The Ultimate Guide to Business Security Systems

Table of contents

    Why do you need a business security system?

    Today’s businesses face more challenges than ever. Yet beyond just heightened customer demands and an unpredictable economic environment, there’s something else that can hold your business back: security threats and inadequate protection. 

    What are the typical risks you need to be aware of? 

    • Theft and burglary
    • Natural disasters
    • Fires and damage due to smoke
    • Property and equipment damage due to intrusion or vandalism

    These security events slow your business down and bring unnecessary financial hardship. According to the National Retail Federation, almost $95 billion of retail revenue was lost in 2021 due to theft. And these problems are present across sectors. Each year, as much as $1 billion dollars in construction equipment is stolen

    In addition to deterring theft, damage to inventory, and other broad security incidents, businesses must also have security systems to meet qualifications for insurance. Without the right security system, premiums go up, and, in some cases, coverage may be denied.

    A comprehensive business security system benefits owners, customers, and employees. Recent polling from Alert Media’s Employee Safety Report shows that 73 percent of respondents to our Employee Safety Report said that feeling safe is “extremely important” when at work. Safe employees mean more productivity and a satisfied customer base.

    Ultimately, a business security system safeguards employees, property, assets, and customers while offering you the peace of mind needed to succeed and grow as an organization.

    What should I look for in a business security system?

    No two businesses are the same. That’s why it takes a personalized security system to ensure you are fully protected. 

    In order to decide which security system fits your business, it’s important to begin by considering two questions: 

    • How large is your business?
    • What are you protecting?

    These preliminary criteria help you choose a business security system that aligns with the scale of your operation and assets. After assessing these characteristics, the next step is to check if your potential business security system leverages modern equipment and integrates live monitoring with internet connectivity.

    Modern equipment

    Modern equipment is crucial to uphold the highest level of safety and responsiveness for businesses across industries. For exposed assets in auto lots or agricultural sites, cameras with artificial intelligence. For government and educational facilities, access control systems with automatic door locks and smart access credentials can replace traditional locks and keys to boost security.

    Internet-connected security systems

    Internet-connected security systems are also essential for today’s businesses. A connected system facilitates fast responses and 24/7 live monitoring. These systems can also enable instant alerts about security threats, provide a live view of your property from anywhere, and allow you to store your footage in the cloud.

    Local experts

    Finally, your business security system should combine live monitoring capabilities with trusted local providers. On-the-ground teams with local knowledge maximize your security investment, delivering reliable protection and proactive protection. They provide the human element to maximize the effectiveness of your system; they can detect false alarms, adapt to unexpected situations, and fill gaps that technology alone can’t.

    How do I choose a business security system vendor?

    Choosing a competent security vendor lays the groundwork for a successful business security system. Here’s what to look for when deciding upon a business security system vendor.

    Take note of what equipment they use

    When deciding upon a vendor, a good first step is to verify that their equipment is up-to-date and compliant with relevant insurance regulations. From smoke alarms to mounted video cameras and remote access systems, an excellent vendor should give you multiple options at a variety of price points.

    For systems involving third-party monitoring platforms and adjacent technologies, you should ensure the technicians can handle questions and provide training.

    Understand what services they offer

    Not all vendors offer the security services your business needs. If you have industry-specific requirements—such as compliant systems for cannabis facilities or specialized warehouse burglar alarms to combat cargo theft—you need to ensure a potential vendor has the expertise to equip you with the right system. 

    Beyond their services profile, your preliminary research should cover whether vendors work in a single location or at a national/international scale. Finally, check if your vendor can provide dedicated guard patrol and agent services. Even if you don’t need agent services immediately, your business requirements could evolve; contingency plans never hurt.

    Read reviews

    There’s no substitute for experience, and the best way to learn about a vendor’s competence is to get firsthand reviews from past customers. To find reviews, you can consult websites like, Yelp, or Google reviews. Vendors may also publish case studies complete with testimonials on their own websites.

    Get local references.

    Excellent security service comes down to understanding local environments and keeping up with the relevant challenges. To eliminate the guesswork involved with choosing a new vendor, you should utilize local references. These references can come from both businesses the vendor has previously worked to protect as well as industry associations and conferences.

    What are the best security systems for businesses?

    The best business security systems use hardware providers and manufacturers that are reliable, accurate, and cost-effective.

