Category Archives for Security Cameras

The Importance of Security Surveillance for Small Businesses

As a small business owner, your company or startup is the manifestation of your ideas, hard work, and monetary assets. You will likely do anything to protect your employees, customers, and merchandise from threats.

But sometimes these threats are impossible to predict.

For any sized business, burglaries and shoplifting can be devastating. According to a 2015 study, the average loss per shoplifting incident was $377. And these add up when a business falls victim to multiple shoplifting crimes

This is where commercial security systems come into play. With the right preparation and cameras in place, your business can stay ahead of robberies, shoplifting, and other safety concerns.

What Are The Risks Of Poor Security For Small Businesses?

One incident of shoplifting is generally not catastrophic for a small business; it may even be expected in some circumstances. It is the culmination of shoplifting, burglaries, employee crimes, and false alarms that add up to a significant financial blow.

Burglaries in particular are one of the top causes of revenue loss for businesses. According to 2016 data, there were 1.7 million burglaries in the U.S. in 2014. These incidents make up 13.6% of property crimes, but businesses are actually four times more likely than homes to be burglarized.

For your business, this means that your inventory assets are more at risk than you may realize. You not only risk losing merchandise, but property damage as well. By having eyes on your business even when you are not there, you can increase your chance of being compensated for these incidents.

While some of these burglaries happen while the business is closed, shoplifters pose a significant risk during business hours. Small businesses around the country lose between $25,000 and $33,000 per minute to shoplifters. And if your business has a weak security system, it can be nearly impossible to catch or identify these thieves.

It’s also important to remember that while businesses lose money to burglaries, they also lose money to false alarms. False alarms make up 10-20% of all calls to the police and 94-99% of all alarm calls. While false crime alarms may seem harmless, each incident can actually cost a business owner up to $125.

With all of these factors in mind, it’s essential that businesses take a critical look at their security preparedness. Not all businesses have the proper number of cameras in their businesses, and even more do not have them in the right places. The right systems and the right security practices can transform a business’s potential risk. And this applies to more than just theft prevention.

How Can Businesses Benefit From Strong Security?

A quality security system can protect a business from a range of risks — not just thieves. With the right preparatory measures, entrepreneurs can rely on their systems while they focus on the more important aspects of running a business. The following are just some of the perks of security systems.

  • Theft Control: As mentioned above, burglary and shoplifting prevention is one of the most important roles of security systems. But their function goes beyond that. If someone does steal from your business, you have a better means to identify them, leading to prosecution. You can also use your system to monitor employee theft. Data from the U.S. Department of Commerce found that about 75% of employees steal, and you should be able to identify them.
  • Safety: Having a set of security cameras around your business may also curb incidents of sexual harassment and workplace violence. If an incident does happen, you will have evidence to bring to the police. Your employees may also be more inclined to report harassment or violence if they know you have the means to prove it.
  • Insurance Benefits: In some cases, having an indoor and outdoor security system may reduce your business insurance premiums. This is because you have a lower risk of theft and property loss than if you did not have any security systems in place. When your business is less of a risk, you and the insurance company benefit.
  • Lawsuit Protection: If you are involved in a lawsuit and believe that your business is being wrongfully accused, you can use security camera footage to prove this. A common example is a fraudulent worker’s compensation case. If an employee forces or fakes an injury to get money, you might be able to prove that. The same principle can apply to the harassment and violence situations mentioned above.

Remember that while your business is central to you and your career, it does not need to be a liability. Once you amp up your security efforts, you can know that you are doing everything you can to prevent crimes and other incidents.

Where Should I Place My Security Cameras?

When it comes to protecting your business, simply having security cameras is not enough. You need to use them effectively. Industry data estimated that the video surveillance equipment market will grow to $4.56 billion by 2019 and will have captured 3.3 trillion hours of security footage daily. This leaves you with a wide range of camera options as security technology evolves. So, where should your cameras go to maximize security?

Points Of Transaction: It’s essential to have camera’s pointing at any place where money is processed or exchanged. This way, you have have a record of what is going on around cash registers or cash boxes. Point the camera low enough so you can see the torso, hands, and heads of customers and employees. Generally, it’s best to point the camera toward the customer, so you can see their face.

Exterior: Sometimes, knowing what is happening outside of your business is just important as what happens inside. Outdoor surveillance is especially important in the event of a burglary or break in. Cameras around your parking lot, walkways, and entrances can capture faces and license plate numbers.

