One of the most common problems business owners face is the issue of theft and burglary. Although vandalism may be a problem, too. So, let's learn how to choose the best security cameras for small business to keep you safe.
This is where security cameras are the most helpful. The installation of security cameras in business establishments is the solution to this problem.
But you cannot install just any security camera. You need to choose one carefully so you will get the best out of it, and thus serve your purpose for getting one.
How do you choose one, then? Here are some tips. So I suggest you read on and be enlightened.
What to Look for in a Security Camera for Small Business
It is important to get to know the parts and functions of a security camera system, especially if you are new to it. So let's start by familiarizing ourselves with its parts.
Parts of a Security Camera System for Small Businesses
- Security Cameras
- Video Recorder (DVR or NVR)
There are a lot of different cameras and security surveillance system available in the market, however, for your small business, I suggest you use a system that can record locally in a dedicated video recorder such as a DVR or NVR.
Let's take a look at some camera technologies you can use...
Analog security cameras
Those type of cameras generate analog signals that are sent to a recorder that converts them into digital format for local recording in a hard drive.
Analog cameras are inexpensive and can be used for small businesses that don't require advanced features but just want to capture quality videos.
As long as the cameras you buy use the most modern analog technologies such as HD-TVI, HD-CVI, and AHD, you are good to go.
Digital (IP) security cameras
IP cameras generates a digital signal and there's no need for conversion in the recorder, the signal is recorded directly into the internal recorder hard drive.
I know, sometimes that could be confusing. With so many different options to choose from, you can get stuck without knowing which one is better.
==> To learn more about the differences between analog and IP cameras, read the article: IP Camera Advantages Over Analog System.
Don't worry, you just need to decide which one is better for you based on the budget, technology, and features you need for your security system.
Security camera recorders
To record the footage from the security cameras, it's necessary to use a recorder that basically stores the videos in a hard drive.
There are different types of recorders, let's take a look at some of them...
Digital Video Recorder (DVR)
If you are looking for inexpensive security systems just go for the analog ones.
Analog systems have analog cameras connected to a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) that converts the analog signals into digital format before recording.
You can buy a DVR with 4, 8 or 16 channels, usually, a small office hardly use more than 8 cameras, so an 8-channel DVR is a good choice for less than $200.
You can buy a DVR with an internal hard drive (HD) according to your needs, the higher the HD capacity, the better for recording for more days.
==> If you are curious about how to calculate the storage for your cameras, just read the article, CCTV Storage Calculation with Formula and Examples.
Network Video Recorder (NVR)
If you need more intelligent features just go for a digital (IP) system.
To record videos from IP cameras is necessary to use a Network Video Recorder (NVR) and you can also buy them with 4,8 or 16 channels depending on your needs.
A good 8-channel NVR for a small business usually costs less than $300.
You can buy an NVR with the internal hard drive for local recording and also record in the Cloud server at the same time to have a backup.
Choosing the Best Security Camera for Your Small Business - Important considerations
It is always important to make a wise choice when getting a security camera for your small business. And to help you with making the right and practical choice, here are some tips to serve as your guide.
Find out which type of security camera system you need for your small business
Studies and reports show that the decrease in retail inventory is due to employee and customer theft.
Therefore install your security cameras in strategic locations. For instance, spots covering your cash register, doors, and windows of your warehouse. These areas are considered as high-risk spots for losing inventory in small stores.
Protecting your property may be done by installing security cameras in strategic locations on your store which can cover the high-risk areas mentioned above.
The installation of security cameras will help you tackle and prevent employee and customer theft.
Make sure the infrastructure is good
Walk around your property to assess strategic areas for your security cameras.
At the same time find out how many security cameras you need to secure your property and if you have the necessary infrastructure for that.
Inquire about networks and cables in your business. A whole set of CCTV systems with NVRs will be your best option if you prefer easier configuration.
Wireless security cameras may be installed in case of blind spots in your small shop, but it's better to avoid them and use cables as much as you can.
Set a Budget for your security camera system
After studying your small shop, you will now have an idea as to what type of security camera system you might want to install.
4 and 8-channel security camera systems are ideal for small stores. Therefore making them your best options since they are inexpensive.
