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3 Summer Home Security Tips You May Be Overlooking

3 Summer Home Security Tips You May Be Overlooking

Summer is almost here in Southern Colorado, and with that comes open windows and garage doors, vacations, and for us at System Links, a chance to share some home security tips to keep your property protected during this busy – and higher security risk – season.

Protecting your property and your loved ones is a top priority for all of us, no matter the time of year. However, did you know that as the seasons shift, so do the tactics that thieves and vandals use to break in or damage property?

In winter, our focus may be on preventing theft during the holidays, whether by protecting deliveries left on our doorsteps or keeping our inflatable Santa from being stolen from our yards.

But in summer, we may be guilty of letting our guard down a bit while we enjoy more time out of doors. Here are three home security tips you might be overlooking this summer.

Shut and Lock Windows and Doors

Yes, keeping your doors and windows shut and locked is one of the most obvious home security tips out there. However, opening your windows and doors to the fresh Colorado air can be very appealing. Even in the heat of summer, afternoons often bring a breeze that freshens the air and cools down your home.

A word of caution is needed, though. Leaving your home with windows open, especially street-level ones, can be an open invitation to thieves. When going out for errands or work, shut and lock your windows and doors.

If your home has storm doors or sliding glass doors, lock the screen or the door itself, even when you are at home. Unfortunately, home invasions are not unheard of, even in the safest of Southern Colorado neighborhoods. Take steps to protect your home and family by keeping doors and windows locked.

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Yard Clean-Up and Maintenance

Keeping your grass trimmed and your yard clean does more than add to your home’s curb appeal. Homes with disheveled lawns and bushes may indicate to thieves and vandals that you are not home. If you will be away from home for an extended period, clean your yard up and do some maintenance before you leave.

Keep your fence in good condition to limit access to your home. Whether a chain link fence or wooden plank fence, Colorado weather can deliver a beating to even the highest quality fences. Perform regular fence inspection and maintenance to ensure there are no weak spots and take corrective actions if there are areas that need attention.

In addition, putting yard and garden tools away after use does more than prevent rust and is one of our home security tips that we bet you haven’t considered. Tools left outside can be stolen or, worse yet, used to shatter windows and provide access to thieves and vandals. Ensuring your tool shed or garage is shut and locked keeps your precious tools from being used against you.

Clean, Adjust and Maintain Outdoor Lighting and Security Cameras

sys links - home security tips - maintain security camerasWhile you are outside cleaning up your yard, be sure to pay some attention to the lighting and security cameras around your home’s exterior. The brightest lights cannot shine without light bulbs, and the highest resolution cameras cannot give video footage if their lenses are covered in dirt and cobwebs or are not pointing in the right direction.

Step 1: Clean

Cleaning your outdoor lights and security cameras is not hard and takes nothing more than a soft cotton cloth and some water. Remove away any cobwebs or critter nests that may be interfering with the line of vision of both lighting and cameras. Gently wipe camera lenses and foggy glass panels on lighting using a moist cotton cloth. Do not use harsh chemicals or paper products, especially on security cameras, as fogging and scratches on the camera lens may result.

Step 2: Adjust

Next, look at the video footage coming from your security camera at different times during the day. Is the lighting sufficient overnight to deter a thief? Is the security camera still pointing in the right direction, or have Colorado’s high winds shifted the view ever so slightly? By making minor tweaks to the angle of your security cameras or lighting, you will enhance the benefits of each.

Step 3: Maintain

Like any other modern electronic, security camera systems require occasional tune-ups to continue operating at their very best. To keep your security cameras doing their job, do visual inspections of any exposed wires, mounts, and the outside of the camera itself. Make a note of any areas of concern and contact a trusted Colorado Springs CCTV service and maintenance company to make repairs and replace outdated components. h/protect-your-home-security-camera-from-hackers

Another maintenance task to protect your home security camera from hackers is to ensure you have the latest firmware downloaded and installed and regularly change your passwords.

Home Security Tips to Keep You Safe This Summer

Hopefully, along with planning your summer cookouts, the above home security tips have given you food for thought too. Thoughts of security, that is. Have a wonderful and safe Colorado Springs summer!

Speak with a CCTV installation and service technician today to schedule a no-obligation, on-site security evaluation and free quote.

