Every business should have a security system in place, both internally (in the office or in-store) or externally (on the outside of the building) in order to have a properly safe and secure working place and place of business.
There are, however, two different types of surveillance, namely, proactive and reactive surveillance. Proactive and reactive surveillance both have their advantages and disadvantages, but to understand those, once must first understand what the terms mean:
This system is where staff is constantly watching the cameras, preventing major incidents from taking place. The physical manifestations of proactive surveillance take the form of signs, cameras, locks and passwords and act as deterrents to criminals. The main benefit of this system is that the security staff is alerted immediately to any irregular or criminal behavior, and is able to take action on the spot.
Examples of proactive security
- A padlock on a door
- Heavy doors or physical barriers
- Electronic countermeasures
- Surveillance systems
- Key card readers
Re-active surveillance occurs when proactive surveillance does not take place, that is, when a security guard or staff member is not able to react instantly to seeing an incident take place. In this case, the footage is used only for evidence should the incident be taken to court after being shown to the police. These systems also do not rely on live monitoring, which can make them less expensive as you will not have to hire a security team to man the cameras.
Examples of reactive security
- Security companies
- Security guards in prominent places
- Video surveillance
- Remote viewing CCTV cameras
- Alarm systems
Should I be proactive or reactive?
When deciding what route to take with your security system, it is important to consider the factors of both proactive and reactive surveillance. While proactive surveillance may cost you more money (by way of security personnel monitoring the cameras) reactive surveillance is only effective when you require legal action or proof that a crime has been committed.
Proactive surveillance allows you to predict what could happen – in a store, staff watching the monitors are able to radio to those on the floor information, such as a suspicious person in a specific aisle or whether there has been a breach of the exterior security measures – whereas reactive surveillance allows you to review past events and react by implementing better security measures.
Reactive surveillance relies highly on video definition, camera coverage and storage space – if these three requirements are not meant, it is a redundant system that supplies very little help. Proactive security allows the use of lower-definition cameras, as action is taken immediately and the footage does not usually have to stand up in a court of law or to the police – you have taken action and prevented a crime from happening.
With both approaches to security, you need to ensure that your security staff has a strict set of guidelines in how to manage either a proactive or reactive situation, as this will ensure the correct actions to take.
A reactive system cannot prevent incidents from taking place, it can only allow for the reaction to these incidents, whereas proactive system often allow for the pre-emptive action of security guards, as they have been alerted to a possible incident by way of the constant monitoring of the security system.
If you are interested in updating your security system to be more proactive, then there are three steps you need to take:
1.Do a vulnerability assessment
A vulnerability assessment on your current security system will help you to assess the positives and negatives of the system, and decide where you need to make changes and updates. This should be done by a security professional who will then consider the probability of an incident occurring and will make recommendations to address the vulnerabilities in your system and in the building itself.
2.Do a cost/benefit comparison
Once you have done the vulnerability assessment, it is vital to compare the costs and benefits of the assessment results and recommendations. Determine whether the costs and benefits are feasible, affordable and practical, and if they meet these requirements then you will be able to implement them.
3.Test the system
Once you have put a system in place, it is vital to test that the system actually works, and continues to work with regular tests and upgrades.
The key to a successful security system is to have the appropriate mix of both physical and digital measure, which are combined to take action as soon as is needed. Having layers in your security system will allow you to have a more in-depth security procedure, and will ensure the complete security of your business, and your employees.