The Ultimate Guide To Electronic Security, Access Control, CCTV, Alarm Systems

The Ultimate Guide To Electronic Security: What is it and Why is it Important?

Read our ultimate guide to electronic security to find out how you can protect your home or business. Explore alarms, CCTV and access control, alongside the benefits, considerations and costs of each.


  1. What is Electronic Security?
  2. What are the Benefits of Electronic Security?
  3. What is the Role of Electronic Security?
  4. What to Consider When Selecting an Electronic Security System
  5. How Much Does an Electronic Security System Cost?
  6. What Businesses Need Electronic Security Systems?
  7. What are the Different Parts That Make up an Electronic Security System?
  8. Questions to Ask When Selecting a Company for Your Business Security Systems
  9. Electronic Security System FAQs

What is Electronic Security?

What is Electronic Security?

When we refer to Electronic Security Systems (ESS), what do we mean? In short, electronic security systems are physical components used to secure domestic and commercial buildings. They provide an added layer of security to protect assets, inventory, machinery and people.

There are three distinct types of electronic security systems including:

Physical Access Control Systems (PACS)

Physical access control systems are devices which control the ability of individuals to access protected areas. Typically this would include door locks, turnstiles and security gate systems. 

They work by identifying and authenticating users based on preassigned authorisation to a designated area. Depending on your needs and required level of protection (LOP), a security company can suggest what is the best access control system for you. 

The main types of access control systems are:

  • Stand-alone entry systems 
  • Audio entry systems 
  • Video entry systems
  • Integrated access control systems 

Video Surveillance Systems (VVS), or more commonly CCTV

Video Surveillance Systems (or Closed Circuit Television Systems) is a network of different cameras, recorders and monitors that record images onto a storage medium. 

They can be installed anywhere inside or outside of a building, most commonly at access points or places with a high likelihood of theft. CCTV can be accessed remotely by being integrated with a smart device for ease of use and 24/7 access. 

Typically surveillance cameras will have different adjustable features such as colour type, frame rate and resolution, but digital cameras provide the highest quality images with more frames produced per second. 

CCTV can be used alone, or in conjunction with an alarm system as a  highly sophisticated security package for peace of mind. 

You can check out our ultimate guide to choosing the right CCTV for your building here. 

Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) 

Having an alarm fitted and maintained provides the best deterrent against burglaries and criminal damage which is important considering the high occurrence of such offences. 

Alarm systems use sensors to detect motion activity within a secured building, and can either be wired, wireless or part of a monitored system. 

Wired alarm systems are the preferred option within a commercial setting, as they are considered more reliable and robust. 

However, wireless systems have the added benefit of flexibility, so can be added to any property.

The physical element of an alarm system will deter intruders, but it is important to keep the alarm serviced regularly to ensure it is functioning correctly. 

What are the Benefits of Electronic Security?

What are the Benefits of Electronic Security?

Electronic Security Systems are an invaluable asset to invest in to protect businesses and households from unfortunate incidents. 

There are many extensive benefits, but most importantly they can provide peace of mind in knowing your property and possessions are safe. 

We have outlined the positives of installing electronic security here:


IP-based security, which transmits data across public and private networks, allows you to keep a close eye on your CCTV footage from any location twenty-four hours a day. 

Remote access provides ease of use, as all you need is an internet connection to be able to gain remote access straight from a device like a mobile phone. 

Discourage and prevent crime

Electronic security systems can protect business premises and households alike, as well as the people inside it. 

Employees will feel safer, strengthening productivity, by being protected from potential harm, such as harassment. 

Similarly, intruder alarms and video surveillance decrease the likelihood of theft and property damage, which can save money because stolen items will not need to be replaced.

Prevent unauthorised access

Video surveillance can also be placed at any required entry points of a property to enable the identification of people gaining access to a specific area, which can be combined with an alarm to detect and raise suspicious activity. 

Access control systems can also place further user security measures on prohibited areas to prevent particular individuals from gaining access.

Fire protection

Security systems with built-in smoke detectors can enable relevant local authorities to be notified in the case of a fire, which will save crucial time to ensure fires are caught quickly to lessen the damage caused.

What is the Role of Electronic Security?

What is the Role of Electronic Security?

With crime at an all time high, it is wise to consider taking preventative steps to defend property and individuals. Electronic security systems can be utilised in every setting from your home and business, to public spaces such as shopping centres and supermarkets. 

