At some point in time virtually all dealers are faced with the question: “Who will monitor my accounts?” In the past that question was often answered with “Me.” Not so anymore. While there are certainly plusses and minuses to hosting your own central station, an increasingly logical choice for many — particularly smaller to medium sized dealers — is to opt for a third-party monitoring solution.

Today’s mobile society means that remote monitoring is much more acceptable to customers. And there are many options and benefits for the dealer. But not all third-party monitoring facilities are created equal. There are several considerations dealers should keep in mind when selecting a new third-party monitoring partner, changing partners, or even evaluating a long-term relationship with a current one.

Two articles in this issue address the myriad questions and issues dealers face when a.) deciding whether to operate, or continue to operate their own central station and b.) when assessing the criteria that best fits their needs in a third-party central station.

In our cover story, “Partners Against Crime,” which begins on page 10, author Maggie McFadden Shein examines the ins and outs of choosing the best fit in a third-party monitoring partner. “Every installing company has a different list when it comes to choosing a monitoring partner — depending on how many accounts it has, what types of accounts it has, where it is located, and what internal values are most important,” Shein writes. “This unending number of variables is why there are so many options in the monitoring industry, and the challenge for dealers and integrators is to sort through those options and find that perfect partner.”

But some dealers may not even be at that point yet, which is why author Tim Scally asks the question “Who Should Monitor Your Accounts?” on page 20. This article looks at the four basic types of monitoring companies: those that only provide monitoring; those that only install and service alarms and contract with wholesale central stations; those that monitor their own accounts as well as the accounts of others; and those that do their own monitoring only.

Whether you are early in this journey, looking to make a switch, or even a long-time satisfied partner of a third-party central station, there is some good advice for all.


Apply for the 2017 CSAA Excellence Awards

Sponsored by SDM Magazine, the CSAA Excellence Awards recognize outstanding FM Global, Intertek/ETL or UL-listed central stations and their exemplary personnel.

The award categories are:


  • CSAA Central Station of the Year

  • CSAA Central Station Manager of the Year

  • CSAA Central Station Operator of the Year

  • CSAA Central Station Support Person of the Year


Entry deadline for 2017 is March 24. For more information visit