Benefits of Security Camera Systems for Churches

Benefits of Security Camera Systems for Churches

Once upon a time, the thought of security camera systems for churches was laughable. The innate respect for a Higher Authority made places of worship immune to the security issues that plagued the rest of society. However, as Bob Dylan once sang, “The times they are a-Changin,” and more and more ministries are investing in security camera systems for churches, classrooms and offices.

There are many benefits to securing church facilities with security camera systems, here are just a few.

Protecting Donated Funds

Whether your church relies on voluntary contributions or sets tithing for members, the need to keep these funds secure is a primary reason why so many church administrators invest in security cameras. Even with locks on the boxes, donated funds are at risk of theft. After emptying the collection boxes, the funds remain at risk until they are safely deposited into the bank.

When parishioners and visitors alike know that their actions are being recorded, the risk of theft goes down. And if anyone is bold enough to steal from the collection plate, the video evidence will be enough to elicit a visit to the confessional or the police station.

Protection Against Vandalism

Another reason so many Colorado Springs ministries are researching security camera systems for their churches is to deter vandalism. High-resolution security cameras located in parking lots and around the perimeter of the church and offices capture video evidence that can be used to prosecute vandals. Often, visible security cameras and signs alerting potential vandals that they are on camera are enough to deter their actions.

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Security Camera Systems for Parishioner Safety

As already mentioned, times are changing, and present-day churches need to take steps to protect their parishioners while they are attending services or visiting church property. There are three primary areas where installing security cameras can provide a safe haven for members.

Sys Links - Security camera systems for churches to keep parishioners safe

Domestic Violence Incidents

Incidents of domestic violence can happen anywhere, and churches are not immune to these situations. Angry spouses and partners can target their victims while attending church services because most churches have an open door, all-are-welcome policy. Protecting church members by installing security cameras can mean the difference between having a sanctuary where victims can soothe their troubles and yet another location where parishioners are anxious for their safety.

Accusations of Misconduct

The news is littered with accusations of sexual misconduct by clergy members, leaving church leaders and the ministry itself open to legal charges and civil lawsuits. Installing security camera systems for churches can provide parishioners with peace of mind that misconduct will be caught on video and reassure trusted leaders that unfounded accusations of sexual misconduct will not impact their ability to oversee their congregations.

Acts of Violence

Unfortunately, acts of violence at houses of worship are on the rise. Many Colorado Springs residents are still living with the aftermath of the 2007 shootings at New Life Church, the second church incident in Colorado within one 24-hour period. These tragic events well illustrate the need for security camera systems for churches. Security camera footage can be an invaluable resource in identifying potential shooters or others whose intentions are less than holy on church grounds.

Churches as Community Centers

Many modern-day churches regularly open their doors to the community through soup kitchens, classes, youth events, or other services. These admirable outreach programs do much good in the communities for both members of the church and those outside the congregation. With security camera systems for churches, employees and volunteers alike will be confident in carrying out their duties, knowing that activities are being recorded and made available to law enforcement as evidence should the need arise.

Other Effective Security Measures for Churches

In addition to the obvious benefits of security camera systems for churches in Southern Colorado, ministries can improve their security by implementing the following tips:

  • Designating church employees or volunteers as door-greeters
  • Walk the parking lot during services to deter vandalism
  • Limit access to secure areas through access control systems
  • Request a thorough security assessment

Next Steps: How to Get Security Cameras for Churches

The first step to installing security camera systems for churches is to request a professional security assessment. Experienced CCTV and security camera installers like System Links are experts in locating areas that pose a security risk for Colorado Springs churches.

Contact System Links today to learn about security solutions that will keep both churches and parishioners on hallowed ground. We are locally owned and operated and are happy to provide a free on-site consultation and quote for Southern Colorado churches and ministries.

4 Benefits of Access Control Systems for Property Managers

4 Benefits of Access Control Systems for Property Managers

As Colorado Springs’ experts in security camera and access control sales and installation, we receive many inquiries for access control systems for property managers. This request is easy to understand. When you manage properties for a living, keeping those properties safe, secure and well-maintained is your livelihood.

Below we discuss how an access control system, installed and serviced by a professional security system contractor, can make the job easier for Colorado Springs property managers.

Keep Your Properties Safe From Theft and Vandalism

One of the major benefits of access control systems for property managers is the protection they provide from theft and vandalism.