However, the components of an electronic security system each serve their own purpose, so when deciding what to invest in, it is important to consider the following:

CCTV Surveillance Systems

  • Provide evidence by recording visual data
  • Used for identification purposes and conflict resolution
  • Protect against both internal and external theft

Intruder Alarms

  • Reduce likelihood of break-ins
  • Prevent intrusions and theft
  • Detect movements in particular areas, like doors and windows

Fire Detection

  • Sensors can alert security holder and relevant authorities to take action
  • Alert occupants to evacuate a premise

Attendance and Access Control Systems

  • Allow or deny access to particular areas, as well as record failed attempts
  • Control entry access through doors and gates, or other barriers
  • Reduce need for manned security
What to Consider When Choosing an Electronic Security System

What to Consider When Selecting an Electronic Security System

When looking into and considering the options of an electronic security system, it can seem a bit daunting, particularly deciding what is going to be right for you. 

Security companies should offer a security review of your home or business premise, to help you decide on the best course of action. 

This will take into account the assets to be secured, as well as highlight weak spots of a property that a criminal may see as an opportunity. 

You may also want to ask yourself the following questions when deciding on a security system:

  1. What is the value of my assets or inventory, should they be closely monitored?
  2. Should certain areas be restricted to only authorised individuals?
  3. Is my current electronic security system providing enough protection, or are there any remaining weaknesses?
  4. Have I had any security breaches in the past, and have these been rectified? 
  5. How much can I invest into an electronic security system, what is my budget?
How Much Does an Electronic Security System Cost?

How Much Does an Electronic Security System Cost?

You may now be wondering how much an electronic security system could set you back, but it is worthwhile remembering that it is still a cost-effective solution in keeping your home and business safe. 

However, it is a very difficult question to quantify because there are several factors to be considered such as the security required, the identifiable risks, and the level of service you may need. 

It can be estimated that a good-quality security system may cost between £950 to £1,450, depending on requirements and the features you would like to include. 

For example, an intruder alarm system for your average home is going to cost less than a highly sophisticated security system setup for a large business. 

Who Needs a Business Security System?

Who Needs a Business Security System?

If you are looking to go the extra mile to protect your residence or business, an electronic security system can provide a convenient crime protection solution for added peace of mind. 

Any business premise containing valuable inventory and/or machinery would highly benefit from a security system, particularly with crime being a high risk factor for many. 

Though, if you already have a security system in place it may be time to upgrade. 

It is worth considering a re-evaluation of the current risks to ensure that you are fully protected from crime and intrusions, especially if there have been security breaches or incidents since your last system was put in place. 

What Makes Up an Electronic Security System?

What are the Different Parts That Make up an Electronic Security System?

To ensure you have an effective security system, the components required or suggested may be different depending on your needs. 

Here are some of the most common and important parts of a security system. 

Intruder Alarms

Alarms are proven deterrents to possible intruders, who are typically opportunists and target poorly protected businesses. 

So, even when you leave the premises, you have peace of mind knowing that it remains protected. 

Intrusion detection systems use sensors to detect intrusion within certain parameters of areas such as windows, hatches and doors where someone can gain access to a secured building. 

There are three common types of intruder alarms, and depending on your requirements, can provide different levels of security. 

  1. Audible only intruder alarms which sound locally with external and internal bells
  2. Monitored intruder alarms use a third-party monitoring station to receive alarm signals and summon key holders 
  1. Monitored intruder alarms with Police and or Fire Brigade response use a third-party monitoring station to receive alarm signals and summon key holders and the Police or Fire Brigade as required

Similarly, panic alarms can be used in conjunction as an extra precaution to strengthen security with Police response. 


Visual surveillance is the most well-known and commonly used crime protection method for businesses with its ease of use and convenient remote access capabilities. 

This allows business owners to check on their building 24/7 from various locations to identify potential threats, and provide evidence to relevant authorities to support a post-incident report. 

Access Control and Identity Verification

An access control system allows you to control and monitor access to a building, as well as to designated secured areas, using door entry and identification verification systems. 

This can include key fobs, fingerprint scanners, identification numbers or badges, and intercom systems. 

These components prevent unauthorised access to a company or residential building for an added level of security and confidentiality. Businesses can also use identification verification to track and monitor the whereabouts of employees inside the premises, to uphold their safety and restrict access to off-limit areas. 

Questions to Ask

Questions to Ask When Selecting a Company for Your Business Security Systems 

It is important to find a trustworthy installation company during the decision process of installing or upgrading an electronic security system. 

