Forensic Tip of the Month: Proper Documentation Protects Your Security Business

This month’s tip notes why it is important for security systems integrators to keep paper trails of their business transactions.

It takes diligence, but proper documentation and paper trails can save you down the road. Here are some important steps to take:

1. When communicating something material with a subscriber, it is important to document everything that is involved in said communication.

2. Part of documenting a particular issue(s) involves sending the correspondence (information) through a verifiable means, such as by certified mail-return receipt requested. 3. Most, if not all of the subscriber documentation in your file, will be discoverable in a litigation matter.

4. Ensure that your subscriber records are located in a protected area of your premises. 5. To the extent that a subscriber has a problem, but does not want to provide you with access, it is important to document that in writing to the subscriber.

6. Always document each time you speak with a subscriber and detail the sum and substance of the conversations. You never know when you might need it.

7. Require a photograph(s) of the final wiring terminations inside each control panel set that you install, and preserve these image(s) for the life of the system.

8. Require that your subscribers execute a Certificate of Completion and Acceptance Form every time you complete your installation.

9. Ensure that your work and/or service order documentation contains protective language in your favor.

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About the Author


Jeffrey D. Zwirn, CPP, CFPS, CFE, FACFEI, CHS-IV, SET, CCI, FASI&T, MBAT, writes Security Sales & Integration’s “Security Science” column. He is also president of IDS Research and Development, an alarm and security consultation, expert witness and training authority providing nationwide services on all issues related to alarm and security matters. He can be reached at 800-353-0733.

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