Assessing Your Security Needs

Security systems today are sophisticated controllers that can provide a wide array of solutions.  You will need to start your analysis by identifying your true needs versus wants. This self-assessment will prepare you for meetings with potential vendors, as they will likely conduct a risk-assessment of your situation to identify those needs and wants.  Here is a short list of considerations for both homeowners and businesses in identifying the main needs of most security buyers:


  1. What type of security do you really need? Most security providers break their technology and product offerings into six main groups: Burglar alarm systems, Fire and Life Safety systems, Closed Circuit Television systems (CCTV), Access Control Systems, Electronic Asset Protection, and monitoring and servicing of these systems.  It is important that you understand “security” can be provided in a variety of ways and it is your communication with a security consultant that is critical to identifying the correct technology for your needs. Be prepared to discuss your expectations of the system with the consultant, but be open to ideas from the professional as well.
  2. What are your wants in a security system?  The beauty of technology is that it can often provide additional benefits beyond the intended use.  Identify the need is foremost, but listing additional wants will add tremendous value and purpose to your security system.  Be prepared to discuss monitored devices such as smoke detectors along with a traditional burglar alarm for added safety. If you are interested in home or business automation be sure to inquire about mobile apps and devices that can improve home control in addition to the alarm protection. For video, access, and fire systems be sure to ask the consultant what additional benefits the various systems can provide you.
  3. How will your alarm system transmit the signal?  Whether you are a homeowner or a business, consider what types of phone transmission you have on site and tell your security provider what you are currently using.  Many people don’t even have standard telephone lines in their homes or use services such as Vonage or other Internet phone services which can cause havoc with transmitting your alarm signals.  All reputable security companies have the means to communicate your alarm signals outside of these technologies, but it is important that you as the customer disclose this information to your potential security provider.
  4. Video Resolution:  When it comes to video technology, the options are seemingly endless and therefore budget and expectations become askew.  Yes, your security provider will likely have the products that can give you the opportunity to zoom into a license plate at 500 feet, but is that a realistic need and do you have the budget in place to make it a reality?  A quality security provider will ask all the pertinent questions and asses your particular situation as it relates to your CCTV needs.  Some of the things to consider are: lighting, field of view, recording device and storage time of that recording device, and the ability to access the cameras remotely.
  5. What is the Return on Investment?    Consider the potential losses you will incur without a proper security system in place versus what the potential savings will be by installing a system that has the ability to reduce the likelihood of those losses.  Compare those losses with the investment in a proper system and fully understand how quick the payback of a security system will be.  Also ask your insurance provider if they offer a discount off of your premium if you install a monitored security system.  Many insurance providers will offer up to 20% off of your annual insurance premium.

Proudly Serving the Electronic Life Safety, and Security Industry in Minnesota


161 St. Anthony Road

Suite 820

St. Paul, MN   55103



​John Newman

​​Metro Alarm Contractors

​​(952) 890-6684


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