Every business, whether big or small, has important and valuable things that you need to protect such as files, products that you sell, or other assets. It is not even just limited to your products, but the safety your customers and employees, as well. One of the most important things you need to consider for your business is its security.
There are a lot of different business security systems that can fit your needs. They come in different sizes and have different features. They do not just keep you safe from thieves but may also protect you against fire and other accidents. Even small businesses need security services and solutions. But the question is: which security system is best one?
Here are different kinds of security systems that can help protect your business without spending too much.
1. Video Surveillance
Video surveillance protects the office or the entire premises of where you house your business; not just inside, but also the area outside. You might want to consider getting this type of security system if you want to see what is happening to your office or business 24/7. A lot of systems now can let you connect through your mobile devices, so you can see what is going on even when you’re out of the office, or even out of town. This type of security system allows you to check on your customers and employees. It can also help you have proof of activity in case you may need to file insurance claims for theft or damages.
Choosing the right video surveillance system would depend on what you exactly need. You can look for a vendor to have them help you set everything up or you can also try to research on your own and buy the cameras and accessories yourself.
2. Intrusion Detection Alarm
This alarm protects everything inside your store or the building. It also protects your business from theft, vandalism, or intruders. Having intrusion detection alarms is also necessary for your business. We do not want to wait for an incident to happen, such as a burglary or a disruption in operating processes, to happen before getting an alarm system, right? This system protects your business not just from burglars and even from employee theft; it also protects your employees while they are on duty.
Detection alarms include a lot of different gadgets that can detect entry, such as sensors and motion detectors. These are monitored by a third-party vendor that is immediately alerted when there is forced entry or unauthorized access. These monitoring centers are available round-the-clock, all year round. When these vendors are alerted of an intrusion, they usually call you seconds after to check if police should be dispatched to the area.
3. Computer security system
Computer security systems protect your business files, documents, customer information, and software that help you run your business. It is important to have these things protected. Hackers not only target large companies but small businesses, as well. You need to protect your computer system from viruses, spyware, and other cyber threats. Also, most of the businesses right now use a computer system, with most of the work usually completed through it. Imagine how much money you stand to lose when there is loss of productivity and interruption in the business.
Invest in a good firewall and antivirus software that can stop viruses and hackers at the gateway into the network. You can also keep any information or documents safe by keeping it virtually via secure online services.
4. Electronic Access Control Systems
Access control protects certain areas or rooms in your office or building that should have limited access, or areas that should not be accessed by everyone. With access control systems you protect your establishment from a possible security breach. Instead of having a traditional lock and key system, which can pose a great risk since the physical key can be duplicated, you will need a keycard or use biometrics to enter areas that are protected by access control. Everything is digitized with this type of security system. You can control who is allowed to enter and when. You can even block access after business hours.
5. Public Address Systems
You might think, what do I need those PA systems for if I’m just a small store? Public address systems let you broadcast information and music in a snap. It allows you to communicate information and alerts as soon as possible to everyone in the office or building.
Having such system allows you to communicate quickly. Whether you need to announce any special occasion or remind your employees about a meeting, you can immediately notify your employees through a PA system. You can also use this system to broadcast alarms. If there has been a security breach in the building or any danger to your employees or customers, you have to inform them as soon as possible. You can either use simple alarm sounds or verbal codes as soon as you find out any problem that needs everyone’s attention.
There are plenty of vendors and companies that can provide you very good security coverage for your small business. They can devise and customize the best technology when it comes to software and equipment related to controlling and security. You can make a shortlist of these vendors and choose which one can give you the best offer that’s fit for your budget. This way you know what is happening in your business and you are alerted as soon as there is a problem.
For very small enterprise, there are also do-it-yourself options for you if you are a bit tight on the budget. You can always search for the best video surveillance cameras or any security system that you prefer and buy it on your own and just search the web on how to install and set it up. What matters is you keep your business, your products, and your employees safe from any danger that may arise.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, more than 2 million households are robbed in the US every year. This means that someone breaks into a house about every thirteen seconds. This is one of the reasons why home security systems have been invented. With the technological advancements in the present time, this tech is now designed with more features and gadgets that offer the protection that you need for your entire house.
A home security system consists of security cameras, a DVR system, and a control panel to make all these parts work together. Expensive gadgets come with built-in Wi-Fi cameras, making it less complicated when it comes to wiring between the control system and visuals. The systems become more advanced through the years, adding more features like motion detection, night vision cameras, and wireless cloud storage capabilities.
These new devices are even compatible with your smart phones, keeping you updated and notified about the security of your house round-the-clock. It allows you to watch any part of your home anywhere you are. But, before we go and get a home security system to protect your house, there are things that we need to consider. In choosing a home security system, be sure you go for the package that includes security cameras, DVR, video cables, and power supply cables. The DVR system should have all the wires needed to connect the cameras and monitors.
To make the search easier, here are 12 things you should consider before signing off on any tech purchase.
- The difference between a Wireless and Hardwired Home Security System. You need to understand the difference between the two. With a wireless security system, there will be no cables to run other than the electrical cords on the control panel. You can install a wireless security system and save a few bucks on installation fees because you can do it yourself. For hardwired systems, these usually require you to do a lot of drilling on the walls to run the cables and connect everything to your home’s circuit breaker. This will also require the services of a professional installer.
