Archive for October, 2017

Small Business Cyber Security

 

Small Business Cyber Security

Today Shield Fire & Security is going to discuss the importance of cyber security for small businesses. Cyber Security is important in our everyday business activity because we use computers for almost everything we do. Shield sends emails, manages customer accounts, program systems, and manages its accounting all on computers. We want to stress the importance of cyber security to our fellow small business community, so we came up with a list of precautions your business can take.

 

10 Steps to Take for Small Business Cyber Security

(1) Educate and train employees on safe security practices

  • Create a policy for passwords that requires them to be strong i.e. 8 characters, 1 capital letter, 1 special character.
  • Establish appropriate internet use guidelines browsing
  • Policies regarding sensitive information must be in place.
  • Rules and penalties must be in place in case policies or guidelines are violated.

 

(2) Prevent Cyber attacks on information, computers, and networks

  • Download antivirus software and run scans regularly.
  • Update software and browsers as often as possible especially after running an antivirus scan.

(3) Download a firewall for your internet connection

(Firewalls prevent outsiders from breaking into your private network)

  • Firewalls can be enabled on your operating system or you can download a free firewall software online
  • Require firewalls for employee home networks

(4) Protect your mobile devices

  • Require employees to set a password, encrypt their sensitive company data, and install security apps to help protect the phone when on public networks.
  • Create a procedure for if a phone is stolen i.e. have pictures of the phone, record the serial number, record the model, a have process to report the stolen phone to the police.

(5) Run back ups or create copies of important company data

  • Backup computers regularly
  • Schedule automatic backups if at all possible especially for financial or HR documents.

(6) Restrict access to computers

  • Require strong passwords
  • Prevent use of computers from unauthorized users
  • Lock up computers when unattended
  • Admin privileges should only be for IT staff and key personel

(7) Secure Wifi network

  • Hide and encrypt your wifi
  • Set up your router to not broadcast the name of your network
  • Password protect your router

(8) Handle payments securely

  • Trust only secure merchants
  • Process payments on a separate then the one you surf the internet on

(9) Limit authorized employees

  • Allow only certain employees to install software.
  • Authorize employees for information that’s needed for their job

(10) Strong passwords and authorizations

  • Employees should choose unique passwords every three months especially to access financial information
  • Implement multi-factor authentication when possible. (additional information past a normal password) 

Why is Cyber Security Important for Small Businesses?

Cyber security is extremely important for small businesses because they usually are easy targets.  A Large company will tend to have people in place to prevent cyber attacks whereas a small business will not. Many small businesses also have the mindset that cyber security isn’t important because “why would they want my business’ information when there’s so many other larger businesses out there.” What business owners everywhere don’t realize is having that mindset about cyber security is what makes you a prime target.

Think about it. Hackers everywhere have to start somewhere. They pray on those who are not prepared because it will be the easiest. If your business is compromised they potentially have everything about your business i.e. your bank account information, customer financial information, names, socials, customer data base, etc. Even if you are convinced that your business is safe from this happening it doesn’t hurt to take precautions.

Additional resources about Cyber Security

 

Blog

**Please note Shield Fire & Security specializes in security systems. We are not a cyber security company, and cannot protect you from cyber attacks. The intent of this blog is to share information with our fellow small business community that we have found out in the process of owning a business. Please do not take this blog as a guarantee of safety from cyber attacks. This information is just some of the things you can do to protect your business.

 

Introducing Brivo OnAir

Introducing Brivo OnAir

Brivo OnAir is cloud-based platform that manages access control systems and video surveillance systems. A very simple definition of access control is that its an electronic system that locks doors. A video surveillance system is a system that records video to a storage that you can review later. The Brivo platform allows you to manage your security system from anywhere via the internet by smartphone, tablet, or computer. (IOS & Android compatible). Business owners worldwide rely on Brivo to secure their buildings because of its innovative technology.

Benefits

  • User friendly
  • Real-time monitoring management
  • Remote management
  • Set schedules
  • Cost effective
  • Secure
  • Scalability
  • Assign credentials to individuals

Access Control Integration

Brivo OnAir Management from multiple devices

Brivo has been in the access control industry since 1999. The cloud for their access control systems rolled out in 2002. Ever since the cloud was introduced new features have been coming out almost every year.

Now instead of having an access control card to get into a door you can use your phone. You can also run reports of all the events, assign credentials and schedules, receive notifications, login from anywhere, and manage your video surveillance system in addition to your access control system.

Learn more about access control on our site click here.

Video Integration

Video Management via Brivo OnAir

In the past Brivo only offered access control cloud hosting. Then Brivo incorporated Eagle Eye Networks (cloud hosted video surveillance) into their platform. So now both access control and video surveillance can be managed together. Not only can both systems be monitored at the same time, but access control doors and cameras can be associated with each other.