Hence, it is important that you set a budget for such a project. Be aware of the latest trends and prices when talking about security camera system installation.
Don't buy recorders with too many channels
Avoid using 16-channel recorders because if they fail, your entire system goes to a halt state. If you really need to have 16 security cameras, install 2 8-channel DVRs to guarantee the system will not stop completely,
Use different types of cameras if necessary
Depending on your needs, you need to choose different types of cameras for your small business. Make sure you understand at least a little bit about the options.
Here are some quick explanation about the cameras you can pick.
You can choose between cameras with fixed lenses such as Domes and Bullets or you can use a PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom) camera that be remotely controlled.
Wide-angle cameras have fixed lens. You can have fields of view of 80°-180°. The PTZ security cameras, however, are pan-and-tilt. This will make you enjoy 360° fields of view, therefore leaving no blind areas.
Consider Privacy Issues
Avoid stress and other issues regarding privacy by installing wireless security cameras on front doors, hallways, and other public places. This way you will avoid privacy violation, and maybe possible legal issues.
Look Closely at the customer service
Customer service is a factor which most people seldom care about. However, little do we know that these services are vital for your small stores.
There are security camera brands who offer comprehensive services for their clients. Top-rated security camera brands offer a money-back guarantee within a period of time, long warranty period and likewise responsive customer support.
Hence, you do not have to worry about glitches or malfunctions or any other issues on your small business surveillance systems.
Make sure the system specification is good
Other issues to consider when talking about security systems for small business may concern things like frame rates, bandwidth, and power consumption. Here are some of the possible questions and their corresponding solutions.
Are Security Camera Systems Power Consuming?
The issue of power consumption is dependent on the number of security cameras and video recorders in use.
For security cameras monitoring large areas, expect them to consume more power. However, the average video surveillance systems for small stores do not consume much electricity to function.
Can My Security Camera Systems for Small Business Be Run Over My Primary Network?
Another issue which may bother you is that you may worry that the security camera systems for your stores will affect the network and create problems for your daily work.
Note though, that security cameras for small stores function even without network. In other words, it can still capture images and record to the DVR or NVR.
These security camera systems take up bandwidth only when you access them for live viewing on your mobile app or PC. Meaning, they do not take up much bandwidth in daily use.
Which Frame Rate of CCTV Camera Systems for Small Business Should I Get?
By frame rate, we mean how much frames are comprised in one second. This is also called FPS (frames per second). The higher the FPS means more details are recorded in videos.
The usual frame rates available are 15, 30 and 60 FPS. Basically, security camera systems with 15 or 30 FPS are enough for average small business usage.
Some ideas to protect your business shop
Renting Security Camera for Your Small Business
You can try renting security camera systems from reliable vendors. They have appealing deals on the commercial-grade IP camera systems that they agent. Also with installation and maintenance.
This suggestion might be appealing. However, you better think twice before entering into a contract with an agent. Consider the following reasons first:
- Signing a contract to rent a security camera system for small business may be expensive in the long run. You may be spending just a minimal amount for the rental at first, but it might make a bigger hole in your finances if done on a long-term basis.
- You might end up spending less if you bought a security system of your own because you only have to shell out money for it just that one time.
- Having your own security camera systems for your small store means that you monitor it on your own. If you rent one, however, you are exposing the footage to vendors. Therefore increasing the risk of video leakage and invasion of privacy.
- Other renting vendors might refuse to help you install devices after buying a set of security camera system of your own.
- Most top brand security cameras provide free firmware upgrade support and good customer service. However, renting vendors may charge extra fees for upgrades and maintenance.
Teaming Up with Your Neighbors
Discussing the issue of getting a security camera for your business with your landlords or neighbors is a good idea. They might be considering the same course of action.
Coordinating with them in putting up a DIY security camera system will not only lessen financial burdens. It will also unite store owners by securing their stores as well.
When looking for security cameras for your business, just make sure you choose the best technology (Analog or IP) and go with a good and reliable brand.
Price is important, but don't go too cheap to find out later that you don't have any support from the manufacturer.
I hope you can have a better decision now!
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Claudemir Martins is a former Samsung Engineer with 16+ experience in the surveillance industry. He has been traveling around 17 different countries to teach people how to design, and install CCTV systems.