Camera monitoring system

Questions to ask a video surveillance company

When you are tying to find the best surveillance camera system company for your business you have one goal in mind. Ensure the safety of your employees and property. There are many choices when it comes to surveillance camera companies.  Property crime continues to be a sizeable problem in The United States.  It is important to understand what services and features each company offers. Asking the right questions is an essential part of finding the best video surveillance company. fro

1. What percentage of your work is for commercial clients?

Some surveillance camera companies are new to providing security and have minimal real-time experience. It’s important to know how many years the company has been in business, how many customers they serve, and their experience in real-time surveillance. It is also recommended to ask them if they have experience working for residential or commercial clients. The reason being, home surveillance camera systems, and commercial camera surveillance systems are 2 very different types of services. Depending on what do you need, this can become a deal-breaker.

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2. What Services Do You Provide?

The next question you should ask is what services do the surveillance camera company provides. It’s important to understand what you’re buying. You will be disappointed and possibly waste your money if you purchase the wrong type of security system for your organization. For example, some services are specifically designed to monitor construction sites. If that is your case, you should read our blog post about mobile surveillance trailers.

3. Do I Have to Provide The Video Camera Equipment?

Some surveillance camera companies require that you provide your equipment and set it up. If you’re not that technical, looking for the right equipment for your property can be confusing and expensive. You may have to contract another company to do the installation, which may become costly.  You also have the possibility that the system that you purchase may not be compatible with the monitoring service. 

4. Can I Use My Own Equipment?

While some surveillance companies require you to provide your own equipment, other firms will only monitor or service equipment that is installed by their technicians.

If you already have cameras in place, you may be surprised to learn that the surveillance company you chose requires you to use only their equipment. There are many reasons for this. The equipment you have may not be compatible with their equipment or may not be compatible with their cloud and network software.

If your company already has invested in its own security cameras, this can become expensive. But some surveillance firms, such as Vision Detection Systems, will work with your company and use the cameras already in place. This can save your company time and money.

5. Do You Monitor the Feeds In Real time?

Many security companies only provide the ability to record images on your property without any monitored video surveillance. This captures the crime, but it’s only applicable after the crime has been committed and someone reviews the recording. This does not protect your valuable property should someone decide to trespass and steal or damage it.

Having both a recording and a feed that someone is personally watching is vital if you want to stop the thief or vandal from stealing or destroying your company’s property. Vision Detection Systems uses state-of-the-art software that alerts their highly trained employees to assess the situation in real-time and handle the intruder by alerting the authorities, sounding an alarm, or talking to the intruder, depending on the circumstance.

6. Are Recordings Kept Onsite or Offsite?

Another question to ask a surveillance company is whether the recordings are kept onsite or offsite. Many security systems store the recordings onsite.  Onsite storage can be a problem. Clever thieves can destroy or erase recordings making the cameras useless.  Transmitting and storing the  video content offsite is the best way to protect and preserve video evidence.  This evidence can be used during criminal prosecutions. 

7. What Offsite Safeguards are in Place?

If the data is stored in the cloud or an offsite facility, what safeguards prevent hackers and malicious programs from accessing and destroying the data? How does the surveillance company ensure that there is no breach in their security software and hardware? If the software resides in the cloud, what protections are there on the data to assure privacy?

8. Can I Access The Cameras and recordings Remotely?

The security company may be monitoring the video in real time and storing them off site.  However, can you, the client login remotely?  Can you see live feeds as well as past recordings?   You should require full remote access to your video surveillance system.  Full access gives you the power to see what is happening whenever you wish.  You should not have to ask permission from the company that you are paying to see your own video data.  

9. Can I Have Cameras in Places where there is no Electricity?

Sometimes you have something valuable where there is no infrastructure. Maybe you have a piece of land that needs to be under surveillance. Or perhaps you have valuable property that is in an area with no electricity or phone lines. In this case, it is vital to ask the surveillance company if they can accommodate your needs. Some companies, such as Vision Detection Systems, offer mobile surveillance trailers powered by gas fuel or solar energy. These types of systems do not require any external power source.

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10. How Long is Your Video Recording Retention?

Some systems only retain 24 hours worth of video footage.  This can be an issue.  You may not always know about every problem when they happen.  Sometimes you may find out about something several days or weeks later and need to see the video content.  Short video retention periods makes this impossible.  If they do store it for a shorter timeframe, ask if there is an extra cost for longer term storage?

11. Do You Provide an Onsite Evaluation?

Having a commercial camera surveillance system is an excellent first step, but there are vulnerabilities or possible gaps that a thief can use to gain access undetected. A clever criminal can determine where the openness and blind spots are in your surveillance system and exploit them. A surveillance company should determine weaknesses in any existing security system and provide recommendations to strengthen your overall system. They may recommend extra cameras or lighting to ensure that your property is completely covered.

12. How Much Will This Cost?

The cost of your video surveillance camera system is dependent upon the amount of equipment needed, monitoring hours and the technology the security company utilizes.  Companies that use a combination of software and AI surveillance combined with human interaction can be surprisingly affordable. This is because the software monitors the cameras and alerts the surveillance employee about the discrepancies as they occur in real-time. The trained employee monitoring your property can then make the judgment call if it is a threat or something harmless. They can also decide what level of action is required one seeing the images.  AI allows security companies to have better monitoring with less monitoring personnel.  

Knowing how much your surveillance system will cost upfront and how much it will cost you each month will help you make the right decision within your budget. 

Security systems and surveillance companies are not the same. Once you have the answers to these questions, you will be able to make an informed decision.  We would appreciate it if you would consider our company. 

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