- Home Security Systems vs. Burglar Alarms. These two are totally different. Burglar alarms use sensors on doors and windows that will notify you or the police if someone entered your house without authorization. A home system has more benefits. It does not only alert you if there’s a burglar, but it can also notify you if there’s a fire or even when there’s a flood. Always make sure you know what you’re getting with the security system you’re planning to set up and see the features are suited to your specific needs.
- Compare different security providers. Get at least three or four quotes from well-established companies that offer system installation and monitoring. You can also check the company’s ratings with the Better Business Bureau. A quick online search and scanning local discussion boards about security services will also give you a good idea about other people’s experience with various firms. A personal recommendation from a family member or friend is also valuable.
- Power Outages. Most of the security systems continue to function even when there is a power outage. Traditional home security systems are low in energy, so it doesn’t use much power to keep the system running. Also, most systems include a backup battery. If you live in an area that’s prone to power outages, such as those exposed to storms more often, having this tech as part of your system is important.
- Solar-powered security systems. You can opt for security systems that are solar-powered, but they can be more expensive than regular ones. You can use this for just an outdoor security camera or use it for the entire home security system. The investment will be worth it in the long run.
- Consider the size. There is no one-size-fits-all design when it comes to your home’s security. A compact system may be okay for a small apartment or condos. However, if you’re trying to secure a larger house, you need a network that can handle more information and monitoring. A larger coverage also means a more comprehensive assessment of your safety needs, so it’s probably best to get in touch with a security expert to make sure you don’t overlook anything.
- For those interested in setting up surveillance cameras, you need to understand the difference between live videos and recorded videos. Do you want to watch a live feed of what’s happening at home while you’re gone? Or would you prefer to just watch a recording? IP cameras feature live feeds because they can be directly connected to the Internet while a DVR system lets you watch video recordings later on. IP systems can also be viewed in real-time using your smartphone, tablet, or PC, even if you’re miles away.
- Invest in a good quality camera. Webcams from retail stores will not get the job done if you are serious about setting up your home security system. These cameras are typically designed for video chatting. Look for dome cameras, instead. Also, consider the type of images it generates, whether it’s black and white, colored, or infrared. Consider the quality of the photos and the view range. How many cameras would you need to cover the entire home? How high-quality would you like the images to be? Take note of the optional features for the cameras such as motion detectors, night vision, face detection, audio and video recording, and if it’s weatherproof.
- The contract. You need to understand what’s included in your contract. Some security companies may offer you add-on services or devices, so you need to know exactly what you need and what’s covered by the contract you signed up for. Ask about the monthly charges, installation and monitoring fees. How long is the contract? Can you terminate it any time?
- Security Upgrades. There are some easy security upgrades that you can do by yourself, in addition to your installed network. Make sure to lock all your doors and windows and install a deadbolt as reinforcement. Placing motion sensors outside can also be of great help; same with having dogs and “beware of dog” signs.
- Monitoring. Home security systems come with a monitor that allows the displaying of multiple screens at the same time, with each screen showing its view through a separate channel. The monitor can either be connected using video cables, or if you are using a Wi-Fi-based security system you can monitor channels using your computer through a web browser and a dedicated IP address.
- Asset protection devices. You can protect your valuables by installing devices that have asset protection. If your valuables have been tampered, like if your jewelry box or safe had been opened or moved, this will send you an alert.
Keeping our house secure is one the most crucial concerns that deserve our attention. We always want to make sure that we have the best system installed for our sake and our families’. A good home security system is something we should consider getting to protect all our valuable assets.
Networking via social media is one of the newest and most popular ways of interacting with people around the globe. About 35 percent of adults have accounts with at least one social networking website and there are those who have multiple accounts on different platforms. In a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 89 percent use these sites to catch up and communicate with friends, 57 percent do so to set plans with friends, and 49% to meet new people.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, and Instagram are just some of the top networking sites that connect people around the world. Sometimes we become too excited to share our thoughts, feelings, and important events. It has become a habit for us to share details about our daily lives. But when do we set a limit on what we share about our selves, our families, and friends?
In the same Pew Research Center study, about 40 percent of users have public access to their online profiles, which allows anyone to view all their information posted. The 60 percent have limited access. Sharing your personal information online can be dangerous because there are certain things that should never be announced. Here are 10 things that you should include on your “never share” list.
- Your Full Date of Birth. While it is a great feeling to be showered with lots of birthday wishes posted on your Facebook page, posting your complete date of birth on your profile can make it easier for identity thieves and online scammers to get one of the most important information about you. Your birth date might be used to steal your identity and open accounts under your name.
- Your Location. Many people may not realize that when you post a tweet or a status update, you can also reveal your current location. Sharing where you are exactly can be risky because it signals to potential thieves that you are not home. This also covers your photos and “check-ins” that have been geotagged. Geotagging reveals the location of a photo that you just posted. Your phone may record the location of the pictures without your knowledge. Make sure to check the privacy settings of your profile because that innocent post from your getaway might give the thieves an idea to rob your house because you’re not home.
- Pictures of your kids or your friend’s kids tagged with their names. Now, this topic can be very sensitive. For users who don’t restrict their profile, the photos you share on social networking sites are there for the public to see. The sad thing is there are a lot of online predators who use these sites to stalk their prey. To ensure your children’s safety, you can opt to share these photos with a selected group only like your family, trusted friends, and co-workers.
- Your complete home address. Again, you never know who might be lurking at your profile. Don’t share this information because it will make it easier for people with bad intentions to get to you. By sharing your address, you are doing identity thieves a favor by giving them the information they can use to impersonate you and take out loans and purchase items under your name.