Entrances And Exits: You want to be able to keep track of who is going in and out of your business. The timestamps on your footage also allow you to calculate how long customers stay in the building, proving that they were there during certain incidents. Place the camera so it is facing outward at a point that can capture the face of anyone going through the door.

Storage Areas: These cameras are especially important for retail stores. Place several cameras wherever you store your goods, as these areas can be targets for burglars and dishonest employees. Just be sure that storage areas and warehouses are well lit or have motion-sensing lights to allow the camera to capture what is going on.

Remote Areas: Take note of the areas of your business that are more isolated. These could be closets, break rooms, coolers, and in the garbage area. When an employee or customer is planning to steal, they might retreat to one of these areas to slip something into their bag or to stash away until they leave. With cameras, you can catch them in the act.

Reception Desks: Similar to points of transaction, reception desks see a high volume of customers. By monitoring these areas, you can revisit the footage and take note of a suspect customer’s behavior. These areas are also close to business entrances, so that adds another point of surveillance as customers and employees enter the building.

Improved Security: A Businesswide Effort

By installing security cameras and amplifying your business’ security initiatives, you are strengthening your commitment to your business. With the right system in place, you can prevent internal and external theft, and you will be able to address it if it does happen. This tangible evidence will be valuable evidence in the event of prosecution.  

But remember that security cameras are only part of the equation. To take your security a step further, train your employees on security best practices and emergency response protocol. This way, if you do have an incident of theft or violence in your organization, your staff can ensure their safety in the moment and later provide testimonials.

Your cameras, employee training, and assurance of best practices can protect your employees, merchandise, and property. This will make your business a safer place to be for everyone and can keep you out of the news for any shady activity. And for you personally , this means a more lucrative, sustainable business in the long term.

How to Prevent the Hacking of Security Cameras

You want your customers to feel safe and secure doing business with you. But hackers could be peeking into your store, office, finances, or credit card transactions. If you have cameras – including cell phones – anywhere in your business, someone could be watching you right at this moment.

Cyber crime has risen dramatically in the past several years, becoming the world’s latest epidemic, according to crime research. Hacking spreads quickly, like a disease, and it’s hard to prevent or cure. It’s considered a form of electronic eavesdropping and is forbidden by the Federal Wiretap Act, however, it’s extremely difficult for law enforcement to track down hackers.

How Hacking of Security Cameras Works

Hackers are tech-savvy criminals who look for holes in your security. Like a robber who looks for an open window, a hacker seeks an open network where something of value sits. Unlike a robber, a hacker doesn’t need physical access to your location.

The hacking of security cameras is mostly done through remote attacks from anywhere in the world. After finding a way to slip in, hackers can view your files, steal photos and video, launch viruses, find passwords, control your devices, and create massive chaos in your systems.

Some attacks are more sophisticated than others. Brute force attacks are a basic type of attack where a hacker makes repeated guesses at your password using automated software.

Data breaches expose sensitive data like bank account numbers, credit card information, and personal details. These attacks can make headlines and harm a company’s reputation. Yahoo and LinkedIn have had some of the largest data breaches of all time – but breaches aren’t limited to large or web-based businesses. All businesses are vulnerable, and settlements for class-action lawsuits can be millions of dollars.

Now, you may be wondering what data breaches have to do with the hacking of security cameras.  Well, if a company you do business with is hacked, the password you use to log in to your account with that company might be compromised.  If you also use that same password elsewhere (as is often the case), then those accounts could also be compromised–including the account you use to access and control your security camera remotely.

Data breaches are, in most cases, not something you can do much about because they mostly affect the companies you do business with rather than your company.  However, what you can do is make sure that you aren’t using the same password in multiple locations, and you can also sign up for an identity theft monitoring service that helps track if someone is using your information for nefarious purposes.

Why Do Hackers Attack Cameras?

You might be wondering why a criminal would want access to cameras in your business. Most of the footage obtained through the hacking of security cameras would just be uneventful day-to-day operations at your company. But for a moment, imagine viewing your business as a hacker does. Could they peek over shoulders and see credit card numbers? Could they monitor private conversations about company financial data? Could they observe when your employees come and go so they’ll know when your office sits empty?

