Remote monitoring versus manned guarding for commercial space

Discover the pros and cons of manned guarding versus remote monitoring for commercial space. 

When identifying which security solution will best serve your commercial space and community, you may arrive at a crossroads when deciding between manned guarding or remote monitoring. 

Historically, many traditional spaces have oped for manned guarding. However, with the advancement of technology and greater market demand, remote monitoring is proving to be a more viable, cost-effective, and efficient solution. 

At Opem Security we believe that both solutions have their place. However, when weighing up your options it’s important to understand your building requirements and it’s level of risk.

Building risk assessment

Before you can begin to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages or both options, it’s important to identify the following. 

  • Type of space and how it operates. What are the opening times of your commercial property, does it offer 24hr access or can the building be closed down and secured between a certain time frame? 
  • Is there a high footfall of a diverse and constantly changing community or a low volume of familiar faces
  • Assess the type of incidents you’ve encountered previously and identify how they could have been prevented. Was the incident a result of opportunists or was this a carefully organised attack
  • Identifying areas of vulnerability. Are there doors that are constantly left or propped open for regular deliveries or cigarette breaks? 

By answering the above we can begin to explore the pros and cons. Continue reading to explore the advantages and disadvantages of both manned guarding and remote monitoring. 

A brief history of manned guarding versus technology

Historically, when looking to secure a commercial space, proprietors had two options. Intruder alarms or manned guards. At the time, the technology proved to be basic at best leaving resulting in many favouring on-site guards. However, in recent years there have been rapid advancements in technology that have dramatically improved the landscape for security and remote monitoring within the commercial sector. As demand has grown there has been a notable shift from businesses choosing to move away from manned guarding due to the sky-high cost and lack of effectiveness when compared to remote monitoring.

How effective is manned guarding?

Although manned guarding has its place, there can be a lot of room for human error and missed threats or incidents. Manned guarding generally works best when there are large crowds and environments where there is an increased probability of physical risks. Having a physical presence on-site can help to create a sense of safety and peace of mind for tenants. However, the expense of hiring a guard versus their effectiveness is something to be considered.

Manned guarding disadvantages

  • The cost of hiring a manned guard can be costly depending on how many days a week you use the guard; this can cost any company between £80k-£100k per annum, per guard. As wages increase, particularly in cities, this free will only continue to rise
  • When manning a large property, it can be difficult to respond to threats or pinpoint their exact location. This can lead to missed break-ins. For large spaces, it is advised to increase the number of guard pers site, which can dramatically increase your security bill
  • Wrong place, wrong time. Managed guards will regularly patrol buildings, meaning that in some cases, certain areas of the building are left unattended, and exposed to potential opportunists. Guards can’t be everywhere all the time, especially if they are guarding multiple sites
  • Over familiarity with a building can lead to complacency and lapses in attention. This can lead to missed intruders
  • Lack of familiarity, when using a third party guarding company can lead to missed areas of vulnerability, leading to missed threats
  • Night Shift fatigue. A sleeping guard on shift. Need we say more?

What is remote monitoring? 

Remote monitoring is a service whereby security systems, such as access control and CCTV, can be networked, controlled, and managed by agents externally. Remote monitoring offers many advantages and allows the user to remotely manage their building, without having to be on the premises. In the event of an emergency, this can prove to be vital as a remote monitoring centre or control room can identify emergencies visually through CCTV. 

The control room team also has the ability to grant access to approved suppliers and emergency services depending on the incident.  Remote monitoring technology allows for pin point accuracy and offers the ability of coverage 24/7, 365 days of the year. It never requires a break, experiences lapses in attention due to over familiarity, and will never fall asleep on the job. 

Remote monitoring advantages:

  • CCTV camera systems act as your eyes and ears and provide reliable surveillance
  • Security cameras can survey a large surface area, and with this information, it is possible for one ARC/control room to protect multiple sites. All at once. 
  • Visual variation attracts the highest level of police response and helps differentiate between a genuine or false alarm  
  • CCTV camera’s act as a visual deterrent 
  • Security cameras provide a barrier between the perpetrator, reducing the risk of physical harm 
  • A high proportion of commercial buildings already have the infrastructure to be able to implement remotely quickly and in a cost effective way. Depending on the building set up time can be done within a matter of days, helping to reduce your security bill and improve security in the long run
  • Remote monitoring allows for smart building integration, allowing the end-user enhanced remote management of their space 
  • The Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) or control room can respond rapidly to emergencies and alert the authorities 
  • CCTV can be installed with audio and speakers meaning that they can speak directly to the site and challenge the intruder
  • As well as providing support in emergencies they can also offer support with day to day management such as granting access to suppliers out of hours, saving the need to pay a staff member to physically be on site 
  • Remote monitoring solutions cost-effective and accurate
  • Final entrance and exit doors can be monitored to alarm in the event of an intruder,  making it reliable and efficient 

What is the average cost for remote monitoring?

Despite the initial installation costs, once installed the cost for remote monitoring is significantly lower than paying for a manned guard. At Opem Security our remote monitoring fee is £2,200 per year per site. When compared to the cost of manned guarding which is on average £80k-£100K this is significantly lower and offers superior accuracy.

How effective is remote monitoring?

At Opem Security we remotely monitor doors in the instance that they are held open or forced. This helps to pinpoint the exact location of the intruder and allows for rapid real-time responses. Through using technology, Opem is able to eliminate the potential for human error and create robust security solutions. For examples of how Opem respond to door held and door forced alarms here

At Opem Security, due to the way we monitor and how our alarms are received, our operators receive very targeted alarms for doors that are either held open or forced. This means that they aren’t wasting time sifting through endless false alarms. If an alarm goes off it’s a genuine alarm. Our Control room operators have regular shift rotations, helping to reduce fatigue. Typically manned guards can work long hours ranging from 4hr-13hr this can cause lapses in concentration and missed threats. 

Which security solution should you choose?  

Ultimately your decision will come down to which solution produces the best results for your commercial space. Although CCTV remote monitoring presents an initial upfront cost as well as ongoing maintenance and monitoring costs. The fees prove to be significantly more cost-effective in comparison to a manned guard. For a typical installation, landlords have reported savings of up to 80% within the first year. With the latest advancements in remote monitoring technology, this solution brings greater accuracy helping to effectively safeguard your properties and keep your people feeling safe. 

We hope that you enjoyed this article and if you want to find out more about more remote monitoring, and maintenance services get in touch with a member of the team. We’re here to help.  

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