Small business owners must protect company assets — such as sensitive data, computers, inventory and vehicles — against theft, vandalism and damage. A business security system is the best way to do this around the clock.
There’s a vast array of security systems, so it’s crucial to evaluate and select the business security system features you need to protect the assets you rely on most.
We’ll explore the four primary types of business security systems, along with their functions and costs, to help you decide on the best security solutions for your organization’s needs.
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How much do business security systems cost?
Business security system costs can be divided into four general categories: hardware, installation and activation, business monitoring, and cybersecurity. Here’s a general breakdown of the expenses you’ll see. (We’ll go into more detail about equipment in the following section.)
- Hardware: Business security hardware is usually the most expensive part of the solution, costing $1,000 to $2,500. However, these costs represent only one business location. If you open new locations or already have multiple locations, costs will be higher.
- Installation and activation: Your hardware will be installed and activated by fitters employed by your hardware supplier. You’ll likely pay $300 to $500 for this service.
- Business monitoring: It costs between $40 and $120 per month to monitor individual security devices, like alarms and cameras. Landline monitoring prices are often around $10 less per month than cellular monitoring.
- Cybersecurity: Your cybersecurity plan should include standard cybersecurity apps, which cost around $50 a year per device. However, technically sophisticated software can cost significantly more.
When you add all of the expenses, you can expect a business security system to cost around $1,390 in the first year with one device monitored and $170 a year after that — before any maintenance or repair charges.
The more you want to protect, the more it will cost. Consider checking if your vendor will offer a discount for purchasing multiple services.
Business security is crucial for growth, as it boosts productivity, helps lower business insurance premiums, fosters customer trust and improves foot traffic.
What are the types of security systems and their prices?
Here’s a breakdown of the most common business security equipment and solutions, what they protect, why you might need them and how much they cost.
1. Video surveillance systems
What video surveillance systems protect
Video surveillance systems are essentially security cameras that monitor the inside of your office or building and surrounding areas outside.
Why you might need a video surveillance system
Installing one or more video surveillance cameras gives you a 24/7 view of what’s happening in the areas you’re most concerned about. Many systems offer live video feeds from your premises on your phone or computer, even when you’re not at work. You can access live video feeds whenever you want to monitor your employees and customers.
Video proof of an incident is helpful if you file an insurance claim for theft or damages. Be sure to choose a high-definition video camera, as low-quality footage may not be of evidential quality.
How much video surveillance systems cost
Your security provider will install the video cameras and software. The total cost of the equipment and installation for a four-camera system starts at around $1,700. Most professional vendors charge monthly fees after installation for access to livestreams and recorded footage.
Alternatively, you could buy security cameras and accessories. Many home CCTV systems are now quite sophisticated and would work well for smaller business premises. Expect to pay $300 to $750 for cameras, but you’ll have to install them yourself. If you want to watch and record live footage via the cloud, you’ll need to make a separate agreement with a monitoring company. Before you buy, ensure the cameras you want are compatible with the monitoring company’s service.
Security cameras, printers and employee devices are among commonly overlooked attack vectors where security breaches may occur unexpectedly.
2. Burglar alarms
What burglar alarms protect
Burglar alarms protect everything inside your office, building or store from theft, criminal damage and vandalism.
Why you might need a burglar alarm
Burglar alarms discourage employee theft and burglary. They also help ensure your employees’ safety in public-facing environments.
Motion detectors, glass-breaking sensors and other devices trigger burglar alarms. If they’re triggered by movement, your alarm sends an alert to a monitoring station that operates 24 hours a day. The station will notify you, a mobile patrol or the police within seconds of a suspicious incident.
How much burglar alarms cost
The cost of supplying and installing a business alarm system depends on the size of your office or building. Budget between $150 and $600 for each sensor, plus around $100 to $200 for a system control panel. Monthly monitoring fees range from $40 to $120.
If you’re concerned about employee theft, consider running criminal background checks as part of the hiring process. A background check can take 30 days to be completed and will provide an overview of a potential employee’s past seven years.
3. Computer security systems
What a computer security system protects
Computer security systems protect your business’s sensitive information, including files, documents, customer data, business software, apps and other critical data on your IT network. Computer security systems include antivirus software, firewalls, employee monitoring software and more.
Why you might need a computer security system
You need computer security solutions to protect your bottom line from data breaches. The best antivirus and internet security software protects small businesses from nearly all malware, spyware, hackers, ransomware and other threats.
This protection is crucial because companies rely on their IT systems to automate repetitive but necessary internal tasks. If your system goes down because of a cyberattack, losses incurred by downtime can be astronomical. Even bigger losses can stem from a loss of trust and brand reputation damage if a breach compromises customer information.
How much computer security systems cost
Security system costs vary depending on the solutions you implement.
- Firewalls: At a minimum, you should invest in a firewall because it will stop nearly all malware at the edges of your systems. Firewalls are hardware-based solutions that can cost $700 for small businesses up to $4,000 for companies with 100-plus employees.
- Antivirus software: Consider investing in antivirus software as a firewall backup. Antivirus solutions find and neutralize existing threats and are better for protecting against internal attacks. Antivirus subscription fees range from $30 to $100 annually but may rise depending on the number of devices you’re protecting.
- Cloud storage: You can also safeguard your information by hosting it virtually in the cloud via a top cloud storage service. Many of these services are free; those that charge offer subscriptions starting as low as $5 monthly.
- Employee monitoring software: You may also consider implementing one of the best employee monitoring solutions to protect your digital assets. In our Teramind review, we explain how this app can track employee actions to flag data-loss risks.
For more comprehensive coverage, consider creating a cybersecurity plan for your company to identify potential threats and mitigate the risks they present.
4. Electronic access control systems
What electronic access control systems protect
Electronic access control systems let employees and authorized guests enter your business premises and specific areas while preventing unauthorized people from entering. These systems safeguard your building’s entrance against all unauthorized individuals, including former employees.
Why you might need an electronic access control system
Protecting sensitive or proprietary information, valuable equipment and inventory is challenging. However, limiting access — and knowing who has access — can make it easier.
Access control systems range from straightforward to sophisticated. For example, a small business may start with a simple keypad entry mechanism for a single door. In contrast, a bigger company might implement a large networked system using individually issued swipe or access cards managed by a central database. Some companies use biometric access control systems, so employees can still get in if they lose their keys.
Clients often require companies handling sensitive information to lock away specific data with an access control system.
How much access control systems cost
Costs for electronic access control vary depending on the hardware you implement and the number of doors you must control. You should budget $500 for keypad access control systems, while biometric authentication control systems run between $2,000 and $8,000. There may be additional charges for control panels and software.
Max Freedman contributed to this article.