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.

Contents

  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 which access control system is best 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 (VSS) & CCTV

Video Surveillance Systems (or Closed Circuit Television Systems) are 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. For easy, 24/7 access, CCTV can be accessed remotely through integration with a smart device.

Typically, surveillance cameras will have adjustable features, such as colour type, frame rate and resolution. 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, forming part of a highly sophisticated security package, giving users peace of mind. 

It’s important to consider the different CCTV systems available, to ensure you fulfill your premises unique security needs.

Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) 

Intruder alarms provide the best deterrent against burglaries and criminal damage. Considering the high occurrence of these offences in 2023, this is an essential element of your security strategy.

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

Due to their reliability, wired alarm systems are the preferred option in a commercial setting.

The flexibility of wireless systems mean they can be added to a wide range of properties.

The presence of an alarm system will often be a significant deterrent for intruders, but it is important to keep the alarm serviced regularly to ensure it remains functional and reliable.

What are the Benefits of Electronic Security?

What are the Benefits of Electronic Security?

Electronic security systems are an invaluable asset in protecting businesses and households from security incidents. 

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

Convenience 

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

Remote access provides ease of use – an internet connection provides remote access straight from your devices.

Discourage and Prevent Crime

Electronic security systems protect business premises, households, and occupants.

By being protected from potential harm, such as harassment, employees feel safer, strengthening productivity in the workplace.

Another added benefit comes from intruder alarms and video surveillance. These measures decrease the likelihood of theft and property damage, which can save money on rectifying and replacing assets.

Prevent Unauthorised Access

Video surveillance can be placed at all required entry points to a property, enabling the identification of people accessing a specific area. When combined with an alarm, these measures can serve to detect and raise alarm to suspicious activity. 

Access control systems can also place further user security measures on restricted areas, preventing unauthorised individuals from gaining access.

Fire Protection

Security systems can also be built-in with smoke detectors. This can alert relevant local authorities in the case of a fire, ensuring fires are caught quickly – saving crucial time and lessening 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’s wise to consider taking preventative steps to defend property and individuals. Electronic security systems can be utilised in every setting – your home, business and public spaces, such as shopping centres and supermarkets. 

The roles of different electronic security systems can vary, so when deciding what to invest in, it is important to consider their primary components.

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 considering the options of electronic security systems, it can seem a bit daunting, particularly deciding on the right security solution for you.

Professional security companies will offer a security review of your home or business premises, to help you decide on the strategy for your needs.

This will take into account the assets to be secured, as well as highlight weak spots on your premises that may be seen as an opportunity to criminals.

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 be wondering how much an electronic security system costs.

There are several factors to be considered, such as the security level required, the identifiable risks, and the level of service you may need.

For example, a good quality intruder alarm system starts from £600, depending on the amount of devices and the features you would like to include. However, the level of investment needed can vary. An intruder alarm system for your average home is going to cost less, whereas, a highly sophisticated commercial security system with police monitoring capabilities will be more expensive.

It’s worthwhile remembering that an electronic security system remains a cost-effective solution to keeping your home and business safe.

Who Needs a Business Security System?

Who Needs a Business Security System?

Investing in commercial security measures is essential for every business. Using an electronic security system can provide a convenient crime protection solution for added peace of mind. 

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

If you already have a security system in place, it may be time to consider upgrading. Re-evaluating the current risks ensures you are fully protected from crime and intrusions, especially if there have been security breaches or incidents since your last system was installed.

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 measures required may be different to suit your unique security needs.

Intruder Alarms

Alarms are proven deterrents to possible intruders, who are typically opportunists that target poorly protected businesses. With an alarm system in place, you can have peace of mind that your premises are protected, even when you’re not there.

Intrusion detection systems use various components to detect intrusion. Sensors are a key feature of intruder alarms, and are placed on potential entry points, such as windows, hatches and doors.

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

  1. Audible only intruder alarms 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
  3. Monitored intruder alarms with police and/or fire brigade response use a third-party monitoring station to receive alarm signals, summon key holders and notify the relevant emergency services

Panic alarms can be used in conjunction with intruder alarm systems, strengthening security with a police response.

CCTV 

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

These features allow business owners to check on their building from various locations around the clock. Allowing for the identification of potential threats, and providing evidence in support of a post-incident report. 

Access Control and Identity Verification

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

Access can be granted using key fobs, fingerprint scanners, identification numbers or badges, and intercom systems. The method of access is dependent on the type of access control system you choose to install.

These components prevent unauthorised access to a business or residence for an added level of security and confidentiality. Businesses can also use identification verification to monitor the whereabouts of employees inside the premises, upholding personnel safety and restricting 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 for installing or upgrading an electronic security system. 

When researching professional security providers, there are some questions that are useful to consider.

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 is a more reliable choice.

2. Do they require any accreditations? 

It is important for a security company to hold industry accreditations – showing 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. This is because during installation, you will be allowing the security team into 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 be upfront and transparent about costs, including any related costs, such as additional bolt-on products that may be required before starting the 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 – a residential home will typically take less than a large corporate premises. 

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 the agreement. So, you know upfront if you are considered the owner of the security system, or whether the equipment is, or is in part, considered a lease from the security company. 

By considering these questions, and following our steps for choosing installation services, you can ensure you find a professional security provider for your electronic security system.

FAQs

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 unique security needs. An initial audit will determine the functionalities required and outline the proposed security measures.

Choosing a security company that will take the time to understand your premises and the security risks present ensures you will receive a reliable, tailored solution.

  1. Do false alarms regularly occur?

False alarms cannot be completely excluded, so may happen on occasion. However, false alarms are an extremely rare occurrence and alterations can be made to limit them.

  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. For safety and peace of mind they provide, security systems are a worthy investment.

  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. 

For example, alarm systems will only be armed when you choose, so you are not restricted in your own home or business.

  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. They are typically used in commercial settings, as they provide the highest level of reliability. 

Wireless alarm systems are more flexible, and are easy to install, so are more common in the domestic sector. These systems can also come with tamper detection, which will be triggered in the event that someone is attempting to manipulate the alarm system. 

  1. What is a silent alarm?

Silent alarms are useful system components to help in an intrusion, such as a robbery. 

Silent alarms help protect victims from unpredictable events. They also allow the relevant authorities time to respond to the intrusion and apprehend the offender.

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

Electronic security systems help bolster current security measures, including where mechanical protection, such as door locks and bolts are already present.

This ensures your property has the highest standard of safety and the best methods for preventing criminal activities. This improves the safety of your premises and occupants.

  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.

There is minimal disruption during the installation process as cables do not need to be laid, reducing any 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 components regularly serviced. This ensure they are working as they should, and means a prompt fix for any issues identified.

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

To understand more about the services offered by Kestrel Electronic Security, or to request an audit of your premises, get in touch with our experienced team today.

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