The Importance of Security Systems
As digitalisation transforms our world, the way we live, work and play has changed as well. One industry in which technology has significantly contributed to is the security systems in Singapore. These systems have undeniably evolved with the passage of time, starting with manual labour such as security guards, to simple alarms and finally to the more intricate, state-of-the-art security systems including the access control systems and CCTV cameras that we are so familiar with today. In the next portion of our article, we look at how exactly these security systems have evolved and their importance to businesses.
Evolution of Security Systems Over the Years
It all started in the early 1700’s, when the first intrusion alarm was created by inventor Tildesley. This alarm was designed using an extremely simple technique. A set of chimes was mechanically linked to a door lock, alerting residents of potential break-ins. In 1853, this security system was further refined by Augusts R. Pope and the first electric alarm was born. Eventually, the electric alarm paved the way for more complex systems including smoke detectors invented by Francis Robbins Upton and monitoring cameras for home security developed by Marie Van Brittan Brown. No doubt, both homes and businesses have benefited from these pioneers.
While these security systems were incredibly useful in their time, there was one big disadvantage – most of them were hardwired. This means that they were difficult to install, upgrade and move. Criminals could also simply cut the wires to stop signals and sensors.
It was in 1997 when Wi-Fi was introduced, which truly changed the game for security systems. From there, as technology improved, security systems have drastically seen an enhancement, leveraging the use of Bluetooth and sensors. A slew of newer, more high-tech security systems now dominate the industry, ranging from biometric access systems to IP security camera systems. These make up some of the modern security systems that we know and love today.
Why you Need a Security System for your Business
All businesses possess valuable data and assets, whether it is employee information or expensive computers and laptops. The modern security systems are great for protecting such data and personal belongings. According to a survey conducted by HID Global and Security Management magazine, 39% of businesses are taking advantage of access control technologies. Beyond the obvious of improving security, there are many advantages businesses can reap from having security systems as seen below.
Employees are more likely to work and be productive when they know they are being watched. A CCTV system or IP camera can serve this purpose. Knowing that video recordings can be used against them, employees are more encouraged to display the appropriate work behaviour and perform at their best.
Business security gives the impression of a responsible business leader, whether it is to employees, investors, or customers. It demonstrates your seriousness and capability when it comes to protecting important data, which helps you gain greater trust among each of these individuals.
Greater Peace of Mind
Running your own business comes with a lot of stress. Any unnecessary pressure including having to worry about theft and burglary is best unwarranted. Security systems can give you that peace of mind. Instead of concerning yourself with security, you can dedicate your energy to more important business matters.
Security systems contribute to business success and being able to protect your business investments offers incredible value for money. Business assets need to be kept secure, and security systems are an excellent way to minimise losses. When it comes to running a business, security systems are considered a necessity by most entrepreneurs. In fact, the access control market is expected to reach USD 11.7 billion by 2026!
The Different Types of Security Systems
With a better understanding of how important security systems are to businesses, the question then arises – what are the different security systems available and which is most suitable for your business? In this portion of the article, we take a look at the five most common types of security systems – biometric access systems, card access systems, keypad access systems, CCTV security camera systems and IP security camera systems to help you decide what you may need and which is best for your business.
Biometric Access Systems
Today, many office door access systems in Singapore revolve around the biometric door access system. It analyses biological data including facial recognition, fingerprints and retina scans. With this biological data, individuals are then granted or denied access to buildings. They can also double as time attendance systems, storing information on when employees clock into work.
The biometric door access system works by having scanners that record biological data. For instance, a fingerprint scanner stores your fingerprint in a data file after analysing it. Following that, you register fingerprints of those who are allowed to have access to the control system. Whenever access is required, the system analyses the fingerprint scanned to find if a match is in its database. Access is granted if a match is found and denied if not. Biometric door access systems provide a variety of benefits across multiple industries as seen below.