- Your phone number. Yes, you might consider publishing this on your profile, so your friends can contact you. However, imagine if your phone number goes into the wrong hands. It is possible that your location can be tracked using a reverse lookup tool which is readily available on the Internet. If you really want your friends to know your contact number, you can contact them directly or send them a private message instead of posting it on your public profile.
- Relationship status. Posting your status in your profile can signal your stalkers, especially when you post stuff that you’re alone at home, etc. You can be mysterious, instead, and just put “It’s Complicated” or don’t include anything about your lovelife, at all.
- Private Conversations. Most social media sites have a feature where you can send personal or private messages. Personal matters should never be shared on your Facebook Timeline. The same goes for taking a screenshot of your exchange. This is part of your social networking etiquette. There’s really no official guideline for these things but you can be the best judge. If it’s something that you find uncomfortable sharing, then you shouldn’t post it on your wall.
- Social Plans or travel plans. You shouldn’t be sharing this information because this again signals to criminals that you won’t be home, giving them an opportunity to rob your house. While it can be nice and fun to share your vacation photos as they happen, you can wait until you’re back home to upload your vacation photos, instead. Also, sharing your social plans can pose some security issues. What if a jealous ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend knows that you’re out on a date and would suddenly show up and cause a scene?
- Embarrassing things that you don’t want to be shared with anyone. This is where the saying “think before you click” applies. Before you post anything, think: would I want my family, friends or co-workers to see this? If not, then don’t post it.
- Information about your job or work-related projects. Talking about work-related stuff online is not a good idea. Even if it’s just an innocent status about how frustrated you are about a project can provide information to your competitors and use it as a leverage against your company or business. Any information about your company’s plans for a project or anything at all should be kept private.
Always keep in mind that not everything that happens in your life ought to be shared online. Posting personal and confidential information can put your life, your families’ or your friends’ lives at risk. While it is fun to share about what’s going on, it is best to choose and limit what you post. Better yet, secure your privacy settings so that everything you post will be viewable only by a select number of people – but even THAT isn’t totally foolproof. We should know when to draw the line. It is better to be safe than be sorry.
It’s an unfortunate fact that many people still get victimized by thieving crooks. These fraudsters often integrate old tricks and new technology to entice people to send personal information or their hard-earned cash.
You’ll never know when they’ll strike, but chances are you’ve already had a fair share of questionable posts on social media, fake online ads, ambiguous phone calls, and fraudulent emails. You got lucky if you’ve avoided one or two of these scammers, but don’t get too comfortable. Learn how to outsmart scammers using these ten tips below.
- Avoid Money Transfers
Unless you’re sure of the person’s identity, let’s say you’ve made arrangements with a family member or a close friend, don’t wire cash. Electronic transfers are really convenient but don’t go on sending money to people without confirming who they are first. Additionally, don’t send partial refunds from “secret shopper” or “overpayment” checks.
- Don’t be a Serial “Clicker”
You know those links in your inbox that don’t seem to have a purpose but demand you click them anyway? Do not click them.
Unsolicited links are a dime a dozen on social media these days, and sadly, a friend of yours might have “sent” it to you. Never trust the sender even if you know him/her personally. If you must click, confirm if it was intentional. While you’re waiting for a response, simply ignore the link.
- Get a Security Software
Anti-virus software has its uses, but it’s better to choose products that offer internet security, preferably ones that integrate with your current browser.
Make sure that your software is working properly by keeping it updated, so it automatically informs you of malware. When you receive a warning indicating that your device is infected, check the source. If it doesn’t come from the software you installed, ignore it. This might be a phishing scheme and could be the reason why you got your personal information exposed.
- Beware of Charity Scams
Money collectors aren’t confined to doorsteps anymore — they’re online as well. What’s worse is that not all of them are legit; some use charities to siphon money from you.
If you want to donate, do so personally, or give the charity or non-profit organization a call to confirm if the panhandler or collector is one of their own. If you spot collection boxes in stores, confirm if it’s genuine first before dropping cash in it. You don’t want your money wasted, do you?
- Allow Yourself to Think
Don’t be hasty when making decisions, no matter how enticing the offer is, or how persuasive an offer seems. Often, sales reps will insist you purchase something on the spot to acquire a discount but don’t fall for these tricks.
Remember that a genuine offer from a salesperson will give you time to think before you make a purchase. Although, there are those limited-time offers that pop up once in a while. If you’re really so into a product or service, confirm first. Don’t stress about it. It takes seconds to get a company’s contact information, so choose to spend time confirming the offer rather than falling into regrets later on.
- Take Care of Your Personal Info
Legitimate companies never ask for sensitive information unless you initiated it. Come to think of it; even online banking services don’t ask for your PIN upon logging in — you have an entirely different password. For online purchases, use established services like PayPal, debit or prepaid cards, or one-off credit card numbers. Also, check the address line for an “https.” If a website is without an “s,” avoid it.
- Avoid Buying from People You Don’t Know or Whose Credibility isn’t Verified
This one is a bit tricky, considering most transactions happen online these days. But it’s an undeniable fact that there a lot of questionable websites and online sellers. Good thing you can do a quick credibility check — simple Google search ought to do the job. Better yet, trust bigger sites whose names have been trusted for years now.
Should you choose lesser known sites, always seek references and get feedback from people who have bought from them.
