The challenges of keeping both people and premises safe and secure are ever-present for small business owners. No matter if it’s a bakery, a bike shop or a small boutique – all have a constant flow of customers and hectic workdays. This means, safety and security are not foremost in mind and often fall behind more pressing tasks such as serving customers and working the checkout. Reliable security is, therefore, essential when it comes to providing a high level of safeguarding even after opening hours. So, what is the optimal solution for small businesses?
Video surveillance–effective, affordable and simple
Many small business owners still think of traditional solutions when it comes to safety and security, such as shutters and alarm systems. However, today’s developments in technology have made video surveillance solutions not only affordable, but also tailored for small business needs.
Being in charge of let’s say a small chain of stores can be quite demanding, and time quickly becomes a valuable commodity. Keeping employees and premises safe is a huge responsibility for owners and managers, but with a chain, it’s impossible to be at every branch at the same time. Choosing a surveillance system that allows a person to have a remote “eye” on-site solves this problem. The possibility to access the video footage via numerous mobile devices allows authorized people to support the staff on-site (e.g. by spotting shelves that need restocking or to help improve workflows) without the need for physical presence. In a busy environment, simplicity is key!
Safe staff and happy customers
A statement the manager of a multi-branch Children’s-wear retailer in London can attest to. To make operations management across the city more straightforward, this retailer worked with Axis Communications to install advanced surveillance systems that could be tailored for small businesses. Operations are managed by one person whose tasks include coordinating rotas, taking care of the health and safety of the staff and, ultimately, ensuring the security and intactness of the shops.
Since the Operations Manager couldn’t be everywhere at the same time, the management decided to install a video security solution, so they could remotely access live and archive footage of all the shops for which they were responsible. This increased and ensured the security of the sites – especially during times when nobody is in the shop. One example of how the retailer uses the system includes alerts: when an alarm is triggered, they receive a notification and can check the footage immediately via a mobile device to determine if it was just a courier arriving on-site or someone actually trying to break in. This saves time in getting help if a serious incident needs addressing or indeed, it saves the costs associated with attending unnecessarily if it is a false alarm. On top of this, the remote access to the footage of the shop helps the Operations Manager with tasks that are not directly linked to security, such as planning the next shop layout.
There are some aspects that need to be considered when planning a surveillance solution for small businesses: While the video surveillance solution should be affordable for small businesses, it is also crucial to look at the quality of the images, the extent to which the solution is protected from cyber-attacks and the reliability of the entire system. An unreliable solution is not worth the money and effort spent on it.
Privacy despite cameras!
Installing a surveillance system comes with certain responsibilities to customers. In a digitized world where data and privacy are hot topics, it is important to make customers feel protected without invading their privacy. In this context, this means ensuring that the customers know they’re being monitored. This transparency makes the customers feel respected and the pure presence of video surveillance systems can even help to deter thieves.
Furthermore, most systems include an image masking feature in the software which allows the small business to block out some areas covered by the video surveillance. For example, spaces where it is not allowed to record due to privacy laws, such as views of passers-by on the street outside a shop window.
More eyes, less crime
So, while many small businesses are still relying on traditional, physical security methods, it might be time to consider alternatives and upgrades. Video surveillance can provide peace of mind on a 24/7 basis in more than one place at any one time, making life a little harder for opportunistic criminals.
Suzanne Quinn represents Global Sales for our small business solutions – AXIS Companion. She has been with Axis since 2006, starting as Key Account Manager in the DACH region and then moving on to supporting our Distributors firstly in DACH and later in Eastern Europe before taking on a global role. Although Suzanne is originally from Ireland, she is based in the Axis Ismaning office, just outside of Munich Germany. When she is not busy promoting our solution and assisting our sales people with all things “small business”, she is out enjoying the nearby alps, hiking and skiing.