Thousands of Colorado Springs properties are the target of vandalism and break-ins each year. These incidents can take a toll on your tenants, maintenance costs, and most especially on your bottom line. Break-ins and vandalism can also create a risk of liability from tenants and guests who sustain damages.

Modern access control systems make it easy for property managers to limit access to certain areas to specific individuals. The system will let you know when unauthorized individuals attempt to enter those areas. When you have a system that identifies who’s been in your building, along with installing security camera systems that record activity in and around your properties, preventing objects and sensitive materials from being tagged, defaced, or stolen becomes much easier.

Related: The Benefits Of Modern Access Control Systems

Streamline Property Management Operations

Property management is a constant balancing act between keeping each of your tenants happy while at the same time managing maintenance, repairs and budgets.

How would your management company benefit from the ability to track how much time your maintenance crew spends on each property, which properties you spend the most time on, and which repairs take the longest?

Access control systems for property managers will help you manage your assets more efficiently, and identify opportunities for cost savings.

In addition, with an access control system, property managers can register tenants, managers and guests with the click of a button. You’ll be able to keep track of who’s been in your properties and easily assign permissions, making it easier to book appointments and manage repairs.

These capabilities help you streamline your operations, making it easier to run your business.

Securely Track Access

One of the benefits of access control systems for property managers is that they can be used to track visitors. This makes it easier to know who’s been to your properties and when.

SysLinks - access control for property managersMost modern access control systems also let you create user profiles, including photos and biographical information. This allows you to track who is on your properties and identify potential visitors from the start. Imagine, never again worrying about tenants giving out their keys, keycards or fobs to friends and relatives. The only ones allowed on your property will be those with proper access credentials and their guests.

Many systems, like those from VizPin, allow access through Bluetooth. This allows the tenants easy access while giving property managers complete control over their properties at the touch of a button.

Further Reading: 5 Things You Need To Know About Vizpin Access Control Systems

Access Control Systems Keep Your Tenants Happy

The goal of every property manager, whether residential or commercial, is to have happy long-term tenants. And one of the best ways to ensure quality tenants stay for years to come is to provide peace of mind through access control systems.

In apartment buildings, the safety and security of tenants is of prime importance. By ensuring that entrances and exits, as well as common areas like the laundry, exercise room and pool areas, are accessible only by tenants and authorized individuals, you are giving your tenants peace of mind that they are safe in these areas. And when a tenant leaves, you can immediately turn off all access to your property amenities.

For commercial tenants, the added protection from inventory loss provided by means of access control may be the option that sets your property apart from your competitors.

Recognize the Benefits of an Access Control System for Property Managers

This article has just touched on just a few of the many benefits of access control systems for property managers.

By allowing only authorized individuals to enter buildings or specific areas, property managers can reduce the risk of vandalism and break-ins.  Access control systems can help manage your properties more efficiently, streamlining operations. And best of all, property managers who install access control systems at their properties boost tenant retention. Tenants who feel safe and secure are happier and stay longer.

If you are a Colorado Springs property manager interested in learning more about how access control systems can benefit your bottom line, contact System Links today for a free on-site assessment and quote.

Best Ways to Protect Your Home Security Camera from Hackers

Best Ways to Protect Your Home Security Camera from Hackers

If you take identity protection and your privacy seriously, you need to take steps to protect your home security cameras from hackers. Home security cameras can be an excellent way to keep an eye on your home while away or even capture moments that you’d usually miss. However, these devices aren’t necessarily secure. There are numerous ways an attacker could compromise your security camera and cause you a great deal of harm. This article surveys the top seven ways to protect your home security camera from hackers. We’ll explore the risks posed by hackers to your camera and practices to safeguard against these risks.

Why Home Security Cameras Are Vulnerable

We have all seen movies in which expert hackers can access the security system of a museum, vault, or other high-visibility building. Unfortunately, however, this scenario is not limited to the silver screen.

The fact that a home security camera is linked to your home network makes it a prime target for hackers seeking to steal your identity and violate your privacy. Home security cameras are often paired with other devices connected to your home network, such as a hub or recorder, to stream footage to an online account. This means that an attacker could potentially access your other devices on the network and cause untold havoc in your life. How can you protect your home security camera from hackers?

