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Safety Tips

Safeguard Your Video Surveillance System

While video surveillance systems protect us from potential intruders and dangers, without the proper safeguards, these systems can fall victim to hackers. In order to maintain the integrity of your video surveillance system and keep the cybercriminals at bay, you may want to consider following these tips to protect your surveillance system.

Choose Branded Video Cameras
If you invest in cameras that are not branded, you may not receive the necessary updates and security patches that often come with branded security cameras. This means that your non-branded cameras will remain susceptible to vulnerabilities and exploits. Play it safe and purchase branded cameras known for quality cyber security and be sure to routinely check for patches and updates.

Protect Your Surveillance Network
A major vulnerability of surveillance systems lies in open IP cameras. With these IP cameras located across your property and connected to your network, anyone can disconnect your cameras and connect a laptop or device and gain access to your entire network. To prevent this, lock down the MAC addresses that can connect to the network, allowing only your cameras to connect to your surveillance systems.

Setup VLANs
Never put your surveillance cameras on the same network as your workstation. Keep your security camera network isolated via VLANs and only allow the video recorders to communicate with the cameras.

Change The Default Camera Password
This seems like a no-brainer, however, it must be said. The default password is often readily available on the company’s website, thus, it is advised to change the default password to a strong one that you can remember.

Keep Separate Logins For Access & Admin Privileges
Along the same lines, you want to keep separate logins when it comes to access and administrative privileges. That way only the appropriate employees can gain access to the admin privileges, such as updating firmware or obtaining streaming video.

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Visit SecurityCamExpert.com to browse our stock of affordable CCTV security cameras and video surveillance systems. To request a site survey or free quote, please call 888-203-6294.

Night Vision Security Camera Tips

Burglars often like to creep in the dark night in hopes of being undetected. This is precisely why night vision security cameras are so important. But keep in mind that the value of night vision cameras is directly connected to their effectiveness and performance. To employ the best night vision surveillance system, keep these things in mind.

  • IP Power

Remember that all IR CCTV cameras have a quoted maximum range. For example, these can range from 5m to 50m or longer. This range is the absolute maximum, meaning at these extremes, your image quality will not be its best. Measuring how far you need to see and then adding a third of that is recommended. For example, if you need to see 30m, it may be advised to invest in a 40m camera.

On the other hand, you don’t want the IR to be too powerful either. Most CCTV cameras cannot adjust the IR brightness, thus, if a subject is too close to a camera designed for long ranges, it will simply look too bright and/or washed out.

  • Wide Angle Lenses

IR LEDS are designed to brightly illuminate the center of an image, therefore, most of these cameras will not have a very wide angle of view. While this is not a common problem, some cameras will have varifocal lenses that can zoom out. With these, be aware that at the wide end of the zoom, the corners of your image will not be covered by night vision.

  • Field Of View

For all security cameras, you want to be sure that the field of view is clear of obstructions, but this is especially important for IR CCTV cameras. If there is something like a branch or leaves in the frame, the LEDs will focus on these and they will be brightly lit. The rest of the image will be made darker in order to compensate, thus rendering the image is useless.

  • Reflection For IR

In order for night vision cameras to work, IR needs something to reflect off of. When users point a camera into an empty field, they may be alarmed when there is nothing but darkness and may assume the night vision is not working, but this is not the case. When a subject moves into range, the IR can reflect off of it, and thus, the subject will be visible.

  • Mounting Height

Keep the height at which your cameras will be installed in mind when you are considering the power of your night vision. This is especially important when installing cameras above ground floor height. For example, if your car is parked 4m away from your house, and your camera is mounted 3m from the ground, the actual distance from camera to car is 5m.

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For a great selection of night vision security cameras and surveillance equipment, visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 to speak with us directly.

Why Choose Wireless Security Systems?

Protecting your home from possible intruders is a high priority for most these days. When it comes to security systems, the debate between wired or wireless can be a tough decision. Both types offer advantages and disadvantages, with wired systems often seen as more reliable and wireless as more convenient. It really comes down to your own individual security needs and which type of system better suits these. Because wireless security camera systems are more advanced, they seem to be more appealing. Here we’ll review some of the important benefits of wireless security systems.

