Security cameras can help protect businesses against internal and external threats.
- Small business security cameras are a good way to prevent external and internal threats or intruders.
- A small business can benefit from inexpensive smart cameras or more expensive and comprehensive surveillance systems, depending on its needs.
- Not every business needs a security camera, and it's important to understand the potential downsides, such as the price of the camera and employee anger, when making your buying decision.
In 2019, employee monitoring and business surveillance systems are all the rage. Whether it's employee theft or someone breaking into your business, physical security breaches can be a major concern for small businesses.
Video surveillance offers several benefits to the everyday small business owner. Not only does it protect against outside break-ins and burglaries, but it also plays a critical role in sustaining your business and making it a safer place to work. Simply put, purchasing a few reliable surveillance cameras for your business security can yield a high return on investment.
"I think every business with a physical location should have security cameras because robberies are always possible, even if the business owner is very careful about locking up," said Gabe Turner, director of content for Security Baron. "If a robbery does happen, any business owner would want to know as soon as possible so they can contact the police."
When searching for the best security cameras for small business, it's important to find cameras that are affordable and suit your business needs. You should ask yourself a few questions to determine the best security camera or surveillance system for your small business.
- What's my business's budget?
- Do we want an outdoor security camera, an indoor security camera or both?
- What's the camera's video quality? Is it a high-definition camera with high resolution?
- Does the camera include features like two-way audio or facial recognition?
- Does the security system have a mobile app? Can I view footage on my mobile device if I receive an alert about a potential break-in?
- How much file storage does the camera or security system have?
- Does a motion sensor activate the camera, or does it always record?
- Are the cameras wireless?
- Can the camera or surveillance system connect to my business's Wi-Fi network?
Asking yourself these questions will help you decide what you need in a security camera. Most business owners think their business is immune to financially crippling robberies and security breaches until it happens to them. Even minor theft can cause financial strain or hardship, so good security cameras are important.
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The best security cameras for small business
In our research, we found a few business security cameras and video surveillance systems that are popular and well respected within the industry. Our sister site, Business News Daily, features a list of video surveillance systems best picks.
We determined that TRENDnet, SecurityMan and Alibi are three of the best options on the market for video surveillance systems. These brands all offer features relevant to small businesses looking for quality video surveillance. Their pricing is also fair for small businesses, which isn't the case for all security camera providers.
In addition to those video surveillance systems, Lorex offers a wide selection of security cameras that are well liked by small businesses. The company offers weatherproof security cameras and an assortment of security camera setups, including audio-enabled cameras. A small business can get an affordable solution from Lorex with a few cameras, while a larger business might spend hundreds of dollars for a deluxe option.
There are also smart security cameras for businesses that want wireless options. They provide solid footage and tend to be very affordable. The Amazon Cloud Cam comes in at around $100. This smart security camera works with Alexa and is built for indoor use. It also provides two-way audio, night vision and notifications when the camera notices activity. It's a quality option for a small business in search of a smart security camera for an affordable price.
During the purchasing process, you'll also want to consider the best place to position any potential cameras. What's the best viewing angle of your store? Will your camera have a large field of view? Is the system wireless, or will there be wires that you need to account for?
You can get better bang for your buck if you use a few cameras with large fields of view rather than individual cameras in different places with limited viewing angles. You may also want cameras with large storage capacities. A large storage capacity means you can let the cameras record for a significant chunk of time without worrying about clearing the memory or saving the files somewhere.
When it comes to business security cameras, there are a few obvious reasons why it makes sense to purchase them and add them to your business operation. If you're hesitant to up your security measures, here are a few pros you should consider.
1. Security cameras deter employee theft.
Sure, it might be hard to imagine that your own employees would actually steal from your business, but it happens more than many business owners might think. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, approximately 75% of employees steal. One of the only surefire ways to catch them in the act and reclaim your assets is with a surveillance camera. When employees know they're under surveillance, they'll think twice before taking such a risk.
Purchasing a security camera with good image quality is critical, as blurry images make it difficult to pinpoint which employees are doing what. You want a camera that captures quality footage to adequately protect your business.
2. Surveillance cameras assist with workflow monitoring.
Are your employees actually working their full shifts, or are they spending their time doing something else? Employee monitoring is not just for recording theft. With the right surveillance cameras, you can find out what your employees are doing, and if any measures need to be taken to boost efficiency. This is especially helpful for retail store owners who can use monitoring to find out if they're over- or understaffed. Just two minutes of video can tell you a lot about your company's operational model.
Of course, there are also other ways to monitor employees, as employee monitoring software continues to improve. There's plenty of software available to monitor what your employees are working on if you need to.
3. A security camera system may help you avoid frivolous lawsuits.
The last thing you need is a lawsuit brought by a disgruntled employee who faked a slip-and-fall injury to sue your business. Security cameras are excellent deterrents against these types of crimes. Physical fights between employees or harassment claims can also spawn lawsuits; installed cameras will be integral in protecting yourself and your business.
Companies don't install security cameras solely to get footage of potential masked robbers. There are potential benefits to monitoring your employees or anyone else who steps foot on your business's property. You might just want to catch small shoplifting offenses on camera, allowing you to help the authorities catch the thief.
4. Security cameras create a safer workplace.
Protecting your employees is just as important as protecting your business. Security cameras should be mounted at entrances and exits and in parking lots to create a safer environment for your employees. Not only will they feel more at ease walking to their cars after dark, but this security tactic also prevents vehicle break-ins, vandalism and other criminal activity around your office or store.
Security cameras can do much more for your business than catch criminals. You can safeguard your assets, better serve your employees and improve the day-to-day operations of your business with a surveillance camera that's built to help in more ways than one.
5. A surveillance system may reduce your insurance costs.
This is an easy way to save money on your business insurance. Many insurance providers today offer discounted rates when you buy surveillance cameras for your store or office. As a business owner with insurance, you should take certain measures to avoid expensive premiums. A dependable indoor or outdoor surveillance system assures your insurance provider that you're taking the necessary steps to protect your business from theft, which in turn makes their job easier. Your business suddenly becomes less of a liability on their end.
There are some security cameras available for under $100. You might want a more detailed system, which will cost more, but the one-time purchase of a business surveillance system shouldn't break your business financially.
Cons of business security cameras
On the flipside, there are some cons to using business security cameras.
"Without a good reason [to buy one], I recommend against cameras," said business consultant Anthony Babbitt. "Cameras are an expense and can undermine employee relationships. Also, they only record in small businesses which cannot afford to have someone watch them 24/7, so you still need a method to detect whatever you were trying to prevent with the cameras."
Like Babbitt mentions, employees might feel like you don't trust them if you install a massive surveillance operation to track their movements. Another concern is tracking the footage and then knowing what to do with it. If you have a five-employee team, which employee is going to spend an hour or two skimming through security footage to look for red flags? It's unlikely many of your employees will want to sign up for that.
These cons don't necessarily mean you shouldn't implement a business surveillance system, but you should consider them before making the investment.
Some people disagree with Babbitt's opinion, believing that businesses should have security cameras for peace of mind. There are pros and cons on both sides of the discussion, and Babbitt himself isn't firmly on one side or the other. He mentioned that businesses with good reason to buy a security camera should consider making the purchase.
The bottom line about business security cameras
If you're on the fence about getting a video surveillance system, consider the pros and cons. Is the cost of installing cameras to monitor employees, customers, and other people in or around your store a strong investment to deter theft, or an unnecessary expense? Whether or not you need a security surveillance system depends on the unique needs of your business.