Some good criteria to consider in choosing a home security company includes the reliability of monitoring, the ease and cost of installation, the degree of automation and the length of the contract. Additionally, renters or people who move frequently may prefer to use a company that allows customers to move the security system with them or provides a transfer of service at a low cost.
Security systems communicate with their monitoring centers through either landlines, cellular networks or broadband. Cellular and broadband systems are quicker than landlines but more expensive. Broadband is not as reliable as cellular, but both remain active if phone lines are cut, unlike a landline. Some systems allow DIY installation, while others require professional installation. A professional installation ensures that everything is set up correctly, but it may be more expensive for a customer who needs to move and has to pay repeatedly for re-installation.
Automation allows the customer to control the security system from a phone or computer, and it may also control lighting, small appliances and a thermostat. The level of automation and remote access varies and as options increase, so does the cost. Additional options that customers may want include security cameras, flood or fire monitoring, and personal security or medical monitoring.