Most businesses know the value of systems integration. An integrated system allows all the business’s apps and tools to seamlessly work together. It improves customer service, increases efficiencies, and boosts sales. This is also true of integrated security systems.
Here’s a simple example of an integrated system. Retailers with smart integrated systems make it easy for customers to achieve their tasks. Say a customer starts an order on a tablet. Then the same customer heads to a desktop to finish the order. The desktop displays the items the customer already put into the basket on the tablet.
The customer receives the order and decides to request a different size. Since the retailer has a local store, the customer opts to make the exchange in person. In the old days, the store would not have access to the customer’s online order, and it would take more work to figure out the process. This hold up will frustrate the customer who has no idea that the lack of integration is the cause.
An integrated system contains the customer’s order history. If the store does not have the customer’s requested size, the store can order it, and have it shipped to the customer. No waiting and no making calls about the customer’s online order.
What Is Integrated Security?
In short, system integration helps the business’s left hand and right hand stay in sync. Similarly, integrating security offers huge benefits including using a multi-layered approach. The more layers you have in security, the harder it is to break through them. What belongs in an integrated security system depends on the company’s needs.
An integrated security system can include some or all the following:
- Video surveillance
- Video monitoring
- Video review and analysis
- Access Control
- Audio warning speaker
- License plate recognition
Integrated systems communicate and work together. For example, when you combine access control with video surveillance, you can match the time stamp from the access control with the video.
Think how much more work it would be if the two systems worked in a silo. The access control system shows someone accessed a room at an identified time. Someone would have to search for hours of video footage to locate the exact time and date the person accessed the room.
An integrated security system puts the two together, removing the need to search for footage. Security system integration simplifies monitoring and reporting while bolstering security. Read on for the top five benefits of integrated security for your company.
Once upon a time, when someone wanted to post on both Facebook and Instagram, they had to post twice. Once in each network. Since Facebook bought Instagram, they’ve integrated the two to make it easy to post in both places in one shot.
Instead of spending 10 minutes posting on both networks, you now only take five minutes to do both. You can also effortlessly run ads in both. This is a basic example of improved efficiency with a centralized system.
Another example is 911. A caller may need the police, ambulance, or fire department. The caller does not have to figure out the phone number for each one. Just dial 911 and dispatch will know which department needs to get involved.
The right security technology offers multiple benefits. One such technology is live video monitoring. It can do more than deter crime, catch criminals, and secure your business.
Companies investing in surveillance use it for the following:
- Identify safety hazards and report them before something happens.
- Reduce liability and fraud with video evidence of what took place.
- Improve operational efficiencies by highlighting bottlenecks.
- Minimize damage with early flood and leak detection.
A centralized security system streamlines processes, workflows, and reporting. If you have a question about access control, you have one point of contact. If you need to identify a license plate, you contact the same source. It saves huge amounts of time for all involved.
If an operating monitor spots a problem, the person will know who to call. There’s no confusion about figuring out what department or who the manager is on duty.
2. Deters Theft and Fraud
Most industries — especially construction, office and commercial, retail, multifamily residential, and automotive — deal with theft, loitering, and vandalism. Another thing they have in common are internal threats and theft. Employees know the security system’s weaknesses and workarounds and so do security guards.
Kroll’s global fraud and risk report finds that more than 80 percent of executives have had at least one instance of fraud. It turns out the perpetrators in more than half of fraud cases are employees, former employees, and third parties.
A Forbes story says the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has discovered that 75 percent of employees have stolen from their employer at least one time. That’s not all. One-third of business failures could be attributed to employee fraud and abuse.
Remote video surveillance can help solve these challenges. Should someone enter the property without permission, a trained operator watching the cameras calls the police and helps them locate the suspect. These operators are often located off-site in another city or state, making them less likely to work with an employee to steal from the company.