Higher Level of Security
By verifying a tangible physical attribute, biometrics provide greater assurance when it comes to the legitimacy of the person trying to gain access. It creates an obstacle that only an authorised user can navigate. Afterall, it is impossible for a fraudster to use your unique fingerprint to unlock accounts, even if they know certain personal information about you such as your name or birthday.
Fast and Convenient
Biometric authentication is incredibly easy and quick, even though it is technically complex. With a finger on a scanner, you can gain access in seconds rather than typing out a long password with multiple characters. In addition, users commonly forget their passwords as well, which is not something you have to worry about with regards to biometrics.
To authenticate biometrically, you are required to present your input. Physical biometrics cannot be transferred or shared digitally – physical applications are the only way to make use of biometric authentication systems. In this way it creates a certain level of security that other door access systems in Singapore simply cannot replicate.
Card Access Systems
The use of key card access control systems have been around for a few decades now and is a very common security measure across the globe. To unlock a door or enter a building, plastic cards, ID badges, or other electronic key cards are used and typically slid across a reader. Three main parts are required for card access systems to work – security cards, card readers, and electronic key card locks. The door unlocks by proximity activation or a swipe card. The proximity key card transmits data stored within it using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). Upon detecting and authorising the key card credential at the door card reader, the card access system activates the magnetic door lock. Some of the benefits of card access systems include:
History of Entry
Card access control systems in Singapore not only enable the change of key privileges, but also keep information about every individual who enters a building. Within seconds of scanning a card, the system records the time, location, and name of the employee. In the event of a burglary or vandalism, you can easily identify who was inside the building.
Some keycards can be integrated into the existing security system and smart features of your office building. This includes lights and air conditioning. Lights can be turned off or on and room temperature adjusted at the appropriate times. This creates a seamless experience, helping you to save costs on utility.
Configuration and Activation
Unlike traditional keys, keycards can be configured to deny access. Should you lose your keys, criminals can easily use it to enter buildings. However, if you or your employee loses a keycard, it can easily be deactivated and access will be denied to whoever has the card. No longer is there the concern of having to change locks or worry about unauthorised key copies.
Keypad Access Systems
Keypad access systems essentially consist of a collection of buttons containing alphanumeric characters and some symbols. While the keypad has remained largely unchanged since its invention in the 1960s, it has gained a great deal of functionality, from intercom to short message texting capabilities. There are many types of pin pads or keypads for doors, including those connected to a central access control system, standalone pin pads, keypads on door locks or deadbolts, and IP-connected pin pads. They can even be integrated with biometrics to create time attendance systems. The benefits of keypad access systems are as follows:
Often, business owners may assume that they will have to make major modifications to doors or frames if they want a keypad lock installed. This is not the case. As with any standard lock, keypad locks can be easily installed on standard doors. It is possible to purchase mechanical and battery-powered lock keypads without needing a power source.
Over time, traditional locks and keys wear out, becoming harder to turn and function properly. Compared to conventional locks, keypads are much more durable. With just a standard hardware, a high-quality lock and keypad should last way longer.
The hardware design of keypad locks differs from other types of locks. Due to their lack of a cylindrical mechanism, they are inherently inaccessible to picks and bumps. Therefore, your office buildings remain more secure. Ultimately, it is better to change out or rekey the lock rather than risk losing keys. The security pin code can be changed whenever necessary using a keypad system.
CCTV Security Camera Systems
CCTV stands for closed-circuit television. Unlike broadcast television, the signal is not openly transmitted in this system. Video footage is transmitted from the cameras to several monitors, which only authorised personnel are able to access. CCTV systems in Singapore include cameras, lenses, monitors, and recorders. Pictures are picked up by the camera, which is then sent to a recording device, then to the monitor. They are extremely useful especially in retail security where 200 million incidents of crimes involving theft and shoplifting occur each year. There are a variety of CCTV systems available today to suit different business needs like the dome CCTV camera and bullet CCTV camera.