- Avoid Paying for Something That Offers You Earning Opportunities
If you’re one of those people who prefer to seek job opportunities online, don’t spend money upfront. Your goal is to earn cash, so paying for it simply defeats the purpose. It’s not like you’re trying to invest in a business, wherein you’re expected to have a capital. Money-making opportunities online hire workers that they pay, not the other way around. Legit online work doesn’t ask you to pay for training supplies or kits. That’s just sketchy.
- Don’t Believe in Something Without Verification
Or don’t believe that someone is who they say they are unless you know them personally. You might receive a phone call or an email asking to visit your house, maybe to introduce you to a new product or do maintenance check-ups. Confirm their identity first before agreeing to the visitation.
Always ask for an identification card or any proof that they represent a legit company or important person. If they arrive at your doorstep without warning, don’t let them in. Remember that visitations from a company do a follow-up first, or a confirmation that you agree to see any of their representatives. They don’t just appear out of nowhere. This should be your first red flag.
- Always Ask What the Catch is
Offers too good to be true shouldn’t really exist. After all, everybody wants to earn, and they all have a motive. You might spot a bargain that’s hard to resist, but these offers are often bogus and cannot be trusted.
An exception, though, is if you know the seller well. A legit offer always has a catch. Do not be afraid to ask what this is. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Fraudsters are getting increasingly sophisticated and smarter in their attempts to get your personal information and money. It wouldn’t hurt to be extra vigilant instead of feeling sorry in the end.
Now that we are at the peak of the computer age, many homeowners are already considering a new trend that enhances security to keep their dwellings safe and secure. While the traditional bolt, lock, and key combination that has long been protecting our homes continue to serve its purpose to keep intruders out, some homeowners are now considering a more technologically-advanced security option: smart locks.
As the name implies, smart locks are home security devices with wireless control integrated into them. However, because the technology has yet to become common knowledge, we have gathered five things you should know before procuring one for your home.
- Smart locks offer more efficiency and control.
While your old, reliable deadbolt may continue to serve its purpose, having smart locks could also prove to be a good decision, especially if you’re looking for better efficiency and control. Even during this modern age, many consider the traditional padlock and key-locked bolts as the best choice for keeping unwanted guests from entering their home. This is despite the number of breaking-and-entering cases that have been recorded over the years.
Although smart lock manufacturers do not guarantee zero incidents, their products do have advantages.
For one, smart locks make doors easier to close and open, especially when you get home with your hands full. This is done through wireless connectivity. The technology works well with smart phones as the locks detect Bluetooth signals from the device, the same as way as surveillance cameras.
It also allows more convenience, thanks to software that controls the locks from the homeowner’s mobile phone. It can be used even when you are away from the house. This function also works when the owner is already inside by closing the doors remotely.
On top of that, some smart lock software also include an added security feature that shows the user which doors are still open and provides them with the choice to close it remotely. Others also alert users when a door is being opened by an unwanted guest or if a wrong key code, PIN, or digital key is being entered.
- Not all smart locks are the same.
Smart lock manufacturers offer a wide range of products that have varying methods of entry. This includes those that require a PIN code for access, biometric fingerprint scan, and even a proximity card.
There are also types of smart locks that go with varying wireless protocols that potential smart lock buyers should know about to determine which one goes well with their neighborhood.
Those with Wi-Fi in their home have a wide range of options. The advantage of having a smart lock with this type of protocol is the extensive control it offers the user from anywhere, as long as there is an Internet connection. However, this protocol requires additional hardware that could cost more than the other systems. It also burns out the locks’ batteries faster compared to the ones using Bluetooth.
Bluetooth smart locks use up less energy, helping homeowners save on the cost of batteries and the effort in changing them. Unfortunately, this kind of smart lock protocol has a limited range compared to Wi-Fi.
On that note, some smart lock manufacturers offer a third type called the Z-Wave. Smart locks that use this kind need a Z-Wave-compatible hub that looks a lot like a Wi-Fi router. This serves as a translator for the smart lock and Wi-Fi. It doesn’t allow any direct link to the user’s smartphone.
The good news is, it has a wider range than Bluetooth. The bad news, you’ll have to buy another set of hardware to use it.
- Smart locks offer a solution to lost-key and locked-out incidents.
Aside from wireless connectivity, smart locks also offer freedom from unexpected incidents, like when the owners lose the key to their house or get locked out when they accidentally leave the keys inside. The “digital key” feature prevents these from happening.
On top of that, experts say that some smart lock brands offer homeowners an option to give “digital keys” to family members, friends, and other guests who frequent their homes. A similar feature has proven itself useful for establishments that offer temporary lodging, like hotels and apartments, where they use proximity cards to give clients access to the rooms they are renting out.
- Smart locks should go with your traditional deadbolt.
While smart locks do provide extensive convenience and control over the doors of your home, experts still believe that it is best to pair it with a deadbolt system for better security. After all, it is best not to overlook physical security to avoid any untoward incidents.
Choose a quality bolt that is sturdy enough to withstand even powerful physical attacks, such as kicking and smashing. You should also consider deciding to go with one that can survive through basic lock-picking, at the very least, and install it properly with the smart lock of your choice.
- Smart locks are not foolproof.
With all the hype attached to this new technology, it is easy to forget that smart locks do not guarantee zero burglaries. In fact, having this Internet-based security for your home has created another issue for homeowners to worry about: cybersecurity.
According to a security consultant, certain smart lock devices are vulnerable to technical issues. In fact, he was able to hack 12 out of 16 smart locks sent to him for testing. Even so, tech experts do not necessarily think locks are totally unsecure, explaining that it is only a matter of choosing the right brand or manufacturer to trust. On top of that, experts from a lock manufacturing company explained that usual burglars won’t go about hacking the technologically-advanced security hardware and would instead choose a simpler method, like kicking down the door or breaking a window, when attempting a burglary.