    Bay Alarm works with a range of industry-leading hardware providers, including:

    • Aiphone
    • Autocall
    • Axis Communications
    • Chekt
    • Digital Monitoring Products
    • Digital Watchdog
    • Honeywell
    • Linear
    • OpenEye
    • ProdataKey
    • Resideo
    • YourSix

    As a business security system buyer, you should also be aware of other providers like:

    • ADT
    • Guardian Protection
    • Johnson Controls
    • Securitas
    • Verkada
    • Stanely
    • Tyco
    • Vector Security

    Bay Alarm’s clients trust our approach because it combines leading hardware and technology, on-the-ground experts, and personalized solutions. Our local teams know the business environments they operate in—and they have the experience to back it up. While technology is a crucial piece of any security system, we understand that it takes responsive and proactive people to provide excellent service.

    What are the components of a business security system?

    A business security system has several individual components. Each system is made up of some or all of the following:

    • Access Control: Access control is a system that identifies visitors to premises based on their credentials. For business security systems, this might involve key fobs or access cards. Modern systems also employ remote access control management platforms, which ensures you can activate or revoke credentials from anywhere.
    • Alarms: Security systems include alarms for burglaries, fires, and smoke detection. When a burglar alarm is triggered, a high–pitched siren will begin to deter thieves. Fire alarms are designed to meet compliance standards and are installed based on a building’s size and design. With Bay Alarm, both burglar and fire alarms monitoring support dispatch authorities after an initial trigger.
    • Artificial Intelligence: Leading security companies like Bay Alarm use cameras with  artificial intelligence. This lets them send live video feeds to a monitoring center if an intruder is detected. Then, video analysts assess the situation and engage with the intruder through an on-site audio connection.
    • Cameras: A modern business security system includes cameras that can record footage and even broadcast live footage to mobile apps or desktops. There are several different types of security cameras, but many now offer high-resolution imagery and some have artificial intelligence capabilities
    • Dispatch: Advanced alarm systems or video monitoring processes have dispatch services built in. That means trained agents call relevant local authorities and emergency responders are called when a security threat is detected.
    • Sensors: Often installed on doors, windows, or gates, contact sensors notify you and your system in the event of unauthorized intrusion the moment it occurs.
    • Video Monitoring: Video monitoring combines technology and expert people to ensure protection. Video footage from on-site cameras is analyzed by teams live, and multiple cameras can provide footage at once. When a threat is detected, analysts can respond immediately.

    How do business security systems work?

    Let’s take a look at a real-world example to see how the components of a business security system come together.

    Say you manage an auto lot. These are prime targets for theft and damage due to the high aftermarket price of catalytic converters and the precious metals in electric vehicle (EV) batteries. If a thief enters the premises in the middle of the night, your security system can spring into action in a sequence like this:

    • The virtual fence around your property triggers when cameras pick up an intruder that crosses the invisible, virtual “fence line”
    • An automated speaker plays a warning message to scare off the intruders
    • Live video monitoring gives agents a real-time view of the perimeter, after which they can quickly pinpoint where the theft is taking place
    • The agent broadcasts a custom warning message over the speaker so the intruder knows they are being watched by a live person
    • The agents simultaneously dispatch local police to the scene
    • You receive an app notification from your system and an update from the security team
    • Relevant local authorities resolve the threat

    Without a comprehensive business security system like the live video monitoring system above, you can see how response time would be significantly slower and opportunities to react in real time are limited. As a business owner or property manager, visibility and pay dividends.

    What does a business security system cost?

    The cost of a business security system depends on its configuration, the business’s size, and what exactly you are protecting.

    Generally, you can expect costs to fall into four major buckets. These are

    • Equipment and hardware
    • Installation
    • Monitoring
    • Maintenance

    When it comes to commercial fire alarms and similar equipment, the cost is also determined in part by how old the building or buildings are and the total square footage. Generally, older and larger buildings will be more expensive.

    Are business security systems worth the money?

    Many business owners may wonder if investing in a security system is worth the money. While the upfront cost may seem significant, the long-term losses a business can incur from security incidents are far greater. Between increased theft and meeting insurance requirements, a comprehensive security system is something you can’t afford to forego.

    Since the COVID-19 pandemic, retail and commercial theft is on the rise. Nationwide, crimes against property made up 60.5% of the overall 8.9 million crimes reported in 2020. Furthermore, a recent survey of small business owners found over 50% of respondents experienced a higher rate of shoplifting in 2021.

    Security systems go beyond just preventing theft and disruptions that affect your business’s bottom line; they also uphold your reputation as a safe place to work, do business, and operate in your community. In turn, that helps you attract talent for the long term and facilitates an environment that promotes repeat customers.

    Are you ready to protect your business with best-in-class security? Contact Bay Alarm’s team of experts to learn about getting a custom business security system.

    Start a conversation with a Bay Alarm security expert.

    1 (800) 610-1000