Business Security Systems
Video Surveillance | Security Cameras | Access Control | Cloud Security Systems
Full-Stack Business Security Systems
Video can be stored redundantly on-premise and in the cloud with secure remote access.
A wide variety of access control methods with multi-location, single pane of glass login.
Event monitoring, virtual guard tours, virtual escorts and virtual gatekeeping.
How Much Does a Business Security System Cost?
Check out this video to learn about the factors that affect the cost of a security system.
Loffler's Physical Security Practice Manager explains the three categories that make a business security system and how they can influence the overall cost.
Features to Consider in a Business Security System
All business security systems are unique. A one-size-fits-all security kit that automatically fits every organization's needs doesn't exist. Instead, many features contribute to the makeup of a business security system. Some are necessary basics. For example, for video surveillance, you’ll need video cameras. Other features offer helpful upgrades, like helping to pinpoint incidents without reviewing hours of video. Or providing secure, mobile access to camera footage.
Below we list common security system components that should be considered, as recommended by one of Loffler's physical security experts. While all the items are worth considering, not all are needed in every organization. We can tell you more about what's needed once we understand your building(s) and your budget. With that in mind, here are features to consider in a video surveillance system:
Jump to a Section:
- Security Cameras
- Alarms & Notifications
- Secure Mobile Access
- Access Control
- Security System Costs
- Cloud-Based Security Systems
Is your security system going to have a visual component? Video is what allows you to see what’s going on in your organization's physical space. Video is often the first thing people will say they want from a security system.
If you’re going to have cameras, the kind of cameras you need will depend largely on what you need them to do.
- Should cameras be fixed, or should they have the ability to zoom?
- Are you looking for analog or IP cameras?
- Will the cameras need infrared illuminators to improve picture quality?
- Does your system support audio recording or playback requirements?
- Do the cameras allow for local storage on SD cards?
This list is just a start to deciding on cameras. Also consider what resolution and picture quality those cameras need. The more pixels you have, the less grainy or blurry the image appears. You also must consider the number of cameras you need. This will be determined by where they need to be placed.
Many of our conversations start with a physical security assessment, where engineers tour client locations and create a plan to increase physical security. In a physical security assessment, you can review the needs of your organization one-on-one with a physical security expert, who can help determine needs.
You’ve likely seen a TV show or movie where someone asks to see a security camera’s footage, only to learn the VHS tape it is recorded on is taped over every other day, and the footage needed is lost forever.
That outdated trope is rare today because most storage options are now digital. You can store video surveillance footage on an SD card, on your organization's servers, in the cloud or in a combination of all these options.
When you’re considering what kind of storage you need, it’s often a good time to have a conversation about risk. How much risk are you able to take on? If you have no security system, you take on the risk of not being able to protect your property. If you have a security system with limited storage, say only a handful of days, you’re taking on less risk, but would still be unable to review events that happened weeks ago. You take on even less risk with a more robust and comprehensive storage platform, that’s able to go back weeks or months.
At the same time, the larger the storage space you have and the farther back in time it’s able to go, the more you’re going to pay for it. We’ll talk more about cost considerations below.
If you need some assistance thinking through data storage questions, we have another post that will take you through how to determine your storage needs.
Once cameras and storage needs are decided, you should make sure you have the bandwidth available to support them.
Knowing how much bandwidth you need is also something that can be identified in a physical security assessment. Your network supports a whole lot more than your security system. Our engineers are well-acquainted with the bandwidth needed for various security systems and beyond and will be able to tell you what you need.
Alarms & Notifications
Alarm systems look at your perimeter and sound when undesired motion has been detected. Indicators like motion detectors, glass break sensors and door opens sound alerts of unwanted presence and can trigger notifications to get help on-site as soon as possible.
Notifications triggered can be pushed – via email, phone or text – to a designated person or people at your organization, a monitoring company or to local authorities.
Video surveillance can become backup verification for alarms. When motion is detected (signaled by pixel changes on a camera), notifications are sent. That motion is tagged in the footage, so you can jump to an incident of motion to see recorded activity on a particular camera. If the intruder turns out to be a bat, a shadow or rain, you have a way to confirm that and decrease costly false alarm responses.
If you have remote video monitoring, you can take a notification and check for yourself whether authorities need to be called, without an alarm calling them right away.
Everything in physical security is managing levels of risk. If an alarm sounds, often police can be dispatched automatically, even for a false alarm. But if you wait for a notification to be checked before calling the police, it may take too long for them to get on site. Video surveillance without an alarm increases response time. Video surveillance with an alarm may dispatch a police presence when the issue is only a bird in the warehouse.
Secure Mobile Access
Once those cameras are in place, how will you access them so you can see what’s on them? You’ll likely be able to access them from your workplace. But what about when you’re away? Do you require a VPN connection to your computer or mobile device? Can you access footage from a web browser or mobile app to see what’s going on at your organization?