Even so, it is best to pair these smart locks with the traditional, sturdy deadbolts that can withstand the excessive use of force. It is also worth noting that smart locks work best when used with a complete security system that includes surveillance cameras, motion detectors, and house alarms.
With summer lurking right around the corner, people are starting to plan for a vacation to get away from the usual hustle and bustle of school and work.
Summer vacations are the absolute best. However, it will be a whole lot better if your mind is at ease after you’ve made all the necessary preparations to keep your home safe, secure, and ready for anything that may happen while you’re away.
Here are 10 ways to prepare your home for your time away during the summer:
- Make sure your house is clean and clear, both inside and out. With all the excitement that comes with planning a summer vacation, it is common to forget removing the filth that has accumulated throughout the years from their houses. Because of this, experts say it is important to allow time for power washing your home’s wall surfaces, clearing the gutters, and cleaning the windows during the pre-summer vacation planning, so that they would last longer.
- Ensure the doors and locks are properly functioning and closed when you leave. It is always best to double check all locks and doors before leaving your home for the summer. All possible points of entry should be assessed for any damages to avoid any mishaps while you’re away. Checking whether the garage door is functioning well should also be on top of your To-Do list before you head out— even if it’s only for a short period of time— to prevent any form burglary from happening.
- Never leave your windows open even when you are home. Some people tend to leave their windows ajar at night to let the cool air in and dispel the summer heat. However, experts advise against it. After all, there are better ways to cool down without tempting thieves into making your home their next target.
- Have an alarm system installed. Installing an alarm system should be a requisite for any homeowner. It will serve both as an alert to neighbors in case of a burglary and as a way of scaring off the thieves from breaking and entering into your house. It would also be best to put up a sign on your yard, door or window, stating that such security system is installed in the house to discourage potential intruders from even thinking about targeting your home.
- Make sure someone mows the lawn even when you’re away. An overgrown lawn is an obvious sign that no one is home. This might cause burglaries and other unwanted incidents to occur. Having the lawn trimmed at least once every two weeks is advisable for people who plan to go on an out-of-the-city vacation for an extended time. Also, ensure that the person you hire to do this task is trustworthy, so you can also have him or her walk through your house to check if everything is in order whenever he or she visits.
- Be cautious about what you post on the Internet. Social media is a powerful tool that can bring about positive results as well as unfortunate incidents. Sharing about your travels for the summer is not a bad idea as long as you remember not to do it publicly. This is because posting your whereabouts for anyone to see might let the wrong people know that your house is empty. To avoid any unwanted attention, apply necessary precautions by selecting the appropriate options on your social media accounts’ security and privacy settings.
- Set the timers on your appliances and lights or have someone you trust to turn them on while you’re away. A dark house in the middle of the night is an indicator that nobody is home. Although people are not closely monitoring your abode, they are bound to notice if the lights are always off for a long period of time. Security experts say it is best to set timers for your lights and appliances— like your radio or television— to switch on at night time. If your home electronics do not have such functions, you can ask your trusted neighbor to switch them on and off while you’re away.
- Put your regular subscriptions and mail on temporary hold. Mail and newspapers piling up on the lawn is another indicator that nobody is home. This is why experts advise those who are planning to go on a lengthy summer trip to put those subscriptions on hold. Some subscriptions offer special services where the customer may opt for their mail to be temporarily sent to their vacation house. In the event that you failed to do this before going out, you can always contact your neighbor or a person you trust to take the mail from your lawn to keep them from piling up.
- Invest in pest control and remove shrubs and trees that might block windows and doors. Remove all plants and trees that might provide potential hiding places for thieves so you don’t encourage them to target your house. Also, make sure to use pest control in your home. Most people might think that thieves are the only ones they need to protect their house from, but, believe it or not, pests pose an equal threat to people’s properties. Make sure to invest in pest control to avoid termites and carpenter ants from getting to your things.
- Entrust your home to someone you know well. While electronic devices such as alarm systems might effectively deter burglars from taking your belongings, having another person watch over your abode is still the best option to keep it safe and secure while you’re out on vacation. It can be your neighbor or a distant relative, as long as this individual can be left in charge of securing the home and maintaining the cleanliness of the building while you’re away.
Those living in subdivisions or gated communities can also alert the security staff and local police, especially if your vacation lasts longer than a week. This way, law enforcers can drive by your house more often while they are on patrol to make sure that everything is the way it should be.
The Internet has made it much easier for people to communicate with each other. Even if you are located at opposite sides of the world, you can exchange information, send files, and even money in mere seconds. This level of speed and convenience has truly changed the way we live. However, it has also opened up our lives to an entirely different set of risks and dangers.
Crime and criminal intentions have not changed; they only become more sophisticated, along with the advancement of technology. As new methods of protection are developed, criminals also upgrade their “skills” and look for unique ways to get their hands on your private information. The methods of attack and the tools they use vary. They can be in the form of malicious software and other types of exposure discreetly installed into your computer or those ingenious phishing scams that come from strange parts of the world (where justice can’t easily reach).
When Are You Exposed?
The most popular routes that will make you vulnerable to online security threats include shopping online, accessing social media networks, and checking email. Generally, as long you as you keep using the Internet and clicking those strange links, you place yourself at a position of vulnerability. While we cannot stop the threats from coming entirely, there are ways to protect and make ourselves less likely to become victims. First is by knowing the most popular schemes criminals use to bait people into giving their private data online. Here are 10 of them.