  • Better Security

Wireless security systems offer better protection against intruders than wired security systems. Since wired systems use the telephone line or internet connection, if one or both of these are down, so is your security system. Wireless systems use more reliable cellular connections, and thus, the alarm will still be triggered via the dedicated cellular service or the batter powered backup system.

  • Easy Installation

Most wireless systems are usually plug and play or DIY and can be set up in under 30 minutes, making installation of these systems and equipment easy and convenient. Wired systems require professional installation that takes longer to set up and test to ensure proper installation and functioning.

  • Remote Surveillance

Wireless systems often provide other functions, such as controlling lights and locking and unlocking doors. These tasks can be managed remotely via an app installed on your smart phone or device.

  • Mobile

Because they are easy to install, wireless security systems are also easy to uninstall and relocate. This is helpful when you are moving or even when you need to expand your system.

Although these seem like great advantages, they may not be right for you. As mentioned, it is important to evaluate your own security needs to better understand which type of system will work best for you. If you need help deciding, please feel free to contact us at 888-203-6294. You may request a free quote or schedule a site survey. Browse our comprehensive stock of affordable security solutions online at SecurityCamExpert.com and connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Security Cameras: Common Positioning Mistakes

When security cameras are installed and positioned properly, they can provide effective security and video footage to protect your property. However, simple mistakes when implementing a security system can negate its effectiveness. To maximize your security systems performance and efficiency, be sure to avoid these common security camera mistakes.

  • Multitasking

Try not to assign too many tasks to a single camera, as these will likely be executed poorly. Choose a single goal, such as capturing a face, a license plate, or general coverage, and optimize the placement and settings for that goal.

  • Height

While the highest point of your property may seem ideal to capture a wide viewing range, it will not provide detailed images for identification. You want to place cameras high enough to deter tampering and vandalism while still finding a balance between the ultimate goal, the effective range, and number of cameras you are employing. This is why careful planning and calculations are crucial.

  • Wide Dynamic Range

Doorways and windows are prone to an imbalance of light distribution, and, therefore require Wide Dynamic Range (WDR). Without it, you may not be able to capture a decent image unless the camera is in the proper angle or the person looks directly into the camera. Be sure to choose the right features for the appropriate locations and environment.

  • Fixed Vs. PTZ

Because of their abilities, PTZ (Pan/Tilt/Zoom) cameras tend to be more appealing to customers. The problem is that after taking advantage of the features, the camera is hardly ever returned to its “home” location, and thus, is left focusing on less important areas. While they can be helpful tools in various situations, PTZ cameras are better used in conjunction with fixed cameras. That way, fixed cameras will always be focused on the key areas while the PTZ cameras can monitor the surrounding areas or points of interest as necessary.

  • DVR/NVR Placement

Protecting your equipment is ever important, but sometimes, users leave the central brains of the systems as an afterthought. Be sure that the placement of your DVR/NVRs is both secure and efficient for your system.

  • Lighting

You need to consider lighting, especially if you need to capture video overnight. Aside from night vision, be mindful of the available light in your camera locations. Be sure not to mount cameras too close to bright lights, which can disrupt the view.

  • Masking High Traffic

It is important to adjust and program each device for a maximum balance of capturing required information and maximizing storage returns. If this is neglected, you may cause your DVR/NVR to shorten, thus limiting video retention.

  • Proper Retention Calculation

Choosing a system that does not allow for customization of video retention time will limit your security system’s flexibility. Instead, look for systems which will allow you to modify your storage options based on your individual needs.

Build your ideal video surveillance system with us! Visit SecurityCamExpert.com to browse our stock or call 888-203-6294 to discuss your options. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Maintenance Tips For Your Security Camera System

Keeping your security camera system in good condition and running sufficiently is very important. A routine system maintenance schedule will ensure you are getting the most out of your system. Here are some smart practices to consider when it comes to maintaining your security system.

