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comments on Alarmnet charges / how secure are central stations using the cloud July 2, 2018

KEN KIRSCHENBAUM, ESQ
ALARM - SECURITY INDUSTRY LEGAL EMAIL NEWSLETTER / THE ALARM EXCHANGE
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comments on Alarmnet charges / how secure are central stations using the cloud
July 2, 2018
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comments on Alarmnet charges from June 23, 2018 article
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Ken,
    Commenting on the Alarmnet article on June 23, 2018, Alarmnet [Honeywell] have been promising “Simplified” pricing (no charge for overages) for over a year now. In one respect, they are treating dealers the same way dealers treat customers when they market a proprietary system. Once they have you onboard, they think they own you. We also have pursued Alarm.com and found its product to be far superior than Alarmnet. Sometimes companies increase their rates to maintain profit margins due to losing share of market or simply poor management. And that typically denotes the beginning of the end, especially in an industry where the “race to zero” is ubiquitous. 
Jim from LA
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Ken
    For the guy complaining about an increase from AlarmNet and in the over use traffic fee, the first question is why is this a problem unless his jobs have many problems that need to be repaired.   Why are his jobs sending in so many signals that are subject to this (over charges)?   Next, as far as an increase, why not?   Everything is increased in the world other than apparently his customers charges.   I would like to know if he increases his customers from time to time or is afraid to do so because they may move on.   Does he have agreements that allows for this or not?   On the comment on the speed of the signals, that is all irrelevant.   Does it make a real difference in the response from the police or fire departments in the big picture of things?  
    Next: Have a problem with AlarmNet, then move on to others and stop complaining.   He will see that the others will increase their rates as time goes on as well (a captured market).   As everyone should know, low rates to begin with are a common come on that appeals to many but go up after a time.  
    On the history with Ademco etc., who cares if they remembers them from the past!   The past is the pasted.   The “little guys”, as stated are the little guys and have very little to say, so that argument will not fly.   Oh lastly, who sets the “NORM” and why can it not be changed as well as who defines what “An Exorbitant Rate” is?   That is in the eye of the beholder.   Does it only apply to what is charged to him as oppose to what he charges others?   Small thinkers are small players especially when someone can complaining about learning and training their employees.    Enough said!
    Yours truly,
Not from NJ and glad
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Response
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    Manufacturers who ignore legitimate complaints from alarm dealers take a great risk. Even a giant like Honeywell is not immune to bad publicity which invariably leads to loss of business. Containing or managing losses is not the way to run a company - a company should be focuses on growth, not containment.
    We will see how Honeywell responds. I have a few other issues coming up with Honeywell, so let's see what develops.
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more comments on Alarmnet charges
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Ken,
    I don’t know who John from NJ uses for a contract central station by his central station has marked up the overage charge from AlarmNet by nearly 100%.
    My company, USA, passes along those fees at 0.08 cents per signal, the fee we are charged. We also only charge what the AlarmNet suggested dealer rate is at the time of connection. We are not gouging our customers because we don’t charge $2.50 a month for basic service and need to make up the difference by charging a list of various charges each month to make up the difference.
Your readers should total up all of those fees and excess charges and really see what they are paying.
    Not all central stations are equal, the customers of USA know what they pay per month because we don’t have all of those hidden fees.
Bart A. Didden, President 
U.S.A. Central Station Alarm Corp
Port Chester, NY 
Milford, CT 
St. Paul, MN 
877-872-1266
www.usacentralstation.com ?
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Ken 
    In reply to Are Alarmnet charges for overages unfair 
    I have no doubt that I've been in this trade longer than John for NJ. Let me impart a bit of wisdom from that experience. 
    In the alarm trade ……. never …….. that is NEVER ……. make the largest manufacturer, distributor, supplier …….. your main source. You are insignificant. 
    Picking someone in the middle makes you much less ……….. insignificant.
Gene
Reliable Alarm
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Note:  USA is listed on The Alarm Exchange under the central station category - that means you can trust them.   And Gene, you may have John beat by a few years, not many.  Thanks to both of you for contributing here.
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how secure are central stations using the cloud
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Ken
    I have a interesting question. In order for us to offer a potential employee a job we have get them vetted and go through a licensing process. That entails fingerprints and the state does a background check.
    We were invited to a manufacture to look at their newest equipment that has not yet been released. A very interesting fact came out. The new equipment will only be uploaded or downloaded through the cloud. They own the storage and have full availability to the information about each customer. Meaning access codes, zone descriptions etc. I already know that they out-source to other counties for tech support.
    I guess that anyone who works for them has the potential of accessing privilege information. This new equipment requires you get an account number from them through your existing central. 
    To me this generates a red flag! I doubt that anyone at that company has been vetted. Think about it, does anyone think that the foreign person on the tech support line has been finger printed or otherwise vetted? 
    Up to now, up and downloading is on our office computer and not stored at a manufacture's computer outside of our control. Does this give the temptation for someone outside of my company to sell my customers codes? I really don’t think this manufacturer has thought this thru. The manufacture is totally focused in recurring revenue for them. 
George Martin
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Response
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    Some, not all, states require a central station to be licensed. That often requires that employees be vetted, licensed, certified or registered, with the state. I think you are probably correct that licensing agencies [and laws] did not contemplate overseas or cloud involvement, interaction and access, to data typically collected by alarm dealers and central stations. I have not heard about any license enforcement against the manufacturers who have inserted themselves in the monitoring stream. I also think [though I am not technical] that the manufacturers [napco, alarmnet, alarm.com and others I am sure] are entirely automated. I don't know that any employees would have access to subscriber data. 
    But foreign central station monitoring or customer support is another matter. Those employees, though they may not be direct employees of the manufacturer or central station, are in the monitoring loop and should be licensed as if they were working out of the central station. I also believe that some subscribers, the government for one, would not permit foreign central station operations. I don't know if UL or NFPA or ETL or other regulatory authorities have provisions for foreign monitoring.
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Note: I just want to remind you that you are getting two duplicate emails from me daily because I am trying out two bulk email service companies. I may end up with only one of them but that's not decided yet so please do not unsubscribe from one. That may be the one I end up staying with. So far the two companies seem to reach different addresses. Feel free to delete one email. If you want to unsubscribe you should do it from both emails. You can always read our emails on our website at https://www.kirschenbaumesq.com/page/alarm-articles 

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301
ken@kirschenbaumesq.com
516 747 6700
www.KirschenbaumEsq.com