The Difference Between Self-Monitored and Professionally Monitored Security Systems

You might be asking yourself what exactly is the difference between a self-monitored security system and a professionally monitored security system. A professionally monitored security system means that professionals are on standby 24/7, whereas a self-monitored security system essentially cuts out the middleman, in other words, it’s an alarm system you monitor yourself. 

 

Self-Monitored Security System:

 

A self-monitored system is a more contemporary solution to home security. With the rise of the smartphone, companies like ADT have realized that individuals who want some kind of home security but don’t want to pay for around-the-clock professional monitoring could monitor their homes on their own.

Companies also realized that many individuals may be interested in a low level of security, like having a doorbell with a camera and two-way communication, but aren’t looking for the commitment of a contract and around-the-clock professional surveillance. 

In a nutshell, this looks like a security system that gives you an alert when someone comes to your door, or when an alarm is set off. It is then your responsibility to respond to that alert however you see fit. This could mean calling the authorities yourself, or it might mean using a voice-over or audible alarm feature to scare away the potential intruder, or even just to communicate with someone who is knocking at your door when you’re away.

Services like Blue by ADT for example are highly customizable, whether you’re looking for a simple front door camera with two-way communication, or you’re looking for multiple cameras, sensors, or audible alarms Blue by ADT has you covered. 

 

Professionally Monitored:

 

A professionally monitored system is the original strategy of security systems. Essentially, a professional will come and install the system for you, whether it’s cameras, a motion-detecting system, or an alarm. Then, for a monthly fee, your home will be monitored around the clock by trained professionals at a monitoring station. 

With this scenario, if something were to happen in your home that trips the alarm, the trained professionals at the monitoring station will assess the situation and contact first responders if necessary. The major advantage here is that the pressure is taken off of you to contact the authorities in a timely manner. Even if you were to be out of the country or unavailable, the security company would be actively keeping your home safe. The major downside is the cost, for as long as you have this system in place you will be paying fees, and you won’t necessarily always own the equipment that’s installed.

 

Pros and Cons of Self-Monitoring:

 

For a long time, professionally monitored security systems have been the system type of choice for many Americans. However, the need for professionals to call the authorities on your behalf has dwindled since the rise in popularity of the smartphone in the last decade. 

Furthermore, the primary clientele of professionally monitored security systems used to be individuals with larger homes who were willing to pay the hefty monthly fees. But with the rise of self-monitored systems, people from all walks of life can have the peace of mind of a security system. Particularly those who aren’t interested in paying a monthly fee.

 

Pros for Self-Monitored Systems:

 

The biggest pro to a self-monitored security system is the savings. With a self-monitored system, you only need to pay one upfront cost and you own the equipment, as opposed to some professional systems where you would be paying a fee each month and where you may not even technically own the equipment. 

 

Easy installation:

A big pro for self-monitored security systems is the fact that you can do everything DIY. You don’t need to set an appointment with a professional or have anyone come into your house, instead, your security system will arrive in the mail for you to set up on the same day. 

However, some might see this as a con. Since with a professionally monitored security system, someone would come into your home and do the entire installation for you. Whichever is more appealing to you depends on your own personal preferences. 

 

Affordability:

Most self-monitored security systems don’t include any monthly fees and are therefore far more affordable for the average American. For example, Blue By ADT offers excellent self-monitored home security options that don’t include fees, but if you ever changed your mind and decide that you want a professional to be monitoring your security system, that transition could easily be made.

Although their packages could be considered expensive by some, it’s a worthwhile investment because once you pay the upfront price, you’re left with a high-quality security system that will last years and doesn’t come with any fees.

 

Mobility:

Self-monitored security systems are the top choice among renters because they’re extremely easy to move from one address to another. With professionally monitored systems a technician would have to come and remove, then re-install, your security systems since they aren’t normally designed to be installed by the user. This would also likely come with fees. 

However, once you own a self-monitored system you are the owner, and you aren’t really tied to the company in any way. In other words, when you move, all you need to do is pack up your system and reinstall it in your new home with no need to notify the company or deal with contracts. 

 

Cons to Self-Monitored Security Systems: 

 

Many of the cons of self-monitored security systems are pros for professionally monitored security systems, likewise, the main con to a self-monitored security system is the fact that you’re the one solely responsible for dealing with alarms when they go off. 

 

No Back-up:

With a self-monitored system, it’s possible to miss an alert since the system will send alerts to your phone. This can add a level of stress that isn’t present with professionally monitored systems. 

That being said, many self-monitored systems have audible alarms which would be triggered if someone were to enter your home while the system is armed. So even if you were to hypothetically not be alerted if burglary were to take place, the burglar would more than likely flee at the sound of the alarm. This is assuming that you have door or window sensors and an audible alarm set up. 

 

Limited connection:

Relating to the previous issue, the connection quality between you and your security system is only as good as your phone. If you were to run out of battery or find yourself in a ‘dead zone’, you could be out of luck.

However, it’s worth noting that hypothetically you could give access to your security system to a friend, neighbor, or family member if, for example, you were leaving for an extended period of time. 

 

No Fail-Safe Option:

Some professionally monitored systems come with ‘fail-safe’ options. Hypothetically, if an intruder were to hold you at a weapon point and have you disable the alarm, you would have the ability to disable the audible alarm without disabling a silent alarm. So while the intruder would think the entire alarm is disabled, the security company would be contacting the authorities silently in the background. 

 

Other Considerations:

 

If you’re a renter and you don’t particularly like the idea of paying monthly fees, then a self-monitored security system is probably for you. This is especially true if you don’t live in too large of an apartment or house, since for smaller homes DIY installation is fairly simple. 

If you have a larger property that you want to secure then a professionally installed system might be more appropriate. That’s because when a professional comes to your home to install the security system, they will conduct a security assessment to make sure your system is being set up effectively. They will also take special care that door and window sensors are properly set up and also set up where most effective. 

When deciding which security company to go with, it’s a good idea to choose a reputable company that people recognize. Blue by ADT is ADT’s self-monitoring security brand. They have multiple packages to choose from, or you can pick and choose exactly what works for you, like indoor or outdoor cameras, doorbells with two-way communication, and more. With Blue by ADT you also always have the option to add on other features, including professional monitoring, making it one of the best options on the American market. 

All things considered, a self-monitored system is probably the best choice for many Americans, especially if your place of residence isn’t too big. Most small houses and apartments could be quite easily protected with Blue by ADT