17 May 2022

The Benefits of IP-based Security

In the world of physical security, many systems are now IP-based due to the many benefits they offer.

IP-based systems offer several benefits over more traditional systems, such as increased flexibility, easy installation, speed, accuracy, valuable data, and the use of standard hardware.

IP monitoring makes use of an internet connection to report alarms and other information to the monitoring station. Here, an alarm event is generated by the alarm panel, sending an alarm, via an IP reporting protocol, over the internet to the monitoring station. The IP Monitoring Receiver at the monitoring station receives and processes the alarm, and sends it on to the monitoring station software for handling by an operator.

Ian Hanlon, Intrusion Group Manager at ACRE International, explains, “One of the reasons IP access control is so popular is because it’s so efficient and convenient; it can very quickly transmit authorisation details of who’s allowed access where and when. Vanderbilt have been forging a leading pathway with IP monitoring solutions over the past decade. Recent FlexC upgrades by the company have helped solidify this position. FlexC is a multipath, multi-redundant, highly encrypted communications protocol that allows secure monitoring and control of IP communication paths.

IP communication can be enabled with an encryption key to ensure the data packets cannot be sniffed or intercepted. This provides compliance benefits for very high-security installations or government departments. Vanderbilt’s FlexC protocol is a bespoke design that ensures everything is encrypted, all communications are monitored, and multiple types of attack are considered for defensive purposes to provide the best security possible. FlexC helps establish IP communications between Vanderbilt alarm systems and the monitoring stations. The encryption used by FlexC. 

Hanlon says: “Fundamentally, IP monitoring is a game changer because it delivers the ability to have far more detailed information readily available. With IP monitoring, alarms are reported almost the instant they’re generated. As IP reporting uses the internet to communicate, and the data packets are tiny, it takes almost no time to report any event. The panel, because data is readily available, is polling every few seconds, meaning the monitoring station is always aware of what is going on. Should a poll fail, an alert will be generated, so it’s known within minutes, rather than days, that there’s a communication problem.”

IP monitoring has allowed alarm security to evolve into a whole new ecosystem that has changed interaction with customers. Being able to inform customers what has happened in almost real time will change how the industry works and what people will expect to happen when an alarm triggers.

Hanlon says: “IP monitoring also helps combat against false alarm callouts, which have always been a massive problem in the industry. But with IP monitoring, the operator can interrogate the system for more clarity and information with each incident, thus allowing for a more informed and empowered decision. Simply put, IP monitoring has revolutionized how monitoring stations can interact to greater effect with the alarm system.”