A security system for your business is an essential element to protect your property from trespassing and theft. An intrusion system for a commercial property or a business not only actively protects assets within, it also acts as a strong deterrent for would-be criminals. A properly designed intrusion system will provide complete coverage of the property and also be fully monitored to send signals to a central station when needed so that the authorities are dispatched quickly.
Who Uses Commercial Security Systems?
As businesses navigate an evolving landscape, safeguarding against security threats is a top priority. Cunningham Security provides cutting-edge commercial intrusion detection systems designed to fortify your business against unauthorized access and potential threats. Professional system design is paramount to proper protection. Cunningham leverages decades of experience to secure clients in several industries. Examples of our commercial clients include:
- Banks– Our banking customers include some of the largest banks in Maine. Banks have very specific security requirements that include panic alarms for tellers, ATM alarms, vault alarms such as vibration sensors, and common devices such as motion detectors and door contacts.
- Retail Stores– We secure several retail locations with many specific needs. Customer theft and employee theft are two large areas of concern. Retail locations also need to manage alarm code access as they hire and fire various staff members. Our customers require strong management of user access which can include basic features like updating codes and more advanced requirements such as managed schedules. An example of this would be a proper code entry entered in the middle of the night when the store is closed which could trigger an alert or an alarm. Many retailers also install a camera system with an intrusion system.
- Hospitals– Providing security to hospitals comes with interesting and complex challenges. Different areas of the hospital can have different access levels while other areas are open 24/7. Many hospitals also have access control systems in conjunction with security systems. One common feature of a hospital intrusion system is the monitoring of refrigeration systems which store medicines and vaccines. If the temperature within these systems falls out of the temperature range it can trigger a “trouble signal” so that the central station contacts appropriate managers to address the issue.
- Multifamily Housing Complexes– Multifamily housing complexes need security systems to protect residences. These commonly install access control and video systems to manage security, but intrusion systems are sometimes required. Cunningham also has a video guard service where video feeds can be actively monitored to provide a virtual security guard presence.
- Office Space- Offices may contain valuable equipment, trade secrets, confidential customer information, or even checks or cash. We have many customers protecting either entire office buildings or specific units within a building. We have many systems to implement a customized solution and do not use a “one size fits all” approach.
- Specialty Locations– We also provide security to other specialty locations. These run a wide range from car dealerships to manufacturing facilities to fish markets with live lobsters. Each can require a high degree of nuance and specific requirements that we love to tackle. Security elements can include many design elements such as environment monitoring and even AI-powered video monitoring.
Features of Commercial Security Systems
Commercial security systems can include a wide range of services and sensors. This is why we customize each system to tailor to each client’s need. Here are the features of our commercial intrusion systems:
Central Station Monitoring
Central station monitoring is critical for commercial security. Cunningham uses a high-end central station to make sure that every alarm signal can be handled and dispatched accurately and efficiently. Our central station is UL 2050 listed which is the standard for government and defense facilities. It is also UL 827 and 827B listed which prove certain backup and redundancy features as well as staffing and capacity availability among other things such as certified video monitoring. Our central station is also approved by the FDNY, which has some of the strictest requirements for fire monitoring in the country.
It is not just important that the technology of a central station works great, but also the people. The function of a central station is to notify the authorities if there is an emergency, and also to notify the “call list” that each client provides. Whether there is an emergency or not, each interaction must be handled with care, so that our clients have a true partner in their times of need. Our central station dispatchers are highly trained, multilingual, and calm under pressure. Response times are very fast, with a typical response in about 30 seconds to a minute.
Security systems communicate with a central station via 4 possible methods (usually utilizing only one or two of these).
- Phone Lines- This is the oldest form of communication. A central station can send data over phone lines, just like a fax machine. While this used to be the gold standard of communication, it is fading in reliability. Phone traffic is routed through multiple data centers around the country, even for local dials. This leads to distortion of data that can create missing or errant signals. Phone lines also used to be inexpensive, but since more communication is over IP and cell networks now, a dedicated phone line for an alarm system can cost more in total.
- Cell Communication– This is a reliable form of communication as long as there is a strong enough cell signal. Cell signals get converted to data by cell carriers and delivered to the central station. Cell communication can not be “cut” like a phone line, but it can be jammed by technically sophisticated criminals. This is unlikely and exceedingly uncommon though. There are cell radios that are compatible with every major US carrier.
- IP Data Link (Internet)– Security systems can communicate with a data link. Some systems can utilize a wireless network internally to send signals out, while others must be connected to the modem via an ethernet cord. Either way, an IP connection can be efficient and reliable since the internet is delivered to almost every location in the country at this point. The biggest consideration is during power losses. A backup power supply can be placed on the modem internally, which can still allow an alarm system to send a signal as long as there is an internet connection. Usually backup power is enough to sustain an internet connection but in some rural areas the actual regional “nodes” do not have backup power and the entire internet network can be down for the region. This is not a concern in most areas.
