the issue, you may need professional assistance.
  • Check all connections – make sure that the internet connection is firmly in place behind the DVR as well as in the router. These can come loose, especially when cleaning around the DVR or relocating something nearby that may have pulled the cord out.

Issue: DVR is not playing back video.

  • Try rebooting the DVR (the rule of thumb for any issue with electronics).
  • If that does not work, it may be a bad hard drive. Check the DVR and see if the hard drive is showing up in the settings. If not, this is a definite issue and you will need to replace your hard drive.

If you need help choosing the right security cameras for your property as well as installation services, feel free to contact us! You may browse our selection online at SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 to schedule a site survey or get a free quote. You can also find us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Local Storage Options For Your Security System

There are plenty of aspects to consider when it comes to investing and installing a new security camera system. The goal is to deter any theft or crimes while capturing the necessary footage should an incident occur. With that said, aside from the security cameras you choose, your surveillance storage solution should be of high quality and capacity and tailored to your storage needs.

Storing your video footage locally makes it easier to access, and is usually easier to use. In addition, local storage options are much more cost-effective than other storage solutions. In terms of local storage, there are two main options: internal or external. Internal storage is saved within the camera whereas external storage is saved to a hard drive, usually located within a computer or CCTV DVR/NVR. Each option poses their respective advantages and disadvantages.

Internal Camera Storage
When you store your video footage internally, it is usually via a microSD chip within the camera. This option is ideal for those who don’t want to rely on internet access or wiring, as this can slow down your internet. In addition, since internal storage bypasses any transferring to external storage, video footage is nearly immediately available.

The biggest downside of internal storage is its limited storage capacity. In an effort to combat this, most security cameras using local storage only record when motion is detected. And these cameras are more vulnerable because the footage is stored internally, thus, if the camera is stolen, so is any video evidence that could be used to prosecute the thieves.

External Camera Storage
If you need to record footage throughout the day, external storage is a great option as you can store large amounts of video at a relatively low cost (especially compared to online storage.

Wired Camera Storage
Wired solutions will save your network a load of work and will be faster when watching live feed (minimal lag time). Typically, you will have some type of hub that encodes the recording, and then the wire will route to either a DVR (digital video recorder) or a personal computer with lots of storage space. If you plan on editing the video, personal computers are more convenient.

Unfortunately, wired security cameras are susceptible to severed wires. If you opt for a wired camera, you will want to embed the wire through the wall and make sure that your camera is securely mounted.

Wireless Camera Storage
If you opt for wireless cameras, you are choosing a very secure solution. These are also the easiest to install as you usually just plug it in, connect to a network and install software. Your video would be routed to either a personal computer or an NVR (network video recorder).

Unfortunately, wireless cameras are not ideal for smaller home wireless networks. They can slow down the internet and may be susceptible to delays in your video feed. Should you choose wireless solutions, just be sure that your network can handle the load.

While there is not a universal best storage solution, there are solutions that are better suited for you than others. Take the time to evaluate your needs to determine which storage solution would work best for you.

If you need help determining which video surveillance solution to choose, contact us at 888-203-6294 or browse our inventory online at SecurityCamExpert.com. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Prevent Blind Spots In Your Surveillance System

Security camera systems are meant to protect your property from intruders and collect crucial footage should any incident occur. Unfortunately, if not properly planned, your surveillance system may have blind spots that can be problematic. Blind spots are specific areas that are not in the field of view of your CCTV cameras. These blind spots leave your home vulnerable to intruders who may take advantage of these to gain access or damage your property.

Here are some useful tips to avoid blind spots within your surveillance system.

Take A Picture
Visualizing what you want to cover will help you plan where to place your cameras for optimal coverage. You can use these images as a reference to consult with experts on which type of security cameras, lenses and specs would be best for what you are trying to achieve.

Have an existing system? Test your camera’s FOV (field of view) by having a friend walk through your home while you monitor the live feed.

What Do You Want To Capture?
Prioritize what features are absolutely necessary and the ones that are optional. Also, consider the camera locations and what your goal is for each area. This will help you determine the appropriate resolutions for your different cameras.

