When adding security of any kind to your facility, it pays to do some research and make sure you don’t do the 10 Business Security Mistakes and have a good grasp on your goals and how best to accomplish them. The last thing anyone wants to do is add security equipment, only to realize later that it lacks features you need, or isn’t even reliable.
Any security to be used at a business needs to be a higher quality than what can usually be found at a warehouse club or on auction sites. It doesn’t matter whether the security you’re adding is in the form of Alarms, Locks or Security Cameras, consumer-grade equipment is not going to provide the level of security or the durability of an Industrial-Grade system.
If you’re adding locks, they need to have over-sized, hardened metal that will be a hindrance to sawing or cutting. They also need to be a commercial style that will be more resistant to picking than a residential or normal duty lock commonly found at your local hardware and retail stores.
The same can be said for alarm systems. An inexpensive low end residential system will normally rely only on a phone line for alarm notifications with no backup method for transmitting an alarm. Thieves and vandals know that these types of alarms are easily defeated by cutting your phone line outside the building.
Security camera systems are another area where consumer-grade cameras and digital video recorders (DVRs) can be a total waste of your hard-earned money. For example, buying a cheap system made overseas virtually guarantees it’s going to be of residential quality or even lower than that. Foreign brands also make repairs and warranties useless. If you don’t have a company you can call in the US with US based tech support just know you’re on your own from the moment you give over your credit card info.
The fact is, you need the best value for your money when considering any type of security equipment. That doesn’t mean you have to buy the most expensive equipment out there, it simply means it pays to research the specs and features you want, and to make sure the brand is proven in your industry. Also – make sure any service provider or installer is licensed and has a reputation for standing behind their service or installation without a struggle. Security and surveillance equipment is one of those categories where you get what you pay for. If you find a really really inexpensive system – it’s inexpensive for a reason.
To make sure you make the right decisions when it comes to adding security to your site, here is a list of the Top 10 Mistakes Owners commonly make when choosing security equipment or providers:
10 Business Security Mistakes
- Buying locks at the nearest hardware store, then finding out later there are only 5-10 different keysets (or less) for that brand of lock. This is very common, and it can be a challenge to find a quality lock with unique keys. Thieves know this, and have been known to buy an assortment of locks that gives them access to businesses all over town. Don’t make it easy for them to just walk in and steal from you.
- Buying an Alarm System that sounds a siren or a light or both, but doesn’t contact anyone when triggered. Unfortunately people are accustomed to alarms going off periodically and even the closest neighbors will usually ignore them. Make sure your alarm system is professionally monitored, or at the very least, will call your cell phone, your manager and possibly others as well if an alarm of any kind is tripped.
- Buying a residential-grade wireless security camera system or wireless alarm system. Thieves can easily buy a jammer that will defeat most wireless systems easily, even wireless video cameras. These cheap units are no larger than a pack of cigarettes and can effectively render many wireless alarm and video systems useless in seconds. They use a broad spectrum of Electro Magnetic Interference (EMI). These devices block encrypted signals as well. Don’t waste your money on a system that can be rendered useless in two seconds.
- Only installing an alarm system but not a video system. These days many police departments will only respond to panic alarms unless there is video verification of an event. If only installing a video system, the system can alert you if an alarm is triggered, motion is detected when it’s not supposed to be, and a host of other functions.
- Buying an off the shelf system that is not specifically designed for your facility. There will never be a “one size fits all” system. Each location is unique, and different environments can require highly specialized sensors or cameras for durability and/or functionality. Going down to your nearest supercenter and purchasing a 4 sensor alarm system or a 4 camera video system for your facility is NOT going to get you what you need or want. You’ll end up throwing your money away, then after months of frustration you’ll have to start over again with a reputable company that can spec what you need. Save yourself the time and hassle and skip the frustrating step to start with.
- When adding a security camera system, your expectations aren’t reasonable so you expect a camera to see EVERYTHING. This is not feasible on anything but the cameras you see on CSI and cinema movies. Yes, cameras that can do this exist but they cost tens of thousands of dollars. A wide angle camera gives you just that. A wide angle view of a larger area. You cannot get facial recognition off of this kind of camera nor license plate recognition. For these kinds of fine detail you have to be able to predict (as best you can) where people or vehicles are going to be. Then you have to fine tune the view from the camera down to a much smaller area. Slow the people or vehicles down to capture what you want and have a high resolution camera used that can capture what you’re looking for. Cameras are built for extremely specific reasons so you need to know what to expect from your cameras and what their specific purpose is, before you get a quote on a system. And more detailed cameras are going to be more expensive. So expecting to find a 16 channel system for $500 that can detect a fly on a nat’s ass isn’t reasonable. If you think it is please refer back to #6.
- Buying an off-the-shelf all-purpose security camera and expecting to put it in a freezer or out on a pole in the middle of Maine where the average snow fall is 20’ per year. Security cameras that are not completely sealed to keep water, moisture and dust out, will not last long in cold areas. Buy a camera that has been designed to work in the environment you’re wanting it to last in.
- Putting in a system that doesn’t come with a long warranty nor ongoing tech support. Someone will need to train your key employees how to operate the system. What do you do when things go wrong? Who provides repair services? How do you pull footage of an event to give to the police or insurance adjuster? These are just some of the questions you will need answers to before choosing a manufacturer or service provider. Most companies offer free tech support for the life of your equipment and trust me when I say it’s worth every penny.
- Not monitoring entry doors or cash points / point of sale (POS) areas. Alarming doors and watching them with cameras will alert you to break-ins and provide video evidence of who, what and when something happened at your facility. Also, alarming unattended machines can alert authorities you’re being burglarized. Many times these types of alarms catch thieves in the act. Security cameras can then convict them with the proof needed that they were in the process of breaking in or vandalizing your expensive equipment. You want to use your cameras as a deterrent as well as a surveillance system. Stop them before they start, then if you can’t, have the proof you need to prosecute. Outside thieves rarely hit just one place so having proof of what they did to your facility may get them charged with other crimes as well.
- Waiting til you’ve already been burglarized is too late. Unfortunately this is what a lot of people do. It sometimes takes three times of getting broken into before most people are convinced it’s worth the money and time to get a system. “It won’t happen to me.” “We have a business in a low crime area.” “It’s already happened to me so I’m sure it won’t happen again.” We’ve heard it all. Don’t be a victim and leave yourself and your properties open to being broken into again and again…and again.
I’m going to leave you with a few numbers to think about.
- Each year property crime losses are estimated between $15 and $20 billion. Yes. Billion.
- Each year more than 2.43 million burglary’s occur.
- 65% of burglaries occur during the hours of 6am to 6pm so just having a cop drive by once at night or only having an alarm system in place for nighttime isn’t enough anymore.
- 66% of burglaries are home break ins. Renters are just as likely to get broken into and homes without a security system are 300% more likely to be hit.
- A burglary occurs every 13 seconds, with an average loss of $2230. A lot of smaller surveillance systems cost less than this. And peace of mind is worth a lot.
- Only 17% of homes and business have a security/surveillance system. 17%. That’s it. Don’t be part of that 17%. That bears repeating. Every 13 seconds.