Change Your Password

You should change your password on all of your devices that connect to your home network. This includes your router, smart devices, and home security camera. You can use the same password on all of these devices, so make sure you choose something complex and unique. Cyber-security experts suggest using a randomized password generator to ensure that you do not unwittingly set passwords that are easy to hack. One we particularly like is from Avast. With their password generator tool, you can adjust the length and required characters. Because the passwords are generated on your local system and not over the internet, they can help protect your home security camera from hackers.

Sys Links - protect your home security camera from hackers - change your password

Install The Latest Firmware

Just as hackers are constantly coming up with ways to breach security measures, technology providers are constantly coming up with ways to block their efforts. The way they accomplish this is through firmware updates.

Modern security camera systems can have firmware pushed to the device as they are available, or you can manually download and install the updates. If you choose the second option, be sure to check for new firmware often. This is especially important if you use the device to connect to a home automation system. If an attacker were to breach your camera, this would allow them to access other connected devices on your network, such as your home automation hub.

Encrypt Your Camera

If you use a cloud-based storage service for your video feed, you should encrypt your camera. This will prevent your camera footage from being visible to anyone with access to the internet. An experienced Colorado Springs home security camera installer can provide you with options for the best way to encrypt your camera system and provide suggestions for the best places to install home security cameras.

Don’t Point Cameras at Private Areas

When setting up your home security camera, don’t point your cameras at private areas like bedrooms and bathrooms. Avoiding these areas will reduce the likelihood of a hacker invading the more intimate aspects of your home privacy. Point cameras at entryways and other public places. This goes for outside and inside security cameras.

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Use Two-Factor Authentication

If you use two-factor authentication (2FA) on any online account, you should use it on your home security camera. Doing so will add an extra layer of security to protect your home security camera from hackers. 2FA requires you to enter a code along with your password when logging in from a new device. This step makes it harder for hackers to steal your password and login details, as they would have to have your password and the 2FA code to access your account. 2FA is enabled by default for many cloud-based home security cameras, but you can also set it up on your own home security camera.

Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

An effective way to protect your home security camera from hackers is by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN routes all your internet traffic through a secure server, making it more difficult for an attacker to intercept your home security camera feed. You can use a free VPN service like TunnelBear or pay for a premium VPN service like ExpressVPN.

Conclusion

You have already shown that you take your home and family’s safety, security, and privacy seriously by installing a security camera system. But while these cameras are an invaluable asset to have, you must also take proper precautions to protect your home security camera from hackers by applying the tips in this article.

Talk to an experienced, locally-owned and family-operated home security camera installer for more information and a free quote to protect your most valuable asset – your family.

Parking Lot Safety Tips For Employers

Parking Lot Safety Tips For Employers

Why Prioritize Employee Safety Outside Your Four Walls

If you are a Southern Colorado business wanting to retain your valuable employees, there is good reason for you to address parking lot safety sooner than later. You have spent the last two years prioritizing their physical and mental health during the pandemic. Now that employees are transitioning back into the workplace, their physical safety needs to be a priority. And that starts from the moment they enter your parking lot.

Criminals flock to parking lots because they are secluded and offer places to hide. This makes them the ideal location for car theft (including carjacking), vandalism, and assault. Unfortunately, many criminals assume that no one is monitoring these areas-which allows them to go undetected. What steps can you take to ensure your employees’ parking lot safety and security?

Parking Lot Safety Tips

Promote Safety in Numbers

Encourage your employees to leave in small groups or pairs, especially after the sun has gone down, and be aware of their surroundings. If they observe what seems to be suspicious behavior, have them report the activity immediately. Managers who get such reports should take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of all employees.

Install Adequate Parking Lot Lighting

There is a good reason why so many crimes occur at night. Criminals find it easier to strike under cover of darkness. Eliminate the temptation and increase your parking lot safety by keeping your lot well lit at all times.

In addition, increasing the lighting in your business’s parking lot can prevent accidents. With the many affordable options for outdoor lighting, even companies on a tight budget can take steps to illuminate their parking lot and improve employee safety.

Deter Crime with Security Fencing

Having a professionally installed security fence around the perimeter of your parking lot can deter crime. If the fence is hard to climb or requires effort to access, potential wrongdoers will likely feel that the effort needed is not worth their while and will look elsewhere for an easier target.

