As any small business owner knows, security is compulsory. After all, you can't be profitable if your assets aren't protected. Fortunately, CCTV security camera systems are more capable and intelligent than ever.
Today's systems offer small business owners computer-like functions and features such as motion sensors and automatic mobile notifications, as well as settings to automatically contact law enforcement (if need be).
These immensely powerful surveillance systems are also relatively affordable, and many vendors allow for a significant degree of customizability, ensuring you are tailoring your system to your business's specific needs. Not sure where to start?
Here are eight things to consider when choosing a CCTV System for a small, smart company.
Benefits of a Surveillance System
CCTV systems not only deter criminals and help law enforcement quickly catch any would-be thieves, but they also assist you in monitoring productivity, improve the accountability of your employees, and potentially even reduce your insurance premiums.
At first, installing a CCTV system can seem expensive, but it is well worth it when you consider the long-term payoff and the peace of mind it brings.
What to Look for When Choosing a CCTV System
1. The resolution
Without a doubt, the resolution is one of the most important considerations in selecting a business security camera. For sharper images, you'll want a camera that can shoot at least in 720p high definition. Out of everything, this is where you don't want to cut corners.
2. The frame rate
Another critical aspect of a camera, the frame rate is an essential consideration. The higher the frame rate, the smoother your video recording will be. The lower the frame rate, the less frequently a still is taken which results in choppy footage. When referring to the frame rate, real-time is typically measured at 30 frames per second.
3. The model
There are plenty of options in the CCTV camera market. These range from bullet cameras (the rectangular boxes you might see protruding from a wall), dome cameras (often attached to a ceiling and housed in a tinted cover), or the pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras (offer remote-control capabilities to adjust the field of vision) — just to name a few.
Be honest with yourself and your company staff about your security needs, and from there, you will be able to choose the appropriate system for your business.
4. The “weatherproof-ness”
While it may seem obvious, let's repeat it just in case. Not all security cameras will be able to stand up to Mother Nature the same way.
If you think you will be using your camera outside quite often, then buy a model that is weatherproof, and heat and water resistant. You really don't want water or dirt to interfere with and come between you and your camera.
5. The audio quality
Some cameras don't pick up audio at all, while others do. It all depends on the particular camera and the manufacturer. Shop around firms and ask if their products permit two-way audio, allowing a spectator on one end of the camera to communicate with a subject in the camera's field of vision.
Your Video Recorder
6. Storage capacity
Moving on to your video recorder, the most important things to ask are — how much storage do I have? How much room do I need? The answer depends on the number of cameras in your system, each camera's resolution, the amount of archived footage you intend to store, and how long you plan on keeping recorded footage. If many cameras are shooting at a higher resolution, the footage is going to eat up storage space quickly.
Just remember to keep on top of scaling up your video recorder's storage capacity. Always plan accordingly and understand how much capacity you will really need.
7. Cloud storage
There are a lot of distinct advantages to utilizing cloud storage, some of which include superior storage volume and having remote access to your posts and videos. That being said, be cautious since many cloud services charge a subscription fee for access to their offerings.
Ensure that whoever you are dealing with has in place the appropriate cybersecurity measures to protect your data. Once you get your head (and your documents) into the cloud, you can breathe a sigh of relief in case your hardware is damaged, stolen or tampered with.
Compression removes unnecessary data from the footage transmitted to your video recorder, thereby saving space. Two of the more common compression techniques used for high-definition video are MJPEG and H.264.
You can also use MPEG4, but the quality tends to be lower. Compression methods are relatively sophisticated and vary in their applications depending on your needs and hardware.
There you have it — eight things to keep in mind when shopping for a CCTV system for your small business. Is there anything we missed out on? What are you thinking about for your next CCTV system purchase? Let us know in the comments!
Michael Dunne created Safecell Security Ltd in 2001 and acquired Authorized Access in 2013. He is now Managing Director of both companies and oversees the strategic development and day to day running of the businesses. Michael has spent over 20 years in the security industry and specialises in the Design, Installation, Maintenance and Commissioning of electrical security systems such as Intruder Alarms, Fire Alarms, CCTV, Warden Control and Access Control and all Physical security including Key Cutting, Safe & Lock Picking, Suited Key Systems, Automated Barriers & Gates and Shutters, throughout the North West of England.