For example: ABC company has an access control door that leads into a room of pharmacy medication. This door has a camera before you enter the door. ABC company can set a rule that says every time the pharmacy door is opened record 5 seconds before the card swipe and 5 seconds after the card swipe then send it to my email and phone.

Learn more about video surveillance on our site site click here.

The Cloud Explained

How do you get Brivo OnAir?

Shield Fire & Security is an authorized dealer of Brivo. This just means we went through the proper training, and Brivo endorses us to provide their service. Unless you are authorized by Brivo you cannot buy Brivo equipment directly from Brivo nor would you want to. The process of getting all the equipment together and then installing it would be a nightmare if you haven’t had the extensive training we have. There is also so many different cameras you can choose for your surveillance system, and your storage options are endless.

If you contact Shield Fire & Security we will listen to what you want/need, and we will provide a free quote. Click here to contact us at Shield or call 702-570-6221.

Fire Inspection Code Violations

Fire Inspection Code Violations

Fire inspections are put in place by our county and cities to ensure the safety for all of Las Vegas. Sometimes it feels like the fire department may be picking on you, but in reality they are trying to keep your building safe. Having a fire inspection catches things that you probably wouldn’t catch otherwise. Think about it…how often do you really touch your fire alarm system or the extinguishers in your building? Why would you unless there was an emergency? Fire inspections are in place to protect your building from a fire. If there is a fire in your building you want to make sure everything is up to code. Having a building that is up to date on fire code makes it easier to put out a fire or even prevent the fire in the first place! The following is the top 10 Fire Code Violations according to Clark County Department of Building and Fire Prevention.

 

 

Top 10 Fire Inspection Violations

  1. Fire extinguishers must be serviced every 12 months, and be readily accessible to anyone in case of emergency.
  2. Electrical extension cords are for temporary use only, for example using a vacuum or power tool. Multi-outlet power strips with built in circuit breakers are approved to protect computers and other related equipment.
  3. Emergency lights and exit signs must work in both normal and emergency power. If the exit sign is a lighted sign it must be lit at all times.
  4. Exit doors must be easily opened from the inside. It is not acceptable to need a key or have special knowledge to unlock the door. If you have a main storefront door it is acceptable to have it locked as long as there is a sign above that reads: “This door to remain unlocked when building is occupied.”
  5. Aisles, walkways, stairways, and paths that lead to exits must be clear of any and all obstructions
  6. Fire sprinkler and fire alarm systems must be inspected every 3 or 12 months by a licensed fire protection contractor. The amount of inspections for your building is dependent on the equipment. Call Shield Fire & Security at 702-570-6221 for more information or visit our site here.
  7. Fire suppression systems for a commercial cooking setting aka hood systems must be serviced and tested by a licensed contractor. The testing frequency is dependent on use, and is monthly, quarterly, or annually.
  8. Street address must be visible from the street fronting the property. The address must also be in a contrasting color.
  9. Fire hydrants must be visible and accessible at all times. Each hydrant must have 3 ft of clearance on all sides and no parking within 15 ft.
  10. Electrical outlets, junction boxes, and circuit breaker panels must all have the appropriate coverings.

Are you ready for your fire inspection?

Fire inspections can be a head ache if you don’t prepare for them. The fire department can obviously find other problems that aren’t on the above list, but the above is the most common. The above list is full of items that you would think are common sense; however, many do not think of the above items until it’s inspection time or there’s an emergency.

For example having all your aisles, walkways, and stairways that lead to exits cleared sounds like a no-brainer, but it may not be for certain situations. What if you have an exit door you covered because no one goes into that area of the building because it’s for storage? Regardless of the circumstance that exit door needs to be cleared. Someone could be rummaging through those storage items or a professional may need access to put out the fire.

Fires don’t happen where or when you want them to happen, and they can cause a tremendous amount of damage. This is why our cities and counties are always actively working to prevent fires.

 

Inspection of Equipment

Inspections of equipment are the hardest part of a fire inspection . Whenever you are looking to have a company inspect your equipment, make sure you give them plenty of notice. That way they have plenty of time to inspect your equipment, and put you on a regular inspection/service schedule. The last thing you want is to find out your fire alarm has a fault on it a day before your inspection.

Also, another thing to remember is you can’t just call one company to take care of all of your fire code needs. Surprisingly, each of the inspection required items have different licenses associated with them. There isn’t a license that allows you to service everything related to fire. Shield Fire & Security for example is licensed to monitor sprinkler systems and install, inspect, and monitor fire alarm systems. Unlike other companies in our trade, we have a licensed fire inspector that can help point out deficiencies for Shield customers, before their fire inspections. Click here or call 702-570-6221 to contact Shield Fire & Security.

 

Helpful links

Clark county has a ton of helpful information on their site check out their site here.

City of Las Vegas here.

City of Henderson here.

Don’t wait for the last minute to prepare for a fire inspection!

