The diversity and flexibility of CCTV systems have transformed the way we engineer business security in the 21st century. And the revolution isn’t over, either.
But as with every technical field, the difficulty of making the right choice has grown exponentially with the number of available options.
Choosing the best CCTV system for an office has been complicated by the presence of countless commercial options, growing regulatory volume, and increased device and system complexity.
Many potential CCTV users don’t reap the benefits of this flexibility. Analysis paralysis gobbles up their good intentions. At best, they just end up overspending. In the worst cases, they give up altogether and trick themselves into figuring out a good excuse for compromising the safety of their staff, their clients and, ultimately, their business.
So how does one break free from this endless loop of “what does this acronym stand for and do I actually need it?”
No time to read the full guide? Why not skip it altogether and talk to our reps for a FREE, no-obligations on-site survey. Our comprehensive report will shed some light on the types of CCTV system your office needs.
A Quick Guide to Compromising
When faced with analysis paralysis, I always go back to my first lessons in engineering. The best choice, the saying goes, is the compromise between what you need, what’s available, and what you can afford.
That’s what it ultimately boils down to.
It’s tempting to start with the product catalogue and look for the cheapest thing that will suit you, but nine times out of ten that will not yield the most cost-efficient solution.
Instead of starting with the product catalogue, start with what you need. The product catalogue is something that you should peruse only later, in order to figure out what’s available and what you can afford.
What You Need
Defining your requirements is the first and most important step in drafting a sound security strategy. How you implement it – what cameras you choose, what software, what procedures – can always be fixed, but mistakes are done in the requirements stage is with you forever.
When it comes to CCTV cameras, the Home Office recommends a two-step process for drafting requirements.
First, you should define and clarify:
- the areas and assets which you want to protect
- the security problems that you are likely to face
- the security problems that you are likely to face
- your criteria for success.
For example, if you work with sensitive customer data, you may be concerned about laptops or hard drives being stolen from your office. Or, if your office is located in a high criminality area, you may be concerned about your staff being physically assaulted in the office or in the parking lot.
The criteria for what constitutes successfully addressing each security issue depends on many factors. For example, if your concern is for the safety of your staff, there is no question that successfully addressing this concern means deterring assault.
If you are concerned about important customer data being stolen, it may be particularly important to be able to identify whoever attempted to steal it, in addition to preventing them from stealing it in the first place.
CCTV cameras are likely to be one of the means to deal with these issues, but a CCTV camera alone cannot help you with anything except surveillance. It won’t keep the doors locked or make the windows impenetrable. That being said, for many small businesses, a good access control system and a visible CCTV camera is often sufficient.
At Tss Services, access control systems and CCTV cameras are our speciality! We’d love to recommend and install systems that fit both your needs and your budget! Let’s talk!
Second, you should define what capabilities your CCTV system needs to have in order to meet your security requirements.
This is a pretty complex topic, but it essentially boils down to answering four questions:
–What and do I need to see and when?
– Why do I need to see it?
– What responsibilities do I have?
What and when you need to see is something that you define in terms of location, detail, and time of day. For example, you may want to observe who enters your office through each access way, or detect if someone is present in the lobby, or observe and recognise someone is in the parking lot through motion detection.
These details are important because they dictate:
- How wide an area the right CCTV camera should cover? (A small room? Hallway? Parking lot?)
- How much detail it should provided? (Just enough to see if someone is present? Small details, to allow identification?)
- What conditions your CCTV cameras need to function under? (Natural lighting? Ambient lighting during the night? Complete darkness during the night?)
Why you need to see it is important for two reasons. First, it will help you clarify your security procedures. Second, some CCTV cameras have special features for certain scenarios.
For example, you may want to monitor who enters the reception area of your office as a measure of general security. However, if you are specifically concerned about specific, known persons, a CCTV system with facial recognition features may be a more expensive, but very useful option for you.