Although it’s the big corporations that often garner the headlines, the reality is that a small to mid-size business is where most people go to work each day.
Statistics show us that small to medium enterprises (SMEs) make up 99% or more of operations worldwide. In the United Kingdom, for instance, SMEs (identified as businesses with 249 employees or fewer) employ 14.1 million people and had combined revenues of £1500 billion.
So in reality, small business is big business and runs the likelihood of encountering many of the same security-related issues. And like their corporate counterparts, they should be placing security concerns on the table along with healthcare and payroll and marketing. Crime doesn’t discriminate by size. A small business is just as vulnerable and is probably less able to absorb the cost of a burglary or act of vandalism or a band of shoplifters.
The headlines are filled with tales of smaller businesses that have fallen victim to opportunistic criminals. The South African Police Service in its 2012 crime report noted that business robberies increased by 7.5%, even as house robberies fell. Convenience stores, or spaza shops, are among the hardest hit by this type of crime.
But even if these and other types of small businesses can afford a surveillance system, they ask themselves: Who will run it? There isn’t likely to be a dedicated security director on board, but rather the task goes to someone whose job title involves finance or sales or is even owner of the business.
And what about keeping up with technology? Again, asking someone to be responsible for managing a security system involving cameras, alarms and maybe even an access control system seems a daunting task, especially if they are dealing with disparate systems that require an individual to look at video, compare it to alarm or card data and then see how it all fits together.
Fortunately, the industry has responded by offering technology platforms that aren’t just enterprise-level systems passed on to small businesses, but rather are security offerings created to address the key concerns of these users: ease of use, minimal training and the ability for the system to evolve along with the business.
Integrating video, intrusion and access control
Looking at a typical small business, such as a supermarket, we see that by bringing all the components together – video, intrusion and access control – it is possible for one person to easily move among different applications, especially when the system features a customisable dashboard. What can also make this type of system workable for the small business owner is that it is accessible not just in the back office or at a specific desktop, but rather everything can be controlled via phone or a tablet-based app. This means that when an alarm goes off at the store in the middle of the night, the owner need only sign on to his mobile device and manage the situation in real time. Or if an employee needs to get in after hours to handle a delivery, he can unlock the door remotely to accommodate this request, but also monitor it via the video system.
Another plus of a system aimed at the small to mid-size market is that it takes into consideration issues such as training and expansion. Keeping operations simple means that even if someone hasn’t created a report or viewed video in a while, it is intuitive enough that they can do it without going through a thick manual or asking for assistance from the installer. And if access control or intrusion isn’t top-of-the-list at first, it’s easy enough to add in those features going forward because the foundation is all there. The owner can even get coverage when he expands the size of his supermarket, because the system is scalable for adding cameras or cardholders.
Security is important no matter whether a business employs 50 or 5000. The good news is that now there are solutions that allow everyone to build an integrated system that suits their particular need.
Rafael Schrijvers is product marketing manager, EMEA, Tyco Security Products. Rafael can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com
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