Video Surveillance Guide: How to Choose the Best Security Camera for Your Business

In this day and age, video surveillance for businesses is imperative. Which makes sense: How can you make a profit if you can’t protect your assets? However, many business owners don’t know what to look for when making their first security camera purchase. Small business owners now have access to powerful surveillance cameras that were once only available to mega-corporations but this has changed thanks to technology advancements. Nevertheless, many small business owners still have the conception that good, high quality security cameras cost a small fortune. This is not true. The cost is relative to building size, area, etc. Not sure which one is right for your business? Then follow this comprehensive guide on choosing the best security camera for you and your business.

Key points to consider when purchasing your security camera:

What do you need from your camera?

There is a wide array of security cameras with various features. When choosing a camera, it’s best to have a list of functions you need the camera to perform. These functions can range from 24/7 surveillance to smart motion detection, etc. It’s best to know all of the security issues you wish to address before purchasing your camera.

Installation

For small, deserted areas, installing a security camera yourself might be your best decision. However, for mid-sized, busy parts of your business, it might be best to get a quote from professionals.

Budget

The least expensive security cameras cost between $1,000 to $5,000. However, the price fluctuates based on the size and location of your business’s lot. Installation, setting the cameras up, and buying the software needed to monitor can cost anywhere between $5,000-$10,000 annually. Knowing your budget can be beneficial when talking to experts as it will help guide them on the cameras best for you.

What areas of your business need protection the most?

This question is obvious but crucial. Let’s say you live in a somewhat safe area and you want to install security cameras just in case; it will be beneficial for you to install cameras at potential targets rather than a standard set-up. For example, placing cameras next to potential exits or an alley will be optimal for safer areas. However, if your business is in a dangerous environment, placing security cameras in crime hotspots will be the best solution.

What to look for when choosing your camera:

Frame rate: Choppy security videos are awful and outdated. Cheaper, low frame rates could make a police investigation much harder, and if worse, impossible. For a figure, keep in mind that “real time” is at 30 fps.

Resolution: Pixel videos are no good. 180p and 240p cameras were often the go-to for security cameras in the early 2010s; however, technology has progressed since then. Nowadays, you can find a reasonably priced 360p to 480p security camera at any major retailer. For crystal clear images, 720p quality should be your goal.

Low-lighting and high-lighting environments: If your camera lens can’t adapt to the night or a low-lighting setting, then you are out of luck in terms of 24/7 monitoring. While you can cut some corners in the number of LEDs a camera has, if capturing footage at night is a priority, then research the camera’s ability to capture darkness before purchasing.

Sound: A good portion of cameras don’t pick up any audio at all and, most of the time, it’s not necessary. If it’s a must, some cameras even offer two-way audio, where you can communicate with people through the camera. This option is often more expensive.

Storage: Security cameras record a lot of footage with an average security camera recording over 1.453TB of footage a month. This storage size could be offset by using smart cameras that only record when detecting movement but this will, unfortunately, only reduce the footage storage size by a small amount. So it is important to plot out what storage techniques you will use to store the data and how often you will erase the data from memory. It’s often recommended to wipe the data clean once a month or use a smart camera that only stores footage with movement in it.

Surveying your business

Surveillance cameras are a must for any business that has in-person operations. It can help insurance claims and cut down the chances of your business being a victim of crime. While it might be a somewhat expensive addition to your business, you will be better off with it than without it.