Are they licensed fully?
Your provider needs to be fully licensed. For a security monitoring company in North Carolina, this means meeting the requirements of the state's Alarm Systems Licensing Board. This board is part of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.
It's easy to provide you with evidence of a company's licensing. If a monitoring company can't give you their licensing information, that's unacceptable. It means that they do not have this licensing, which means in turn that they have not met the minimum basic requirements the state requires of them. Thus, they cannot meet your requirements.
Will they train you in your system's use?
Stopping by, installing an alarm system, and then rushing off does no one any good. How are you supposed to use it? How are you supposed to make sure it does everything it's intended to? Even if you understand the basics, do you understand extra elements it provides that you can use to improve your safety and quality of life?
It's important that once a system is installed, the installer or company itself takes a reasonable amount of time to make sure you understand how to use it and get the most out of it. This doesn't mean someone will spend all day with you. If they're experienced at training people, they won't have to. It does mean that they won't rush out the second everything's installed; someone will take the time to walk you through the functions of your system and answer your questions. Security is there for you to use, not be confused by.
How is client security protected?
A security monitoring company in North Carolina exists to provide you security. This means contacting police, fire, EMS, and other services when you need them. That's the first step, though. Security means more than just calling someone for you. It means providing a service you can always rely on, a service that you will be safe in trusting.
A security company should be able to provide information about their processes for the following?:
- Do they perform background checks on their employees?
- Do they work only with certified installers who are fully bonded?
- Do they have liability insurance?
- Do they provide written guarantees?
A “no” to any of these questions means you should look for someone else. If a security company doesn't perform background checks, then your information and your home's safety is at risk in their hands. If they don't work with installers who are fully bonded, you cannot have faith in any installation of home security they make. If they do not have liability insurance, then they can't even protect themselves – let alone you and your family. If they cannot provide written guarantees, then you have nothing legally binding to prove the service they claimed they'd provide.
These are not complex expectations. If a security monitoring company fails to meet them, they cannot protect you or themselves properly.
How are client data and privacy protected?
You're trusting data and information to your security monitoring company. You should have an expectation that they will protect it. Whether it's your home system or a system for business, there is now a company that has access to your data.
This ties into the last question – you need to know that the security monitoring company performs background checks for its employees. You also need to know that they have security clearances for certain levels of personal information. Yes, someone who calls emergency services for you will have access to your name, address, and other pertinent information that helps those services help you.
Other information that's collected, such as payments, credit card numbers, etc. should be protected and only available to those whose job it is to directly deal with that data.
Personal information should never be packaged or re-sold to other companies. This is a clear violation of the trust you place in security monitoring companies.
What is the average response time?
Every report must be responded to by the monitoring company within 60 seconds. This is a short and sweet expectation. Any response time for a security company that's longer isn't acceptable.
The monitoring company can't control how long it takes emergency services to get there, but they must control how long it takes for them to respond to your alarm and to alert those emergency services in the first place.
How will proof of monitoring be provided to your insurance company?
The biggest reason to get security monitoring is to keep you and your family or your business safe. This doesn't mean this is the only reason. Security monitoring and insurance are tied together. Better security can mean getting a big break on your home or business insurance costs.
When insurance companies know you're taking sensible steps to protect yourself, they know that you're then less of a risk to insure. In order to know this, they need to have the information provided by the security monitoring company.
Talk to your insurance first to see what kind of savings you may be able to get, as well as what information they need in order to provide those savings. Then make sure that the monitoring company is able to provide all of this information in a timely manner to your insurance company. The security monitoring and insurance companies should be able to handle this between themselves, taking the responsibility for doing so off your plate.
If you have more questions on home or business security, contact us today. We’re here to help - and to keep your property safe.