The success of your business can be impacted by your office security (or lack thereof). Each year businesses lose billions due theft and fires. While security and alarm systems can be costly, there are ways to save money to ensure you're covered. You can even do it yourself in some cases when it comes to covering your security vulnerabilities. Ultimately though, it's critical to understand and reduce your security risks, which in the long run can save you substantial money.
Understanding Your Security Needs
One option is to hire a security consultant who can assess your security needs and suggest equipment and companies to address these needs. This person can also train your staff on the need for security protocols and help them keep themselves and colleagues safe and the office and your assets secure. Staff compliance often can be crucial to ensuring the system you implement is effective.
In lieu of paying a consultant, you can contact security dealers as they may offer free assessments. Keep in mind that their objective will be to make a sale though, so it's important to ask informed questions and be sure to get multiple quotes.
"If you are in your own building and want to protect your staff and assets, I recommend getting quotes from several, locally-owned security monitoring companies that could provide bids on solutions for monitoring, building access, video surveillance and video doorbell feed," said Kathleen Smith, senior vice president of business affairs for Elizabeth Christian Public Relations, who handles security issues for the company. "Have them come to your office so they can see what they are dealing with. Ideally, they can give you a complete bid package broken out by the following: sensor installation (doors, windows and motion) and monitoring; building access via numerical pad installation; video camera installation and monitoring; and, video doorbell installation."
You may want to compare both local and national vendors. Consider price, expertise, customer reviews, and their understanding of relevant security issues in your geography as well as regulations that impact your business.
Maximizing the Benefits
As you review vendor proposals, consider that integrating your systems and consolidating your services under one vendor could potentially save you money. Integration also enables one system to benefit from equipment used by another. For example, fire alarm system monitoring stations can use the feed from video surveillance to identify the location of the fire when an alert is triggered.
Advances in technology enables small businesses with multiple stand-alone systems for things like access control, surveillance and fire alarms, etc., to update with an integrated system that is mobile friendly, uses cloud technology, and even includes smart office features. In fact, as the workforce becomes more accustomed to going home to technology-enabled spaces, expectations for smart office capabilities continue to increase. As you review your security needs, consider opportunities to benefit from integration and smart features such as temperature and light control, mobility features and cloud backup.
An additional benefit in adding or updating a security system is the potential for discounts on your insurance premiums. Check with your broker or carrier to learn what security features can save you money.
Understanding Security Systems
To address security vulnerabilities, it is wise to consider office access control, video surveillance, alarm monitoring and a fire alarm system. Our office guide for each of these systems will help you understand the components, prioritize the right options for your business, select vendors, and determine if system integration and smart office features will benefit your business.
Learn more about these systems in our office guides:
Access Control: Access control systems help you manage and monitor who gets into your office and limit access to certain areas and devices. The system authenticates the identity of the user and cross references against a database to attain his or her access authorization level. This system gathers and stores data that then enables a business owner to monitor movement of employees and visitors in the office, which could lead to identification of perpetrators if there is a security breach and enables proactive assessment of security risks to make adjustments as needed.
Editor's Note: Looking for Access Control Systems for your company? If you would like information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our partner, BuyerZone, provide you with information for free:
Video Surveillance: Video surveillance systems can both deter crime and gather evidence if one occurs. These systems include strategic placement of security cameras, monitoring motion and activity, generating alerts, transmitting footage, and storing footage. Cameras can be both indoors and outside. Having cameras may cause would-be burglars to bypass your business and, if a crime does occur, the video footage can be shared with both your insurance and the police. There are many options for cameras and monitoring; everything from DIY approaches to full-service monitoring of digital footage with cloud backup.
Editor's Note: Looking for Video Surveillance Systems for your company? If you would like information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our partner, BuyerZone, provide you with information for free:
Monitored Alarms: Your office is susceptible to break-ins. Having an alarm is part of the solution, but if no one is around to respond - or you're located in a busy area accustomed to many noises including sirens - the alarm alone will likely not stop the crime. You may want to reduce your risks by having a system that is monitored by you or a professional service. Once turned on, by someone onsite or via a mobile app, the system uses sensors to detect if a door or window has been opened. if a window has been broken, or if there is motion. These sensors trigger both the alarm and whatever alerts have been set up, e.g., to a monitoring company or to your cell phone, so that an appropriate response can be determined.
Editor's Note: Looking for Monitored Alarm Systems for your company? If you would like information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our partner, BuyerZone, provide you with information for free:
Fire Alarm Systems: The National Fire Protection Association reports that fire departments responded to more than 17,000 fires at businesses each year between 2012 and 2016. These fires resulted in yearly property loss in excess of $638 million and a dozen deaths. Fire alarm systems can help you protect both your people and property, often detecting issues well before you or your employees might. Today's systems not only alert those in the building, but send information to the monitoring company to dispatch emergency responders.
Editor's Note: Looking for Fire Alarm Systems for your company? If you would like information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our partner, BuyerZone, provide you with information for free:
The Bottom Line
While all of these security system options may seem a bit overwhelming, once you're able to assess your needs and prioritize your systems and features, you'll have the peace of mind knowing you've taken steps to protect your business, your employees and your customers. And, you may end up with the added benefit of insurance discounts and smart office technology reducing some of your monthly expenses.