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20 Mistakes You Can Make When Installing a Security System at Your Business

A silver security camera affixed to the tan exterior of a business building.

With more than 50+ years of experience, we’ve been called in to fix plenty of security system mistakes. Whether it’s an instal­lation gone wrong, the entire system was poorly designed and having false alarm problems, or the customer just can’t get timely service or service at all from the previous security company– we’ve seen it all. While it’s always a good idea to get multiple quotes for any job, security is one of the last places where you should look to cut costs. Poor security puts your entire business at risk.

This blog looks at 20 of the worst mistakes we’ve seen when attempting to secure a building.

Want a free quote or have questions about security system installations? Contact Bates Security today!

Bates Security is a trusted business security solution recognized by the police, owing to our foundation by a former police officer and our continued collaboration with law enforcement. Our custom-designed security systems include battery backups, high-quality cameras, and physical solutions to limit and track entry to your building.

Contact us at (800) 403-9471 or click below to schedule your free consultation today.

#1 DIY Instal­lation Nightmares

YouTube videos make practi­cally every­thing look easy, but installing a security system is way more involved than something like changing a light bulb. We’ve talked to injured business owners and employees who tried installing ceiling cameras in buildings where the ceiling was higher than 10 feet. We’ve seen electrical work that certainly isn’t up to code, and we’ve been called in an unknown number of times because the customer just can’t get the DIY system to work!

With any instal­lation, some parts are simple and straight­forward, but others require specialized knowledge. Don’t get stuck in a DIY loop of making a mistake and spending more to fix it. If you don’t have experience with commercial construction, avoid trying to do the work yourself. Worst of all, don’t install something where you have a false sense of security, thinking you have done every­thing right, but you don’t find out until you get broken into!

#2 Choosing Bad Locations for Surveil­lance Cameras

Have you ever checked security footage only to realize the cameras don’t show the incident? We have. When installing surveil­lance cameras, it’s important to maintain clear lines of sight and avoid creating blind spots. Security experts know how to get the most coverage with the least amount of cameras, helping to keep system costs reasonable.

#3 Ignoring Windows and Doors

It’s easy to think, doors and windows already have locks, what more do they need?” But they need detectors to alert security when a window or door is opened. If you don’t factor windows and doors in your security system (e.g. glass break detectors and motion sensors), you might as well not have one. These entrance points are the most vulnerable spots in any building. Be sure to secure them with more than just a simple lock.

#4 Failing to Take Off Camera Lens Covers

If you can’t figure out why some of your cameras are showing a black screen, you might want to give the cameras a physical check. Leaving lens covers on is a common mistake for those new to security system instal­lation. Lens covers block the entire view of the camera, making it a worthless piece of equipment until you get the cover off.

#5 Leaving Passcodes On a Post-It Note

When distrib­uting passcodes, never write them down and hand them out. Post-it notes can show up in the strangest places, and any visitor to the office might see the code. Keep passcodes secured to make things as difficult as possible for anyone seeking unlawful access to your premises.

#6 Skimping On Quality Equipment

The quality of your equipment deter­mines how useful it is. Looking at a blurry, low-res video and trying to get a good image of a suspect is nearly impos­sible. For example, get the best cameras and other equipment that you can afford. Having a reliable video is essential to handling any problems that crop up. The same is true for security systems.

#7 Continuing to Use an Out-of-Date System

Older systems often lack scala­bility and access to new features. When the manufac­turer isn’t supporting the equipment, it’s a good time to upgrade.

#8 Being Blinded By Shiny Features You Don’t Actually Use

The level of security you need likely depends on the value of the space you’re securing. Unless you have a vault full of precious metals, you likely don’t need Fort Knox-level security. Don’t get lost in the feature list and buy upgrades that don’t add value to your business. If you have an open office floor plan, you don’t need extra levels of access control beyond the ability to track and control who comes into the office.

#9 Choosing the Wrong Installer

Putting in a security system is essen­tially, at its very nature, a construction project. As with any construction project, there are good contractors who get the job done quickly and according to the scope of the work agreement, and there are contractors who cut corners, lowball the estimate, and do a poor job. Ensure the security contractor you choose has a good reputation and a history of success.

