The Complete Guide to Commercial Security Systems


When choosing a commercial security system to safeguard and monitor employees, property, and assets, consider important factors such as features and benefits, cost, technology and equipment, smart integrations, installation methods, and more.

Commercial Security Camera in big window skyscraper


As a business owner, protecting your employees, property, and assets should never be an afterthought, especially with commercial properties and small businesses experiencing burglaries every 10 seconds.

According to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) 2019 crime statistics, 37.2 percent of all reported burglaries occurred at non-residences, including stores and offices. With these statistics and other concerns, adding a commercial security system to your business provides peace of mind—even when you’re not there.

Whether you implement security cameras, alarm systems with 24/7 Central Station Monitoring, smart door locks, fire and life safety devices, keycard entry access systems, or other devices, it’s wise to pair these with smart technologies. Offered through your security provider’s mobile app, this feature provides real-time alerts via any mobile device.

Commercial security systems can also help improve team productivity, through Business Activity Analytics. This analyzes invaluable data such as customized temperature control, employee communication and accountability, open/close reports, and multi-location reporting.

This comprehensive guide includes the many aspects of commercial security systems, such as features, benefits, costs, technology and equipment, smart integrations, and more. 

What Is a Commercial Security System?

Designed to keep trespassers, intruders, and burglars at bay, commercial security systems provide real-time monitoring and surveillance through alarm systems and security cameras. Other technologies and equipment can include keycard access control, intercom systems, fire and life safety, and smart technologies. Service providers such as General Security offer extended features including VoIP phones and fleet monitoring and tracking for one-stop shopping. Employee communications and productivity also benefit, through specialized data and analytics reporting. While business owners can pick and choose what’s best, understanding various technologies and available features can be cumbersome. 

Whether you require a standalone alarm system, or a full commercial security solution, it’s best to enlist a professional for an on-site inspection and survey, along with customized technology recommendations.

Commercial Security Features & Benefits

Even if your business is located in a relatively safe area, burglaries, break-ins, and vandalism can still occur, especially in poorly lit locations without cameras and alarms, or other protective measures. 

While most of these crimes occur at night and after hours, there are even higher theft and employee safety risks for 24/7 business operations. Aside from a traditional burglar alarm system, other protective measures of commercial security systems include indoor, outdoor, and front-door cameras; fire alarms and life safety devices; access control; intercom systems; and real-time video surveillance

How Much Does a Commercial Security System Cost?

While commercial security system pricing varies, significant factors include need, equipment, work scope, size, and number of employees, among others. A small business with one location and less than 10 employees will have different requirements than a commercial operation with hundreds of employees and multiple facilities.

Rather than offer so-called “cookie-cutter” packages, service providers such as General Security are now featuring custom solutions to meet specific needs. Whether you require several security cameras with smart features and Business Activity Analytics, or a basic alarm system, we can help protect your employees, business, and livelihood. 

Choosing the Best Commercial Security System for Your Needs

Prior to adding any devices or equipment, a complete on-site security review and location(s) inspection is necessary to understand your goals. This will help determine important protection elements, such as equipment types, placement and installation, number of devices, and weakened or vulnerable entry points. 

Whether hiring a professional, or conducting your own review, it’s best to consider the following:

  • How many entrances and exits are located throughout the building?
  • What are the physical features of the space and location?
  • How many employees work on premises? How will they securely enter and exit?
  • Are there any vulnerable or weakened entry points?
  • How many easily accessible windows are located throughout the building?
  • Do employees stay past daylight? If so, how many will be present after hours and on weekends? Where will they be?
  • What types of additional security will be required for 365/24/7 operations?

Commercial Security Technology, Devices & Equipment

Most standard alarm systems boast a control panel with keypad, three to six window contacts, and motion sensors. Higher-end solutions could include multiple security cameras with smart automation features, such as temperature and flood sensors, intrusion detection, access control, remote video surveillance, and more.

General Security can help create a specially designed package for your needs.

Burglar Alarm Systems

Comprising a control panel, keypad, and contact sensors, alarm systems can be purchased as a bells-only solution to deter potential intruders. For added 24/7 protection, consider a smart alarm system with real-time Central Station Monitoring to immediately dispatch local first responders and emergency services.

Fire & Life Safety Devices

For added protection within and around your commercial property, having regularly maintained and inspected devices such as carbon monoxide detectors, and smoke and fire alarms, can be the difference between injuries, damages, and even death.

Indoor/Outdoor Security Cameras & Video Surveillance

Adding indoor, outdoor, and front-door cameras can grant even higher protection levels. This technology can also assist law enforcement in identifying and apprehending would-be thieves and vandals.

When adding the mobile app, you’ll have access to smart technologies including 24/7 video surveillance and remote monitoring, motion detection, and video analytics. Some front-door cameras also offer intelligent lighting integration and nighttime detection for advanced, after-hours safety.

Thermal Imaging Cameras
Many traditional technology devices such as thermal imaging cameras have pivoted to help thwart coronavirus community spread. While this technology can detect fevers leading to possible infections, it cannot screen for the virus or antibodies. 

These cameras help with individual spot monitoring, and in dense areas for group checkpoints at grocery stores, hospitals, airports, offices, and retail environments. 

Intercom/Entrance Systems
Also referred to as telephone entry systems, two-way intercoms provide an extra security layer for employee, property, and asset protection. They also keep any persona non grata at bay at your facility’s entrance and exit points for access control. 

Consider combining this with front-door cameras for additional security and contactless communications.