  • Semi-Annual Inspections

You want to inspect both your indoor and outdoor cameras for any signs of corrosion and replace any connectors that show signs as this can cause your equipment to short out. Power supplies should be inspected to ensure that your system hasn’t lost power due to tampering, burn out, natural disasters or other unexpected events. If you have a UPS, make sure the battery is fully charged and does not show any warning lights.

  • Clean Camera Lenses

Check your security cameras lenses for dust, smudges, water spots and other elements. A dirty lens can render your camera useless because the video and image quality will be compromised.

  • Check Security Camera Positioning

Evaluate your camera positioning and adjust accordingly based on your current surveillance needs. You also want to ensure your cameras have not become loose as this can interfere with recording quality. Jiggle the area to make sure there are no vibrations – tighten and adjust as necessary.

  • Replace Malfunctioning Cameras & Parts

If you notice a decline in the performance of your security cameras, it is wise to replace them before they become completely useless. While you are inspecting your system, take note of any issues that need to be addressed (ex. broken parts). It is recommended that you purchase replacement parts or accessories from the same manufacturer or a trusted seller to ensure you are purchasing real parts. These usually have warranties and are less likely to deteriorate prematurely.

  • Landscaping

Make sure your outdoor cameras still have a clear view. Be sure to trim all vines, bushes, trees, and other foliage around the cameras to prevent obstructions. In addition, you should make sure any animals (ex. birds, squirrels, bees) have not made a home near your cameras.

  • Check Housing & Weatherproof Function

Although you enclose your cameras in weatherproof housing, you must make sure that the housing has not been compromised. Open the camera housing to check for water, condensation or dirt, to confirm that your housing is still protecting your equipment. Furthermore, too much sunlight or water exposure can damage your cameras, thus protecting your cameras with an encasing or small shed is advised (especially if your cameras are not designed to withstand these elements).

  • Check Cable Connections

When your security cameras stop working properly, more often than not, it comes down to loose connections or worn out cables. Examine all of your cable connections, including those connected to your security cameras, DVR, and monitor, for any cables that show signs of wear and tear. Address any potential issues to ensure your cables and equipment are securely connected and receiving power.

  • Save The Manual

When you purchase and install equipment, you should receive a manual – store this in a safe and accessible place. You can refer to your manual to troubleshoot any issues before calling a professional (which can save you money in the long run).

Keeping your security system up and running protects your investment, your property, and you. Aside from your own semi-annual inspections, you may want to have a professional evaluate your system annually. This can help maintain the integrity of your system and they can advise you on possible upgrades or share helpful tips.

If you’re looking for affordable security cameras and surveillance equipment, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. Browse our selection online or inquire about site surveys, installation services, or request a free quote by calling 888-203-6294 today! You can also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Tips For Improving Your Home Security System

Home security camera systems help home owners protect their property and loved ones. They provide an extra set of eyes to monitor your home whether you are at home or away. Because of the financial investment, it is important to ensure that everything is working properly.

There are many ways in which you can optimize your surveillance cameras to get the most out of your security system. Here are a few smart security tips to improve your system.

Use Motion Detection
A security camera that is recording everything all the time sounds good in theory, but will require a large amount of memory and power. It will also be more difficult to sort through the mundane footage to find what you are looking for.

Thanks to motion detection, your camera does not have to record all the time. Motion detection enables your camera to start recording when activity in the field of view triggers the sensor. This means you will not need to worry about running out of storage space and makes it easier to sort through your recordings.

Consider Location
Choosing the right location for your security cameras is crucial. Be sure to adjust the angle of your camera to maximize your field of view and ensure that obstructions, such as trees or bushes, do not block the camera’s view.

Other Home Security Solutions
Although security cameras are important, they cannot do everything. Pairing your security camera system with a high quality and reliable alarm system can increase your home security overall and may even help with insurance discounts.