How to Identify Hacked Cameras

It’s actually hard to know if cameras have been hacked. System slowness is a top indicator. Keep an eye out for alerts and codes, and report them to your security system provider. Watch the positioning of your cameras too. If you know your cameras are normally pointed at certain areas, check footage frequently to see if their angle is being manipulated. And if you suddenly lose connections, footage, or archived files, this could be an indication that a hacker has accessed your system.

Protect Cameras From Hacking

Hacking is difficult to detect, but you can take preventive measures against it. Here are some tips for protecting your network and devices:

  • Never Purchase Used Equipment. Work only with a reputable security firm and don’t set up your system with used equipment. Any used device could have spying and hacking software built into it by a previous owner. In fact, it could be infected without the previous owner even realizing it.
  • Create a Password Policy. Require all employees to use passwords, and make sure passwords are changed frequently. Set policies that prevent holes in your security plan. For example, if a clerk puts the system password on a post-it note next to the computer, a camera hacker could see it and access the system.
  • Run Recommended Software Updates. Hire a professional to manage your security system and do all updates they recommend. Out-of-date software opens doors to thieves.
  • Secure Wireless Systems. Make sure your company’s wireless network is secure. WiFi access might need to be restricted to known devices and it should definitely be password-protected. If your system is large, consider dedicating a wireless network to it. You can also purchase the latest sophisticated equipment that resists jamming by spreading transmission across various channels. Some businesses opt not to use web-based cameras at all, preferring a closed system. Ask your security company for advice about locking down your network.
  • Monitor Your Users. Your employees are, unfortunately, a weakness in your security plan. They are capable of leaking sensitive data that can be used by criminals. Did you know that the biggest bank heist of all time wasn’t done in person, but by hackers? They used social engineering – psychological techniques – to carefully pull information out of bank employees to steal $81 million. Manage social engineering by keeping an eye on your system’s users and insisting that they abide by security rules.

Protecting Personal Cell Phone Cameras

Every cell phone is also vulnerable to hackers, including those for personal use. Imagine that an employee’s phone camera is hacked. As your employee checks texts throughout the day, a criminal could be looking through the camera at confidential forms, data, passwords, and areas of your building.

Cell phone developers work diligently to prevent hacking. The iPhone is known as the hardest phone to hack, but it can be done with money and patience. Some Android phones are more vulnerable than others due to a security flaw in out-of-date software. Virtually any mobile device can be hacked using instructions and software found on the internet. Google it. It’s a bit terrifying. So consider limiting employees’ use of personal cell phones in your business, and work with your security company to protect all company devices.

Click here to learn more about security cameras, including types and styles of cameras, popular manufacturers, and much more.

Common Types of Security Cameras

Common Types of Security CamerasInstalling a new security camera or camera system may seem like an easy decision. After all, security cameras can improve safety, cut down on crime, and prove invaluable should an unfortunate incident take place.

While the decision to install security measures really is an easy one, selecting the right camera or monitoring system, however, is where the real challenge lies. With so many companies, options, and styles to choose from, it can be overwhelming to determine which best suits your needs.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the most common types of security cameras that we usually recommend as part of our security camera installation service, and explain what they’re best used for in order to help make your decision that much easier.

Box Style Cameras

Our first option is one that pops into most people’s minds when they think “security camera.” The box-style camera is the most commonly used camera for security. These cameras function as any other recording camera will, and they allow a great deal of flexibility in terms of lens customization options. They’re not exactly beautiful, so box style cameras are best suited for outdoor areas, or indoor areas if aesthetics are unimportant.

Dome Security Cameras

Another popular choice is the dome-style camera. These cameras also function as a typical recording camera, but their appeal lies in their discreet shape and size. They can also be used indoors or outdoors, as they’re capable of handling poor weather with ease. Alternatively, dome security cameras are also available in extremely durable casings that are vandalism-resistant.

Pan Tilt Zoom Cameras

Pan, Tilt, and Zoom, or PTZ, cameras are a high-tech favorite for those who seek more control over their security cameras. With the capability for remote operating, these cameras can be changed for a closer viewing scope and adjusted to cover several angles or pan over an area. They can be controlled with a physical joystick or even via remote software and they are able to integrate with technologies like computer systems or smart phones.

Bullet Style Cameras

Meet the box-style camera’s sleek cousin, the bullet security camera. These cameras are far more aesthetically pleasing and also very discreet, particularly when compared to traditional box-style models. These cameras can even be outfitted with IR illuminators, making them viable choices for low-light indoor or outdoor areas.

