Best commercial building and business security systems

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Security is paramount to the success of any business, which is why so many companies are devoting increasing resources to business security systems. The commercial security market is projected to reach $376.34 billion by 2028 and as a result, there has been an increasing number of companies that offer office security systems to cater to the specific needs of commercial spaces (Verified Market Research). Compared to multi-family residential security systems, commercial building security systems need to be more robust, and provide different types of protection to account for the large numbers of people that come and go, as well as the amount of data businesses transmit and store. While residential security often consists of a front door lock, an alarm system, and sometimes camera surveillance, businesses need more advanced security measures that do more than just protect the perimeter. In this article, you’ll learn how the different components of a commercial building security system can come together to create a holistic physical security strategy that addresses all safety and security concerns for your unique business. 

Types of commercial security systems

In a commercial setting, there are a few common security systems that businesses can choose to employ. Because not every business will require every type of system, it’s a good idea to consult with an office building security systems installer who can perform a security audit to determine the specific needs of a space. The most frequently used office security systems are: 

  • Access control—An access control system determines who can gain entry to office buildings and commercial spaces, usually with authorized credentials that can unlock a door.

  • Security cameras and video surveillance—Mounted cameras in commercial buildings help security teams see what’s happening in key areas to monitor office security through video footage. 

  • Alarm systems—Office security alarm systems can deter criminal activity, and notify personnel of a breach. Alarms can be directly connected to electromagnetic door locking mechanisms and an office door security system, or triggered by certain events on the property.

  • Sensors—Door contact sensors are installed to notify businesses when a door opens, or if it’s left ajar. For high-security spaces, some businesses may use infrared, laser, or microwave sensors for more advanced commercial building security.

  • Emergency and fire safety systems—Commercial building security systems need proper fire safety, like a business fire alarm system, and emergency detection equipment installed to be compliant with current local safety requirements.

  • Cybersecurity systems—Many businesses choose to add security for their networks designed to protect proprietary information and private data. Commercial cybersecurity systems can include anti-virus software, data encryption, traffic monitoring, and firewall protection.

  • Gate access systems—Many commercial properties can benefit from a gate security system, as this physical barrier can prevent theft and vandalism, provide 24/7 security, and help business owners better manage visitors and guests.

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How Openpath enhances your security system
  • Smartphone-based access control with industry-leading fast unlock and 99.9% reliability

  • Touchless Wave-to-Unlock capabilities and support for encrypted key cards, fobs, Apple Watch, and tablet credentials

  • Flexible cloud-based software with fully remote, multi-site management on any device

  • Scalable hardware and software with dynamic access permissions, granular controls, and customizable monitoring solutions

  • Seamlessly integrates with commercial security hardware, apps, and IoT systems 

  • Built-in safety features for emergency lockdowns, occupancy tracking, and video surveillance

  • Quick and easy to install, and backwards-compatible with existing legacy systems

Comparing commercial building and business security systems

There are a few key things to look for when comparing providers for the different components of a business security system. Some security systems for office buildings provide an all-in-one experience, which includes many of the above systems. Another option is to use different providers that focus on a specific type of technology. To get the most out of whatever commercial building security system you choose, carefully review each provider and product for: 

  • Interoperability—A system that can easily connect to other building systems gives you greater flexibility to customize and adapt over time. A commercial building security system that can only integrate with a few third-party technology partners limits functionality and scalability. 

  • Ease of installation—Always ask the security integrator about the scope of deploying a new system. If you want to avoid a full rip-and-replace or big construction project, look for business security systems that use standard wiring, like Openpath’s plug-and-play access control hardware. Similarly, make sure the systems you choose are easy to configure and set up once installed.

  • Cost of maintenance—While up-front costs are important for budgeting, don’t forget to look into long-term maintenance costs of office building security systems. For on-premise systems, compare the fees for regular onsite maintenance and the average cost of software upgrades. For any subscription services, review the monthly cost and look at the price difference to scale the system or add customized features.  

  • Customer service—Often overlooked, customer support is an important part of security infrastructure investments. Companies that are unresponsive or slow to fix system bugs can actually increase the chances of a breach while you’re waiting for assistance.

Another thing to check for when comparing business security system reviews is if the company is truly a best-of-breed technology provider. While an all-in-one solution is often tempting for businesses who want a quick-fix for their security woes, one-size-fits-all systems lack flexibility and limit customization. If the system is missing a key feature that you want, you’ll have to have third-party equipment or software installed, which will need to be managed separately. Alternatively, an all-in-one security system for business might include more than you need, which will likely cost more than you would spend if you used integrated solutions from different providers.

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Access control and commercial security

Over time, electronic key card-based access systems have largely replaced or supplemented the need for human guards and receptionists for commercial building security systems. However, key card systems are a hassle to manage and they’re very expensive. A recent study on U.S. student keycards found that 19% of students lose their access control cards each year. With replacement cards costing on average $22, this amounts to $83.6 million in losses each year. To avoid the security risks, hassle and cost of people sharing and losing their key cards, commercial building security systems often include a smarter security system for business, like a smartphone-based technology to manage access control.

A rising trend in commercial access control systems is the use of biometric two-factor authentication for high-security areas. Biometric-based access control systems use fingerprints, retina scans or facial recognition software to verify your identity. These tactics boost the efficacy of commercial access control and door lock systems by eliminating the threat of access card theft, and requiring more advanced identification than just having a credential on-hand.

