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How Much Should You Spend on Small Business Security Systems?

business.com editorial staff
business.com editorial staff

Learn how much you can expect to spend on video surveillance, computer security systems, intrusion alarms and electronic access systems...

Even as a small business, you have important and critical elements to protect, including files, computers, goods you may sell, and many other assets. You might think that a business security system is expensive or overkill, and is really only needed for big businesses, but the reality is that business security systems come in many different sizes. Plus, they don't just protect against thieves, but may safeguard against fire and vandalism as well. You never know when trouble can present itself, and it's important to keep your business from being vulnerable.

So which security system is right for your business? It depends on what you want to protect. There are many different options for each type of security system, which means you'll be able to keep your company safe without breaking the bank. Additionally, some security companies may have offerings that protect you from every angle, so it may be cost effective to purchase an entire security package from one vendor.

Check out these four different kinds of security systems to understand how much you might spend to protect your business:

Video Surveillance

What it Protects: The office or building that houses your business, both inside and in the surrounding area outside.

Why You Might Need It: You might consider a video surveillance camera (or a few of them) if you want to see what's happening at your business around the clock. Many systems allow integration with the web or mobile devices, so you can see what's happening even when you're not at work. This type of security system would allow you to watch your customers and see what's happening with your employees. It also helps you have video proof of activity if you ever need to file an insurance claim for theft or damages.

Depending on your needs, you could contract with a vendor company to have them install video cameras and help you set up the software necessary to record through them. Or you could turn to the web and buy the security cameras and accessories yourself.

How Much it Will Cost: Do-it-yourselfers can expect to pay anywhere from $300-$750 for cameras that you'd have to install yourself. You might even consider using a home security system if your place of business doesn't have a large square footage. Most professionals vendors charge monthly fees as well as initial installation or equipment charges. This could add up to as much as $1500.

Editor's Note: Looking for a video surveillance system for your business? If you're looking for information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:


Intrusion Detection Alarm

What it Protects: Everything inside your office, building or store. Protects your business from burglary, vandalism, or dangerous intruders.

Why You Might Need It: You probably don't want to wait for a loss or disruption to happen at your business before getting an alarm system. These types of systems not only discourage burglars, but they also discourage employee theft, or -- on the flip side -- ensure your employees' safety.

These systems usually include a bunch of different devices that detect entry, such as motion detectors and glass breaking sensors, and are monitored by a third party vendor that gets alerted when unauthorized access occurs. These monitoring centers are available 24 hours a day, year-round. When they get notified of an intrusion, you're usually called seconds later to confirm whether police should be dispatched.

How Much it Will Cost: The price for the installation of business alarm systems can vary depending on the size of your office or building. There are typically monthly monitoring fees tacked onto the initial installation fee. The price for this could be as low as $100 for a small office or building with only one entrance. As you add more options (and more square feet), your installation and monthly fees will increase, costing you upwards of $2000.

Computer security system

What it Protects: Your business files and documents, sensitive customer information, software that helps your business run smoothly, and other critical information that you have on your computer system.

Why You Might Need It:Hackers are targeting small businesses more and more, so it's essential to protect your company from viruses, spyware, hackers, and other threats. Additionally, with so much work being done through your computer, you're looking at thousands of dollars in losses when you add up the hours of lost productivity, interruptions in conducting business, and potentially even a significant loss of your customer base if it was their information that was compromised.

How Much it Will Cost: At a minimum, invest in a firewall and antivirus software that stops viruses at the gateway into the network. This can be incredibly cost effective for small businesses, with subscription fees as low as $30-100 per year. You can also safeguard your information by keeping it hosted virtually through online services. Many of these are free.

Electronic Access Control Systems

What it Protects: Certain departments or rooms that shouldn't be accessed by all employees.

Why You Might Need It: Access control systems let authorized employees get in and out of various rooms in your business while keeping sensitive or proprietary information out of the wrong hands. These types of systems can actually be quite simple, with a keypad entry mechanism for one single door, or a large networked system that involves swipe or access cards throughout your business location.

This type of security system might be important to your business if you work in certain industries or handle sensitive information. For instance, if you work with government contracts, it may even be required of you to keep certain information locked away from employee access. Other benefits of this kind of system include safeguarding against terminated employees or replacing lost keys.

How Much it Will Cost: Costs for electronic access control will vary depending on the type of hardware used and the number of doors you need to have access installed on. Costs may range from $1,000 and up per door.

Image Credit: Daniel Jedzura/Shutterstock
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