Network monitoring up to the challenge

Central stations dig deep into IT space

Hertel said Mace CSSS in Anaheim has an IT support group that works with dealers, with the majority of calls coming in related to networking and IP video installations.

“In terms of keeping us and our customer’s data safe we go out of our way requiring strong passwords and encrypted connections and we spend a lot of time and money making sure things like firewalls and systems are patched and updated regularly. “It’s quite a task really,” Hertel said. With regards to backup, Hertel said budget is a consideration but as an example the Mace central station has three providers for Internet access. “This might be overkill but I sleep better at night,” Hertel continued. “We do things like running firewalls with automatic failover and we also have installed extensive networking monitoring and security systems that not only report to us but our automation vendors 24 hours a day.”

The systems integrator is definitely counting on the central monitoring center for assistance in providing a secure network.

“It’s extremely important to us that the entire network path is secure,” said Michael A. Ash, president of Garden State Fire & Security in Aberdeen, N.J. “As an owner of and a purchaser of product we assume that the security of the network and the product is built-in.” Ash said he currently doesn’t allow his customers to access the database at the central station or its facility. The company is considering deploying the capability for customers, through software, to request a service call, pay a bill or see their account information through a Web portal the company would supply. “We have not yet deployed this technology due to security concerns,” Ash added.

Today, third party monitoring providers and central stations are helping integrators and dealers increase the security of their customer’s networks and also their own, with encryption, data protection, firewalls, redundancy and more.

As these companies continue to operate and make the move to more Web-based solutions and software as a service, new and interesting challenges will arise. In fact, these days it takes an IT department to tackle everything that may come up in the central monitoring station and the network. And, there will be new challenges, including not only network security but interfacing new devices and moving to converged solutions.

Sidebar: April showers—bring monitoring flowers!

Don’t miss our totally revamped Central Station and Web-based Monitoring Guide in the upcoming April issue of SD&I. The publication is included with the regular issue as a value-add for anyone needing to know more about contract or central monitoring centers. Back this year is the comprehensive listing of companies and services and look for stories on Web-based monitoring and the future of the industry. Third party central stations interested in the free listing, please contact Natalia Kosk, assistant editor, at (800) 547-7377, ext. 2705,