Glossary of Security Terms

By Farsight Security
31 Jul 2023 13 min read

The security industry is packed with technical terms. It can be a challenge to decipher all of the IT terminology, ‘security speak’ and technical jargon. That’s why we’ve put together a glossary of security terms, along with definitions and explanations of security acronyms.

This security glossary is designed to help anyone who is baffled by security terminology, whether you’re a homeowner, business owner, facilities manager or security systems installer.

If there’s a term you would like explaining or included in our glossary of security terms, please get in touch and let us know.

Click the links below to jump to the relevant term in the glossary:



A security system installed at a site to provide access to authorised individuals or deny access to those not verbally or visually verified and authorised. This usually involves a speaker and call button. The individual wanting to enter the site must press the call button and speak to the remote monitoring station or other authorised personnel.

The remote monitoring station will either verbally or visually identify the individual and provide or deny access.

Find out more about access control


A centre that receives information from alarm systems. These centres (also commonly known as central station) are manned 24/7 by security operators who receive and act upon the information as necessary.

An ARC will receive an alarm signal, when the detectors have been activated at a site. The ARC’s operators will then respond accordingly to this signal, which may mean contacting the relevant keyholders, the emergency services or site owner.


A verbal warning issued by a security operator via an audio system.

This can be spoken by a security operator at a remote video response centre and issued via an audio equipped security system on site as a warning to an intruder that they are being recorded. The operator may say something like:

“Your attention please this is a security announcement. Whilst in this area your actions and movement is being monitored and recorded. This is private property, please leave.”



The use of cameras to transmit a closed signal to a specific end point.

The signal is not ‘open’, so it can only be received by authorised end points. The signal may be transmitted from one point to another (point to point), from one point to multipoint or via wireless links.


A premises that is entirely surrounded by a barrier and by a CCTV system covering all areas. The barriers must be secure, such as effective security fencing.



Part of an intrusion detection system, a detector recognises an incident or event on a site. A detector does not record footage from a site; instead it communicates the data to a CCTV camera, which begins recording. In turn, this footage is transferred to the remote monitoring station.

A detector can recognise many different changes on site from movement to temperature and humidity, depending on the needs of the site.


This is a portable device used by security installers and integrators to ‘set’ or ‘unset’ a remotely monitored CCTV system. To set or unset a CCTV systems means to activate or unactivate the system – setting the system will allow the remote monitoring station to receive alarms and footage.


Both act as a video recorder and central point for CCTV systems. DVR’s tend to be used for analogue cameras, whereas the NVR is used for IP cameras.



Software in place at Farsight Security Services that monitors connectivity between Farsight (the remote monitoring station) and a site’s security system. If an Ecare alarm is triggered (e.g. a connection is lost with a site) a Farsight operator will follow a strict set of procedures.


An individual or company who makes use of the services provided by a remote monitoring station or installers and integrators. They will have entered into a contractual agreement with the remote video response centre agreeing the remote video response centre will receive alarms and/or footage from their security systems.


Starts when an operator answers an alarm. One event may contain many alarms subsequent to the first alarm.

Once all the alarms in an event have been investigated and no new alarms are received the event is closed and a relevant outcome is assigned to that event. At this point the event may become an incident or be closed with as a false alert or nuisance alarm.



A multidisciplinary profession that works towards managing the various elements of sites such as office blocks, arenas, educational buildings, shopping centres and so on.

The multidisciplinary elements may include: security; cleaning; coordination of space; people management, and infrastructure care.


Please note: this is not the same as a nuisance alarm.

A false alert is when an alarm condition is raised but the condition is cancelled by the remote alarm receiving centre.

The reason an alarm becomes a false alert can be due to a number of reasons, for example: a known fault with the security system is causing the alarm condition or because of an environmental change (foliage growing in front of cameras) is activating the system. As a result, the security operators will drop the alarm and categorise it in the system appropriately, for example as wildlife, environmental or overspill.


Functional CCTV cameras are very important for the remote monitoring station and alarm-receiving centre as it allows operators to pan, tilt and zoom (also known as PTZ) the camera. This allows the operator to view a wider section of the site and in more detail, depending on the technical specification of the functional camera itself.
Beyond functional cameras, well-experienced and effective remote monitoring stations will use multiple cameras around a site to identify the cause of an alarm. This ensures they will be able to view the site from many different angles.



InSight and SureSight both have the option of including a hardware package. A hardware package including cameras and detectors or just detectors can be added to our service levels to create a ‘Plus’ package – SureSight+ or InSight+.



An incident is not the same as an alarm. An incident is when footage or alarm data signifies to the security operator that an emergency response is required and that the response agreement with the end-user should be actioned.

This may include criminal activity occurring on a site or an environmental emergency such as a fire. All incidents are reported to nominated parties, which do not have to be the same as the nominated keyholders.


An Internet Protocol (IP) security camera is a digital camera that can send and receive data via a computer network and the Internet. IP cameras are considered more effective and up to date than analogue cameras.