Dome CCTV Camera
Just like its name suggests, the dome CCTV system is dome-shaped and built to withstand both indoor and outdoor elements. Due to their infrared LEDs, these cameras can work in low- or no-light environments. Flexible and versatile, dome CCTV systems can be placed virtually anywhere from the entrance of the office building to car parks and cross-roads. When equipped with the appropriate sensors, the wide-angle dome camera can act as a panoramic surveillance, providing a maximised viewing area for increased security.
Bullet CCTV Camera
Their cylindrical shape, which resembles a bullet, gives them the name – bullet cameras. In addition to acting as a visible deterrent, bullet cameras have been shown to make a property or office building less appealing to criminals. A small lip on the lens of these security cameras helps protect against glare or other weather conditions whether they are used indoors or outdoors. In comparison to other cameras, bullet cameras have a much longer range, which makes them ideal for large areas. In spite of their narrow field of view, these cameras can utilise larger lenses than dome cameras due to their shape.
IP Security Camera Systems
Internet protocol cameras, also referred to as IP cameras, are digital security cameras that receive and transmit video footage via the Internet. These cameras are generally used in surveillance applications. While CCTVs require a local recording device, the IP camera does not, and only a local network is needed. Similar to how computers and phones connect to the Internet, IP cameras do the same, transmitting footage over a wireless connection. Fewer cables and wires allow IP cameras to operate without a dedicated power supply. It also empowers greater convenience, allowing users to view footage anytime, anywhere through their smartphones, tablets or computers. When it comes to network options, business owners can choose either a wireless network, wired network or cellular network.
A wireless network, or Wi-Fi network, sends and receives data to a wireless modem. IP cameras can be viewed by entering their IP address in a web browser. Be sure to use a static IP address. Sometimes the IP addresses supplied by Internet service providers may change. To ensure you can access your IP camera, it is recommended to speak with your provider about a static IP address.
Ethernet cables connect IP cameras to wired networks. With minimised risks of signal interference or unauthorised access, this setup is considered the most secure. Wired connections offer the fastest data transmission speeds since they are much more efficient than wireless connections.
Between the wireless and wired network, a cellular network is perhaps the most convenient. Almost all IP cameras in Singapore come with a cellular transmitter out of the box, so setup, installation, and connection are a breeze. Nevertheless, speed is not its forte. If having fast upload and download speed is one of your expectations, then it is best to forgo the cellular network and opt for a wireless one instead.
Choosing Good Security Systems
Now that we have covered most of the different types of security systems, it is important to know how to identify a good one. Office security is of utmost criticality and choosing a poor security system is as good as not having one at all! As such, let’s explore the characteristics that make each security system a quality one.
Characteristics of a Good Biometric Access System
The characteristics of a good biometric system can be encapsulated into five primary criteria. The first is uniqueness which determines how well this access system differentiates one user from another. As this is the main function of biometric access door systems, the uniqueness factor is vital. Secondly, is permanence. This indicates how long the physical trait data is stored in the system. The higher the permanence the better. Thirdly comes collectability, which is how easily your biometric door access system can collect individual data. Good systems should be able to collect data seamlessly to maximise work productivity. Fourthly is performance. This revolves around efficiency including elements such as accuracy, speed and fault handling. The more durable and accurate your system is, the higher the performance. Last but not least, is the acceptability or intuitiveness of your biometric door access system. You want it to be as user-friendly as possible, allowing employees to accept and get used to it effortlessly.
Characteristics of a Good Card Access System
Good card access systems in Singapore can be characterised by their data gathering abilities, scalability and remote management. With data gathering, you can reveal trends or irregularities that come in handy for different types of reporting. This empowers greater regulatory compliance in the office. In case of theft or other crimes on-site, they can also provide valuable forensic information. Scalability here, refers to change capacity in terms of employee size. A good card access system should be scalable to your overall manpower. Finally, remote management comes in particularly handy when you are managing multiple sites or have security managers working remotely. Ensure that the card access system you choose is linked to a central base so that systems can be managed securely over network connections.
