September 25, 2016

10 DIY Tips for Choosing a Small Business Security Camera


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When it comes to keeping your business secure, there are more choices than ever for small businesses. No longer do you have to resort to using expensive professionally installed systems if you don’t want to or don’t have the resources to. There are DIY security options out there that you can consider for your business. Here are some tips for choosing a security camera system for your business.

When Choosing a Security Camera. . .

Look for an Easy Setup

Since you’re probably not a professional when it comes to setting up security systems, you choice needs to be one that you can easily setup and use yourself. When considering a new system, look into what all is involved in the setup process. Is there extra software that you need to install? How does the camera connect to your computer or other device? Will you need to actually assemble anything? If you don’t find that information easily, consider asking a sales rep. And if you can’t get the information you need, it could be a sign that the system is fairly complicated.

Make Sure You Can Access Your Feed from Anywhere

In today’s mobile business world, many business owners may find it beneficial to be able to access their security feed from their mobile devices. If you regularly travel or do work away from your official office, you might consider looking into a model that gives you the option of viewing your feed from different devices. For example, Dropcam is one model that works over WiFi so that you can access your live feed online or on you mobile devices.

Make Sure It’s a Secure Feed

However, the ability to access your feed from anywhere could potentially put your data at risk if it isn’t protected. So you should look into whether the models you’re considering offer encryption or other privacy features to ensure that your feed can’t be accessed by anyone who shouldn’t be able to access it.

Look for Local Storage

When choosing a security camera, in addition to the ability to access your feed from the cloud, it can be beneficial to also have your footage saved into local storage. So in case something happens to your cloud storage or mobile devices, you’ll have a saved copy and a set place to access your footage when necessary.

Get a Model with Automatic Storage

Since you’re probably not planning on monitoring your security feed 24/7, it’s important that your system stores your footage so that you can access it later. Some systems save footage automatically, while others only do so under certain circumstances, like if you specifically set it to save footage or if you specify that footage should be saved for a specific period of time. Find the option that works best for your needs.

Look into Video Quality

The quality of the feed should also have an impact on your decision, since you want to be able to actually see and decipher what’s going on within your footage. Look into HD security models or see if you can get a preview of the type of footage that the systems you’re looking into might provide. Make sure that it’s easy to see and hight quality enough for your needs.

Make Sure the Camera Works in All Conditions

However, a camera that gives you great footage during the day but nothing but grainy darkness at night probably won’t do you much good. If it’s important that you have the ability to see footage at night, outdoors or other unusual environments, you need to make sure that your choice has the ability to work in those situations.

Consider Portable Options

If you do find that you want a camera that works in different conditions, you should also make sure that your camera can actually be moved to different locations. If you don’t have the resources to purchase a system with multiple cameras to cover every inch of your space, you could consider instead getting one that you can move to different locations based on your needs. If this is a feature that you could benefit from, look for a model that can sit on a shelf or clip onto a wall without needing to be permanently attached.

Consider Alerts

For those times when you’re not closely monitoring your security feed, but still want to know if anything significant is happening, some systems will allow you to set up alerts. For example, while your business is closed, you can set up your system to alert you when there’s movement. Alternatively, you can opt for a security camera that works in specific circumstances, like the Doorbot, which gives you a feed of your doorway when someone rings the doorbell.

Find One that Fits Your Budget

And lastly, when choosing a security camera you also need to find a system that fits within your small business budget. You can expect to spend a few hundred dollars up front for a decent small business security system. But you can find some options that are less expensive than others, or some that have different payment structures rather than requiring full payment up front.

Camera Photo via Shutterstock

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Annie Pilon - Staff Writer


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird, and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

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One Reaction

  1. I think one of the priorities of a security camera should be the ability to access footage anywhere, and it would definitely affect my decision should an option lack this feature. Thanks for sharing the advice, I’ll have to keep that in mind when I start looking for security cameras.

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