Security Guard Patrols

Security guards can provide an effective deterrent to potential thieves and other miscreants. If you can afford this service, make sure the patrol path is randomly selected. It does not take even an inexperienced thief long to detect patrol patterns, opening up opportunities for them to do their dirty work.

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Install Security Cameras

System Links - provide parking lot safety with security camerasAll of the above tips combine nicely with installing surveillance cameras in your parking lot.

Ensuring a security camera system is in place and maintained is one of the most productive and cost-effective ways to reduce crime and deter loitering in any parking lot. These weather-proof and tamper-proof cameras will keep an eye on the area around your building and in the parking lot to prevent break-ins, vandalism or burglary.

An experienced security camera installer can increase parking lot safety by making sure the cameras are adjusted correctly and are recording valuable footage that can be used to prosecute vandals, thieves, and attackers to the fullest extent of the law.

The options in facial and license plate recognition, high-resolution video recording, and night vision can assure your employees that you take parking lot safety seriously. They will have the comfort that they will have access to the needed proof to gain compensation if anything happens to their valuables or their person while they are at work.

An extra bonus of parking lot surveillance systems is that the cameras can be pointed at the entrances and windows of your building, increasing the overall security of your property and valuable assets in your building.

Put Up Signs

If you are protecting your parking lot with video surveillance, advertise that fact! Put up multiple signs letting people know that they are being recorded. When criminals know there will be video evidence of their activities, they are less likely to take the risk of getting caught.

Take Steps Today to Ensure Parking Lot Safety For Your Valuable Employees

Employees are the most valuable asset to your Colorado business. Show your staff that you take their safety and security seriously while in the office with access control systems and while outside with these tips for parking lot safety. Being proactive instead of reactive will give your employees (and you) peace of mind.

Click here to arrange for your free on-site consultation and quote for parking lot surveillance systems.

Four Powerful Ways to Improve Home Security While on Vacation

Four Powerful Ways to Improve Home Security While on Vacation

Putting a few protective measures in place can significantly improve your home security while on vacation. Knowing your home is safe will give you extra peace of mind and allow you to relax while enjoying your time away.

Here are four powerful ways to improve the security of your home and boost your peace of mind while you are away and the house is empty.

Make Your Home Look Occupied

One of the simplest ways to improve your home security while on vacation is to make your home look occupied.

Set timers on lights, radios and televisions so they’ll automatically turn on at different times during the morning and evening. Ensure your grass is freshly cut or (if winter) snow is being shoveled while you are away.

Ask a friend to park their vehicle in your driveway every once in a while to give the impression that you’re home when you’re not there.

Go to usps.com and put your mail on hold. Ask a neighbor to collect any deliveries that unexpectedly arrive for you. If you still get newspapers delivered, place your subscription on hold.

Install Outdoor Security Lights

A great way to enhance your home security while on vacation is to make sure the burglars cannot use the cover of darkness to break into your house.

Well-placed security lights can remove any shadowy hiding spots, encouraging would-be thieves to move on to an easier target.

Of course, you need to be mindful of how your outdoor light affects nearby homes, but it is usually okay with neighbors to shine a light on your own home doors and windows.

Install a Home CCTV Security Camera System

sys links home security while on vacationSecurity lights have an especially good effect when paired with security cameras. Place the cameras in conjunction with your security lights so you can view all your home entry points on your phone from anywhere in the world.

Just like the security lights make your house less of a target, a CCTV security camera system will deter burglars and other pranksters from approaching your home. For this reason, we recommend placing your security cameras in plain sight of your home’s entryways, garage door, walkways and first-floor windows. Your local security camera installers can help you find the best locations for optimal security in your home.

Security Yard Signs and Stickers

Finally, if you’ve invested in a home security camera system, let would-be burglars know about it. Display a yard sign or sticker with a “Smile Your On Camera” that tells them they won’t be able to mess with your house with impunity because of your home security camera system.

Breathe Easier Knowing You’ve Improved Your Home Security While On Vacation

You spend a lot of time and money planning your travels to relax and unwind, so it is worth your time, energy and money to maximize your home security while on vacation.

Taking the powerful combination of steps above to make your home look occupied, well lit and monitored by security cameras will work together to keep your house safe from burglaries, break-ins, trespassing and theft.