Multiple Cameras
While an outdoor security camera is common, often times, one camera is not enough. If there’s only one security camera present, it’s likely that burglars will work around that. You want your security cameras to monitor high traffic areas and points of entry (ex. front door, back door, first floor windows). That way, you get more comprehensive video surveillance should you become a target for home invasion.

Proper Maintenance
You can’t just set it and forget it when it comes to your surveillance system. Keeping your cameras clean and any potential obstructions at bay will help maintain the performance and effectiveness of your system. Skipping routine maintenance checks may cause your cameras to miss important moments.

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For a great selection of affordable security cameras and CCTV surveillance camera systems, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. For more information about our installation services or to request a free quote, please call 888-203-6294.

Home Security Misconceptions

When it comes to home security systems, there are many different measures to can take to protect your property. Unfortunately, some homeowners have false impressions about home security, leaving them at risk. To ensure that you are safeguarding your home and loved ones properly, review these common misconceptions about home security.

  • Home security is too expensive.
    The security market has grown over the years, offering a wide range of security and surveillance options suitable for any budget. In addition, some insurance companies offer discounts for home security systems, thus increasing your savings and the value of your system.
  • Your neighborhood is already safe.
    Even the safest neighborhood can become a target. Protect your home from possible intruders, vandals, or even arson.
  • I have a dog.
    While pets can act as a security measure, they can also become a liability. Your pet could be injured during a break-in or may even be stolen. And while there are stories of pets saving their owners from house fires, they cannot protect your home and valuables from fire damage.
  • Hardwiring my home is difficult.
    Even older homes can be wired with a modern home security system. Whether your home is old or new, we can wire your system. Contact SecurityCamExpert to learn more or request a free quote.
  • Alarm systems are unreliable.
    Since inception, alarm system technology has advanced, minimizing false alarms and improving overall performance. Because alarm systems use unique radio signals, interference is minimized, thus enhancing reliability.
  • Intruders can outsmart an alarm.
    If your alarm is not installed properly, this may be likely. But modern alarm and security camera systems are so advanced, burglars would not know where to start. Also, the more complex your system, the harder it will be to disarm.
  • My neighborhood watch program keeps us safe.
    The neighborhood watch does not operate around the clock. When they are not watching, your home is vulnerable to potential dangers.
  • Insurance can replace my stuff.
    Insurance may replace what is lost, stolen or damaged, but they cannot restore your peace of mind after a home invasion. A home security and alarm system can help you rest easier.
  • I use expensive lock systems in my house.
    Locks are only one layer of a comprehensive security system. These locks can be broken or bypassed with enough determination. Should these become compromised, you should have backup security measures in place.
  • Authorities cannot respond in time anyway.
    Response times may vary, however, police and other emergency responders can respond to alerts in a matter of minutes.

As you can see, you can make all the excuses in the world, but the facts remain the same – a solid home security system can help protect you and your loved ones. Ditch these misconceptions ad shop our selection of home security systems today! Visit us online or call 888-203-6294. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Common Outdoor Security Camera Issues

Outdoor security cameras act as your first line of defense against potential burglars. The presence of outdoor security cameras alone can act as a deterrent and they can provide you with evidence should anything happen. Because they are placed outdoors, these security cameras are susceptible to possible dangers which may compromise your security system. Here are a few outdoor security camera risks and how to safeguard your security equipment.

Vandalism & Theft
Unfortunately, to cover their tracks and eliminate possible evidence, thieves may resort to vandalism and theft.

In order to protect your equipment, you will want to choose vandal-proof security cameras or CCTV cameras with metal housings or covers. These not only make it harder for them to be stolen, but they also help to keep your security camera clean.

You should also consider the placement of your security cameras. Installing outdoor security cameras where they are visible yet out of reach will help to maximize their effectiveness and reduce the risk of damage.

Lighting & Thunderstorm
Though it may seem highly unlikely, there’s still a chance your security equipment may get struck by lightning, especially in areas where thunderstorms are common.