Characteristics of a Good Keypad Access System
When getting a keypad access system, it is important to consider if it has protection mechanisms. Some keypad door locks may still be vulnerable to being tampered with just like any other lock. Look out for extra security features, such as an alarm that activates after a number of failed attempts to enter a code or a shutdown feature that disables the keypad after a predetermined number of failed attempts. You may also want your keypad access system to incorporate access logs and rekeying functions.
One of the most convenient features of smart locks is knowing who entered the house or programming a second digital key to the lock. The locks add an extra layer of security by assigning an individual code to anyone entering your home. In the event where users forget the entry code or the battery dies out, having a mechanical backup lock comes in useful. Usually, these locksets have traditional locking key tumblers in the handle. Regardless of whether the batteries are fully charged or not, the included key opens the door.
Characteristics of a Good CCTV Camera System
Perhaps the most important characteristic of a good CCTV camera system lies in its weather resistance. Since CCTV systems are typically placed outside in harsh weather conditions, having rain resistance to prevent damage is crucial. Next, it would be wise to invest in night-vision cameras or at least cameras that can record in low-light conditions. For completely dark areas, where simple night vision cannot provide enough illumination, the more advanced cameras use infrared or heat-vision cameras. For those who wish to take security to a whole new level, CCTV systems with a high-definition (HD) and wide-angle video may be opted for. The HD cameras record footage that is crystal clear and distinctive, which is great for identifying the tiniest details. Moreover, wide-angle cameras cover a much larger area, eliminating the need for multiple cameras.
Characteristics of a Good IP Camera System
Similar to CCTV systems, IP cameras tend to be placed outdoors, which makes weatherproofing a key aspect of a good IP camera. Secondly, ensure IP protocols support. The camera should support the ONVIF and RTSP protocols so it can be connected to NVRs and other home automation equipment in the future. Next is resolution. The resolution of analog cameras is measured in ‘TV lines’ (TVL) or ‘lines of resolution’. The number of pixels determines the resolution of IP cameras. It is advisable to have a pixel resolution of at least two megapixels. Three-megapixel cameras are the standard, but four-megapixel cameras are on the rise. Lastly, a quality IP camera should contain SD card slots that support large capacities, preferably 128 GB. If you have only one or two cameras, this will be a good alternative to an NVR.
Things to Consider Before Getting Any Security System
No doubt, knowing what makes a good security system improves the decision-making process. Now, it’s all about comparing the above information to these three aspects – budget, level of security and installation.
You need to know how much you’re willing to spend first. As seen above, there are a myriad of security systems available. By setting a budget, you can narrow down the options and choose products and services that fit within it. Nonetheless, is it best to not be too frugal as valuable business data and assets are at risk.
Level of Security
The level of security plays a big influencing role especially when it comes to selecting an office door access system in Singapore. For instance, if you feel like you require the highest level of security for your business, then a biometric door access system easily meets that expectation. On the other hand, a card of keypad access system will suffice if you are looking for a security system solution that offers mid to high tier security.
Professional Installation or DIY
A growing number of companies are now offering smart security systems that can be easily set up by users. This includes CCTV installation. You could either hire a professional or perform the installation yourself. With a professional’s help all you have to do is observe and pay them once the job is done. Alternatively, you can perform the task yourself. In today’s day and age, it is as simple as buying the individual devices, mounting them to the desired place, and connecting to the Wi-Fi to set up a security system. By doing this, you can configure the system exactly how you want it.
Business security is no triviality. The consequences of not having good security systems in place can be detrimental to the business and more importantly, employees of the organisation. In today’s digital landscape, business owners should seize the opportunity and invest in state-of-the-art smart security systems to safeguard their business. As these systems tend to be used long-term, referring to the above guide to consider the different features, functions and characteristics can enhance better decision making.
At Valsys Technologies, we offer a full range of security systems in Singapore from door access systems to security camera systems and more. Take control and protect your business with our reliable quality solutions. Contact us today for more information!