Saying you want to buy a security camera system is a little like saying you want to buy a car: perfectly valid, but not very specific. There are loads of options to choose from, ranging from simple workhorses that offer all the features of a 1995 calculator, to incredibly high-tech systems that sync with your mobile devices and rock picture quality that Steven Spielburg would be excited about.
Overwhelmed? Don’t be. This is where you whittle down your options, picking what matters to you and fits neatly in your budget.
Why do you need a business security camera system?
The broad benefit to having security cameras in place is the ability to keep eyes on your assets, indoors and/or out. Sure, it’s a crime deterrent, but if you dig deeper you’ll find even more reasons why it’s a good idea to have surveillance in place:
- Reduced theft
- Increased productivity
- Sense of security
- Asset protection
- Assist with documenting HR incidents and interactions
- Exterior cameras discourage intruders
- Many modern systems offer emergency alerts around the clock
The takeaway here is that there are real, tangible cost savings to consider, plus the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you have an extra layer of protection for your property and team. If you’d like to dig deeper still, check out this overview of the Pros and Cons of Security Cameras.
Security Camera Buying Tips
What kind of video quality do you need for your security camera system?
Like we touched on above, you have a lot of options when it comes to video quality. There are still basic analog systems on the market that offer turnkey reliability, just as they have for decades. The price tag can be attractive, but will you be satisfied with grainy footage that can’t be enhanced, and with no real zoom capabilities? Maybe! But also, maybe not.
It’s important to think through what you really want from your system, and then line it up with your primary options. These include:
- Analog CCTV System – That’s the workhorse we mentioned: basic, reliable, and cheaper, but very light on features and capabilities.
- HD-CVI Systems – This is a go-to camera system when you want to make the upgrade to HD (High Definition) surveillance. This option is also called HD over coax, which essentially refers to the coaxial cable that connects the system.
- Network IP (Internet Protocol) Systems – 4K resolution, cutting-edge features, PoE (power over ethernet) capabilities… This is your highest-tech video surveillance option.
Our advice here is not to let sticker shock guide your decision-making process. Really consider your needs and goals, and talk to an IT service provider. That’s the best way to get the full perspective of your options and find a solution that checks the right boxes, works in your budget, and doesn’t create the need for an immediate upgrade. It’s worth doing it right.
Curious about whether you should go with hardwired cameras or wireless? Wireless cameras can be immediately attractive because of lower installation costs, but hardwired offers a level of consistency and reliability that can’t be beat. For commercial camera systems, we recommend a hardwired, professional installation.
Premise-Based vs. Cloud-Based Security Camera Systems
In other words, where do the video clips go? How long do you keep the footage, and is it secure?
Premise-based. vs. cloud-based is a nerdy way of asking whether you will keep your footage within your facility on a local hard drive, or will it be saved to the cloud? There are pros and cons to each approach, but a cloud-based system offers some pretty compelling advantages.
- Increased security. Unless you have strong security measures in place, your stored data can be vulnerable, and that’s not a risk you want to take. Cloud-based storage will have stringent protocols in place designed to keep your footage protected.
- Scalability. If you keep data stored locally, you’ll eventually need to upgrade or replace your hardware. Cloud-based storage grows as you do.
- Lower maintenance costs. Harddrives and dedicated servers need care, repair, and space. Utilizing the cloud is yet another way to drive your expenses down.
- Don’t risk losing your data. What happens in the case of fire, water damage, or even theft? Cloud-based storage is not only more secure from cyber threat, but also from physical damage that could cause catastrophic data loss.
Just to drive home a key point here, consider the long-term costs and liabilities. A more sophisticated, cloud-based surveillance system may be an investment, but what are the dividends?
Can Security Cameras Record in the Dark?
Unless you have infrared night vision capabilities, your camera’s field of view is going to be pretty small at night (especially if it’s an outdoor security camera). You could choose a system with thermal imaging, but that only traces a heat signature and offers little as far as security insight or information.
Whether or not you need night vision capabilities depends on your specific property, and how critical it is to monitor the low-light areas. For most commercial property owners or managers, having clear eyes on dark areas is a priority, making night vision a valuable feature for at least some of your cameras.
Features to Consider for Your Security Camera
To help simplify things, here are a few priorities that are worth keeping in mind as you compare types of security cameras:
- Infrared cameras for outdoor surveillance. As we mentioned above, IR cameras with night vision capabilities are a game-changer for night-time safety and monitoring.
- IP and high resolution. An IP camera (Internet Protocol) leverages evolving technology and advanced features to deliver the most benefits possible. We’re talking wide range, zoom, and incredible camera resolution. There are even 4K HD options! This is really worth considering, especially when you line it up against the grainy footage of more archaic analog systems.
- Weather resistant. Outdoor cameras in particular are going to have a lot asked of them. From hot summer temps to moisture exposure, you need a camera that is rated for outdoor use and is fully protected.
- Vandalism resistant. We’ve all seen the spy movies where security camera lenses are painted and rendered useless, right? Commercial security camera systems today can be vandal-proof, shielded from damage by a protective encasement.
- Remote video surveillance. Talk about peace of mind! Remote monitoring capabilities allow you to tap into your security feed, review footage, and even control your camera from the mobile device of your choosing.
- Two-way audio. Taking remote monitoring and digital video recorders a step further, you might want to consider two-way audio, allowing you to actually speak through your camera. This is a good way to maybe confirm someone’s identification, or deter a crime in progress. Think of it as the ultimate doorbell camera!
- Camera Shape. You really have two options: bullet camera or dome camera. A dome camera, as you might imagine, offers the benefit of a more all-encompassing view. But, what it gains in view it loses in distance. A bullet camera, on the other hand, offers clarity over a greater, but narrower, area.
Need More Help Choosing the Right Security Camera System?
Contact Teltek today with any questions, and to discuss the right solutions for your business or organization. We’d love to help you find the perfect security cameras to protect your property, navigating your options, needs, and ideal features.