Protect your assets: A buying guide to office security systems

Antivirus software protects your data, but a robust security system protects your PCs and everything else in your office.

By Michael Brown, PC World |  Security, physical security

If you don't mind rolling up your sleeves and installing a product yourself, FrontPoint Security sells a remarkably capable yet inexpensive security system. As long as you can mount the control panel near an AC outlet, you won't need to deal with electrical wiring, because everything else is either wireless or low voltage. Although FrontPoint markets its products and services primarily to homeowners, FrontPoint cofounder Peter Rogers says that 10 to 15% of FrontPoint customers are commercial premises such as office spaces, retail locations, and warehouses.

You can monitor, arm, and disarm FrontPoint's systems via any computer, tablet, or smartphone with Internet access (you'll find apps for tablets and for Android, BlackBerry, and iPhone handsets). You can monitor and control the entire system using any standard Web browser.

You must have broadband Internet access at your facility (with a wireless access point) to support a FrontPoint system, and it must be within range of a cell-phone tower. FrontPoint contracts with a large SaaS (software as a service) vendor,, for central-office monitoring, but FrontPoint handles its own tech support during setup and for the life of your contract.

Would You Like Automation With That?

A FrontPoint Security system can be as simple or as elaborate as you'd like. You can discuss your needs with a sales rep over the phone, but every system will include at minimum a wireless control panel and one wireless door/window sensor. Ideally, you should install one of these sensors on each exterior door. The two-piece sensors come with industrial-strength double-sided tape, so all you need to do is peel the backing and stick the sensor pieces in place: One piece mounts to the door, and the other attaches to the door frame. When someone opens the door, the two pieces separate to break a magnetic field, and the sensor sends a message to the control panel.

If the system is armed, the control panel sends an alert to a central monitoring office. (This is where the cell-phone tower requirement comes into play, as intruders can easily compromise security systems that rely on landlines by cutting the phone line outside the building.) The central office then sends you a text alert and email message; more important, a human being calls you or your designated contact. At your direction--or by default if you can't be reached--an employee will call your local law-enforcement dispatcher. You can also configure the system to send you an alert each time the door opens even if the system is not armed.

How Much Does It Cost?

Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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