How Old is Your Home Security System?
If it's three or fewer years old, it's probably fine. Can it be improved? Absolutely. There are always additional layers of security that can be implemented. Does it have to be completely upgraded? Maybe enhanced or added to, but if it's that new, the foundation of your system should be sufficient.
Let's say it's 10 or 15 years old, though. A security system that's 10 years old should be checked out and inspected for vulnerabilities. Depending on how advanced it was upon installation, the core of it may still be functional, or it may need upgrading.
If it's 15 years old or older, you're starting to get into an area where the current generation of technology didn't exist. Keep in mind, 15 years ago, security innovation was based on pretty crude technology. Mobile technology was still in its infancy. Surveillance and alarm systems from that era have become remarkably easy to undermine.
A old home security system like this may have parts that are still operational,, but its core capabilities are likely to be insufficient to stop determined criminals.
Now, your security company should be performing regular inspections – at the very least yearly. If they aren't, and if they haven't advised you about the quality of your system and how well it holds up, start looking for another service provider who can perform an assessment and give you real answers.
You Cannot Depend on Landlines and Wires
There's a good reason security has gone mobile. Any system that depends on landlines or wires as primary means of communication puts you in significant danger. After all, those lines can easily be severed. Not only this, but burglars and robbers specifically look for houses that have these old-fashioned systems.Your home becomes an ideal target.
A system installed today relies on cellular transmission. There's redundancy built in – they can transmit emergency messages through different cell networks. Landlines are fine – as a last resort. They'll almost never need to be used, but it never hurts to have a backup to the backup.
Your Alarm System isn't Smart
An alarm system should be able to trigger different alarms for different situations. This advises the monitoring company to accurately inform and dispatch the correct emergency services. If your home just has a single alarm system for everything, this can cause confusion.
Imagine if a fire takes place. Police are dispatched because the alarm system is a burglary system first. They arrive and need to call the fire department. This doubles the response time, and can result in a small fire spreading throughout the house.
A smart system can notify the monitoring company that there's a fire, a medical emergency, or a burglary, allowing accurate dispatching of resources in a fraction of the time. These features should also be accessible from your phone or tablet. You should be able to control, alter, and program your home security even while you're away.
This can help you disarm the alarm if a relative shows up and needs to get in, or arm the system if you forgot to before you left. You can make adjustments on the fly for any situation that arises.
Can They Hear You Now?
If your alarm system does rely on mobile technology, ensure that it's equipped with modern signal capability. A lot's made about 3G, 4G, and 5G networks. Those commercials for cell networks probably annoy you by now, but they have a point. Where speed makes a difference on your phone, access is the concern with alarm systems.
An old home security system may rely on a 2G network. These towers are being removed and replaced, meaning your alarm system will have less capability to make a call. As 2G networks are phased out, 2G alarm systems won't have a way to communicate.
This is actually an easier upgrade where the entire system doesn't need to be replaced – only the communicator does. However, it may indicate your system comes from an era where other elements should also be inspected for efficacy.
If you think you might need to upgrade home security, it's a sensible step to schedule an inspection by a trusted security company.