Keycard Access Systems

When an employee or authorized guest swipes, taps, or inserts their keycard, its magstripe or chip grants access through a uniquely designed code. After the card reader accepts the authorized credential, it sends a quick signal to the specified door or entryway to unlock. 

When combined with other smart systems, keycard technology provides other safeguards, such as personalized access levels, safety audits, and employee activity log management.

VoIP Phone Systems

General Security has partnered with RingCentral to offer VoIP phone systems to commercial and small businesses. Certain features and benefits can ensure employees never miss a call, meeting, or message—whether they’re out of the office or simply away from their desk. 

When integrated with a smart commercial security package, a VoIP solution provides ease of use, scalability, flexibility, and more.

Vehicle Tracking & Monitoring Systems

From monitoring employee whereabouts, productivity and driving, to conducting vehicle diagnostics, movement detection and theft prevention, a fleet management tracking tool such as Connected Car provides invaluable insights from the mobile app.

Business owners can also track activities such as driver habits and schedules, and other accountability measures. This also includes real-time information on important diagnostics such as oil and tire pressure, fuel consumption, engine warnings, battery life, and more. 

Smart Technology Integrations & Capabilities

Should you decide to add smart technologies to your commercial security system, these can be easily controlled and managed from anywhere via any mobile device. Consider the following integrations for additional protection, ease of use, convenience, and more. 

Indoor/Outdoor Surveillance

Remotely monitor your business and operations 24/7 when you’re off-site or on vacation. You can also instruct delivery persons or other visitors to leave packages at your front door, even when you’re not there.

Heating & Cooling

Smart thermostats monitor your building’s interior heating and cooling, for additional energy efficiency and quality control. Consider adding contact sensors to appliances containing perishable items requiring specific temperature settings. These can also help manage food storage and accountability, detecting how often a refrigerator or freezer door is opened, or if someone accidentally leaves it ajar.

Flood Detection/Protection

Flood sensors alert to sudden and extreme fluctuations in moisture, water, and temperature that could lead to weather-related flooding. It protects your business from costly damages that could be incurred due to flooding from natural disasters, leaky pipes, or septic tank issues. 

Smart Locks for Theft Deterrence

Installing smart locks with mobile alerts eliminate security concerns regarding lost or stolen employee keys, or terminations. These also immediately inform you if a door is unlocked, ajar, or opened by an unauthorized user.

Remotely Arming/Disarming Alarm Systems

Easily turn your business alarm on and off, from any location. This is also useful during after hours, should an employee require access to a job site. In conjunction with smart cameras, this ensures safely monitored entry points.  

Smart Lighting & Outlets

Schedule lights or other electronics to turn on and shut down each day. An app can also be set to activate smart bulbs should your camera detect outdoor motion.

Productivity Monitoring & Business Activity Analysis

When purchasing a commercial security camera package, motion detection rules and thresholds can be programmed for a wide variety of coverage, through Business Activity Analytics. This includes virtual tripwires for occupancy, group gatherings, and people-counting measures, as well as heat mapping and queue monitoring.

These technologies transform security within and around your place of business, and provide invaluable insights, such as customer traffic, marketing analytics, and inventory tracking through automated weekly or monthly reports.

Multi-Location Management

If you have several employees across multiple locations, consider tying together your analytics and information on one interface, via the Enterprise Dashboard. 

Occupancy & People Counting

A virtual tripwire at building entrances captures total occupancy via multi-directional counting. As this technology calculates how many cross this invisible line, you’ll receive immediate alerts about exceeding capacity levels.

Heat Mapping

Invisible ground zones track the locations and duration of customers, employees, guests, and others. Time-lapsed or single image heat maps examine average spot movements, for marketing insights and other consumer information.

Crowd Gathering

Virtual ground zones count the amount of people in a specific area. This can also detect unwanted loitering by both customers and employees. Real-time mobile device alerts will appear for overcapacity situations. 

Queue Monitoring

This virtual zone manages average customer wait time. Notifications appear if the queue length is too lengthy or exceeds pre-set durations.

Why Do Small Businesses Need Security Systems?

While all commercial properties are prone to theft and vandalism, small businesses are even more vulnerable. Many do not have the methods and technologies to monitor and review operations, logs, and activities both during and after business hours. Such a lack of security and surveillance increases opportunities for employees to steal. 

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as cited by insurance agency JW Surety Bonds, three out of four employees have admitted to stealing from their employer. 

With appropriate protection systems, small business owners are less likely to experience potential threats, incidents, associated losses, and other unsavory scenarios. 

Indoor, outdoor, and front door cameras with video surveillance provide constant protection, as well as viewing and playback of recorded footage of monitored areas, such as shop floors, front entrances, stairwells, stockrooms, kitchens, checkout areas, and others. 

Utilizing smart technologies such as motion detection and video analytics can also help deter smash-and-grab crimes, vandalism, and other potentially dangerous situations.

Do-It-Yourself vs. Professional Installations

A DIY commercial security system can be a cost-saving option for budget-minded and tech-savvy business owners. While General Security provides guidance and technical support to DIYers within local service areas, a professional installation could be more prudent for multiple locations with complex systems.

Utilizing a professional company also grants access to expert knowledge and guidance regarding product placement and other best practices.

Keeping Your Employees & Business Safe & Sound

It's important to work with an experienced provider such as General Security to help determine the best commercial security package to protect your employees, property, business, and assets.


General Security provides commercial security solutions for organizations of all sizes and industries. Request a free quote from us today!

Request a quote from us, today!