Keeping an organization safe under strict budgetary constraints is a pressing concern for many businesses today. Hiring live security guards is expensive, but can you put a price on creating a secure working environment? Virtual guarding can provide top-tier physical security without requiring 24/7 on-site security guards.
Virtual guarding, sometimes called remote video guarding or remote guarding, uses technology to replace some or all of the security guard needs of an organization. Instead of live security patrols on site, you can use a combination of security cameras, cloud video surveillance software, and remote video monitoring to provide equal, or even better, security coverage of your premises.
Virtual guarding heavily relies on cloud video surveillance and has several main benefits over traditional live security guards. First, security guards are an expensive and difficult-to-scale security solution. A single security guard on duty 24/7 represents five full-time salaries. In addition to paying these employees today, their salaries represent long-term commitments that reduce the flexibility of your budget.
By accessing the feeds of security cameras from anywhere, Solink’s video analytics platform can offer remote virtual guarding capabilities.
To see if Solink’s virtual guarding is right for you, sign up for a demo today.
Virtual guardS vs. security guards
Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of security guards and virtual guards. While the use cases often overlap, there is no one best solution. Some businesses even require a level of security that necessitates both.
This is true for banks and other financial institutions.
Security guards are a common choice for better physical security. You can see security guards at the front of banks, patrolling shopping centers, or in the gatehouse of a private complex. They also work behind the scenes monitoring dozens of TVs looking for shoplifters.
For a long time, this was the only way to get the maximum level of security. However, with technology making remote monitoring cost effective, certain disadvantages to security guards have become more visible.
The advantages of security guards:
- Security guards can perform secondary tasks such as greeting visitors for better customer service and improved loss prevention, opening gates or doors, escorting people to their cars at night, etc.
- On-site security guards can react to unexpected events in real time.
- In certain locations, patrons want the assurance of live security guards, for example bouncers in a bar or club.
- Similar to security cameras, live guards are major deterrents against theft and violence.
The disadvantages of security guards:
- A human can only fully pay attention to one thing at a time, so they still need to scan from one CCTV security feed to the next in the security office.
- Long periods of downtime between incidents can lead to time theft.
- In the ultimate form of time theft, overnight security guards can fall asleep on the job.
- Live security guards are expensive and their salaries represent long-term budgetary commitments.
- Competitive labor markets mean lower-quality candidates might be hired, which can lead to guards being a new internal theft liability.
- It is hard to scale live security guards to hundreds or thousands of locations without a burdensome management hierarchy.
Virtual guarding uses security cameras and advanced video analytics to replace or supplement security guards.
The advantages of virtual guarding:
- Virtual guarding solutions collect other data, such as point-of-sale transactions or access control events, making video surveillance equipment a business intelligence tool.
- Real-time video feeds of incidents can be shared with emergency services, resulting in faster and more appropriate responses.
- Video evidence of every event can be saved forever and easily shared with managers, teams, and law enforcement.
- One user can view what is happening at hundreds or thousands of properties simultaneously.
- Video alarms as part of remote virtual guarding mean fewer false alarm fines.
- Video feeds are accessible from anywhere.
- The entire property is monitored at once.
- Labor costs are drastically reduced.
The disadvantages of virtual guarding:
- You may still need someone to perform secondary roles, such as parking attendant, greeter, or concierge, reducing the overall cost savings.
- There is no on-site human presence to perform unexpected tasks.
Who should consider virtual guarding?
Remote video guarding isn’t for every company. For companies that might find virtual guarding useful, it still can’t replace live security guards in every situation.
For example, when security guards perform other duties, then video surveillance can only be used to increase the security level of the business. In this case, virtual guarding might not reduce labor costs as much as in locations with dedicated security personnel.
Some businesses are also required by law to have security guards on premises. However, if government regulations require security guards, then it is likely virtual guarding is also a necessary part of an approved security plan.
Virtual guarding is particularly beneficial for companies that are looking to get more ROI out of their video surveillance system. It can be implemented quickly and easily, without the need to hire new staff.
In addition, remote video guarding can help companies reduce their false alarm fines, improve the response time of law enforcement, and provide needed video evidence of all incidents.
To see how Solink Video Alarms can save you money, sign up for a demo today.
What can virtual guarding do?
There are many scenarios where virtual guarding can improve security and efficiency. Here are just a few of the roles fulfilled by a remote virtual guard.
Remote business monitoring
If your business is spread across multiple locations, then remote video monitoring is a key benefit of virtual guarding. In these businesses, remote video surveillance goes beyond monitoring the security of multiple locations.
With the help of Solink’s cloud video surveillance, you can audit all of your locations for cleanliness, regulatory compliance, sales efficiency, and more from head office. This saves time and reduces the amount of unnecessary travel.
Sphinx does just that with the help of Solink. A single employee is able to ensure safety, security, cleanliness, and customer service standards are met at about 100 locations.
Access control systems allow organizations to monitor who is entering and leaving their premises as well as restrict access to authorized personnel only. However, on-the-fly changes to pre-programmed schedules can be difficult.
For example, if a vendor is running late, then it can be difficult to grant them access without meeting them at the door. Using a virtual guarding solution, the owner of a security system can verify that a guest should be allowed to enter their building and dismiss any alarm notification. Video verification can save the average business hundreds to thousands of dollars per location every year in false alarm fines.
Managing multiple locations is not easy. Complacency may occur when management is not on site. You can maintain oversight of all your locations as your business expands with virtual guarding technology. This keeps employees focused on their job even when you are at another location.
Solink also brings proactive features to push the information you need when you need it. Threshold Notifications alert you whenever your chosen metrics drift outside of your comfort zone.
These time-saving tools are especially useful for multi-location management.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fines scale with the size of an organization. That makes regulatory compliance especially important for large corporations. Virtual guarding can help you audit businesses for OSHA compliance.
In addition to government regulation, virtual guarding can help with company policy compliance. Everything from whether salespeople are greeting every visitor as they enter to the cleanliness of your facilities can be monitored remotely.
Video alarms are a new way to protect your premises from burglaries and other threats. Solink Video Alarms Monitoring Service utilizes your security cameras to operate as an alarm system.
Instead of monitoring doors and windows, video alarms protect entire areas for better security. They also cut down on false alarm fines by allowing video verification where law enforcement still responds to unverified alarms.
As some jurisdictions have stopped responding to unverified alarms, this represents a much higher level of security.
In fact, in a recent comparison, Solink Video Alarms beat standard panel alarms in every category. Video alarms drastically reduced false alarm fines across eight locations, dispatched policy more quickly, and led to the arrest of several suspects.
Solink can replace live security guards for improved ROI
Some businesses require security guards. It may be a mandated requirement to operate, or the security guards may be responsible for secondary duties. However, if your business doesn’t need on-site security guards, then you should take a look at Solink’s virtual guarding solution.
Solink can reduce your labor costs without compromising the security level of your business. In addition to security, Solink’s video analytics platform helps improve the operations of businesses.
To see how Solink can enhance the security of your business while saving you money, sign up for a demo today.
Timothy Ware is Solink’s Content Manager. He brings over ten years of writing and editing experience to the job. When he isn’t writing about security, loss prevention, and asset protection, he’s enjoying his newest board game. His work has appeared on many B2B SaaS websites including Baremetrics, Security Today, TeamPassword, Cova, and SignTime.