Few dispute the value of a good business security system. After all, only 13 percent of convicted burglars say they would always continue the break-in if they noticed an alarm, according to a University of North Carolina-Charlotte study.
And businesses often are targets. One in five were victims of burglary or theft in the last five years, according to small-business insurer Insureon — a number that may be even higher considering many business thefts go unreported.
Despite the statistics, however, some business owners still don’t opt for security.
“A lot of people say, ‘Oh, we’re in a safe neighborhood’ or ‘Our landlord provides it,’” says Rachel Krnac, a senior product manager for Cox Business, which offers a range of detection and surveillance solutions. “But there are so many other ways a business benefits from and uses a security system than for alarm purposes.”
Here are eight facts you may not have considered — and why ignoring security is a mistake.
1. Theft by insiders is rampant
Employee theft costs you. Sixty-four percent of small businesses have experienced employee theft, according to a survey by the University of Cincinnati. And employee theft at U.S. retail stores accounts for more lost revenue than shoplifting — about $18 billion per year.
High-definition cameras temper temptation and let you confirm when employees arrive or leave. “Business owners can pull up a video feed on their phones or tablets from anywhere,” Krnac says.
2. Don’t rely on your landlord
Your landlord has different security priorities. “Some folks assume security isn’t their responsibility if they rent office or retail space in a strip mall or complex,” Krnac says. “But a landlord won’t necessarily notify you if someone breaks into your suite.”
A good security system will. For example, with a Cox package, you can receive text or other alerts when doors open or close, when the system arms or disarms and so on. The professionally monitored service can dispatch police. Cameras can record when they sense motion — and with HD video you’ll see details. Meanwhile, your landlord may settle for cheap, outdated equipment and fuzzy video.
3. Theft can cripple your business
Even if your business doesn’t keep pricey equipment, inventory or cash on-site, there are plenty of valuables — proprietary information, accounting files, records and more. And one thief’s quick score of a few laptops or a disgruntled employee’s revenge could bring down your livelihood.
A good security system monitors and secures your files and backups and can help restrict access to certain areas.
4. Video footage can be used for employee training
Surveillance video allows business owners to see if employees are providing customers or clients the level of service they expect, Krnac says.
Forrest Higgins is CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of East County, located northeast of San Diego in Santee. He placed 22 cameras throughout the main club’s building, and he says the footage provides valuable training material. “We can use it to show some of the best practices and highlight staff members who are doing a great job.”
5. People are forgetful
We know from residential burglary statistics that in 40 percent of burglaries, criminals entered through an unlocked door or window, according to a report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Indeed, burglars are opportunists and employees make mistakes. Make sure your security system allows you to check the status of doors remotely, after employees leave.
The ability to view camera footage remotely also helps manage false alarms. “I can pull up the video feed on my iPad from home instead of having to go to the building or call the sheriff,” Higgins says.
6. Criminals aren’t the only worry
Behind burglary and theft, water damage is the second most common property and liability claim — 15 percent of businesses are impacted, according to Insureon. Cox offers water sensors that alert you when water is present, Krnac says.
7. Security shouldn’t stop at the front door
Outdoor and parking-lot surveillance shows customers and employees you care about their safety, which can foster good will and loyalty. Visible security also works as a first-line deterrent: Cameras in parking lots reduce crimes by 51 percent, according to a research review sponsored by the nonprofit Campbell Collaboration.
Can’t afford to invest in cameras? “We allow you to lease them,” Cox Business senior product manager Krnac says. “And you can change or upgrade your system as your needs or budget changes.”
8. Security technology is better than ever
Higgins says the Boys and Girls Clubs previously DIY-ed its surveillance and security systems: “We’d see what was on sale, then find someone to install it, but it would break down and need to be replaced after two years,” he says, adding that some security providers were put-off by the unusual construction of the building and quoted costs the nonprofit could never afford.
That changed with Cox. “They weren’t intimidated by the [unusual] construction of the building and came up with a solution,” he says. “They also maintain it, and we have a warranty and responsive customer service — that sold us.”
Systems like Cox’s are also simple to set up and operate, plus “detection products are all wireless now,” Krnac says. So glass-break sensors and other equipment are less likely to be tampered with. What’s more, the surveillance systems provide crisp, clear images and offer search, record, screenshot and streaming capabilities.
But don’t worry about your Internet speed. Cox, for example, provides separate bandwidth exclusively for security devices with backup cellular service — the bonus of an integrated services company.
“We’ve heard from many customers that they prefer to work with a single provider for as many services as they can,” Krnac says. “It makes things simple, so you’re able to focus on what’s most important — running your business.”