- Nigerian Scam
This is one of the most popular and arguably oldest scams online. You get an email, private message, or mail sent by a prince or a representative of an ultra-wealthy family from Nigeria (or other parts of Africa). In the letter, he or she will ask for your help in retrieving a large amount of money from a foreign bank. It will say that you only need to pay for the initial legal and processing fees; in exchange, he or she will give you a huge commission.
Because the amount reaches hundreds of millions, people are naturally curious and attracted. You will then be lured into sending more money for additional fees, services, and whatnot. You will even receive actual papers to supposedly prove that payments or transfers have been made. In the end, you’ve released a chunk of your money and do not get anything in return. The “family” is nowhere to be found and no messages will be acknowledged.
- Phishing Email Scam
This is usually done via email or a DM on social networks. You get a message that will trick you into providing your passwords, bank account details, social security number, and more. This message will seem like it came from an official source, like your bank, and will ask you to “update” your information. If not, they will give you an “urgent” situation and tell you your account is under threat or their site has been compromised and you need to change your details immediately.
However, close inspection will show you a slight difference in the URL (like a missing letter or an added character) or the absence of the “https://” (which indicates that it is encrypted). These little changes are easy to overlook, especially if you’re not Internet savvy. Before you know it, criminals have access to your financial details and you are left with zero in the bank or a whopping credit card bill.
- Guaranteed Bank Loan or Pre-approved Credit Card Scam
When you’re in a financial rut, it’s very easy to fall prey to offers of a loan or a pre-approved credit card line. If you suddenly receive a message that guarantees you a huge amount of money from the bank, don’t jump up and down just yet. Common sense will help you judge if it’s the real deal or not. Better yet, give your bank a call (don’t send an email to an address that the message gave you) and verify. While it looks pretty obvious that this is a scam, some people are not aware and could find themselves paying for “processing fees” for a loan that does not exist.
- Lottery Scam
You will get an email or mail telling you that you’ve won a large sum of money. However, to claim your prize, you will need to pay for transfer fees, legal fees, and other related costs. Even if you didn’t buy any lottery tickets in the first place, some of these raffle scams will say that you have been randomly selected out of millions because you went to so-and-so website. Do not be a victim.
- Greeting Card Scam
We always see this in our spam emails. You get a e-greeting card supposedly from your friend and you just have to open it to view the personal message. The moment you click, malicious software enters your system discreetly. It can be in the form of those annoying pop-up ads that spring up at random times or ransomware, which hijacks your computer and promises to re-open access to you if you pay them a certain amount of money. Having a specialized security program installed in your computer can help ward off these dangerous malware. Better yet, make it a habit to never click anything without verifying first, even if it’s from a friend.
- Romance Scam
This happens on social networks, chat groups, and dating sites. The male scammers will usually be from Africa while the females will normally be from Europe (although they can really come from anywhere). Because we are so attracted by the other person online, we tend to set judgment aside and go with feeling. This is where the scam is anchored on.
It can take weeks to months for that person to gain your trust, until one day he or she will have an “emergency” and will need your help with money. Another scheme is that he or she is already rich and has been “kidnapped.” Because you’ve invested a lot of your time getting to know this person, you naturally think you already have a “connection” and send what’s needed. After the transfer is made, you won’t hear from him or her again. Worse, the scammer could do this to you repeatedly.
- Hitman Scam
The hitman extortion scam preys on your fear. You will get a message that says somebody is trying to get you killed and that you can negotiate payment with the hitman to keep yourself safe. To create the impression of a real threat, the message will go as far as collecting information about you from your social media network, blog, or anywhere else your information might be public.
- Fake Antivirus Scam
This scam stirs up your fear of being hacked online. You will often see a message of this sort “Your computer has been infected! Download this antivirus right now!” Plenty of popups in certain sites also claim to know that your PC has been compromised and ask you to click and download a certain software as protection. Don’t be lured into the scare tactics and always treat things like these as a hoax. For your protection, set your computer up with a good and reputable antivirus product — not those you see lurking around sites or sending spam to your emails.
Majority of these online scams are either playing upon your fear of a security breach or your need to be more financially secure. If you receive a message that offers you money in exchange for something (a small fee or your personal information), run the other way and click that X button immediately. You might also get a random email offering non-existent job openings in a variety of companies, where you will again be asked to key your personal details and financial data in to view the “full suite” of offers.
Thus, the general rule when judging scams online is: if it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t.
Whether you have your own business or work for a company, part of the job is making sure that everyone on site has a healthy and safe environment to operate in. As much as we work to ensure our security at home, so should we make an effort to do the same for the office. This is not just for the safety of the people in it but also to keep the investment on information, equipment and goods intact. Having the right measures in place can also help prevent theft and the unauthorized entry. Security and safety are integral elements of a workplace, so company owners and officers should take the time to create a program and implement regular checks to maintain the peace.
When operating an office, aside from physical security, the last thing you want to happen is a data breach. Information security is as much an issue in many workplaces, particularly now that everything’s moving online. In fact, research shows that American companies spent some $6 million in the past year to cope with the effects of data security breaches alone. With so many threats, how does an office deal? Here are 10 ways to ensure that people, property, and information are secure.
- Keep the workplace clean and organized.
