Adding security cameras to your business is never a bad idea. However, if you make the wrong choices, your investment could become a liability. Here are the top three mistakes businesses make when installing a security camera system.
1. Buying Your Security Cameras at the Hardware Store
We’ve all seen them. They look like a great deal. They are the security cameras in-a-box style products sold at the hardware store, big-box retailer or discount online outlets. The descriptions normally read something like this:
“4-channel HD Security cameras, 4 HD cameras, remote monitoring on your smartphone, All cables, Indoor/outdoor weatherproof, large HDD, Night-Vision 75ft range – $199.00”
Sounds great, right? Well if you really look at the product that is being offered up close; reality is much different. You will get 4 cameras, usually under a couple of megapixels. You will be able to see at night, kind-of. One could put a camera outside, but not too far outside. Unfortunately, these products are often made of low-quality parts, have low pixel counts, use proprietary cables, and have cheap LEDs for “night-vision”.
The pixel count of any camera directly affects how much light there must be to make an image that’s useful. Many of these cameras boast HD capabilities. HD could mean 720p, that absolute lowest form of “HD”. Additionally, most aren’t capable of that either. Further, if you’re thinking about maybe putting one of those cameras outside, perhaps in your parking lot, its just not feasible. The cabling included in these kits is a fixed length and will have weird connectors on each end. Not to mention “weather-proof” has seemingly different meanings depending on which one you buy. Ultimately, these things combined will put limits on where you can put them, how much they’ll be able to see and how long they will last. As you can tell, these are not the type of sacrifices that you should make regarding your business’s security.
In addition, be careful with cameras that come with remote monitoring capability. In one word, DON’T. The software running in these cheap NVRs is suspect at a minimum. Often, these appliances will put your network at risk and the apps that you install on your smartphone are security nightmares as well. You are better off not doing this.
2. Understanding What Needs to Be Protected By the Security Cameras
There are two schools of thought on this topic: those who go overboard and those who do the bare minimum. Both are bad.
Firstly, imagine you purchase several security cameras and place them all over your business. Some pointed this way, some that. No real method to the madness. Just a bunch of cameras looking at things that seem like they are important. This is bad for two reasons.
Firstly, each those cameras require bandwidth and hard disk space on your NVR. The second reason is If you’ve purchased one of those cheap ones like I mention above, you may need more than one. The more security cameras the more the cost of storing the data. If you’ve got a camera pointed at your flower bush outside your front door because you like the flowers, that’s a waste. Now, if someone is constantly stealing those flowers, it’s a different story. I think you get the point. A camera security system should be designed to keep you, your employees, the property and any visitors safe, that’s all.
Alternatively, this is also why the other end of the spectrum is equally as dangerous. Thinking that a couple of cameras is enough to cover the entire business can get you in trouble. You may think you are protected, but when it comes time to review the footage after an event has happened, the recording may be useless because it either too far away or just unusable because of poor quality. Even worse, the event wasn’t covered at all. If you are even considering a camera system, it’s probably for a reason, don’t skimp.
This one is especially important. If ignored, your business could be at risk of lawsuits. For instance, you own and operate a hotel. The hotel has signs posted that security cameras are in use. One day a person enters the facility and assaults one of your guests. When law enforcement views camera recordings, they often find nothing useable, even though you had cameras in the area where the assault occurred. The footage was useless because the quality of the image was affected by lack of light and poor image quality. This is something you, as the hotel operator, could have fixed but didn’t. You are not only on the hook because the assault happened at your place of business, but your security was inadequate.
Obviously it is not possible to anticipate all crime. However, the security cameras put in place should be able to record in all conditions and provide decent enough images that law enforcement can get information they require to pursue the crime. The days of fake security cameras as a deterrent are long gone in today’s litigious society. If you’ve got security cameras, they should be robust. Remember, as stated earlier, as the business owner you are responsible for the safety of you, your employees, the property and any visitors. Make sure they are safe.
Consult with a professional to ensure you’ve covered all of your bases. A professional security vendor, like Hugh’s, is very familiar with the requirements that make a good camera system. We take your safety and security seriously. Moreover, the cost will be a “little” more than all-in-one security cameras found at the hardware store, but your business will be secure, and that’s worth a lot more than $199.