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Electronic v manned security: a side-by-side comparison

Electronic security solutions have come a long way since modern CCTV debuted a few decades ago. Businesses nowadays can entrust the security of their premises and assets to extensive camera systems, wireless alarms and sensors, and sophisticated electronic locks. It's almost as if they can do without that old standby - the manned guard - entirely.

This is a misconception, however. While electronic security solutions are capable of things that would never be dreamed of without technology, there are still benefits to using human hands and eyes that no CCTV setup could ever recreate.

Here's a side-by-side comparison of electronic and manned security, which should demonstrate why it's important for a business not to put all of its eggs in the same basket.

Electronic security

There are dozens of electronic security solutions on the market today, with technology firms constantly coming up with innovative new ways to keep business premises secure. CCTV still dominates, though, and its value to the customer cannot be understated.

With multiple cameras, an organisation can monitor a much greater amount of floor space at once than a single manned guard would be capable of. CCTV footage can also be used to provide evidence in criminal proceedings, and the visible presence of cameras - as well as audible alarms - are understood to act as deterrents to theft and vandalism.

It's important, however, to remember that CCTV has to be installed well to be effective, and that even the best set-up system can have blind spots and the potential to succumb to criminal damage. And note that when incidents do occur, electronic security can only really monitor - it won't react to a break-in in the same way that a manned guard would.

Manned security

Crucially, having a human being watching over your premises offers more than just a pair of eyes and a visual deterrent to rely on. When confronted with a security breach, a manned guard can respond with immediate effect, regardless of whether the incident calls for communication, conducting a citizen's arrest or actually chasing down the intruder as they flee.

Unlike CCTV, a guard can't monitor more than one place at a time. However, a camera is no match for human vigilance - a person will hear an intrusion before an electronic security solution sees it, for example - and guards are also less susceptible to false alarms. These characteristsics go some way to compensate for the lack of coverage.

Combining the two

Finally, it should be said in only a few instances should businesses actually be choosing between electronic and manned security outright. Most of the time, CCTV, alarms, locks, manned guards and mobile patrols are complementary - you should be looking for the right mix of solutions, not a one-stop shop.

This requires careful consideration based on factors like the size of your premises, the value of the assets contained within, the threats unique to your location and industry, and your budget. If you need help getting the balance right, why not ask us for a security consultancy service?


Posted by Andrew Miller

Image courtesy of Thinkstock

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