Author Archives: Joseph Pfefer

How to Improve the Security at Your Business

Winter has been brutal and as a result, there is no question you are eagerly waiting for warmer weather to arrive. As temperatures go up, more people are getting out and about, and industries such as food processing, agriculture and construction are seeing an uptick in business. However, warmer weather also results in a less pleasant trend – an increase in crimes of opportunity.

Perhaps there is landscaping or construction equipment that has been left unattended or a building that appears to be easily accessed after business hours because a window was left cracked. Crimes of opportunity, such as vandalism or theft can not only have a serious financial impact, but also affect the security that visitors and employees to the location feel.
Comm_lot
The good news is, there are some simple changes that can be made to help and prevent these crimes of opportunity.
Exterior lighting. Be sure that all the lights on a building are in proper working order and that they are strategically placed to light up areas such as doors, windows, and other access points.

Parking lots. Be sure all parking areas are well-lit and encourage your visitors and employees not to leave any type of valuable item or any item that may look expensive, inside their vehicles.

Windows and doors. It is important for all locks to be in proper working area and employees need to be fully aware of proper lock-up procedures and who is responsible for closing all the windows at the end of the day.

Security systems. Be sure to review and maintain video surveillance systems or alarms, and who should be monitoring and setting them, especially if new employees have been hired.

While these security procedures can make a huge difference in overall business security, it is essential that you stay on top of what is going on and ensure that everyone knows their role in keeping the business safe and free from crime.

Practical Home Security Tips to Help Keep You and Your Family Safe

Even if you have yet to invest in a home security system, there are a number of affordable tactics that can be implemented to help and protect your home. Some practical tips to use are found here.

Identify all the potential risks. Prior to moving to a new area, be sure to connect with people who already live there and determine whether or not the location meets your needs and expectations. Even though it may seem safe, you should not be misled by notions or appearances presented by your real estate agent.

Listen to your gut. Determine what you are trying to protect and then use that as a starting point to figure out your home security program. If something doesn’t feel safe, or you think it needs to be improved, invest some time and money into it – it will provide you with peace of mind.

Old-school locks should not be underestimated. Regardless if you own or rent a home, you need to be sure that the window and door locks work properly. If it is necessary, be sure to install a window stop for added protection. Most unwanted visitors will be searching for an easy-to-access home.

Res_MlightLeave some lights on. Leaving on lights, your television or even a radio can go a long way in helping a home appear active. Consider implementing inexpensive motion sensor lights to help and add safety for anyone who may be coming late to the home in order to deter burglars.

Commit to upkeep and landscaping of the property. Be sure to mow the lawn, trim trees, and shrubs and remove snow and leaves. Don’t allow mail and newspapers to pile up while on vacation, or if you are home. When the house has a well-groomed appearance it provides the impression that you are there often and will help to protect your home and family.

Get involved in the community. Getting to know your neighbors can be invaluable to your home’s overall safety. Try to develop relationships with other families on the street to provide mutual safety. Also, if any suspicious is noticed, be sure to say something.

If you want a superior level of security, then consider investing in and installing a security system. This will allow you to monitor your home and keep your family safe at all times.

Preparation Tips for Power Outages

There is something unique about a power outage that helps to bring the entire family together. When the lights are off, it forces the entire family to put their electronic devices away, pull out the board games and spend time with one another. While having a break from modern technology can be appealing, long term power outages can become a threat to your security.

Here are some tips that will help you be prepared for a power outage that will help you maintain your security:

Res_PoweroutPurchase a Generator
Bad or severe weather can cause blackouts at any time. A long-term power outage in the winter can be dangerous if temperatures drop below freezing. You can ensure your family will be safe by purchasing a generator.

Use the Generator Safely
If you use generators, it is essential to make sure you are doing so safely. This means:

  • Never use the generator inside, which includes the attic, basement or garage.
  • Install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector in your home.
  • Keep the generator in a dry area.
  • Turn the unit off prior to adding fuel.

Store Water and Food Safely
Food can quickly spoil when the power is out. Even if you don’t open the refrigerator, the food inside is only going to remain fresh for about four hours. Be sure you have ice chests on hand to keep your food cold, longer.

When the power is out, your water filter or purification system may not work. Be sure you check with the local authorities to make sure it is safe to drink the water. If you are unsure, only use bottled or boiled water.

Purchase Battery Powered Devices
There are a number of battery devices that can be handy during a power outage, such as a phone charger, radio, and flashlight. Candles are also a great source of light.

Watch the Security System
If the power goes out, most alarms will need to be silenced. In most cases, the battery backup will last for 10 to 15 hours. As the battery dies, it may begin to beep, but you should not turn it off since this will leave your home unsecured.

If a power outage does occur, it is essential that you remain calm. Remember, that emergency workers will be trying to restore your power so you just need to keep things going until then.

