DIY vs Professional Installation of CCTV

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When it comes to the security of your business the first question you need to ask is, what is your business worth? For instance, do you sell products? How much is that stock worth? What impact would that have to your business?

When you start to look at the figures, it’s well worth putting in a security system but now, what type of security? Most businesses start with CCTV.

That opens it up, to whether you should choose a DIY option or get a system which is sourced and installed by a professional.

What’s a DIY CCTV system?

A DIY system is one which you can pick up from local electronics stores and are often described as ‘plug and play’ cameras. These types of cameras tend to be a lot smaller, which means you may not get the coverage you need or perhaps might need to buy more of them. They will have basic security features such as recording, playback and remote viewing, (e.g. from a mobile device.)

Of course, with this sort of system, you are going to have to install it yourself.

The main reason that a business chooses a DIY CCTV solution is the price. They are generally cheaper than professionally installed systems – at first. There is an argument that time and effort is money. The true cost of a DIY solution can then be much higher because of installation, integration and maintenance.

A Professionally Installed CCTV

When you approach a professional, they will generally do an audit of your property and identify key areas that they know from experience would be best to set up the CCTV cameras.

They will ask you what you want to achieve;
  • Do you want to be able to capture number plates?
  • Identify Health and safety concerns or incidents?
  • Just general surveillance?
  • Monitor specific entry points / high risk areas?
  • Keep recordings for 1 week, 1 month, 1 year?

Once they are aware of what you want to monitor, they will then determine what kind of cameras you might need and how many. For a professional, this may be more than you were intending to buy because they have identified key areas that might be blind spots, but, of course, you can choose whether you want to take their suggestions on board.

The quality of the camera can mean the difference between identifying the burglar or not identifying them. Burglars always research the places that they wish to break into because they want to minimise the risk of being caught. They are also educating themselves on what systems will increase that risk.

You’ll also find that with professionally installed cameras, the engineer will pick cameras which will suit your requirements with some features that you may not have thought about, e.g. Night vision or ANPR. Again, the idea is to minimise risk but also, if you were in position where your property was broken into, you’d have as much detail you can get to pass onto the authorities.

Once you proceed, your cameras will be configured and installed by a Security Engineer who has years of experience doing exactly that. They’ll be able to ensure you get the best viewing angles and set you up for best practice of recording.

All in all, getting your CCTV professionally installed means you are minimising the risk of break-ins whilst utilising the value of their experience and saving you time and hassle of installing it yourself.

Important Factors to Consider

Regardless of what option you go for, you need to think of the following:

How do I access the images?

You may not always be on site, so you may need to be able to access the images remotely.

Whether you want the ability to view your system through a web app, smartphone app or via your desktop will be a key factor to consider. If an alarm goes off, you can remotely view what is happening so you can take the best course of action.

Where do the recorded images go?

With the smaller system’s the recordings will tend to be saved to a DVR which will continuously record in a loop. Once it reaches capacity the older images will be recorded over.

With a professionally installed system, recordings can be backed up to a cloud-based server meaning you’ll never lose them. They also tend to support central monitoring software, so you will be able to view several systems from one location.

Reduce the risk of being hacked

DIY systems tend to use your own broadband connection to access your recordings and if you aren’t careful with the set-up, you could be vulnerable to hackers, some of which might use footage as an ability to spy on your operations.

Professionally fitted CCTV is less likely to be vulnerable to being hacked because the security settings, such as default passwords and port numbers, will be changed on installation.

Won't a Commercial set-up cost more?

Most likely, yes but it’s important to remember that a commercial CCTV camera is going to last you a lot longer because when you have good cabling, a sturdy product and the correct installation.

As an example, at BTT we’ve installed CCTV systems that have lasted customers 10 years + compared to DIY installations that are unlikely to produce quality security past 2-3 years

Thinking about installing a CCTV System?

Our free security audit will highlight where you need to put your cameras and the type of system you need to install.

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Security Integration

CCTV may be step one in ensuring your business’s security; as you grow, you may have more assets that you need to protect, so you may want to look at other security solutions or at least, plan for them! Likewise, if you have opted for extensive security measures, your CCTV should be appropriately integrated with the rest of your security measures.

Other Security Solutions to consider:

Access Control – You can get two types of access control; Biometric or Standard. Both should stop unauthorised persons from entering an area although, Biometric adds that extra level of security.

Learn more about Access Control

Intruder Alarms – A good Intruder Alarms will have Motion Detectors, Shock Sensors, Alarm, Panic Buttons and be controllable via an App.

Learn more about Intruder Alarms

Security Barriers – Some Security Gates and Barriers can be manually controlled or automated to grant access alongside access control. There are different types of security gates and barriers: Sliding Gates, Turnstiles, Drop arm barrier, Traffic spikes, Palisade fencing, Bollards and Pedestrian gates.

Learn more about Security Barriers

Fire Alarms – Fire alarm regulations state that all business premises must have ‘an appropriate fire detection system’. Essentially, you need a detection system in place that allows everyone to be warned so they can quickly and safely exit the building. There are three types of Fire Alarms: Conventional fire Alarms, Addressable fire Alarm, wireless fire alarms.

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We will give you a completed security audit with a list of our suggestions.

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