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    There’s More than One Way to Skin a Cat, But Which Way is Best?

    There’s more than one way to skin a cat or so the saying goes, but with a lot of items on the to do list, there are really only two choices: do it myself or pay a professional. So, sure I can add a couple of shelves in the kitchen, but can I add a second story to my bungalow? I can brush my teeth everyday, but can I fill my own cavity? The same choice presents itself when deciding on the best way to secure your business. Nowadays there’s more than one way to stop a crook. But should you go DIY or call in the professionals? Let’s look at the pros and cons of self-monitoring versus 24/7 professional security monitoring.


    Pros and cons of Self-Monitoring


    The biggest advantage of self-monitoring has to be the cost. Once you have made the one off payment for the cameras and monitoring app, it is virtually free. There might just be a minimal monthly cost to keep the app running, but that’s usually about it. You can watch live video from your smartphone or tablet wherever you are. Sounds great, but in reality you get what you pay for, which means in this case not a lot. If you have no life outside of work, never sleep, your phone battery never dies and you never engage flight mode, self-monitoring might be for you. However, if you like to spend your weekends with the people who matter and not thinking about work, 24/7 professional monitoring might suit you better. What is often forgotten with self-monitoring is what you will do in the event of an alert that you can’t identify as false. Live video streaming might not allow you to confirm the exact issue meaning when you call the emergency services and inform them of this, you could be allocated a low priority response code. By the time you arrive on scene to confirm the issue the greatest damage may already have taken place or as a lone responder there might be very little you can do.



    Pros and Cons 24/7 Professional Monitoring


    Professional monitoring, like most professional services, is more expensive than the DIY version. But there are ways it can actually save you money. Professional CCTV systems remove the need for a security guard on site. Your ‘security guard’ is still watching 24 hours, 7 days a week, but he has been replaced by a team of experts at a Security Response Centre like those used by Melbourne’s top security provider, Chartercom. The moment any issue occurs your security team is deployed and you are notified while they are on route to respond with the appropriate action. From the Security Response Centre experts are able to identify the reason for an alarm and determine appropriate steps immediately based on generations of experience and the latest technology. Your security response team will often arrive before the relevant emergency services. Now that’s peace of mind, which for many is priceless.



    The Final Word


    Self-monitoring and 24/7 professional monitoring both have their pros and cons. Ultimately the decision comes down to you. However, if you’d like a confidential assessment of how 24/7 professional monitoring from Chartercom can make your business safer and your life easier, then get in touch with one of our dedicated team members on 1300 844 844, or visit us at chartercomsecurity.com.au

    We are reaching the end of the financial year, which means there are a lot of essential tasks you’ll be putting on your to-do list: summarising income and expenses, conducting stocktake, collating records, completing the dreaded tax return, and getting budgets in order for the financial year ahead.


    Hopefully you’ve had a great year and you’re making plans for new hires or new premises as your business expands. I’d like to add one more item to the new financial year’s agenda: business security.


    Many CEOs still respond to the question of business security needs with a blank stare. And who can blame them? None of us enjoy thinking about worst-case scenarios. As business leaders, we have such clear visions of our business’ prosperous future that security risk becomes an afterthought. However, failing to incorporate security into your business plan leaves your business, and your vision of its future highly vulnerable.


    At Chartercom we have generations of experience in helping some of the nation’s best-known brands stay safe. We include Nike, Mercedes, Toys R Us, Country Road and iSelect among our customers. This financial year make security a priority for your business by including my top five recommended security measures to protect your business in your 2016/2017 plan:


    1. Surveillance of premises

    It is a fact that video cameras help prevent crimes and break-ins. Strategically placed CCTV deters criminals whether they are thieves or vandals, and often create a ‘halo effect’ by reducing risk in near by areas as well. Of course, in the event of crime CCTV helps restore justice. Some of the most famous arrests that came about as a direct result of CCTV include the Boston Marathon Bombing, and the 2005 London Terrorist Attacks.


    1. Alarm Monitoring

    One of the greatest benefits of professional alarm monitoring is peace of mind. You know your business is protected wherever you are because let’s face it, you can’t always be on site. Some companies start with self-monitoring, but in our experience they soon hand this over to professionals because the reality of responding to a threat as one individual without the proper resources is daunting, and often ineffective.


    1. Protect digital property physically

    It’s easy to forget that digital security begins at the physical level. Of course you should be protecting your digital property with passwords, firewalls, and encryption, but before any of that you need physical safety. Your server room should be fitted with appropriate locks, there should be lockable storage for vulnerable devices, and don’t neglect less obvious threats like printer theft due to the printer’s memory.


    1. Lighting

    This is perhaps the most basic of security measures. Going back to the printer, it is simply less likely to be stolen if it is located in a visible well-lit location. The same goes for all your property. Lighting is a key deterrent to crime.



    The Final Word

    The experts at Chartercom are ready to help you get your business security in tiptop shape for the coming financial year. So put security on your to do list and speak to one of our dedicated team members For a confidential assessment of your security needs, contact us on 1300 844 844, or visit us at chartercomsecurity.com.au


    Self-monitoring alarms are more advanced today than they ever have been before. Gone are the days when the only option was for the alarm panel to self dial your phone number allowing you to hear the siren on answering. You can now receive this information via text message with zone descriptions of where exactly the alarm has been triggered. Another option is email alerts providing you a cheaper service option that still connects directly with your smart phone. Text message and email alerts provide you with a written record of any security incidents. You can also connect to a visual image via your phone through a camera located in the building. But don’t be fooled, there are still major issues with self-monitoring business security systems. Make sure you have considered the following if you are intending to go down the self-monitoring security route.


    How Reliable is Your Smart Phone?