You can find out how IP cameras work in this video.


A cost effective remote monitoring service level provided by Farsight. Ideal for closed sites and temporary contacts. Find out more here.


An individual or company responsible for fitting a security system. In most instances the installer will also be responsible for the ongoing maintenance of a security system.



Individual(s) or a company authorised by the client/end user/customer to be contacted by the remote monitoring station when an incident occurs. Keyholders must be able to attend the site within 20 minutes during their allotted time or 24/7 and the remote monitoring station must have their up to date contact information.

Find out more about keyholders in our end-user maintenance guide.



When a security guard(s) is employed to be present on a site. We do not offer manned security at Farsight Security Services.


The software suite an operator will use to provide monitoring for a site. We have two types of software at Farsight: one specifically for CCTV monitoring, and one for intruder and fire alarm monitoring.



An alarm received by a remote monitoring station, the cause of which cannot be identified and is thus filtered out. This alarm will not cause emergency services to be notified.



These may be premises that cannot or won’t have a full and secure barrier around the site’s perimeter. For example, business parks are rarely fully enclosed by a barrier when a CCTV system is set.


A desked area at the Farsight Observatory from which a security operator works. This area may include emergency phones and audio equipment for issuing audio warnings. There will always be monitors on which the operator views CCTV footage.



Synonymous with Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) and remote video response centre (RVRC).

Remote monitoring station (or centre) is the most commonly used name for a location that monitors signals received from a variety of security and other remotely based systems.

The remote monitoring station is manned 24/7 by security professionals who monitor, analyse and act upon signals received from sites whose security systems they monitor.


The paperwork both installers and end-users fill out before a site can be commissioned. The installer version of the paperwork asks specific questions about the site’s security system whereas the end-user paperwork asks questions specifically about the site such as who the keyholders are and working times.

It is advised all paperwork is sent to the remote monitoring station 24 hours before the site is commissioned. It’s important the questionnaires are filled out as accurately and comprehensively as possible for the commissioning process to be successful.


An action completed at a remote video response centre.

Watch our video on remote video response to understand the procedure in full.

Remote video response is when an intruder or environmental disturbance is detected via a security system (most commonly CCTV). The video of this intruder is transmitted to the remote video response centre. The operator verifies that there is an intruder and responds appropriately.


The sequence of events agreed on by the remote monitoring station and the end-user or client. This will include when keyholders should be called in case of an incident, when emergency services should be called and who else should be informed.
A response agreement should also be in place for dealing with maintenance issues with the relevant security installer/integrator and remote monitoring station.



A security operator is an employee of the remote monitoring station who monitors the operator nodes during a day or night shift. Security operators will man the remote monitoring station and monitor alarms and footage 24/7.


A system that aims to protect a site from threats to the wellbeing of the site. This system can be a connected network of cameras, audio output devices, access control systems, fire alarms, temperature and humidity gauges, intruder alarms and other devices designed to detect unusual activity and respond to that activity.


Note: The site owner may be different to the end user/customer/client.

The individual who occupies a site, who is not necessarily contracted into the remote monitoring agreement unless they are also the customer. For example, a contract may be set up between a remote monitoring station and a facilities management company. The facilities management company will be the customer but the tenant on the site will be the site owner.


Required for the remote monitoring station to connect to a site. The broadband line on site will need a static IP, which is an address leased from an Internet service provider that will not randomly change.


The area of a site that is provided protection by a security system, most commonly an alarm system or CCTV system. If an intruder enters supervised premises then an alarm will be raised.


A premium remote monitoring service level provided by Farsight. With many benefits and suitable for all site types.



An unmanned forecourt refers primarily to petrol forecourts . Unmanned petrol forecourts have no attendants and customers use ‘pay-at-pump’ option instead.

Read our news about unmanned petrol forecourts.



Software that automatically detects intruders or unusual activity by interpreting movement and other variables.

The software will identify the nature of the threat and alert the security operator via video footage. These threats could be:

  • An individual who is stationary for longer than normal. Often used at petrol forecourts to identify petrol users who are lingering filling up their vehicle.
  • The predicted route of a threat. By analysing the previous course of an intruder, video analytics can then predict where they are likely to travel to next.

Find out more about video analytics at Farsight Security Services.


Not to be confused with video analytics. Video motion detection uses the camera’s image to identify alarms, as does video analytics. However, most VMD systems are fairly crude and cause a high number of false alarms. Farsight will not commission a VMD enabled camera.


When an individual, normally located remotely and at a remote video response centre, confirms the cause of an alarm by viewing an image/footage from CCTV cameras. This is an important part of the remote video response process as it ensures the emergency services are only called when a intruder/hazard has been visually identified on site.
You can find out more about fire services only responding to alarms from commercial properties once they’ve been visually confirmed in our news story: Are your fire alarms still being answered?



A state of the art online tool that end users, installers, and site owners can use to monitor the health of their security systems and site security. Elected parties can also use YourSight to see whether an incident has occurred.


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