Warning About Alarm Monitoring

General

Many alarm monitoring companies, including large national companies allow central alarm station operators to work from their homes, apartments or even college housing dorms to monitor customers for life safety events.  Seems almost unbelievable, but it is a fact.

A recent article by security industry expert Jeff Zwirn, published in industry trade magazine Security Sales and Integration highlighted a change that was made to an important UL code made during the Covid 19 pandemic.  The new UL-827 now  allows operators to perform their life safety and property protection dispatch duties from anywhere they have an internet connection.  This includes private homes, apartments, or other locations.

Any good central station operation will be backed up for power and will have redundant internet connectivity paths.  Operators and their actions will be closely monitored for activity.  Visitors, cell phones, TVs are generally not allowed in the facility, due to concerns about security, privacy, and distraction.

Zwirn warns, “Central Stations that have their operators working from their apartments, dormitories, or homes is a choice that is foreseeably dangerous and needlessly puts subscribers at an increased risk of the very things that the alarm system was intended to protect against as reliable and timely emergency dispatch.”

When this UL guideline change was made, EMC Security decided that remote alarm monitoring was not a practice that we would support.  Distracted operators, lack of oversight and supervision, risk of a data breach and virtually no redundancies for the operators make the notion of remote monitoring very scary.

EMC Security’s central station operates 3 locations for alarm response.  All monitoring center locations are staffed with highly trained and certified response staff.  No alarm monitoring staff works from home.  Ever.  We do not put our customers at risk by allowing operators to monitor remotely.  

In addition, EMC Security has a redundant monitoring location on site at our office in Suwanee.  Low priority signals (battery, power, etc) are handled from this location, but it is ready to handle all alarm conditions, if necessary.  No operator handles any priority, high response life safety and property protection signal from anywhere outside of our facility.