    Ok so your self-monitoring security system has successfully responded to a threat by sending you a text message or an email or by dialling your number. Maybe it has done all three. However, it’s almost impossible to guarantee you will always be there to pick up the message straightaway. Is your phone sometimes on silent for an off site business meeting? Do you travel for work meaning you are forced to sometimes engage the flight safe travel button on your smart phone? Are you ever in an area of no service? Do you ever run out of battery towards the end of a busy day? Most of us will answer yes to at least one of these questions meaning your self-monitoring security system has some serious weak spots.


    You Get the Message, Then What?


    Imagine the worst has happened. You got the text message from your self-monitoring system to say an alarm has been triggered on the back entrance and the second floor of your building. Now what do you do? Drop everything and make like batman straight towards the danger zone? Call the police and tell them an alarm has gone off, but you don’t know exactly what the issue is? Even visual alerts don’t always give you the full picture especially because the technology is new and the images can be unclear. If you can’t confirm the problem, your call will be allocated a low priority response code by the emergency services, which is probably not what you were hoping for. By the time you arrive on scene to confirm the issue the greatest damage may have already taken place.


    Can your System Tell the Difference between a Fire and an Intruder?


    This is a really important question. There are some self-monitoring systems out there that can monitor both break-ins and fires, but they are rare and a lot more expensive. Obviously, a fire requires a very different type of emergency response and a message lost in cyber space could result in even more damage than if a break-in message gets delayed.


    Is it Really Cheaper in the Long Run?


    Self-monitoring systems are cheaper when they are first installed, but what happens when they need maintain or fixing? You have to pay someone to come out and fix it for you. These maintenance calls can be costly and time consuming. Aside from this how much time will you spend monitoring your own businesses security that you could be spending doing more important business development tasks?


    What’s the Alternative to Self-Monitoring?


    For larger businesses and especially companies with multiple premises the smarter choice for business security monitoring is to opt for 24 hour 365-days a year professional monitoring. A reputable security company can offer you a wide range of security systems such as burglar, smoke or fire, invasion and personal injury alarms depending on your needs. The experts monitoring your premises will never ignore an alarm. They will respond immediately and effectively and when necessary they know exactly which emergency services to engage.



    If you are considering Alarm Monitoring options for your business, then take the option companies like TOYSRUS, BMW, Grill’d, Jeanswest and AXA chose. For a confidential assessment of your security needs contact Chartercom Security on 1300 844 844, or visit us as chartercomsecurity.com.au

    If you have read the Herald Sun recently you would have heard about Melbourne’s ‘Bungling Crook’ captured by CCTV trying, but miserably failing, to steal tills through the service windows of drive through restaurants. Sadly for him, but luckily for the restaurant owners the ‘Bungling Crook’ didn’t do his homework. The tills were too large to pull back through the service windows so he left the premises empty handed. Sadly not all would be criminals are so lacking in forethought. Crime affects all types of businesses and restaurants are no exception. Fast food establishments tend to be at greater risk than those offering a fine dining experience. However, all restaurant owners should be fully aware of potential security risks. Awareness is the first step towards minimizing risks and a fully functioning security system should be the next one because as the old cliché goes: failing to prepare is preparing to fail.


    What can go wrong if you don’t have security for your restaurant? Here are the top five risks you should be actively preventing and how:



    1. Vandalism

    Vandalism is a greater risk for casual dining or fast food outlets, but again, simple measures can prevent vandalism. Ensuring all areas inside and out are well lit is essential and this includes the parking lot. Outdoor bathrooms should be locked and require a key from the cashier station. Furthermore, securing all outdoor furniture during opening hours and locking them away at all other times avoids both vandalism and theft.


    1. Employee Theft

    Unfortunately employee theft is a common type of crime, which can involve stolen merchandise or unregistered sales. Obviously the best way to prevent this is through the development of good working relationships that foster dignity, respect and an overall team ethic. That might seem like common sense, but it isn’t always common practice. Other simple ideas include having an inventory control system that can help you recognize shortages that might indicate theft. You can also limit employee access to cash or information on a needs basis.


    1. Burglary

    Burglary is entering a structure with the intent to commit a crime inside. Visibility is a key factor in preventing burglary. Plants, furniture or other objects should not block visibility into the restaurant, and all entrances and exits should be well lit. CCTV and alarm systems act as a major deterrent to burglary, so systems should be highly visible and always operational. The sound of an alarm can be enough to send the burglar running before any damage can be done. Investing in high quality locks is also worthwhile, as not all locks are made equal.


    1. Robbery

    Robbery is a more serious type of crime than burglary because it involves the taking of something specifically from someone by force or threat of force. Your staff members are at the greatest risk of robbery. All the preventative measures of burglary apply here as well, but you can add a few more to the list. First of all, provide proper training. Staff should have access to a written policy on what to do in the case of robbery and other emergencies. Secondly, never open or close the restaurant solo. Thirdly, ensure cash registers are frequently deposited into the safe. You could also have a sign within the restaurant indicating the maximum amount kept on premises removing incentives from imaginative would be robbers. Finally, ‘drive through windows’ are more likely to be targets of robbery than the front of house so the window is as much of a priority for risk prevention as the front door.


    1. Out of Restaurant Risks

    It may seem strange to consider risks outside of the restaurant itself, but how you take your cash to the bank is worth considering. A would-be thief may monitor behavior to look for weak spots in the chain. The key is to vary behavior by not visiting the bank at set times on set days. You can also vary the route you take and not carry cash in a way that alerts people you are depositing large sums of money from a restaurant.



    If you would like some more expert advice on how to secure your business call Chartercom today on 1300 844 844 or visit us at chartercomsecurity.com.au.