Most organizations want some ability to check their camera feed whenever they want or need to. Look for a security system that offers a simple way to accomplish this, so you avoid having to visit physical locations to check out an alarm signal. Remote access allows you to verify alarms and/or notifications remotely. Gaining a comprehensive view of your organization's operations helps streamline workflows while keeping employees and assets safe. Cloud-based AI security systems have become a popular choice for the outdoor operations industries like construction sites, automotive dealerships, and scrap yards and recycling centers.
Consider whether access control needs to be part of your business security system. Access control means allowing restricted access to your building or certain parts of your building. This can be done using badges, key codes or biometrics like fingerprint or facial recognition.
Access control can be integrated with an Active Directory system. You can control employee access to specific buildings or rooms within your organization. For example, if the IT team are the only people who need access to the server room. Or if employees only are granted side door access.
Access control can work together with your video surveillance system. Cameras monitoring who is coming in and out of a server room can timestamp when a door is opened or card is swiped, so you can confirm whether the person entering the room is who they’re supposed to be. This is known as event monitoring and is a helpful addition to any security system.
Your security system exists to secure your physical locations from threats like theft and trespassing. But did you consider the need to secure your security system?
Because many security systems can connect to the internet, they are network endpoints. When endpoints of any kind are left unsecured, they are vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
The best way to maintain security is to keep up with software and firmware updates. These updates often go unattended, making them a potential vulnerability to the overall cybersecurity of your organization.
For organizations that find themselves falling behind on updates, cloud options can be appealing. In the cloud, firmware and software updates are managed for you, and everything is always up to date. You don’t have to go from camera to camera, server to server, desktop station to desktop station, across many locations, applying updates. From the cloud, you can push updates throughout your system. This makes video system security easier to manage.
Analytics allow you to search camera footage for specific actions or objects. They make it easier to sort through hours of footage.
Analytics can help you identify when a person crosses a designated point or loiters in one spot for several minutes. Analytics are also available to count the number of people coming and going from a designated space.
Besides finding specific events, analytics can help interpret video using artificial intelligence (AI). This can identify whether intruders are people (age, facial hair, glasses, clothing color), vehicles (size, type, color, traveling in which direction), animals (type, color) or specific objects like a weapon or an unattended bag.
Analytics use AI to make these distinctions, but are not 100% accurate. For example, if you’d like to see footage of a blue car, those color analytics are at the mercy of whether the lighting was good at the time of recording. Still, analytics can help you sort through all your footage in a more efficient way.
You have the security system installed, now how are you going to maintain it?
Video surveillance systems are utilized in both large and small businesses. While large businesses may employ a security professional to configure, monitor or maintain the system, a small business may have a hard time hiring someone to do this at an affordable price. Many small and medium businesses (SMBs) may choose an IT team member or maintenance person to manage their video surveillance system, but the task becomes one of many, and they often don’t have the bandwidth to keep up with system maintenance and updates.
A business security system is one of many options you can leverage as a managed service. Putting your security system on a managed services plan means you don’t have to worry about maintenance or upgrades.
Often, organizations will buy hardware and by the time they pay it off, technology has changed and advanced. Having your business security system on a managed service plan will help you stay current with the latest technology and decrease technology obsolescence. A managed service provider (MSP) will help you plan an upgrade cycle so you're not having to spend all your upgrade dollars at once.
Management and maintenance of your video surveillance system are even easier in the cloud.
Security System Costs
No matter which features you choose in a security system, the numbers need to make sense in the end.
You have to weigh the balance between the features to make your system simple, secure and accessible against what is affordable.
This means looking at costs involved in your network, cameras, computers, servers, bandwidth, analytics software, management and storage.
We talk a lot about cloud security systems offering predictable pricing. Like many cloud applications, cloud-based video surveillance is a subscription model, where you have a set monthly fee. Instead of having a large upfront cost, you have a recurring operational expenditure. When hardware or software needs replacing, your monthly payment is still the same.
Whether you have your security system set up in a cloud subscription model, or choose to pay in a capital expenditure, pricing will be pretty level. It's more a matter of when you’re paying, not how much. The main driver of costs going up and down depends on which features you want/need in your system.
Cloud-Based Security Systems
You’ve likely noticed by now that cloud-based security systems have been mentioned in many of the considerations above.
A cloud security system will offer you many of the features above, most notably offering secure mobile access to your security system at a predictable monthly cost. That’s why we have so many conversations about cloud security systems; it checks so many boxes for our clients.
We often urge people looking at their video surveillance system to consider cloud or hybrid cloud video surveillance, because it encompasses many of the features above while offering remote access, network security, management and cost control. Learn more about Loffler's cloud solution, SafeGuard.
No matter where your business security system is hosted, in the cloud, on-premise or in a hybrid of both, Loffler can help you build a system that meets your business’s unique needs.
I can basically see the entire company anytime I want, 24/7. It allows me to have instant access, instant view of every operation I have. My go-to method though is via my iPhone, which I can take anywhere, anytime.View Case Study