#10 Overlooking Environ­mental Factors

Your security system likely has indoor and outdoor compo­nents. Ensure your outdoor compo­nents are designed to handle the weather where you are. Heat, cold, rain, and wind can turn your security system into a malfunc­tioning mess. While you might not need a camera that’s entirely weath­er­proof, the closer you can get, the better.

#11 Leaving Remote Access Unprotected

Don’t leave keyfobs lying around where anyone can grab them. The same is true if you put in a full-service security system and then forget about IT security on your remote access. Be sure to have both physical and digital security in place.

#12 Not Setting Up Video Footage Backup/​Storage

Most cameras only store a few hours of video footage (recording) before they start to overwrite the old footage. While some problems at the office are obvious — a broken window and missing equipment, for example — other issues take longer to notice. If you have an employee laundering money or selling company secrets, you’ll need to have enough footage stored to track patterns of behavior. Always set up digital storage for your video surveil­lance system.

#13 Not Having Enough Storage Capacity

It’s a good idea to opt for expandable storage. With a commercial security instal­lation, you’ll want at least 30 days of video records and building access records. Six months is even better. Check on the storage costs and get as much as you can afford.

#14 Not Training Yourself or Employees on How to Use It

Putting in a security system is great, but only if you use it. If you and your employees don’t know how to log in, send creden­tials, access videos, and use other basic features, then you’ve spent a lot of money on nothing. Be sure everyone gets trained on the system to the level needed for their job.

#15 Overlooking Physical Security Measures

One of the biggest mistakes we see all the time is physical security. You have no issues installing your own security system and ensuring it’s state of the art, but what about the doors and windows? How good are your locks? Are the windows reinforced or just a pane of glass? Upgrade your physical security to make sure your business is truly safe.

#16 Not Informing Your Insurance Provider

Did you know you might be eligible for a discount on your insurance with a new security system? Call your agent when you’re in the planning stages to find out how to maximize the potential discount.

#17 Disre­garding Legal and Privacy Compliance

Before you start putting up cameras — partic­u­larly any that record audio — you must review federal, state, and local regula­tions on when and where you can record. Keep cameras out of bathrooms and any other areas where people might have an expec­tation of privacy. Having a security expert walk you through the ins and outs of legal surveil­lance in your area is a good idea.

#18 Neglecting Backup Power Considerations

When was the last time the power went out at your building? When the power goes out, it also affects your security system. We see lots of businesses broken into in the wake of a major storm. When installing a security system, having a backup power supply is critical to keeping things running when the grid is down.

#19 Not Monitoring Your Employees

Did you know that over a third of small business fraud cases are internal? That’s right. Employees are often the culprit when stealing money, electronics, and time from their employers. While time theft is often ambiguous, money and physical property are not. It makes sense to monitor your employees if you don’t want to be part of the 34%.

Installing access controls and internal financial controls are basic ways to help reduce instances of fraud. High-trust environ­ments often lead to theft. Monitoring who enters and exits and doing basic surveil­lance just makes sense when it comes to installing compre­hensive protection for your business.

#20 Failing to Develop a Security Plan

A security plan is a must for any business and should be treated as a part of your disaster planning. What do you do if there’s a hurricane coming? Do you have an evacu­ation plan that all employees know? When the alarm sounds, what do you and your employees do next? These are the questions you need to answer when creating a plan for your security protocols.

A security system is only the first step. It can only alert you to the problem. It can’t take action beyond sending out alerts to local law enforcement. Work with your employees to create a plan and practice imple­menting it. Make sure employees know how to success­fully shelter in place during different circum­stances and where alter­native exits might be in case of a fire. Take time to regularly update the plan as your security capabil­ities change, and train all new staff on emergency preparedness as soon as possible.

Interested in a new security system for your building? Set up an appointment with a Bates security specialist today!

For more than 50 years, Bates Security has designed custom security solutions for businesses throughout Florida and Kentucky. Our leading-edge technology lets you control who has access to what parts of your building and when.

Get the police-trusted solutions we're known for, and find out more about the latest access control technology by scheduling a free consultation. You can call us at (800) 403-9471 or click below to make an appointment with a security expert.