Consider Natural Environment
Whether you are installing your security cameras indoors or outdoors, you must consider natural elements of the environment. From daylight to reflections to inclement weather, these elements can noticeably hinder your footage, sometimes even rendering it useless.

To avoid these issues, pay close attention to camera angles and placement. Be sure that there are no potential obstructions, such as branches, trees, or décor, in your camera’s FOV. Invest in cameras that have day/night vision and lenses that can automatically adjust themselves to provide the best picture. And lastly, for your outdoor surveillance, choose weatherproof cameras and/or weatherproof camera housing to protect your equipment from unpredictable weather conditions.

Vandalism Potential
Intruders will often look for cameras and their first instinct is to destroy them in hopes that they can wipe out or prevent evidence of their crime. To prevent this, install cameras high and out of reach when possible, and seek out cameras that are vandal proof.

Location, Location, Location
As previously (and repeatedly) mentioned, the placement of your cameras is crucial to eliminating blind spots. If you are having trouble planning and strategizing your security cameras, or simply need expert advice, feel free to contact us at 888-203-6294.

Do you have your own security camera system advice to share? Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest!

Visit SecurityCamExpert.com to browse our vast selection of quality CCTV surveillance and security camera systems at affordable prices. We also offer site surveys and installation services. Contact us for more information.

Commercial Surveillance Camera Placement

For commercial businesses, video surveillance not only keeps customers, employees and properties safe, but it can also prevent incidents and potentially catch the perpetrator if a crime occurs. Should you decide to install a video surveillance system at your business, choosing the right locations is crucial. You want to avoid leaving blind spots as that will compromise your security, making your investment virtually useless.

For a better idea of where you should place your security cameras, here are the best locations for commercial properties.

Entrances & Exits
From the front/main entrance to side or back doors, you want to monitor any and all areas in which individuals can gain access to your building. This allows you to track who enters and exits, and whether or not they have authorized access.

You want to aim your indoor cameras toward the inside rather than at the door. The lighting conditions may change drastically when the door opens and closes, thus compromising the quality of your video.

For increased security, you may want to consider installing monitors that display a live feed on the screen at the entrance of your business to let visitors know they are under surveillance.

Restricted Access Areas
Doors that require a key card or an entrance code should be monitored. This provides an audit of who comes and goes, and who may have tried to gain unauthorized access.

Asset Storage
Whether it’s a warehouse full of merchandise or a server room filled with priceless equipment, you want to position a few cameras (the number will depend on the size and layout) to keep an eye on the area(s) where you store your assets.

By installing surveillance cameras in places where you store resources, documents, or even office supplies may potentially reveal cases of employee theft that may otherwise go unnoticed.

Monetary Transactions
It should go without saying that any point at which money regularly changes hands should be under surveillance. For example, security cameras should oversee cash registers at retail locations, teller stations at banks, and other transaction points on the property.

And you want to mount cameras low enough to see faces. You may even consider mounting a small camera at counter level in case of hats or hooded garments that may obstruct the view of a person’s face.

Work Areas
Whether or not you deal with customers at your location, it is still beneficial to keep an eye on employees. This usually discourages any slacking off or misbehavior. Just remember, you must disclose that there are security cameras and that they are under surveillance.

Loading Docks
Loading docks are prime targets since shipments are delivered and/or sent out from there. You want to have surveillance cameras watching over these areas to protect your employees and assets.

These cameras can also help with false worker’s compensation claims related to injuries sustained while loading or unloading equipment. Installing flood lights in this area also helps to produce clearer footage.

Secluded Outdoor Areas
These include parking lots, alleyways and dumpster pads – all of which are prime locations for shady activity. Security cameras installed in these areas should deliver a live feed to the security office so that a guard may watch for suspicious activity.

Along with surveillance locations, quality equipment suited for your security needs is vital for a successful surveillance system. Let us help you find the right security cameras and equipment for you – visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 today! You may also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

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