Surveillance cameras provide evidence that shows the business took the needed precautions to create a safe and secure environment. Car dealerships, for one, deal with many false claims. A customer can assert the dealership damaged the vehicle while undergoing service at the dealership. A dealership using video monitoring can do a review and analysis of footage to prove the car arrived on the lot already damaged.
3. Reduces or Eliminates Security Guard Liability and Costs
The cost of security guards alone can make it cost-prohibitive for most companies to use as a security measure. However, if a company has the budget for security guards, the guards still present a few problems. They can only observe a small area of a property at any given time. With every guard you hire, the costs multiply. Video surveillance is more cost-effective and allows you to keep more of your profits.
Even if you personally know the guards and find them trustworthy, security guard liability is still a big risk. It could lead to a lawsuit.
Depending on the laws, training, and licensing, security guards can only do so much. “One of the most misunderstood and abused shopping center practices is how to legally handle persons that have trespassed,” writes Chris E. McGoey. He says that security guards cannot legally detain and process a trespasser in most states.
4. Can Stop Suspicious Activity Earlier with Real-Time Monitoring
An integrated security system consisting of surveillance cameras, video monitoring, access control systems, analytics, and human intelligence is an effective way to help prevent vandalism and minimize damage. Just posting cameras can be a good deterrent as they can discourage shopping center vandalism.
Some suspects think the cameras will never identify them. Many news stories show that visible cameras don’t dissuade them from vandalizing. In some cases, they are right because there are still cameras on the market that do not have a high enough resolution.
That’s why it’s critical to work with a security vendor who can ensure you have the right cameras for your needs. Today’s camera technology can identify license plates, faces, and other important information to help catch the perpetrators.
Proactive, real-time monitoring involves trained operators watching for unusual activity and responding appropriately. It helps prevent criminal activity and potential damage. Trained operating monitors watch your cameras in an offsite location. They can view more than a security guard can, including areas guards can’t access. When something suspicious arises, the operator can issue a warning on a speaker and call the police.
An integrated system combining video analytics and access control works as an advanced loss prevention solution. The technology depends on artificial intelligence that observes for certain suspicious activities. When one of the scenarios occurs, such as unexpected after-hours access, it raises flags. An operator reviews the activity and can take action immediately.
Proactive, real-time monitoring can help mitigate risks and damage while minimizing business disruption. An integrated security system lets management see any part of the facility, even multiple properties in real-time. It also allows management to watch their property from anywhere using their smartphones, tablets, laptops, and computers.
Surveillance cameras without monitoring is a reactive solution. By the time someone realizes something happened, the suspect is long gone. Real-time monitoring can catch suspicious activities before or as soon as they happen. In doing so, the damage can be minimal.
5. Results in a Faster ROI
Vandalism, loitering, and theft often costs more than the damage incurred and items taken. Vandalism involves property damage that could potentially cause the business to temporarily close for repairs. It leads to the property looking unattractive, which scares off clients and visitors.
With loitering, people see someone hanging around the property and it makes them uncomfortable. Rather than visiting the business or becoming a tenant, they leave. Employees sometimes end up chatting with loiterers, which chips away at productivity.
Live video monitoring as part of an integrated security system stores recordings for later analysis and retrieval. The recordings come in handy in supplying evidence that protects the business from fraud, injury, and liability claims.
An integrated security system is easier to maintain and keep updated. Because everything is unified, you’ll need fewer people to manage it and monitor the cameras. Thus, it saves on time and costs.
How to Get a Customized Integrated Security System
The right security vendor can and should customize an integrated security solution based on your business requirements. You should not have to pay for more than you need. Yes, it is possible to have too much security.
Investing in integrated security services with live video monitoring helps improve the safety of your property while offering many other discussed benefits. It puts you in a better position to catch problems earlier and take care of them before they become expensive problems.
If you’re not sure what’s right for you, meet with security consultants and ask lots of questions. A Stealth security consultant can review your requirements and property to design an effective integrated security solution that fits your needs.
Download your free guide “Live Video Monitoring: More Than Just Catching Criminals” to learn more or contact us.