Day and Night Security Cameras

Similar to the bullet camera, day/night security cameras also rely on infrared features to function well in low-light areas. Unlike the bullet variety, however, these day/night cameras auto-adjust their infrared illuminators to function at high quality during both day and night, eliminating the need for multiple types of camera in a single area.

Thermal Cameras

Thermal cameras are the most unique type of security camera. A viable solution for rough environments, these cameras record the heat patterns of people or animals and can be paired with regular cameras for added security. Though it may sound odd to choose a camera which captures heat patterns, these cameras are invaluable during storms or in dusty, hazy, smoky, or foggy conditions in which regular cameras would be rendered useless.

Selecting the proper security camera can help improve your area’s safety, security, and give you peace of mind, or even evidence, should an unfortunate event occur. While choosing the perfect security camera for your needs may not always be easy, we hope this guide to the most common types of security cameras has proven useful and helped to remove the headache from this difficult decision.

At Streamline Telecom, we pride ourselves on our professional security camera installation service and and are always here help. Our experienced professionals will add security to your area by installing four cameras, four hundred cameras, or anything in between. Contact us today and let’s get started!

Security Camera and Video Surveillance Trends for 2017

security camera installationWith ever-changing and advancing technology, there are many new security camera and video surveillance trends in 2017. The market is expected to reach $42.81 billion by 2019, according to a report from Transparency Market Research.

The study names increased security and safety concerns, and the need to monitor activities to detect intrusion, theft, and traffic surveillance as some reasons for this global growth. Current trends aim to meet the needs of this rising market, such as the major shift to IP-based systems, which produce video feeds with much higher resolution and video quality than that of analog.

What other video surveillance trends can the industry expect to see in 2017? We’ve outlined a few below.

Top Video Surveillance Trends

Software Developments  – According to industry experts, software developments will most likely lead the way in video surveillance trends in 2017. Jon Cropley, Principal Analyst of Video Surveillance at IHS Markit, believes the focus on software will extend beyond 2017. “Whether it be deep learning for video analytics or advances in video management, there seems to be a recognition that improvements in video surveillance system functionality will be driven by software,” he said in a roundtable discussion.

Expansion of the Multi-Sensor and Multi-Directional Cameras – This trend is the reason the industry is seeing an emergence of new vendors and product lines with new configurations. Primarily dominated by one vendor, this expansion will introduce new manufacturers to the market segment to deal with the increased demand for more product options.

A Shift From “Enterprise-Class” to Private Use – While video surveillance has traditionally been used most in commercial settings, the past few years have seen a continuous commoditization of the offerings, according to Ron Grinfeld, Global Vertical Marketing Manager at FLIR Security. Especially in the case of IP camera systems, more and more products are showing up in lower-tier markets, now widely offered for homes and private use. As mentioned above, this is a major drive in the addition of more vendors in the market, and why the leading vendors are now forced to expand their product offerings. This includes the multi-sensor and multi-directional cameras, security drones and robots, and smart wearable cameras.

Addressing Cybersecurity Threats to IP Systems

The major shift to IP systems has seen a dramatic increase in cybersecurity threats and attacks. Industry experts have always expressed concern over the dangers posed by unsecured camera systems, but these fears were realized in the fall of 2016 when separate cybersecurity incidents made headlines.

Better user education is a proactive approach to tighter cybersecurity that industry experts hope to see in 2017 and beyond. Video surveillance vendors will be expected to provide best practice guides, reference architectures, and certifications. Awareness and accountability are often the first steps to better security, and Francis Lachance, Director of the Video and Appliance Product Group, Genetec, hopes to see more of it in 2017. “We will need to inform customers on what is insecure, teach them how to avoid pitfalls and how to protect themselves, and show them how to better manage the risk of deploying non-secure security devices and systems.”

In addition to consumer education, managed services and a shift toward cloud computing are expected to see a rise in demand. According to SecurityCamExpert, “by utilizing managed services and the cloud, businesses can manage their cyber security risk by employing companies whose sole purpose is to maintain data security.” This will also allow consumers more network-based solutions.

Ensure Your Security

Is your surveillance system up-to-date and secure? Streamline Telecom experts can answer any questions you may have about your current camera system, or even provide security camera installation services. Contact us today for your greater New York City metro area security needs!