Camera Systems Can Be Used Legally and Effectively

Many home and business owners shy away from using camera systems because of how challenging they can be at times. In addition to that, there are certain privacy laws that have to be abide by. The fact of the matter is that video surveillance systems are very easy to operate provided you choose a security company that knows what they’re doing. It’s easy to reap the advantages of camera systems and also appease all legal requirements. 
When installing camera systems in the home, the laws are common sense. It’s completely fine placing cameras where privacy is not an expectation. If someone in your home has an expectation of privacy, such as a bathroom, it is most likely off limits. 
Business owners use camera systems for 3 primary reasons:
  1. To provide safety to their customers 
  2. To provide safety to their employees
  3. To provide safety to their products 
But, CCTV systems in business have other uses too, such as accident verification, etc.
Camera legalities in the workplace come down to this- When someone is in a public place, there is no expectation of privacy. It is perfectly fine to use video surveillance in any public area. However, in the state of Oregon, the business has to post a sign in a conspicuous area notifying people that they are being monitored if the video recording is to be used in a court of law. 
Here are some of the places that businesses should not place cameras:
  1. Entrances and exits to bathrooms
  2. Bathrooms
  3. Dressing rooms
  4. Locker Rooms
Medical offices and schools are a different story and have an entirely different set of governing laws. Most medical facilities have to comply with HIPPA regulations and adhere to patient privacy. 
I am often asked about audio when I am in a security audit these days. Camera systems that record audio in public places are very touchy and may be in violation with certain federal privacy laws. I have heard of instances where businesses owners have obtained written consent from persons who will be subject to being recorded, but that is rare. The best way to obtain a properly installed security camera system is to call a knowledgeable security camera integrator. We are always available with any questions you may have.

How to Improve the Security at Your Business this Spring   

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.

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.

Hack Proof Your Home

If you believe that the bad guy will have to physically break into your home to steal from you, well you likely need to think again. For each device you connect to the Internet, the more potential information thieves will be able to access and gather about you – such as your credit card information, bank account numbers and Social Security numbers. Hackers

This is why more and more cyber criminals have turned their attention to hacking into common household items, which includes baby monitors, thermostats, TVs and even refrigerators to crack your entire home network and gain access to your personal information.

While a quality home security system is one of the best ways to protect your home and family from physical burglars, the tips here will also help you keep cyber criminals at bay.

•  Change all the default passwords. Keeping the factory-set passwords and usernames means that you are extremely vulnerable to hackers. Many manufacturers use the same passwords for all their products, which hackers can use to gain access to your network.

•  Install software updates. Hackers can also gain entrance to your home network with the software that is running on your connected devices. This means you need to update the software when prompted to, by the product manufacturer.

•  Location considerations. It is essential that you don’t place your connected devices in areas where they could capture personal information, such as video and pictures.

Keeping your home hack-proof is not difficult, but it will require a bit of time and effort. In the long run, this will be well-worth it.

By |February 14th, 2016|Categories: Portland, Technology Corner|Tags: |0 Comments

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: panel breaker box

Purchase 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.

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: Weak PW

Creating 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.

By |January 21st, 2016|Categories: Commercial Security, Portland|Tags: |0 Comments

Is Your Business Ready for Biometric Security?

Walking through any average office building you will find login passwords stuck to computer screens or sitting on desks. Much like leaving a key in the file cabinet, writing down a password provides a would-be-thief with access to a large amount of sensitive data. The good news is, there’s technology now available that offers a solution to this, as well as a number of other security weaknesses that may be present in your business – biometric security.
Fingerprint USB
In the past, access to a secure building or a computer system was given based on something you had in your possession – a keycard, passcode, etc. However, the biometric security device uses a unique physiological characteristic, which is used for authenticating you.

There are a number of different forms of biometric technology, but the most commonly used is the fingerprint scanner in a laptop, used on a USB device and even integrated into portable storage devices. While there is also the option to use retina scanners, the fact is, not many businesses can justify the cost of these devices.
By |January 14th, 2016|Categories: Portland, Technology Corner|Tags: |0 Comments

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: Replace Locks

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.

Tips to Protect Your Tablet During the Holidays

The popularity of the tablet has increased significantly and virtually everyone has or uses one on a regular basis. However, those who don’t have them, want them, which puts the tablets at high risk of being stolen. During the holidays, when many people are distracted or busy, it is prime time to steal tablets – but with a few tips this can be prevented.

Don’t Ever Leave the Tablet Alone
Besides in your own home, there is no safe location to leave your tablet, especially during the busy holiday season. You should not leave the tablet in your work cubicle, in your vehicle or at the dinner table in a restaurant. This is too much of a temptation for some, and your tablet can go missing quickly. Keep it with you and hidden at all times.
Use Password Protection
While there is no physical protection offered by a password, and it won’t stop someone from resetting the entire device, it can help ensure your data is not stolen. If you lose your tablet, rather than having it stolen, it may also be a good idea to have your contact information on the front – just in case an honest person finds it. There are some tablets that also offer the option for remote wiping, which may be a good idea.
Tablet Found
Use a Quality Locking Program
Take some time to do your research and install software or programs to lock the tablet if someone continually enters the wrong password into the device. This will help to protect your tablet from being used by someone who steals it.

Apps That Will Locate Your Tablet
There’s also several good apps that you can download that will locate your tablet once it is stolen. Just Google which one is best rated for your specific tablet.

Taking the time to safeguard your tablet will help ensure that you don’t suffer a loss this holiday season.

By |December 14th, 2015|Categories: Portland, Technology Corner|Tags: |0 Comments

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.

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.
Hidden Stash
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.

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.

Invest in a Safekeypad 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.

Motion Lights and CamerasInstall 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.