Like all businesses, security companies should be concerned about their eco-footprint. Security customers should expect that their provider’s operating procedures promote a green-friendly environment at their property.

Ask your potential security vendor if they offer paperless reporting solutions for their security officers in the field like RealtimeDAR.  While many security companies will send you proposals and brochures via email (which is a must for any green company), often their concern for going paperless stops there. Many  still only provide paper reports to be filled in by security officers or patrol drivers at your site. That’s a LOT of paper. Look for security providers who can offer you an online paperless process as an alternative to the old paper forms.

Make sure to ask if your security vendor has a paperless process for real-time reporting in the field. Real time reporting through the Internet can alert you to incidents and problems at your property that may require immediate attention. This not only saves paper, but also time, because you are not waiting to read a handwritten report to find out what occurred on your property.

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Have you ever called a security provider after business hours only to get a call service or a dispatcher located half a continent away? Nine times out of ten they offer to take a message and “someone will get back to you”.

Security dispatchers should be able to instantly relay critical information and coordinate the operations of their security officers in the field. Tough to do if the caller is in San Diego looking for help and the dispatcher is in Atlanta!

Make sure your security provider has a dispatch center that knows each and every account intimately so you don’t have to wait a day to get a message. Better yet, hire a security company like Summit Security with a 24/7 in-house dispatch center located in their San Diego corporate office.

Dispatchers are a critical link in addressing problems that may arise. Confirm that your security provider has dispatchers who are trained, familiar with the company accounts and hopefully in the SAME TIME ZONE!

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What makes a great partnership? If you’ve ever had a successful partnership in business (or in marriage) you know the keys are cooperation and good communication.

For security service providers, good communication starts the instant they meet with a client to discuss expectations. Everyone has expectations—providers and clients alike—but making sure they are the same is critical for a successful business relationship.

Sometimes an inexperienced or overzealous client may not have a clear picture of the type of security that companies can provide or understand the limits to the services they can LEGALLY perform.

Unarmed security companies have a primary function to OBSERVE and REPORT what is happening at the clients’ property and to act as a deterrent. This is 95% of what unarmed security companies should be expected to provide. While providing those services, many security companies will also monitor and control access points, do enforce parking rules and perform locks and unlocks on properties.

Customers who are looking for duties outside of these basic tenants of unarmed security should be aware  they may be exposing their security provider and THEIR property to liability.

So keep open lines of communication, a cooperative spirit and realistic expectations for your security service. Then, enjoy the successful business relationship you have built into a true security partnership for your site!

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If ever there was a misrepresented and misunderstood security service, it’s “Random Patrol.” By definition, Random Patrols are not performed at a specific time and should be provided by a uniformed security officer in a marked security patrol vehicle.

However some security providers mistake “random” to mean both when they arrive and how long they stay! In some cases the patrol consists of a marked security car speeding past your property—literally, a “Drive By.”

Don’t be fooled by thinking you are contracting for a Random Patrol only to be provided with a “Drive By” patrol. Look for companies like Summit Security that CLEARLY outline what they provide in a Random Patrol service. Check to be sure:

1. The length of time that the security patrols are on the property is specified in the contract.

2. You receive PROOF of the security officers’ arrival and departure times INCLUDING documentation of what they did while on-site. Online reporting with RealtimeDAR is the best tool to achieve this goal.

3. Patrols are performed by a uniformed security officer in a marked security patrol vehicle that has a light bar.

4. Security officers exit their vehicles and walk some portion of their rounds in order to show a security presence.

5. Patrol vehicles are newer, fuel efficient models. This keeps the image of your site professional, shows your commitment to keeping costs down and is good for the environment.

6. Patrol officer duties are outlined in post orders and approved by the client.

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Yes, “Working Vacation” is an oxymoron, but let’s face it, many of us find it difficult—if not impossible—to leave the office behind on our vacations. In some cases, we actually leave knowing we will have to put in some “work time” in the middle of our “play time.” Do you find yourself trying to keep tabs on what is going on back at your properties.

If so, you’ll want to hire a security company that offers online security incident reporting in order to get accurate and timely information even when you are miles away from the office. Companies like Summit Security offer 24/7 online access to all the security information at your site from any computer with Internet access.

With the latest online reporting technologies, like RealtimeDAR, you can gain access to your security reports by logging in from any computer, anywhere in the world! All field reporting by security officers is pushed to the website instantly—in real time—with pictures, audio files and text, giving you all the information you need at the click of a mouse.

Look for an online security incident reporting solution with your next security provider so you can relax on your next ”working vacation.” Enjoy your well-deserved R&R and peace of mind knowing that everything you need to know is only a click away!

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Definition: Always finding the perfect parking spot right next to the entrance no matter how busy the street or how large the parking lot. (Also known as “parking karma.”)

Reality: Never happens! Well to be fair, almost never, especially if you are trying to find a spot in open parking.

But there is hope if you live in a community or work in a building that has assigned parking. The challenge is making people keep their assignments…

Security companies like Summit Security offer parking management programs for communities and businesses to help control the offenders. Parking enforcement with online incident reporting, logs, tickets and, when necessary, tows, helps violators realize that parking his or her car in a spot where it doesn’t belong is not only rude, but it can be expensive.

So before you give up and start singing “Que Sera Sera,” consider contacting your security provider to ask about the parking management programs they provide to help with illegal parking at your location.  After all, every visitor should be able to pull into a parking lot and find a place to park, even if they aren’t Doris Day!