Because metal can be highly conductive, avoid mounting your cameras to a metal. Also, be sure that your CCTV or PoE security system is grounded properly. This can minimize damage by redirecting the lightning current into the earth ground.

In addition, employing lightning surge protectors prevents voltage spikes by blocking voltage that exceeds specific thresholds and instead directing the excess into the outlet’s ground line.

Should the thunderstorm result in power outage, UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supplies) units will provide reliable backup power. They will even work if you unplug all system, cable, modem and antenna connections during a thunderstorm.

Hackers
Hacking is a big concern for network IP cameras, as hackers can possibly jam the operating device or decrypt your safety code.

In these cases, you will want to boost your network security with WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access II) security protocol. You should also change your passwords frequently and make your passphrase complicated.

Firmware
In addition, updating firmware regularly for your IP security cameras is key. Some may be hesitant to perform this task as it can be inconvenient, however, these updates often contain patches for recently found loopholes or vulnerabilities that may threaten your system.

Be sure to update your firmware every few months, or check the product website to ensure you are using the latest firmware version. Also, remember to read the information carefully before upgrading.

Spider Webs or Bugs
If you employ IR security cameras outdoors and under eaves, they are likely to attract nocturnal bugs and insects that are naturally drawn to lights. Unfortunately, bugs and spider webs can compromise image quality and may even trigger false alarms from motion sensor cameras.

These issues can be combated with regular cleaning and maintenance of your outdoor security cameras. Using natural insect repellents (ex. citrus, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint) are reported as very effective in keeping spiders away. In addition, you may use spider repellents, contact sprays, aerosol sprays and web eliminators around the camera (not directly on the lens for obvious reasons). Lastly, if you reduce the motion-detection sensibility accordingly, you will reduce false alarms.

Extreme Weather Conditions
You may worry about the performance of your security cameras if you live in areas that experience extreme and inclement weather conditions (ex. freezing winters, sweltering hot summers). Luckily, security cameras come with an IP (ingress protection) rating that determines their ability to sustain harsh weather. For example, an outdoor security camera with IP rating 66 is also known as completely water-proof (can withstand solid matter and liquid, such as dust and rainwater respectively).

Reflection Of Lights
Beware of pointing your outdoor security cameras at reflective surfaces (ex. ponds of water, glass panels, car windows) as it will cause lens glare and obstruct viewing.

To avoid this, place front door and back door security cameras outside and out of reach. Also, adjust your camera field of view to shy away from potentially reflective surfaces.

Fogging, Clouding, Or Condensation
While security cameras are often assembled to be sealed-up and air-tight to prevent moisture seeping into the lens, sudden changes in temperature may cause fogging.

This issue is common in the early morning and will sometimes go away on its own. If the problem persists, you may want to consider placing a packet of silica gel inside the housing case. Also, regularly wiping the outer lens covers with a micro-fiber cloth will help protect your cameras.

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To shop our selection of outdoor security cameras, CCTV cameras, IP surveillance systems, and more, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. Looking for a free quote? Call 888-203-6294 today!

Home Security Mistakes & Tips

Making mistakes when it comes to your home security can compromise your safety, leaving you vulnerable to burglary and theft. When choosing the best home security system for you, avoid making these common security mistakes and ensure that you properly safeguard your home and loved ones.

Mistake: Buying The Wrong Home Security Systems.
There is no “wrong” home security system, however, what works for one person may not work for you. This is precisely why there are various types of security systems on the market.

In order to choose the best system for you, do your research. You want to look at different reviews from reputable sources. Search the security system you are eyeing, or the type of system you’re looking for. In addition to reviews, pay attention to any complaints from real buyers that you may come across. There may be legitimate issues that you should know about before making a purchase.

Also, these are some important features you should consider when shopping for a security system:

  • Remote monitoring
  • Real-time notifications
  • 911 & emergency services
  • Input capacity
  • Ease of installation

Lastly, to help you make the right decision, and possibly save you time, you should speak with a security professional. With expert knowledge and experience under their belt, a security professional will have a better idea of which type of security will best suit your needs.