When you have the time to set aside to research and decide on the company to secure your home or business, take into consideration the following questions.

1. How long has the company been in business?

If you already have a budget in mind, or are trying to minimise costs it may seem like a good idea to go with a newer security company with lower costs. 

However, a company with a proven track record, valued customers and great reviews should be your preferred choice. 

2. Do they require any accreditations? 

It is important for a security company to hold industry accreditations to show their commitment to upholding technical standards, codes of practice and high standards of professionalism. 

At Kestrel Electronic Security we are:

  • SSAIB and UKAS certified
  • Registered member of the ECA and FSA
  • Part of award-winning scheme, Trustmark

In the same way, you should also enquire about background checks, such as DBS,  of the security company’s employees. As you will be allowing unknown individuals onto your property, potentially giving them access to private and sensitive information. 

3. Is any warranty or guarantee included with a security system?

Warranties and guarantees will vary between suppliers, but are typically around a twelve-month period for new equipment installations. 

Security systems can be a significant investment, so it is important to find out what the company provides and any terms and conditions of the warranty.

4. Do I need to sign a contract?

You will typically sign a contract with the security company, so this is to be expected. However, make sure you fully understand all details of the agreement before signing. 

5. Will the system come with everything I will need?

A security company should carry out an initial audit and issue a proposal to be agreed upon, before carrying out any security installation. 

This is to ensure all your requirements are met, and are within your given budget. 

The security company should equally be upfront and transparent about costs, including any related costs such as additional bolt-on products that may be required before starting the proposed installation. 

6. How long does the installation take to complete?

The process from audit to completion will vary depending on what security components are being installed, as a residential home will typically take less than a large corporate office. 

During the initial phase of the proposal, the security company should be able to estimate an approximate completion time depending upon the agreed upon security system. 

7. Can you provide information for me to supply to the insurance company?

Any SSAIB accredited security company will be able to ensure your home or business is compliant within your insurance terms, as well as supply the necessary documentation to give as evidence to the insurance company. 

8. If the monitoring service is cancelled or I move, can I take the equipment with me?

Whilst reviewing the contract with the security company, make sure you understand the exact terms of agreement. So, you know upfront if you are considered the owner of the security system, or whether the equipment is, or in part considered a lease from the security company. 


Electronic Security System FAQs

  1. How do I know what security system is right for me?

The choice of security systems and components will depend on your requirements which will be outlined and discussed during an initial audit to determine the functionalities you may need. 

Remember to choose a security company that listens and understands your unique requirements. 

  1. Do  false alarms regularly occur?

False alarms cannot be completely excluded, so may happen on occasion but are an extremely rare occurrence. 

  1. Security installation and equipment seems expensive, how do I know if I can afford it?

You may be surprised to discover that security systems are not as expensive as you think, but for safety and peace of mind they are worth investing in. 

  1. Will a security system restrict me within my own property?

You are able to freely move around your premises with a security system installed. 

Alarm systems particularly will only be armed when you want it to be, so you are not constricted in your own home or business property. 

  1. What are the main differences between wired and wireless alarm systems?

Wired alarm systems are a great addition when building or rebuilding a property as they can be accounted for in the planning process. 

Typically used in more commercial settings, they provide the highest level of reliability. 

Wired systems may also come with tamper detection, which will be triggered in the event that someone is considered to be manipulating the alarm system. 

Wireless alarm systems are more flexible, and are easy to install, so are more common in the domestic sector.

  1. What is a silent alarm?

Silent alarms are useful components in part of an alarm system to help in the incident of an intrusion such as a robbery. 

This is to help protect victims from unpredictable events, and to allow relevant authorities to get to the property in enough time to apprehend the intruder. 

  1. I already have standard mechanical protection, why would I need an additional electronic security system?

Electronic security systems help bolster current security systems such as mechanical protection, like door locks and bolts. 

This ensures your safety, or the safety of others on your property to the highest standard by preventing the likelihood of crime. 

  1. If I rent a property, can I still install a security system?

A wireless security system can be placed on any rental property, including flats for added protection. 

There is no disruption during the installation process and cables do not need to be laid within the property, so there is no mess or disturbance to surrounding neighbours. 

  1. Do security systems need to be regularly checked and maintained?

It is important to have your security systems and parts serviced regularly to ensure they are working as they should, and fix any issues that may be found. 

We suggest this is carried out every twelve months for audible only systems or six monthly for monitored systems.

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