Are Security Cameras Worth It? CCTV Business Cost vs Benefit
January 16, 2023
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It may seem that a business security package including items such as closed circuit television (CCTV), computer security systems, alarms, and electronic access systems is an excessive outlay for a small business. But considering that CCTV benefits can outweigh the costs and that security systems may protect your premises in the event of a fire or vandalism, as well as reducing the risk of theft, many a skeptic has learned after the fact that it is preferable to err on the side of caution.
Read on to find out how a business security system and surveillance cameras can fit even a tight budget and how CCTV security, in particular, can benefit your business.
How Much Does it Cost to Kit Out a Business with CCTV?
For a basic home security CCTV set-up, you might get away with paying only $300-$750 and installing it yourself, but this is not recommended for large premises. A vendor would likely charge at least $1,000 to install video cameras and arrange the software necessary to record. The monthly fees, installation, and equipment could come to another $1500 or more based on the number of cameras and camera maintenance.
There are several camera options, but key points to consider are the placement and angle of coverage, resolution, clarity, and infrared, which is necessary for night monitoring.
Cost of Redaction & Adherence to Data Legislation
Per the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), surveillance footage should not be stored longer than your company's stated policy allows – often 30 days. The law requires companies to protect data from being disclosed and to protect data on their system.
Should anyone exercise their right to see such footage, third parties' and personally identifiable information (PII) will have to be redacted from the footage.
Many companies that supply redaction software and tools will give customers a free trial, but there is usually a cost per month, which is reduced if you are prepared to pay annually. This varies according to the quality of the redaction tools and could exceed $200 per month (which may be reduced if paid as an annual lump sum.)
You can expect custom pricing tailored to suit your business and workflows from a company like Sighthound Redactor. This provides automated AI redaction that saves time and staff costs since the tool on offer can do several times the amount of work that a single manual redaction operator can manage and far more accurately. They also offer custom on-premises or cloud options, branding can be customized, and unlimited free technical support and training.
Computer Network Security
Network security goes hand-in-hand with surveillance footage since both business and sensitive customer information on your computer system must be protected by security software.
Protecting your company from hacker threats, viruses, spyware, and the like is crucial, especially in light of the above-mentioned data privacy legislation. With so much information processed by computer, losses could be in the thousands of dollars if there were a breach and valuable customer or employee information was compromised.
This could result not only in fines, as stipulated in terms of GDPR and CCPA repercussions but lost productivity, interruptions in trade, damaged customer relations, and possibly even loss of customers.
A firewall is a bare minimum, along with antivirus software, that prevents viruses from gaining access to your network. Subscription fees are about $30 to $100 per year. You can also protect data by having it hosted virtually through online services, many of which are free.
Let’s consider the benefits of CCTV:
Systems often allow integration with the web or cell phones, so you can keep an eye on things even if not at your business premises. Knowing what is happening there 24/7 gives you peace of mind, and when pressed for time, closed circuit television (CCTV) lets you check on productivity and delivery of inventory so you can accomplish more in a day.
CCTV also allows the monitoring of staff, keeping workplace harassment to a minimum. These can be easily handled where disputes occur if the footage is available.
It helps keep track of customers' movements and reassures them that their safety and security are of paramount importance to you. They are more likely to feel at ease during shopping and may become repeat customers or advertise your business to friends and family.
Prominent signage is necessary to comply with legislation to reduce the likelihood of theft and vandalism. Where such does occur, useful evidence may be on hand in the form of surveillance footage.
Businesses with costly inventory, data servers, safes, or confidential information can secure these areas and monitor who accesses them cost-effectively.
Fraudulent liability claims can often be avoided thanks to telling footage of incidents, so insurance companies are sometimes willing to reduce insurance rates to businesses with surveillance cameras, and CCTV footage can even be used to determine customers' interests and help you place sales and marketing materials and products to best effect.
Final Thoughts: Is CCTV Worth the Expense?
The disparities in outlay at the beginning are vast and differ for each company, depending on the size of the premises, security needs, and business priorities, including affordability. Paying a lump sum upfront when it could take time for the company to recoup its costs may seem counter-productive, but waiting to install can result in unforeseen losses and damages which could have been avoided.
The principal benefit of CCTV should be increased profitability. While the benefits mentioned above may be specific to certain industries, increased criminal prosecution is an across-the-board gain.
Recovery of goods certainly minimizes costs attributed to damages, but the mere presence of cameras as a crime deterrent cannot be underestimated. The number of security officers can be reduced, and the costs of going to court to secure convictions are eliminated. Moreover, rentals can be increased if tenants in a commercial property feel safe because of surveillance cameras.
Employees who know they are under surveillance are more likely to follow regulations resulting in a safer environment, which affects profits. Where accidents occur, these can be remedied by identifying problems with the help of video footage.
So are security cameras worth it? While each industry finds different reasons for investing in surveillance, a cleverly-designed surveillance system that is operational at all times is well worth the short-term outlay. Further, once the system has been implemented, repair and maintenance cost a fraction of the initial outlay on components and installation. The surveillance system should pay for itself in no time as cash flow increases due to the positive impact of CCTV cameras on a business.