Whether it’s a desk job or a warehouse setup, keeping the workplace neat and tidy helps prevent any accidents to person and property. By making sure that everything is in its place, you get to spot the any inconsistencies immediately and assess its impact on safety. This includes keeping stuff off the floor, putting personal items stashed out of sight, and keeping all possible distractions to a minimum. An organized workplace allows for a systematic movement of tasks, thus improving productivity in the process.
- Have sufficient lighting and ventilation.
By properly lighting your office, you not only create better working conditions for your staff, you also deter outsiders from trying to break in. It also makes it easier for everyone to spot the not. By lighting all areas, you also provide additional security for employees who enter and leave the premises at nighttime. Add to that a well-planned ventilation system to make the environment healthy and comfortable for your people and to protect the integrity of your machines.
- Report any injury or illness, as well as unsafe conditions or acts, immediately.
If there is anything out of place or somebody gets sick on the job, these should be reported immediately. No matter how minor the illness or injury is. This is why every office should have a medical professional on staff or at least have easy access to medical help nearby. These include near misses, as well, so the team can build on lessons learned and devise better ways to prevent them.
- Secure all entrances and provide a clear and easy route to exits.
Issue key cards or ID badges to staff so only they can access the workplace. You can install a door access kit or a digital code system to ensure that anybody who doesn’t work there cannot enter and must approach reception to sign in and be issued a visitor’s badge. This way, you can track who goes in and out, as well as the times that they did. Meanwhile, all exits should be readily accessible at all times, and alarms and fire extinguisher boxes should never be blocked. The office should conduct regular checks on emergency exits and equipment to ensure they are in working condition.
- Have a good security system installed.
Install a security system that not only sets off an alarm in the event of a breach or an emergency situation, but also one that alerts the police in case of break-ins. The password to this system should be given only to a select few staff and it should be changed on a regular basis. This also includes setting up a CCTV system at all entrances, exits, and sensitive areas. If you can afford to place cameras everywhere, by all means do so. Don’t forget to include stairwells and hallways.
- Make sure that all employees know of your security and emergency protocols.
Conduct regular seminars about safety protocols and rules so that everybody on staff knows what to do and what not to do. Simply posting procedures on the wall or sending out emails will not suffice, because not everybody takes the time to thoroughly read — and that’s work on top of what they are already doing. Better yet, conduct drills so people can practice what to do in case of an emergency. When a company policy changes, be sure everybody knows about it, as well. This way, when a security procedure is practiced, everybody does it correctly and will start feeling safer at work.
- Use various tools to keep your tech from being stolen.
Majority of workplaces are reliant on technology and tech equipment, which will be very costly if damaged or stolen. Because laptops and computers contain vast amounts of data about your company, you should take extra precautionary measures to prevent them and their contents from leaving the premises. You can use security clamps or security footwear to make sure things stay where they are and that you know if somebody is trying to take anything out.
- Set up a password system to prevent data breaches.
Install a password for all equipment that contain sensitive company and client data. Whatever business you are engaged in, it is absolutely crucial to keep all files and documents safe. Having a password will help keep the information secure. Just make sure to change it regularly.
- Be attentive and alert at all times.
Be alert and awake in the workplace. By being conscious of the people around you and what they are doing, you can help spot things that might be a threat. You should also be aware of the hazards you might bring to the workplace.
- Bring in a professional to assess your readiness.
To ensure that your business or workplace is compliant with all local laws and that all possible weak areas are covered, it’s best to bring in a security professional to assess your area’s readiness for any emergency. A pro will also know how to spot potential threats, sometimes even those that you might not think can pose a danger. He or she can point out better ways to position your security system, or suggest more efficient ways to carry out emergency procedures. By taking the time to ensure your workplace’s safety and security, you make your environment a better place to be in.
With the billions of websites online, and more being created every minute, it’s difficult for parents to rely simply on generic parental control systems to make sure their kids don’t access suspicious sites. Often, even with strict settings in place, kids already know how to get around restrictions and can hack into systems or figure out a way to bypass them.
Thus, instead of just putting all your faith in the power of software to filter what your kids see online, it’s better to deal with it at the core. Sit down with them and have them understand the importance of Internet safety so they know how to protect themselves even when you’re not around.
Discussing Online Safety With Teens
Because many teens like going on social media sites, entering online message boards, and engaging with strangers in chat rooms, they are potentially at risk. Worse, the kids don’t really realize the possible amount of danger they are in because they think they are just talking to people who are the same age as them. However, we all know that online predators make it a point to act on the level of children, even pretending to be kids themselves, to earn their trust.
Here are the reasons why that big talk about online safety should be on the table now.
- Your child might not know about the dangers.
When kids chat online, all they know is that they are talking with people who share the same interests as them — and that it’s fun. They won’t suspect that the other person might be an adult posing as a child or something just looking to obtain sensitive information about your family. Expect some resistance at first, because your teen will definitely “defend” his or her friends thinking that they’re real. Even if they are, it’s still smart to let them know of the possible risks so they can be extra careful.
- It’s your job, as the parent.
As parent, it is your responsibility to protect your child and guide him or her to the right path. It’s your job to lay the rules down at home, so how they use the Internet shouldn’t be any different. While you don’t need to ban online message boards, chat rooms, or social network sites, be sure that your teen is aware of the rules and understand what they are for.
- It lets kids be more comfortable with opening up to you.
Talking to your child about Internet safety in a calm manner is likely to make him or her more comfortable discussing about activities online, compared to using a confrontational, authoritative approach. Keeping your communication lines open and welcoming increases the chances of him or her coming to you first whenever they get into trouble on the Internet.
