Is the security system that’s protecting your home adequate to protect your small business as well? Or are the security needs of a business completely different?
Security Systems 101: The Basics
Both residential and commercial security systems have the same primary purpose: to guard against intrusion. Intruders are most commonly burglars, but the security system will deter vandals and other unwanted visitors as well, such as disgruntled former employees (or an angry ex).
The security system protects points of entry, triggering an alarm if a door or window is opened without the proper disarm code. The home or business owner can program new security codes any time they want. Most security systems accommodate multiple users, each with their own unique code. A business owner can see which employee entered the building, and at what time. A homeowner can see when each child returned home from school, or when the house cleaner showed up.
When a sensor detects signs of trouble, it triggers an alert to the system controls. The control unit then sounds an alarm and sends an alert to the monitoring station. The monitoring station contacts the owner and dispatches the police.
Advanced Security Features for Any Property
Using today’s sophisticated technology, security systems can now do much more than prevent intrusion. Here’s a brief list of advanced features to look for, which are useful at both your home and your business, or even for your vacation property.
- Video Security Cameras
- Remote Controls and Monitoring
- Automated Alerts
- Thermostat and Light Control
Video Security and Monitoring
First used in commercial and government security systems, video monitoring is now a common feature in homes as well. Video offers customers the ultimate peace of mind, as they monitor their property with their own eyes, 24/7. Police departments are especially fond of video footage, as evidence that effectively aids in the apprehension and conviction of burglars and other criminals. Think of the recent Boston Marathon bombings, where video was instrumental in identifying the suspects.
The best video security system is capable of producing both live and recorded video. You can view the live footage from anywhere, anytime. The video feeds utilize the broadband connection in your home or business, so you can access it with any internet-connected device. This footage is only available to you, and is not viewed at the monitoring station.
The convenience of 24-hour video monitoring is remarkable, but you’ll also want the system to record clips in times of emergencies. The system should automatically generate clips anytime a security sensor triggers. You will receive an instant alert, and can view the footage immediately, or at your convenience. You can also give the clip to the authorities, if warranted.
Remote Controls and Monitoring
Neither a homeowner nor a business owner can be onsite round-the-clock. Remote control is an important feature for both home and commercial security systems. You should be able to check on the status of your home, business or vacation property anytime, no matter where you are. Remote control also lets you arm and disarm the system remotely, and program customized features, such as individual access codes.
The beauty of any monitored security system is the team of people behind you, watching over your property when you can’t be there. In addition, the system itself is easily programmed to provide instant alerts, anytime sensors detect a potential issue. The issue may not always be intrusion-related. Wireless home security systems also monitor for fire and other harmful environmental factors, such as flooding (leaks), carbon monoxide, or freezing temperatures, which can lead to burst pipes. With instant alerts, you know immediately when problems arise, so you can take the appropriate action.
Security systems that allow this kind of two-way, programmable information exchange are known as “interactive.”
Thermostat and Light Control
Another extremely useful feature of an interactive alarm system is remote control for fixtures such as lights, appliances and thermostats. This feature helps you save on utility costs and conserve electricity, while assuring the comfort and efficiency of your home or work space. You can have instant control – turning lights off or the heat down – anytime, and you can also set schedules for these utilities, which you can change remotely, anytime.
Pricing Differences for Home vs. Commercial Security Systems
So what security needs does a business have that are not covered by a home security system? In many cases, the answer is “none.” If your system has all the features listed above, it will provide good protection for any size home or for most small businesses. This is great news for business owners, partly because they can use the same system they’re already familiar with, and the company that has already proven to provide good products and good customer service.
There’s even better news: you don’t have to pay extra for a “commercial security system.” Many alarm companies increase rates for business solutions, simply because they assume an income-generating business can afford it. In most cases, however, there’s absolutely no reason to pay more for your business security than for the alarm system you’re already happy with at home.
The exception could be for larger businesses that wants to track and control access to multiple locations throughout the facility, for multiple employees. Most standard home security systems enable multiple users up to 9 or 10. If you have more employees, and want to monitor which floors or offices they access throughout the day, you may want to add a larger-scale card-swipe kind of entry-control system.