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If we had to answer the question ”Who is our number one customer?“—what do you think we would say?

Our top revenue-producing client?  Well sure, that makes sense, but it’s not the right answer.

You might be surprised to learn that Summit Security, along with every security company, have the same “number one” customer: our security officers.

Security companies live and die on the performance, appearance and attitude of their security officers. Without their hard work and loyalty, we would be unable to provide the level of service required to keep paying clients happy and more secure.

That’s why we at Summit Security treat our security guards with respect and show appreciation for their hard work. Here 10 ways to show your officers you care:

  1. Offer health insurance when you can. 50% participation in their monthly premiums goes a long way to help pay the bills.
  2. Internal equity is so important. All things being equal, pay your officers the same rate for their experience and post duties.
  3. Have managers take coffee out to a site a few nights a month. Let your guards know you recognize the nights can be long and cold!
  4. Recognize top performers with bonuses, awards and kudos. Let them know they are doing their jobs above expectations—and that it is appreciated and rewarded.
  5. Throw employee dinners every few months where they can invite their family and mingle with the office staff. Keep it casual and fun so everyone is comfortable being themselves.
  6. Recognize security officers’ birthdays with cards signed by the staff.
  7. Offer Holiday Pay…no one likes to work on the 4th of July, so make it worth their while!
  8. Provide security officers with the professional tools to do their job. Newer, marked security vehicles, PDAs in the field with real time online reporting software, clean, fresh uniforms…. all these things communicates that tools you provide match your performance expectations.
  9. If you are profitable, give a small year end or Christmas bonus. Even a $10 gift card to McDonald’s goes a long way to saying “Thank You.”
  10. Always remember to treat your security officers a little bit like your family. They will have their ups and downs, successes and failures. So be there to listen, give them support, encouragement, and when they need it, discipline. The loyalty and commitment in return will be worth the investment.

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Before it became a cell phone/PDA, an “Android” was known as a robot designed to look and act like a human. I don’t know about you, but I think my PDA actually might BE human! It tells me everything, from when to wake up, how to get to a restaurant, what the temperature is outside and how to play guitar chords. Ok, so I can perform all of those tasks without my PDA, but one task I could not do without is receiving emails when I am away from the office. That function is the life line to my clients and my business.

This is just one reason why Summit Security uses RealtimeDAR Online Security Reporting Software. RealtimeDAR’s customizable email notifications send instant messages about security issues on client sites. Instant email notification is the lifeline to “need to know” information. Once your robot—I mean PDA—alerts you via email, you can log into your RealtimeDAR account and get all the details in real time with pictures, text and audio files for complete documentation.

So just for some old fashioned fun, pull over and ask for directions next time you need to find a restaurant. But once you are seated, be prepared to excuse yourself in case your robot says you need to go!

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Times are tough and so is finding the money to pay for security services at your site.

Unlike cutting other services, cutting back on security can critically undermine safety. But when money is short, how can you save your security services? Here are five things you should ask yourself when evaluating your security needs:

  1. Can you afford security? In this case, a little bit of something really ISN’T better than nothing at all. Your security provider should be able to give pricing options on levels of security service, but each level should provide a comprehensive security approach. Cherry picking a program to save money can be as ineffective as not having security at all.
  2. Can your security provider perform other functions on your property? Think of the duties your security officer can perform that replace work others currently provide. That will help you save time and money at your site. Consult your security provider about their insurance coverage to perform these additional duties and try to be reasonable in your requests (i.e., NO janitorial duties, landscaping etc., YES to valet or reception).
  3. Do you need Parking Management? If you register and assign parking permits and need parking management at your site, some security providers like Summit will take that service over. Because they realize revenue for issuing permits and tickets , the costs may be covered.  Your payoff will be a visible security presence for little or no charge while they perform their parking management duties.
  4. Standing Guard Service or Patrol? Some locations can be properly serviced by cutting back on standing guard service and augmenting or replacing it with random drive-by patrols. Make sure your security provider has newer, marked vehicles with a light bar on top for excellent visibility. Ask for proof of the time they spend on your property—but be financially prepared to bring back the standing guard service if random patrols prove insufficient. There are some cases where the only deterrent is a continuous security presence.
  5. Are you properly allocating the funds in your budgets? Take a hard look at cutting in other areas before you cut security. Be realistic about your expectations for security services at the price you are willing to pay. You think you want the lowest bid… but what does low bid really mean? The answer: less supervision, low paid officers, overworked management staff and high guard turnover.

If you undermine your security provider’s ability to provide quality and consistent service because you want to pay lowest bid, then reset your expectations for less service and safety.

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Would you ever hand the keys to your car to a perfect stranger? How about the keys to your house?

Believe it or not, the answer is yes. In fact, this is what most of us do every time we hand our keys to a valet to park our car. Think about it, not only are we giving the valet our car keys, but along with those car keys are the keys to all the other most important locks in our lives!

Choosing a professional company—one that screens and trains their valets—is critical to protecting your patrons from inside and outside the vehicle. Summit Security takes that screening one step further with Pro-Valet™—by providing parking valets who are also licensed security officers.

Requiring all valets to be licensed security professionals pays off as an additional security presence in the parking lots and garages where they are trained to observe and report suspicious activity, not just park cars.

This extra layer of security for parking, one of the more vulnerable areas on a property, creates more value for clients and residents.

Tip: Next time you hand your keys to a valet, remember to only give them the key to your car.  It just makes good security sense, no matter who is the providing the service.

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