10 Tips to Prevent Shoplifting

To some, shoplifting seems like an innocent crime; however, when you look at the facts, this is a crime that is costing retailers as much as 11 billion dollars in losses each year. Some of the most common items stolen include jewelry, music, books, clothing and anything else a person can fit easily into their pocket or purse.

Comm_ShoplifterA good video surveillance system will help you identify and prosecute suspects and also help deter shoplifting, but you should try to prevent the theft before it occurs. Here are some tips that will help you stop shoplifting in its tracks:

  • Meet and greet your customers when they come in. When salespeople are attentive, shoplifters will typically go elsewhere.
  • Be aware of customers who are avoiding eye contact or seem nervous.
  • Encourage your employees to walk around the store to find suspicious activity.
  • Keep your store clean and organized – dirty stores tell shoplifters that employees aren’t really concerned with what is going on.
  • Keep items that are commonly or easily stolen in plain view of the front counter.
  • Speak with other business owners in the area to see if they have noticed suspicious activities or people.
  • Hire quality employees who will provide personal attention to customers.
  • Create a shoplifting policy and enforce it.
  • Install various anti-theft devices such as anti-theft tags, mirrors, and surveillance cameras.
  • Restrict access to fitting rooms.

If you spot a person who may be shoplifting, you should never accuse them. You can, however, ask if you can assist them. In most cases, you should contact security or the police if this occurs, rather than trying to stop them on your own.

When is it Time to Change Your Locks?

There is no question that the best way to protect your home, valuables and family is by installing a quality home security system. A security measure that is often overlooked, but just as important is changing the locks on your home’s doors.

If you are like most homeowners, you likely don’t give much thought to purchasing new or re-keying your current locks. This does not mean you have to change them as frequently as you would the batteries in your smoke alarm, but that there are times when you should consider rekeying or replacing the locks, which include:
New Homeowner Change Locks Residential Security
• When you move: When you purchase a new home, or move into an apartment, this is the perfect time to change the locks. In some cases, the previous tenants and owners will still retain copies of keys, even though they are supposed to turn them all in. They may have also given a copy to someone else in the past. When you install a new lock, you will have complete peace of mind that your keys will not fall into the wrong hands.

• If you lose or misplace your keys: It is important to always rekey or replace your locks if you have lost a set of keys, or if they are stolen.

• If someone broke in: If you have experienced a break in, the criminals may have found your spare keys lying around. This is why it is essential to have the locks changed, or rekeyed, before they have the opportunity to return.

• After a break-up or divorce: Ending a relationship or a marriage can be difficult. In some cases, if the break up is not amicable, you should ensure your safety by changing the locks that your ex may have a key to.

If you want to ensure you, your home and your loved ones are protected, you should install a home security system and be ready to change the locks if any of the highlighted life events occur. Selecting the best biometric device will be based on your needs. A fingerprint reader is typically portable and small, ideal for use on an office desk. They are ideal for the identification of a single user.

These are affordable, but typically can only be used for up to 100 different people. The commercial iris and retina scanners can cost between $2,000 and $10,000 each and considered somewhat invasive. However, they have the highest accuracy rate of any product on the market. It is important to consider all the options prior to making a choice. This will help ensure the best possible one for your business is selected.

How Employees May be Compromising Your Network Security

For many businesses – big and small – the most concerning issue they face today is securing their commercial networks and sensitive data. The fact is, today’s risks don’t just come from the outside; instead, some of the biggest threats a business faces is from those who are entrusted to protect it – the employees.

While this does not mean all workers are intentionally trying to compromise the business’s data and networks, what it does mean is that they may not have received adequate security training, or that the security policies in place are not being enforced properly.

Some of the ways employees may be putting an entire commercial network at risk – without even realizing it – include:

WeakPW Commercial SecurityCreating weak passwords: A single employee using an over simple password, such as “password” or “123456” can allow a hacker to access sensitive company information. In fact, it takes the average hacker less than 10 minutes to crack a password of six characters. With a few capitalized letters it will only take 10 hours. This is why it is essential the company creates a policy that requires strong passwords with a combination of upper and lowercase letters, number and symbols that are changed regularly.

Using social media at work: Social media links often carry malware. If this is downloaded to a single office computer, it can quickly spread, compromising the entire network. It is important that employees do not engage on social media from the office or during work hours and this is a policy that needs to be strongly enforced.

Losing devices: From time to time everyone loses an electronic device, this is simply a fact of life. However, to ensure that no sensitive data is leaked when this occurs, it is important to ensure each device is encrypted. This means the data is protected regardless of who finds it.

There is no question that having physical means of protection in place is important, such as security cameras and alarms; however, educating employees about how thieves may try to steal information is also crucial.

5 Of the Worst Places to Hide Your Valuables

Contrary to popular belief, hiding your money, jewelry or other valuable items in unusual places will not keep the ‘bad guys’ from finding them – but it may make it a bit more difficult.

You can be quite certain if a thief were to break into your home, they will tear apart any and everything to find your valuable items. However, there is a good chance they won’t want to spend a whole lot of time having to ransack the place.