Mistake: Not Testing Your Configurations.
It is rare that one home security system is enough for all your home security needs. For added protection, some components to consider may include:

  • Indoor and outdoor cameras
  • Motion sensors
  • Smoke detectors
  • Carbon monoxide detectors
  • Glass break detectors
  • Door and window sensors
  • Freeze sensors
  • Water sensors
  • Driveway sensors

Of course, these are just some of the many components you may or may not want to add to your system. Whether you have one security camera or 20 different cameras and sensors, you should test all of them to ensure proper configuration and performance. For example, you may not know that your camera is poorly positioned or that your alarm system was not properly activated.

Try simulating a break-in with a friend, family member, or your pet to determine the capabilities of your home security system. Most criminals are seasoned vets so they probably know how to bypass one of more components of your system, thus having more aspects can help to ensure they are stopped.

Mistake: Lack Of/Poor Maintenance Of Home Security System.
Your security system should be maintained on a regular basis, whether it’s weekly, monthly, semi-annually or annually – do what’s best for what you need. Maintenance can involve various things such as updating software, changing batteries, changing faulty or defective parts, and more.

Professional Maintenance
Professional maintenance can be done annually or semi-annually. You may want to check if your vendor offers any maintenance packages in the service contract. If they don’t, you can enlist the services from a home security inspection company.

The services typically consist of the following:

  • Repair or replace broken parts of your home security system
  • Test the control panel and all other components of your home security system
  • Check that signals are sent to and received by the monitoring center

Professional maintenance ensures that there’s no guesswork in handling, fixing or replacing faulty components of your system.

DIY Maintenance
Your DIY checklist should include:

  • Check/change exterior lighting to ensure clearer pictures or videos for your surveillance cameras
  • Simulate intrusion to check if motion sensors will detect it or trigger the right alarm
  • Test your control panel if it has a test model but if your system includes remote monitoring (which it should), inform the monitoring team to avoid starting a false alarm
  • The National Fire Alarm Code requires annual inspection of residential household fire systems, but you can press the test button of your smoke detector to see if it’s functioning properly from time to time

Keep these tips in mind in order to avoid these critical mistakes when shopping for a home security system.

If you’re looking for quality CCTV surveillance systems and security cameras for smart prices, feel free to browse our stock online at SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 to speak with an expert today! Find the latest news and updates on our Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest pages.

Home Security Camera Placement Tips

When it comes to security camera systems, you can invest in the best, most advanced equipment, but choosing poor locations for your security cameras can render your system ineffective.

In order to choose the best placement for your surveillance cameras, you should consider the layout of your property and which areas need monitoring. Most home or business owners target high traffic areas and entryways.

Here are more helpful tips for installing your security cameras.

  • The most commonly targeted entryways are the front door, back door, and first-floor windows, so be sure these are under video surveillance.
  • In addition, a security camera at the front door can act as a digital peephole since you can access your live feed to see who’s at the door. You can place it above the door or window frame facing downward so that it covers the area a few feet in front of the opening. Or you can place it inside your home on the window sill overlooking the front yard.
  • The type of camera will also help determine where it should be placed. Surveillance cameras with a focus range of around 45 to 75 degrees should be aimed at specific areas (ex. doorway, garage). Wide angle cameras should be placed where they can view 75 to 180 degrees without any obstructions. For security cameras that can rotate, be sure to check with the manufacturer for information on how much unobstructed viewing area is necessary.
  • For surveillance cameras being installed outdoors, be sure they are waterproof, vandal proof, and have night vision capabilities in order to record overnight. Motion detection lights around the perimeter of your home can also help capture quality recordings as well as deter burglars from approaching.
  • In addition, when placing security cameras outdoors, you want them to be visible yet out of reach. By installing them at least 9 feet above the ground, you decrease the likelihood of tampering, vandalism, or theft of your cameras.

Do you have any security camera placement advice or tips to share? Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Shop our great selection of quality CCTV security cameras and surveillance systems for your home or business. Visit us online at SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294.

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