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How Much Should You Spend on Small Business Security Systems?

Max Freedman
Max Freedman

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

As a small business owner, you have important elements to protect, including files, computers, goods you sell, and many other assets. You might think that a business security system is expensive or overkill for a small business, but business security systems come in many different sizes and prices. Also, 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.

How much do business security systems cost?

To understand how much business security systems cost, it may be best to look at the average costs of several different business security components. The security company Ackerman Security provides some useful figures based on its industry expertise.

  • Hardware: Business security hardware is usually the most expensive portion of the system. You'll pay between $1,000 and $10,000, $3,000 being the average. This range assumes that you're securing just one business location; if you need the system for more locations, your costs will be higher.

  • Installation and activation: Once you obtain hardware, it needs to be installed and activated, and these tasks are best left to the pros. You'll likely pay $300 to $700, with an average of $500, for installation and activation.

  • Business monitoring: Security devices such as alarms and cameras will run you $40 to $120 per month. The choice between landline and cellular monitoring affects your prices too; the former costs about $10 less per month on average.

  • Cybersecurity: Many cybersecurity programs cost approximately $50 a year per device, though high-end programs may cost significantly more.

When you add up the above figures, you'll see that your yearly business security system costs will range from $1,390 to $10,870 per year.

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, so you can keep your company safe without breaking the bank. Additionally, some security companies 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 

Video surveillance systems monitor the inside of your office or building as well as 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.

How much it will cost 

Depending on your needs, you could contract with a vendor company that can install the video cameras and help you set up the software necessary to record through them. Most professional vendors charge monthly fees as well as initial installation or equipment charges. This could add up to as much as $1,500.

You could also turn to the web and buy the security cameras and accessories yourself. You might even consider using a home security system if your place of business doesn't have a large square footage. You can expect to pay $300 to $750 for cameras that you have to install yourself.

 

Editor's note: Looking for a video surveillance system for your business? Fill out the questionnaire below to receive more information from our vendor partners.

 

Intrusion detection alarm

What it protects 

An intrusion detection alarm protects everything inside your office, building, or store from burglars, vandals, 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 discourage not only burglary, but also employee theft. On the flip side, they help 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 an alert when unauthorized access occurs. These monitoring centers are available around the clock all year. When they are notified of an intrusion, they'll call you within seconds to confirm whether they should dispatch the police.

How much it will cost 

The price for the installation of business alarm systems often depends on the size of your office or building. There are typically monthly monitoring fees in addition to the initial installation fee. The monthly fee could be as low as $100 for a small office or building with only one entrance. As you add more alarms (and more square feet), your installation and monthly fees will increase, costing you upward of $2,000.

Computer security system

What it protects 

This type of security protects your business files and documents, sensitive customer information, software that helps your business run smoothly, and other critical data 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 their information is compromised.

How much it will cost 

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

Electronic access control systems

What it protects 

This type of system lets employees and authorized guests enter your business premises while preventing anyone else from entering. You could also use it for certain departments or rooms within your building that only some employees should access.

Why you might need it

Access control systems let authorized employees enter or exit your building and various rooms within it while keeping sensitive or proprietary information out of the wrong hands. These systems can actually be quite simple, with a keypad entry mechanism for a 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, you might even be required to lock certain information away from employee access. This kind of system can also safeguard your building's entrance against intruders, such as terminated employees as well as burglars. Some types, like biometric access control systems, even eliminate the problem of employees losing their keys.  

How much it will cost 

Costs for electronic access control depend on the type of hardware and the number of doors you need to control. These systems can cost $1,000 and up per door.

Image Credit: stnazkul / Getty Images
Max Freedman
Max Freedman
business.com Contributing Writer
Max Freedman is a content writer who has written hundreds of articles about small business strategy and operations, with a focus on finance and HR topics. He's also published articles on payroll, small business funding, and content marketing. In addition to covering these business fundamentals, Max also writes about improving company culture, optimizing business social media pages, and choosing appropriate organizational structures for small businesses.