The longer it takes them to find something worth taking, the bigger chance they will get caught. This means you should not hide your money or other valuables in areas that are easy to find and obvious.Res_Stash

5 of the worst places to stash your valuables include:

1.The toilet tank: The only thing that should go here are the deodorizers that turn the water blue. Any thief will make this a go-to spot to find valuable items.

2.The clothes hamper: Smelly, dirty clothes are not an effective deterrent for a criminal with a mission.

3.Anything that has a lock: If it locks, it’s a target.

4.The freezer: While burglars may not spend too much time digging through the freezer, there is a good chance they will give it a second look if it appears out of place.

5.Your child’s room: The kid’s bedroom are a definite hot spot for burglars so be sure to keep valuables out.

The Right Solution
If you have cash, jewelry or some other valuable items, you don’t want it to be easily found if your home is broken into. You need to think of some creative spots to stash these items. However, keep in mind, if you want a surefire way to prevent your home being targeted, have a home security system installed.

3 Ways to Keep Your Business Secure during the Holiday Season

The holidays are just around the corner and chances are you are already dreaming of higher sales and the profits rolling in, as well as fun and festivities at the office holiday party. However, you may not have given much thought to potential theft that often occurs during the holidays. Regardless if you run an office building or a high-end retail store, taking steps to secure the premises is essential.

During the holidays, criminals target all types of businesses, mainly because they know on certain days, they will be empty. They key to minimizing your losses and ensure your business is not a target is to implement the three security measures here.

Com_camera1.Install high security locks: These locks will make it much more difficult for a burglar to gain access to the inside of the building. Modern locks are only able to be opened with codes, special keys or keycards, making your building much more difficult to get into.

2.Alarm systems: Monitored alarm services means that there will always be someone watching over your business, even when you’re not there.

3.Cameras: Regardless of if you put cameras in an easy to see location or hide them, they will help to prevent and stop would-be criminals.

The tips that are highlighted here will help you keep your business and commercial property safe during the holidays and throughout the year.

Helpful Tips to Stay Safe this Thanksgiving

There is no question that the kitchen is the heart of the home – especially during Thanksgiving. Everyone loves to be involved in the preparation of a big meal and there is no better time of year to spend time with your family. However, when you are ready to get cooking, there are certain safety tips that will ensure everyone remains safe and sound.Res_turkey

• Remain in the kitchen when using the stove to ensure no issues arise or kids grab something they should not.
• Keep children away from the stove when it is hot.
• Check the turkey regularly.
• Be sure the floor remains clear to prevent trips and falls.
• Keep all knives out of reach of children.
• Be sure your smoke alarms are working properly.

The Turkey Fryer
Another popular method for cooking turkey is deep frying. There is no question that a deep fried turkey is delicious; however, this new found trend in Thanksgiving gobbler preparation is also quite dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. There are a number of reasons that turkey fryers are a serious concern in regard to fires and injuries, including:

• When the turkey is initially placed in the fryer, the oil may spill on the burner, which can cause a fire.
• Fryers may easily tip and spill oil onto anyone nearby.
• There is no thermostat controls on most turkey fryers, which means that the oil can easily become overheated.
• The handles and lid on turkey fryers become hot quickly and can cause burns.

To remain safe during Thanksgiving, you should abide to the tips here. Also, be sure to use common sense when in the kitchen and cooking. Ensuring your smoke alarms are working properly will ensure everyone remains safe and can enjoy this special family time together.

Top Retail Security Tips for Your Business

With the holiday season right around the corner, many retail businesses are already making preparations for the expected increase in crowds and profits. While this includes stocking up on the latest toys and products for the season, another area you should not forget about is security.

Keeping your store safe should be paramount and with the security tips here, any retail business will be ready for the holiday bonanza up ahead.

Comm_safeInvest in a Safe
If a burglar or thief were to break into the retail store, you need to ensure they cannot access your cash box. This is why it is a good idea to invest in a high-security safe and post information on the door regarding the presence of this safety feature. Also, make it clear that employees do not have access to the safe. This will help to deter would-be burglars who may be looking for an easy target.

Install Security Systems
Modern security systems feature all the bells and whistles you could possibly need. From high tech cameras to two-way mirrors and constant monitoring – these systems are designed to monitor every second of activity. When crowds increase, it is virtually impossible for your workers to be everywhere, which means you need to invest in a security system that can monitor what is going on for you. This should also be ‘posted’ in the store so consumers are deterred from trying to steal.

Comm_MLInstall Outside Motion Lights
The burglar’s worst enemy is motion lights. Having these installed on the exterior of your business will help to deter anyone from breaking in. They are also ideal for providing peace of mind for employees who are working extended hours during the holiday season.

Don’t let the holiday season result in theft and losses. With the tips here you can minimize the potential for losses and be confident that your store will be protected throughout this exciting time of year.