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Don’t be alarmed - SIMS keeps you protected

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 11:02am
Steve Ryckman, VP Technical Services, SIMS
SIMS_EarthIt’s no secret that alarm systems provide crucial functions for homes and business, but what would happen if the technology that keeps an alarm system up and running failed? There’s about a million different scenarios that come to my mind alone, which is exactly why my company, Security Information & Management Systems, Inc. (SIMS), made it our mission almost 30 years ago to keep homes and businesses protected worldwide – 24/7.

Technology to keep you aware (and out of trouble)
Alarm networks are essentially IT networks. Alarm panels comparable to modems, in homes and businesses, send alarm signals to dispatch centers. That’s where we come in. We’re what is called a central-station software provider. Central stations use our products to monitor security systems and alert them to call the appropriate authorities in the event an alarm signal is received.

Through this technology, phone numbers, directions and special information needed for quickly handling alarm situations are instantly available. Instead of looking up phone numbers and locations, information is available instantly, greatly improving event outcomes. At the same time, management databases maintain detailed records of alarm activity and facilities.

Around-the-clock network uptime and application availability are absolutely critical for SIMS and our customers. If signals aren’t received the results can be devastating. Looking at it from a consumer perspective, the delay could cause property loss, injury or even death. From a business perspective, the question of liability comes into play. If the authorities aren’t notified about an alarm going off, who’s at fault? Certainly not the homeowner who was burglarized, or the worker who showed up to open the store, only to be greeted by an armed robber.

When an alarm comes into the station, the server logs it into our SQL Server database. Our workstations constantly monitor the databases for alarms. Aserver failure means alarms aren’t reaching dispatchers. That’s why we implemented Stratus Technologies’ Avance high-availability software to support the server arrays that host our Disaster Recovery, database lookup services, and internal file server and storage area network (SAN). Avance enables two standard servers to work as a single highly available system without the complexity, failover or management demands of traditional server clusters.

Simply put, what this means is that if one of our servers in the Avance platform fails, the other continues processing, enabling uninterrupted protection of the security monitoring services. Not only does Avance monitor its own performance, but is also able to predict possible system faults before they occur.

A little more about us
Based in Plano, Texas, SIMS is the leading central-station software provider in the world, with over 4500 monitoring software licenses protecting over 16 million homes and businesses worldwide. SIMS has products for local security offices with as few as ten subscribers up to large wholesale central stations with two million. Our customers also include security companies that monitor Federal buildings, banks, high-end jewelry stores and other clients with requirements for meeting Underwriters Laboratory (UL) standards for high application availability.
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