Remote Surveillance Cameras vs Onsite Security: Which is Best?

Remote Surveillance vs Onsite Security: What Does Your Business Need?

In the digital age, it seems that just about everything is done by computers. What about when you have a security need? Should you use an automated system to keep watch over you, your property or your event?

When considering remote surveillance vs onsite security, it's important to remember that there are situations in which remote surveillance can be a reliable option, but there are other circumstances that are best suited to in-person guards. Ahead, let's explore which type of security will best meet your needs.

What Are the Benefits of Remote Surveillance?

Video cameras and other remote surveillance systems provide a computer-based approach to security. Usually intended for permanent installation, they are best suited to surveillance at facilities and can be set up indoors or outdoors.

Broad Coverage

Even with multiple guards, onsite security guards cannot have their eye on every part of a building at one time. With sufficient cameras, however, you can ensure that every inch of your facility is monitored. Of course, for large facilities, this may be cost-prohibitive.

Another consideration to keep in mind with this approach is who will be monitoring the video feeds. If the number of cameras that are installed climbs too high, you may need more than one person to adequately keep tabs on them.

If the feeds are monitored by a computerized system, it's possible that the algorithms will miss some troublesome activity.

Potentially Lower Cost

Security guards in the United States earn, on average, $28,000 each year. For those on a tight budget, the cost of using one or more onsite guards may be out of reach. A low-end remote surveillance system might be a better fit for the budget.

There are a few crucial considerations, however. First of all, when it comes to remote surveillance, you get what you pay for. Budget-level systems provide only budget-level coverage. At the other end of the spectrum, top-end systems may not save you much money over onsite guards.

Plus, if onsite guards better meet your needs, they are completely worth their cost. It is usually better to have strong security in place than to deal with the expensive aftermath of an incident that wasn't adequately prevented.

Evidence Recording

In circumstances where crime is almost expected, such as financial institutions or establishments in unsavory neighborhoods, you may find yourself filing police reports more often than you'd like. A remote surveillance system that records video footage will provide evidence that supply to authorities when an incident happens.

While the eyewitness testimony of a security guard can also be helpful to police, sometimes memories can be unreliable. A camera provides indisputable evidence about what took place and who was responsible.

What Are the Benefits of Onsite Security?

Considering that remote surveillance could offer cost savings in addition to providing thorough coverage that records incidents for future reference, is there a place for onsite security? Yes!

Not only is onsite security still relevant, but in many situations, it's the best type of protection available and, therefore, worth every penny.

Trouble Prevention

Sometimes, the mere presence of a security guard is enough to thwart trouble. A would-be perpetrator may see a security guard--whether armed or unarmed--and decide that stirring up trouble isn't such a good idea.

Remote surveillance cameras are often less noticeable than a security guard, so a troublemaker may be less apt to consider the cameras and stop his or her behavior as a result.

Immediate Response

Cameras can record evidence of a problem, but they can't actually deal with the situation. That requires real, live humans. Onsite security guards can assess the problem and take immediate action to resolve the situation.

One of a security guards' top responsibilities is to stop vandalism, personal attacks, thefts or other criminal behaviors. The guard must be physically present to fulfill this responsibility. In the video "Security Guard Takedown," see how security guards took control during a violent attack.

Many security guards have first responder training, so they can provide immediate help when various troubles arise. If a fire breaks out, a natural disaster strikes, or a medical emergency happens, the guard is right there to lend a hand.

Portable Placement

Sure, you can install cameras in a building, but that approach is significantly less effective for personal protection. Taking a camera everywhere you go would be a burdensome proposition. A bodyguard, on the other hand, can easily accompany you in any situation.

Events, too, can benefit from the flexibility that onsite guards offer. A short-term special event doesn't need to install a whole digital system that they'll use for only one day or one week. Hiring contracted security guards is a more reasonable plan.

Even facility managers can use the variable placement of guards to their advantage. Criminals may learn where cameras are installed and devise a plan to avoid them. Guards who follow an unpredictable pattern of surveillance are harder for a perpetrator to outwit.

What About Combining the Two?

Keep in mind that if you choose onsite guards, you do not have to trade their presence for the benefits that remote surveillance offers.

Even if you have guards at your facility, you can also choose to install a camera system. Surveillance cameras act as an assistant to human guards. While the camera is providing broad coverage and recording evidence, onsite guards can carry out the hands-on work.

After considering the pros and cons of remote surveillance vs onsite security, which will you choose?
  • arrow-right
    Both cameras and onsite guards can work for building surveillance. Your budget and your specific needs can help you decide which to use.
  • arrow-right
    The flexibility offered by security guards can make them the best choice for bodyguard services and special-event security.
  • arrow-right
    You may want to choose a mix of onsite guards with backup security cameras.

Curious about the best option for you? Leave a comment below.

About the Author Richard Allen

Mr. Allen is the Founder & President of American Protect Bureau (APB). APB is a licensed, bonded and insured private security company. He is a well respected industry expert with extensive knowledge and over 25 years experience in all aspects of security and protection. Having personally provided security for some of the hottest nightclubs and highest profile people, he understands first-hand what it takes to ensure venues are protected and people are kept safe. Richard conveys this point to every single security guard employed by his company.