 

Surveillance Systems 101

There is a wide variety of surveillance systems. As a consumer it’s almost imperative you know exactly what you are looking for in a surveillance system before buying one. This is because you want to make sure you get exactly what you intend. Shield Fire & Security prides itself on listening to our customers wants and needs, but sometimes customers have unknown expectations. Many times when a customer is looking for a surveillance system they have different ideas on what the cameras should see or even how much they should cost. We avoid this knowledge gap the best we can by providing as much information and asking the customer as many questions as possible. In the following article I will educate you on surveillance systems and elaborate on the key questions to ask yourself.

Key Questions to Ask Yourself

  • What will you be using the surveillance system for?
  • What kind of cameras are you interested in?
  • How do you want your footage recorded?

 

What will you be using the Surveillance system for?

There are cameras that see in the dark, can move along with an object, identify license plate numbers, can be remote controlled, and so on and so forth.

Not all cameras have the everyday features we see in the movies. Did you know that most cameras don’t record audio? There’s also cameras that only record in event clips.

In addition to the surveillance systems’ purpose we need to know the following:

  • Is the surveillance system is for a residence or a commercial property?
  • What areas do you want recorded?
  • Can we get power to the locations you want cameras in?

Your security specialist needs to know everything you want in a surveillance system so that way we can shop for the right cameras. Every surveillance system is personalized for your needs.

As a customer we suggest drawing a rough draft of your property with camera locations, and writing why you want a camera there. This will help your security specialist better understand your expectations.

 

What kind of cameras are you interested in?

Shield Fire & Security listens to your needs and can appropriately assess the type of camera you need for your surveillance system. That doesn’t mean that you as the customer shouldn’t do your research and get exactly what camera you want. The following are types of cameras that are out there, and we always recommend doing research on surveillance systems because after-all it is an investment.

Boxed Cameras

Boxed cameras are the most commonly used camera. This is because they are cost effective, and make sense for most homes and small businesses. Box cameras can be purchased at home improvement stores and technical stores. They are not recommended by most security professionals because of their reliability and low quality. Many security companies will not install these kind of cameras for you. If you decide  you want to go this route for cameras Shield Fire & Security offers the Arlo cameras as pictured to the right.

Arlo Pro Smart Security System with 3 Cameras (AVM4000C)

Dome cameras

Dome cameras are another popular security camera choice. These cameras are generally less bulky than a box camera and are easy to mount almost anywhere. A dome camera is generally conspicuous and is available with various qualities and interchangeable lenses. There are also mini dome cameras which are significantly smaller than your average size camera, but the video quality is not sacrificed. Shield Fire & Security has many cameras in our office, but the majority of the cameras we use are dome cameras. We especially love our mini domes because many times our visitors don’t even notice them!

American Dynamics – IR HD Varifocal Dome Camera

 

Pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) cameras

are flexible cameras that can swivel up and down, and side to side allowing you to have a full 360-degree field of view. Most PTZ cameras are remote-controllable and ideal for single-camera surveillance systems.

HIK Vision – IR Outdoor Network Speed Dome

Bullet cameras

come in a variety of sizes and image qualities. Bullet cameras are available with focus zoom lenses, and sometimes interchangeable lenses. Bullet cameras are generally what you typically see used for commercial grade video surveillance systems.

AXIS – Q1765-LE Network Camera

How do you want your footage recorded?

Surveillance system video can be recorded via the following:

  • NVR or DVR – A DVR/NVR is the most common way to store footage. The great thing about NVRs and DVRs is often times you can expand the memory. So if you only want a little bit of memory at first you can expand it to a larger memory in the future. Also, DVRs and NVRs come in a lot larger memory than a memory card would, and you can connect them to a monitor to view live and past video.
  • The Cloud –  The Cloud is Shield Fire & Security’s favorite storage option. Cloud storage is a more recent option that has become increasingly more popular. The cloud comes in handy because you access it from anywhere, it’s secure, and your memory can be adjusted without having to physically plug something in to your NVR/DVR. It also gets rid of the need for an NVR/DVR and your video can’t be stolen. Cloud storage allows you to choose storage for each camera to the day. This is ground breaking for companies who need an exact amount of days of video footage on hand. In the past choosing a storage amount was always a game on how many days it would actually record. If you’d like to read more about cloud storage click here, and read the section about Eagle Eye. There is also a nice video that explains how the cloud works.
  • Memory card – Depending on what size camera system you purchase, a memory card could suffice for your video footage. The more memory your storage device has the more footage you can keep from your cameras. If you have a large surveillance system or your surveillance cameras are high definition more than likely you cannot use this option because you system will eat up the storage way too fast. Also, if you choose the memory card you generally cannot see your live video at any given time. You would have to pull the memory card and plug it into a computer.

 

As a consumer it’s hard putting your trust into company especially when it regards your security. This is why Shield Fire & Security prides itself in educating our customers. Shield Fire & Security recommends talking with a security specialist before deciding on a surveillance system.  See our Surveillance Systems section for more helpful information or contact us for a free consultation.