Why You Need Professional Monitoring

August 27, 2018

Security systems come in all shapes and sizes that can adequately meet the needs of your home or business.  Video surveillance, fire and water detection, motion detection, and more, for every threat you may face a security system can provide an answer.  When it comes to monitoring however, there are two distinct flavors to choose from: self-monitoring or professional monitoring.  Self-monitoring does have some appeals.  It’s certainly the cheaper option of the two.  It also happens to be a horrible choice.  Evaluating both options can give you a better idea as to why!

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Self-monitored alarm systems

The standard approach to monitoring your own alarm system is pretty straight forward.  You will likely have software installed on your smartphone, computer, and other tech devices that allows you to access information the system sends you.  After getting through this set-up procedure, you can establish a list of contacts, which is certainly an essential step if you choose this route.

From here it’s about what you would expect.  You can monitor activities taking place in your home with some systems.  If you spend a lot of time away from home and have children, you’ll be able to check in on video feeds to make sure they are safe, which can be a comfort.  Your system will also likely be capable of sending you text and email alerts if an alarm is ever triggered or if something in the system perceives a threat.

Here is where things take an ugly turn.  Self-monitoring places the full burden of responsibility on you.  If you miss a text alert (and who hasn’t missed a text before) then your entire system is meaningless.  It is entirely your responsibility to receive the alerts, and if necessary, contact authorities.  What’s worse, in the event of an intruder, a fire, or other disastrous event, you may not have the time or ability to notify authorities or emergency services.  It’s also possible that your system can suffer from software or hardware flaws that can go unnoticed until it is too late. 

Self-monitored systems often only provide an illusion of security.  There are a vast number of compromising variables that can render the entire system useless.  

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Professional alarm monitoring

Kicking things off with professional monitoring, know that everything available to you in a self-monitored alarm system is available here.  You won’t be missing out on anything! 

There are a number of positive quirks that make professional alarm monitoring drastically superior, but the real value comes from the fact that you will have live monitoring 24/7.  Any alert sent and any alarm triggered will be acknowledged by the live operator.  They can determine the nature of the alarm, and respond to quickly.  Not only can they do this with haste, but a trusted monitoring company will typically have faster response times from law enforcement and emergency services.  When seconds matter, this can make a massive difference.

In a scenario in which your life is threatened, you may not have the time to do anything about it with a self-monitored alarm.  With a professional alarm system, an operator will call you to alert you an alarm has been triggered- if you don’t answer, the operator can contact the police, instructing them to make a welfare check at your location. 

You also have the option of setting up a distress code.  This feature will deactivate your alarm system but also alert the monitoring company that you are in need of aid.  Distress codes are ideal in the cases of medical emergencies, or worse, if an intruder breaks in and demands that you disarm your system. 

There is one notable catch with professional monitoring- a monthly fee.  Don’t let that frighten you though.  Most monthly fees are very minimal, and having professional monitoring in your home can often lead insurance companies to offer discounts.  If money is an issue, check with your insurance company before hand and see what your options are for potentially lowering your monthly bills if you include professional monitoring in your home.

Having a home security system is always a great start to protecting your home and family, but monitoring is where it matters the most!

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