June 9, 2020
Why should you protect your business from burglary? Browse the news, and you’ll find many reports that crime rates have dropped around the world amid the coronavirus pandemic. And, indeed,...
We’ve already looked at physical vs. virtual security officers, but let’s dig deeper at one of the best benefits of virtual security officers: the cost. Can virtual security officers, combined with the latest security technology, save you money in the long run?
First, a recap of virtual security officers. A physical security guard can fall asleep. He might simply sit at his desk, read a book, glance at a monitor, and periodically make the rounds. A virtual security officer system involves multiple people looking at multiple monitors; your entire job site is secure 24/7, with no guard distracted by reading a book or re-watching The Wire. A virtual security officer won’t fall asleep on the job, compromising security. With motion-sensing cameras, virtual security officers know exactly where to look should something happen. They can sweep the perimeter in moments, never missing a beat.
A large part of savings in using technology for security comes from guards. Typical costs can be anywhere from $12 to $25/hour, depending on if they are armed. Utilizing an off-duty police officer skyrockets to an average of $50/hour. A good average is about $100,000 per security guard per year. A virtual security officer system costs a quarter of that, with many advantages.
Guard posts can also be a thing of the past using technology. Instead of a guard house, all that’s needed is a camera to verify identities or license plates and a gate. Less infrastructure to build, and one less guard to employ.
Speaking of cameras, upgrading cameras to networked, high-resolution cameras can make it much easier to identify a perpetrator. Cameras can also have two-way radios, allowing a virtual security officer to warn trespassers that they are being filmed and to leave or face the legal consequences. You can also upgrade cameras to use solar power, saving on energy bills.
Virtual guards also provide redundancy not available to older security systems. With backups stored immediately online while recording, and stored off site, there is little chance of losing the recordings. Virtual guard centers often check the redundancy, as well, to ensure if something does go wrong, the backup systems are still in place.
Looking to control access to a building? Don’t bother wasting money putting network line in. Instead, use networked door access controls. Your doors will be electronically secured, with an option for a camera to view whoever is attempting access. It can utilize your existing network, also saving you money. You can also save on power outlets at the Ethernet access point for the main unit with a Power over Ethernet connection – no power outlet needed.
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Will upgrading or installing newer technology, especially using off-site guards, save you money? A case study in 2011 by Siemens revealed that, by switching to what Siemens dubbed “Remote Security Management,” Valassis, a 7,000-person company, saved $270,000 per year. They were able to reduce employment by moving security off-site and removed their security center. They required 24/7 coverage for multiple sites. Using a virtual security officer, the guard could be wherever cameras pointed, at any site, in seconds.
“Remote security monitoring can provide savings of 20 to 50 percent of the cost of a security guard,” Phil Atteberry of Siemens Industry, Inc., said. They suggest, for best results, keeping a guard on duty to combine with off-site security. The off-site security can then dispatch the on-site guard while still reducing overall costs by minimizing staff.
Whether you supplement an on-site guard or fully replace the guard with newer security technology, you will see savings. From energy to stopping a potential criminal act, there is no better time to upgrade or install a new system and start saving money.