- AES Radio- AES is a proprietary alarm radio that communicates to a data link which then sends signals via IP. The benefit of the radio is that it does not need an internet connection itself, and it can bounce signals from radio to radio until the signal finds the data collection point. The radios each have a pretty significant range of up to 30 miles line of site, and the mesh network they create is a strong method to send signals. Each alarm company owns its specific frequency which must be registered with the FCC. AES radios have been around for decades and are even approved for commercial fire usage, which proves their reliability since the commercial fire code is so stringent.
Remote Monitoring and Management
In an era of remote business operations, having the ability to monitor and manage security systems remotely is imperative. Cunningham Security’s intrusion detection systems offer user-friendly interfaces and mobile applications, providing business owners and security personnel the flexibility to oversee and control the system from any location. We utilize remote management software such as Alarm.com and Alarmnet so that business owners can control their systems remotely. You can also check the status, get information on any sensors that are “faulted” or “in alarm”, arm or disarm the system from anywhere, and control smart devices such as thermostats and door locks. Remote management may also let you manage user codes and access and even view video cameras on-site.
False Alarm Minimization
One common concern with intrusion detection systems is the potential for false alarms. Cunningham Security addresses this challenge by incorporating advanced technology that minimizes false positives, ensuring that alerts are triggered only when there is a genuine threat. This feature enhances the reliability and effectiveness of the intrusion detection system. Proper system design also goes a long way to minimize false alarms. For instance, a motion detector may trip due to an air vent or even viewing motion outside of a window. It is important to design the system to operate the way business owners expect it to.
How Much Does a Commercial Security System Cost?
For a custom-designed system, the price can vary greatly. We do not sell packages or “one-sized” approaches. That being said, a typical system may cost between $1,000 and $10,000 depending on the size and complexity of the property and the design. One factor that influences price includes whether the system is wired or wireless. A wireless system can be much less expensive because it requires fewer labor hours to install since there are no wires to run. However, a wireless system may not be appropriate for every commercial setting. Cunningham applies the following methodology to determine the system price:
- Taking the cost of the equipment and applying a small markup over the wholesale price. We create a plan design, and based upon this price out each sensor as well as the actual panel (the brains of the system) and any wiring and auxiliary devices such as extra power supplies.
- Creating an estimate of the number of labor hours required to install the system. This can be based on many factors such as the size of the space being secured, whether a lift is needed to access high areas, whether a system is wired or wireless, and even the material of a building. Different building construction requires many more or fewer hours to complete a project. The number of devices or “points” on a system is the biggest driver of labor price.
- Adding permitting and other equipment costs. Permits are generally not too expensive for intrusion systems, but commercial building code requires that a permit must be obtained. Other special equipment such as lift devices may increase the cost and are generally passed through without any markup to the customer.
Monitoring prices depend upon the type of system, the type of communication pathway being used, redundant communication pathways, and remote management capabilities. That being said monitoring is generally affordable and starts at $28 per month.
Commercial Security System Devices
Commercial security systems use many of the same devices as residential systems, but also many specialty devices depending upon the application. Here is a list of devices that we commonly utilize as a part of a commercial system:
- Door contacts– these trip if a door is opened.
- Window contacts– these trip if a window is opened.
- Motion detectors– these send out infrared beams that detect if something breaks the plane in a way that indicates movement.
- Glassbreak detectors– these understand the frequency of breaking glass and send an alarm signal if tripped.
- Vibration sensors– these can detect vibration which indicates someone walking on a surface.
- Flood detectors– these detect water in case of a burst pipe or other flooding condition.
- Low temperature sensors– these can warn if the temperature drops below a specified level indicating a problem with the furnace or HVAC system.
- High-temperature sensors– these can indicate if a freezer or refrigerator becomes too warm, spoiling its contents. Also can be used in IT server rooms.
- Low water sensors– these can be used in commercial water tanks to indicate the level has dropped too low.
- Generator sensors– can tell if a generator missed a scheduled test.
- Cameras– these may be added as a separate system or as part of an intrusion system.
- Access control– this can be part of a security system with lots of customizable programming.
- Automation devices– can be used to do a multitude of things such as audio control, thermostats, locks, lighting control, video control, motorized shades, or control automatic doors.
There is a big difference between a residential security system and a commercial system, in that a commercial system can not generally contain fire devices to fire code unless you use one of the few approved dual panels such as a VISTA- 128 FBPT. A commercial fire system is generally considered a separate system in a commercial setting so this list did not include devices like smoke detectors, heat detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors.
If you are interested in a commercial security system from Cunningham Security or you would like an existing system monitored or serviced, please reach out to us for a quote. We currently provide installation and service to Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, as well as other states along the Eastern US. We are happy to consult with you anywhere to help you design the perfect system.