Video surveillance protects against outside break-ins and burglaries. It also plays a critical role in sustaining your business and making it a safer workplace.
Purchasing a few reliable surveillance cameras for your business security can yield a high return on investment. Using current technology, video surveillance is less expensive than hiring security officers and offers more flexibility. You can monitor the 24/7 footage in real time from any location with an internet connection.
Let’s look at the ins and outs of security cameras, including how to choose one for your company and why you should consider adding them today.
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Security cameras record video footage of activity inside your company buildings and around the premises. In many cases, 24/7 surveillance through continuous video recording (CVR) is available.
Additionally, many security cameras have built-in motion sensors that activate your security system at the slightest hint of activity. This function works whether the activity detected is beneficial or harmful for your business, but some cameras offer smart detection to distinguish between threatening and non-threatening movement. You can also program security cameras to send alerts when they sense motion.
Most security cameras suitable for business are either wired or wireless.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, nearly half of small retail businesses were forced to raise prices due to shoplifting. Over half of those businesses experience increased theft during the holiday season.
Wired security cameras are physically connected to onsite video storage devices such as network video recorders (NVRs) or digital video recorders (DVRs). The cables that connect your cameras to your storage devices often power your cameras. Additionally, many wired security cameras offer Ethernet cable connectivity, which enables you to view footage remotely.
Wireless security cameras forgo most cables and transmit recorded video to the cloud instead. This wireless technology lets you view your security camera footage anytime from a mobile app or desktop computer. You may still need to power your cameras through traditional electric cables, but some models use rechargeable batteries that require no cables.
Many wireless options offer notable security camera benefits that wired cameras don’t. For example, some can determine whether the collected footage is of a package delivery rather than an actual cause for alarm. Others can even distinguish between the people who shouldn’t be on your premises and harmless visitors to which other cameras might needlessly alert you. Most wireless security cameras can also integrate with smart home systems such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
When searching for the best security cameras for your small business, you want to find affordable cameras that suit your business’s needs. Ask yourself the following questions to determine the best security camera or surveillance system for your small business:
The answers to these questions will help you decide what you need in a security camera and which systems meet those needs. Many business owners think their business is immune to financially devastating robberies and security breaches until it happens to them. Even minor theft can cause financial strain or hardship, so good security cameras are essential.
During the purchasing process, consider the best place to position any cameras. What’s the best viewing angle of your store or office? Will your camera have a large field of view? Is the system wireless, or do you need to account for wires?
You can get more bang for your buck if you use a few cameras with large fields of view, rather than many individual cameras in different places with limited viewing angles. Take storage capacity into account as well. A large storage capacity lets the camera(s) record for a long time without clearing the memory or saving the files somewhere.
Some of the best small business video surveillance systems are Ring, Blink and Google Nest. Vivint and Frontpoint are also popular options. These brands all offer features relevant to small businesses that need 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 popular video surveillance systems, another great option we researched is Arlo. Arlo security cameras are accessible and have robust features, including clear images and wide viewing angles. Arlo Pro 4 cameras can last up to six months on a single charge. Arlo also offers its own app compatible with Alexa, Google and Apple voice assistants; instant notifications; and direct audio and video feeds.
There are a few obvious reasons to purchase business security cameras and add them to your business operations. If you’re hesitant to invest more money into your security measures, consider these security camera benefits before deciding.
It might be hard to imagine that your own employees would steal from your business, but it happens more than you might think.
A surveillance camera is one way to catch them in the act and reclaim your assets. When employees know they’re under video surveillance, they’ll think twice before taking such a risk.
Good image quality is critical in a security camera, as blurry images make it difficult to pinpoint which employees are doing what. You want a camera that captures quality footage to protect your business adequately.
Are your employees 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 are necessary to boost efficiency. This is especially helpful for retail store owners to determine 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 other ways to keep tabs on your staff as employee monitoring software continues to improve. There’s plenty of software available to monitor what your employees are working on if you need it. [Read related article: The Best Employee Monitoring Software of 2023]
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 this type of crime.
Physical fights between employees or harassment claims can also spawn lawsuits. Installing cameras can protect your business’ financial future
Protecting your employees is just as important as protecting your business. Mount security camera at entrances, exits, and 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.
Surveillance is an easy way to save money on your business insurance. Many insurance providers offer discounted rates when you buy surveillance cameras for your store or office. 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 makes their job easier and your business less of a liability on their end.
“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.org. “If a robbery does happen, any business owner would want to know as soon as possible so they can contact the police.”
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 built to help in more ways than one.
>> Learn More: Features of Business Security Systems
Despite the many benefits of business security cameras, there are also some reasons you might not want to use them.
“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.”
As Babbitt said, employees might feel like you don’t trust them if you install a massive surveillance operation to track their movements. Some people disagree with Babbitt, though, believing that businesses should have security cameras for peace of mind. Babbitt himself isn’t firmly on one side or the other. He said that businesses with good reason to mount a security camera should certainly consider making the purchase.
Another potential hassle is tracking the footage and then figuring out what to do with it. If you only have a five-person team, which employee will spend an hour or two skimming security footage for red flags? It’s unlikely that many of your employees will want to sign up for that.
Again, these potential drawbacks don’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t implement a business surveillance system, but you should consider them before investing. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a huge investment. Some security cameras are available for under $100. If you want a more comprehensive system, it will cost more, but the one-time purchase of a business surveillance system shouldn’t break your business financially.
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 security needs of your business.
Julie Thompson and Max Freedman contributed to this article. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.