Any business owner with a physical location should be concerned about security. However, arranging for a full security system can be daunting and the options and costs vary considerably.
To clarify the process, this article breaks down the most important elements to take into account. Use this cheat sheet to ensure you've covered all bases.
Do You Need a Security System?
Any time you leave your business location unattended, everything inside is at risk from thieves. That includes your inventory, any cash on hand, equipment you use, raw materials and even the physical structure of your store or business.
Regardless of location, it’s wise to do everything you can to protect the considerable investment your building represents.
A security system can help in two key ways:
It can stop attempted theft as simply having an alarm can act as a deterrent.
It can help law enforcement agents recover stolen goods should you experience a robbery.
If you're leasing your business space, be sure to talk to your landlord before purchasing or installing any security system. Your landlord may have specific restrictions on what types of hardware can be installed and used and may require access to your business as well.
Security System Options
Modern security systems include more than just an alarm. A good business security system, like those offered by ADT, may include a number of the following features:
Key panels that add an additional layer of security at entry points.
Wireless motion sensors to detect intruders and catch them in the act.
CCTV cameras which can be used for live video monitoring and/or video records.
A siren alarm.
A backup battery to ensure the system stays operational during power outages.
Remote access via a smartphone application, allowing you to monitor your business 24/7.
Additional and more advanced options to consider include the following security tools:
Secure access doors with employee ID cards to control entrance.
An advanced intercom system with a video feed.
Software solutions that monitor all transactions, looking for evidence of possible scams to reduce employee theft.
Commercial fire alarms integrated into the system to ensure that emergency response is as fast as possible in the event of a fire.
Remote control of lights and electricity, allowing you to control things even when you're not there.
It’s important to investigate all available options and determine what you need to ensure the security of your business. Few businesses will need everything and most companies offer custom tailored packages, allowing you to hand-pick the options you value most.
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In addition to deterring employee theft, discouraging shoplifting and preventing unauthorized entry, a security system may also qualify you for a reduced insurance premium.
Many commercial insurance companies consider a security system an added layer of protection and are willing to offer discounts for businesses that take such precautions.
It's also not unheard of for employees and customers alike to make fraudulent claims against a business. Visible security cameras dramatically reduce this risk. People are less likely to lie about what they've experienced if they know there's surveillance footage on record.
Finally, there's an intangible benefit - peace of mind. When you leave your business to go home, or when you're out of town on vacation, you want to trust that everything will be safe. A security system, especially one with remote monitoring capabilities, can give you this assurance.
Security Systems Providers
There are a number of good vendors with great track records for increasing commercial security. To help get you started, we recommend that you take a look at the following security system providers:
ADT has been a leader in both home and small business security systems since the 1980's. They've carved out a name for themselves by providing top-notch customer service, a wide variety of options and easy-to-use cutting-edge technology.
Tyco Integrated Security
Tyco Integrated Security was known as "ADT Business Solutions" until 2011, when Tyco International split into three separate companies. Most of their security offerings are, not surprisingly, very similar to ADT's.
While ADT focuses on home and small business solutions, Tyco tends to service larger corporate businesses.
Protection 1 specializes in providing security systems for businesses with multiple locations. Like the companies listed above, they offer coast-to-coast service, but also maintain a number of local offices throughout the US.
With an emphasis on strong customer service and 24/7 availability, they are a great option for multi-site businesses.
Local Security Companies
If you live in a large metropolitan area, there are almost certainly several local security companies that service just your city, state or region of the country.
Many of these offer the same advanced tools and service options as national companies, and may be more cost effective.
A final option is to simply do it yourself. Many of the tools offered by security companies are available to the general public. Setting up a simple internal video feed, for example, isn't all that difficult.
It is very difficult to compare business security system costs across the board. There is simply no way to declare any one company the clear winner when it comes to savings analysis. This is true for several reasons.
First, the options vary. It goes without saying that a single, stand-alone retail shop will have significantly lower security expenses than a large corporation with multiple locations, offices and warehouse spaces.
Second, while there are all kinds of bells and whistles to choose from, you may not need every option available. It's very important that you carefully consider your individual security needs when deciding which security system is right for your office.
Finally,like everything else, prices may vary by region.
Once you've selected a security system and a company to install and monitor it, you'll need to give careful consideration to the human element of business security.
While it may seem convenient if all employees can enter the building at will, this can defeat the purpose of the security system. So limiting access to the building and to passwords could really pay off. This includes staff access to video feeds and the ability to disarm the system too.
If you do need to provide security information to some of your employees, many companies allow for the option to provide separate passwords/pin codes to different individuals.
Take the time to carefully weigh all your commercial security options, and choose a system that will protect your business should the unthinkable happen.