- You can teach them what to do in certain situations.
Being able to discuss all possible scenarios that may endanger your teen online makes it easier for him or her to spot them before things go haywire. This part of the talk should include the right way to use the Internet and how to behave in social networking sites and chat groups. Let them know that they should never ever disclose personal information or share photos, as well as to tell you immediately if somebody is harrassing them online. Also instruct your teen to save all exchanges (and not to delete them) until you or the authorities can investigate.
Here are the five things that kids and teens should always remember when they go online. Be sure to include these when you explain online security to them.
- Keep your social media acounts private and don’t add people you don’t know. Your kid’s Friends list should be restricted to real-life friends and family only. Even if they’ve been chatting with certain people on the message boards for weeks or months already, that doens’t make them a friend.
- Don’t post anything on the Internet that you don’t want the world to see. Whatever’s posted online can be shared millions of times and reach predatory individuals. Even if you’ve already deleted the source, someone somewhere might have saved it or taken a screenshot.
- Never give out your contact details and address. According to the Federal Trade Commission, even those little clues like the name of the sports team your child is a member of or what school he or she attends are enough to give predators a chance reach out.
- Never agree to meet in person with someone you met on the Internet. Emphasize to your child that he or she doesn’t know who these people really are and predators can easily assume a fake identity.
- If it doesn’t look or feel right, tell your parents or a trusted adult. If your teen thinks something is suspicious or if he or she sees something upsetting on the Internet, tell an adult at once. Also report the incident to the website your child is using so the administrator can take it down immediately.
Pick a good time to talk to your teen about his or her online activities. Ranting right away about their use and about the dangers can only escalate into a disagreement and cause your teen to withdraw further away from you. Instead, just calmly ask them during a casual conversation or right after they use the Internet if they know about being safe online and understand what they need to do if they feel they are in danger. This way, you get to provide valuable information while sounding less like an overbearing parent.
Every business needs to have a security system set in place. Even if your store is located inside an already secure area, like a mall or a corporate center, you still need to apply measures that are specific to you to reinforce your safety. The point is, you can’t really be profitable if you can’t protect your assets.
Fortunately for small business owners, advances in technology have made it possible and affordable to obtain a solid security system. Some even let you view your store in real-time while others automatically call the local police in the even of a threat. Developments have made it more efficient to record and store footage, as well. Whether you need a system that just covers your small floor area or multiple locations, there’s a solution that can be tailor-fit for you.
This is the most important element to consider when shopping for a surveillance camera. You want one that delivers a sharp image so you can properly identify faces and items, so go for at least 720p HD. This is basically an IP camera. If you’re going to spend on any part of your unit, this is the first one on the priority list because you will need identifiable images.
- Indoor or outdoor use
Will you be using it inside or outside? Some cameras are designed to be used only indoors, but if you’re looking to position it at your storefront or side roads, you will need a unit that’s water- and weatherproof. Be sure to find out what level of protection you need and where your camera will be located so you can find the best fit.
There are different models of security cameras, each with its own unique set of features. The most popular ones are bullet cams, which are those rectangular boxes mounted on walls. You might also want to consider dome cameras, which are ceiling-mounted and come with a tinted dome cover. PTZs, or pan-tilt-zoom cameras, have remote control features so you can adjust the field of vision easily. Choose a camera based on the size of your space and your security needs.
- Frame rate
This key element determines who smooth your video will look. The general rule is the higher the frame rate, the better the quality. Cameras with low frame rates often result in choppy footage or stills. As a point of reference, when you talk about “real-time” footage, that usually means 30 frames/second.
This is optional, but if you’re going to go all out on your surveillance camera, go for one that does audio pick-up. There are also models that have a two-way radio feature, so the people at either ends of the screen can talk to each other as long as they are within the camera’s line of vision.
You need a camera that offers great lighting and can see in dim or dark conditions. The more infrared LEDs that a camera has, the better it can see in the dark. If you have extra valuable items or equipment in storage, then seeing in the dark is a priority. Go for the camera with plenty of IR LEDs.
- Storage capacity
If you have a video recorder, you will need a camera that has the capacity to store large amounts of footage and do so for an extended period. Some cameras can archive footage for months, depending on the quality of there resolution, if there’s an audio feature, and more. If you have multiple cameras shooting in HD, you will need a unit that has lots of space. Otherwise, you can just set your camera up to overwrite the oldest one once the system’s capacity has been filled up.
- Camera compatibility
This should be foremost in your shopping list. Throughout all the features and nifty things a surveillance camera can do, make sure that your video recorder is compatible with your cam. For example, NVRs use IP cams while DVRs work with analog cams. If you’re unsure about technical things like these, consult with your security system installer or seller to find out which options are best for you.
- Expansion plans
Will you need to install more cameras in the future? This should be part of your shopping considerations. You might need only one or two cameras now, but as your business grows and your store expands or changes its layout to accommodate new items, you will have to prepare for a redesign of your security system, as well. For convenience, IP cameras are recommended because they are wireless and easy to install. However, if you have a bigger store, you will need the stability of a wired system with a huge storage capacity to ensure that all nooks and crannies are covered.
Overall, a surveillance camera system benefits your business not just by monitoring theft, but also by boost staff safety and aiding investigations or confirming incidents. In addition, cameras can also help you study your market better and determine customer habits and insights. It help tell you if your store’s layout is ideal for your type of business. By understanding your customer’s in-store experience, you get a better feel of their buying habits, so you can find ways to improve service in the future.