3 Ingredients to Keep Critical Security Systems Online

Thursday, July 30, 2015 by under Audit/Compliance, Intrusion/Fire Protection, Managed Network Services, Monitoring

Each year, more than $26.5 billion is lost due to IT failure. Internet and power availability is crucial in keeping business systems up and running, including your security systems.

But what happens to your business’ security if your primary connections experience an outage?

“Simply put, when a security system goes down, there is no security,” according to Security Today.

This post outlines essential strategies to keep these critical business systems online and your business protected.

1. Use a Secondary Internet Connection

Many businesses rely on IP-based security systems that leverage the Internet to protect their property, staff and visitors. To ensure maximum uptime, one connection is not enough. Implement a backup Internet connection so that if your primary provider fails, the system will automatically switch to a secondary connection. A wireless service like 4G/LTE is often an ideal choice for this, since it does not rely on cabling to the building that may be severed – either by accident or intentionally.

Assure both your primary and secondary connections are reliable and secure to avoid any major network vulnerabilities:

  • Consider network uptime and SLAs. Guaranteed uptime for broadband connections will vary depending on the type of circuit, the provider (ISP), and the level of service and support contracted. Service Level Agreements (SLAs) define these parameters, and should be reviewed carefully to ensure that they align with your business needs.
  • Install and manage a commercial grade firewall and router. In addition to filtering and security functions, make sure your systems are configured for seamless switching between broadband connections. This may require careful configuration to avoid using your backup connection unnecessarily, since it may have lower-speed or usage caps.
  • Leverage a partner. A capable Managed Services Provider (MSP) can monitor your network, manage the endpoints, and deliver the services described above as a turnkey solution.

If you have any questions concerning security measures or network capabilities, contact your vendor.

2. Back Up IP Alarm System Communication Methods

IP-based alarms use your Internet connection to transmit alarm events. Therefore, if you lose Internet connection, signals will cease to send, leaving your business vulnerable. A secondary Internet connection may provide adequate redundancy for some, but for an even higher level of alarm security, back up IP alarm systems with another communication method.

A dedicated cellular backup system is a popular option to keep security alarm systems communicating when you experience a power or Internet outage. These systems can integrate with the alarm control panel directly, meaning there are fewer points of failure, and therefore, a higher level of reliability and security for applications that demand it.

3. Implement an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)

Without a backup power source, your security system will become inoperable in a power outage. Most systems support some type of battery backup, but other equipment in your facility may require a UPS to provide emergency power.

It is important to review every component that connects or supports the security system(s) to determine whether backup power is required. Overlooking a single network switch, for example, could have the effect of completely disabling security communications when power fails.

Other equipment that may require backup power includes:

  • Access control systems and lock power supplies
  • Alarm systems
  • Internet modems, routers, and switchgear
  • Digital video recorders (DVRs)
  • Emergency communication systems
  • Surveillance cameras
  • Network storage devices and servers
  • Telephone switches

How does your business plan for Internet and power outages? Share with us in the comments below.

Image Source: Norlando Pobre

 

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