For example, Openpath’s solutions harness the biometric scanning tech native to the smartphone that’s already in your and your employees’ pockets. Before granting access, Openpath asks your employees or guests for a fingerprint or facial scan on their smartphone. That way, you know for sure that only the right people have access.

Openpath is the best security system for business, particularly for organizations that want to take advantage of cloud-based, mobile access control. The Openpath system can be managed remotely, which is a great way to reduce overhead for enterprise security. Built with a truly open architecture, Openpath seamlessly integrates with other commercial building security systems via open API and mobile SDKs. This allows additional customization and flexibility, plus enables automations across the entire office security system, including other locations.

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Best video surveillance for offices and commercial buildings

Security cameras are a smart investment for office buildings, as they add a visual component to the security strategy. As a best practice, security experts recommend using a cloud-based video management system (VMS) to monitor, organize, and store the footage. One of the benefits of a cloud-based solution is the ability to view the video surveillance from anywhere, often in real-time. This means a security team at a headquarters in New York could log into the VMS and view live activity at an office in Los Angeles. 

Another advantage of having a video surveillance system is a lowered insurance rate. The presence of a video security system indicates that a business is taking the extra step to ensure safety. Insurance companies generally offer lower premiums covering water damage, break-ins, and fire for businesses with security cameras.  

The best video surveillance system for business security is one that is interoperable with other security systems, such as access control. Openpath’s open platform makes it easy to integrate with the leading VMS providers, including Cisco Meraki, Milestone, AVA, Camio, and Rhombus Systems. Together, access control and video surveillance provide enhanced asset protection by linking real-time video with entry activity. Openpath’s VMS integrations also enable more detailed audit trails, with powerful insights to increase ROI, improve space management, enforce social distancing, and establish better overall security posturing.  

One use case for an integrated VMS and access control system is a real-time forced entry. If an unauthorized person is trying to get through a door, the Openpath access control system sends out an alert to the security team. With an integrated system or a commercial intercom with video capabilities, the camera at that door shows what’s happening real-time, plus identifies exactly where that incident is occurring and an image of the person trying to enter. This helps security teams respond quickly and appropriately, helping them identify who is at the door, and how best to proceed. 

An integrated access control and video surveillance system can also be used to automate occupancy tracking in the workplace. Without integration, a video camera can provide a visual of who’s at the office and when, but on its own the video system can’t limit access. However, when integrated with the Openpath access control system, admins can use the Occupancy Dashboard to set capacity limits. Once the VMS can detect which spaces are reaching capacity, Openpath can automatically disable access to enforce social distancing. 

Installing and integrating video door readers with commercial video surveillance systems gives businesses a more complete view of what’s happening throughout their space. The Openpath Video Reader Pro allows security teams to remotely monitor all access activity from the vantage point of exactly where access-related events are occurring: at the door.

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Alarm systems for business security 

When talking about office security, the best commercial alarm systems for intrusion detection are the ones that do more than just identify unauthorized access and alert the authorities. ADT consistently ranks among the top commercial alarm systems because they offer more comprehensive solutions. Alongside office intruder alarms, ADT’s commercial security systems also include additional safety components. You can choose to add a business fire alarm system, and get environmental alerts for natural disasters. Plus, ADT’s business security alarm systems also offer a range of sensors and business cybersecurity products for added protection.

While individual security products are better than nothing, having commercial security systems that can work together creates a stronger, more secure building. One of the benefits of the ADT commercial alarm system is that it can be integrated with mobile access control from Openpath and managed remotely using a convenient app. With both systems in the cloud, security teams can view real-time access activity along with alarm status, as well as create automations to reduce false alarms and improve response time. For larger buildings and enterprise organizations, integrated business security alarm systems allow for greater automation across the entire operation with increased ROI. 

For example, if the Openpath system detects an unauthorized user attempting to unlock interior or exterior security doors, it can automatically trigger the ADT alarm to sound, and send security alerts to the right personnel. Admins can easily see in the Openpath dashboard who was attempting to enter that door, and remotely disable the alarm and even unlock the door if needed, reducing the chances of paying fees for a false alarm. The integration with Openpath’s cloud-based access control would also allow admins to remotely trigger a door unlock to either let employees out, or let first responders in. 

Aside from cloud-based integration, the Openpath system can also be configured to disarm security alarm systems. Integrate your business security alarm systems through physical wiring by simply contacting an alarm system provider and requesting to connect to the Openpath system through a dry relay. Once a security alarm system provider is wired to Openpath, the system is able to disarm the alarm when an authorized access event is detected.

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Cybersecurity for smart offices and commercial spaces

The Internet of things (IoT) is integrating systems that used to run independently without communicating with each other, paving the way for smart office security systems. In terms of office security, IoT connected solutions enable teams to monitor and manage entire systems—like your access control solution, surveillance cameras, burglar alarms, business fire alarm systems, office entry security systems, employee records, energy conservation systems, lighting systems, HVAC systems, smart coffee maker and other systems—all from a single, cloud-based control hub.

More business owners are now seeing the advantages of smart office technology. Imagine what a smart office could do in the event of a fire: Activate the business fire alarm system and sprinkler. Call the fire department. Notify key management personnel. Close off the fire doors to areas of the office that have sensitive equipment and records. Keep key doors open so occupants can exit the building. Activate a fire ventilation system to clear smoke from the premises. Use surveillance cameras to assist the fire department in locating people trapped in the building. Of course, a system like this requires the highest levels of end-to-end encryption and multi-factor authentication to ensure that only the right people can log into it.

Cybersecurity strategies and IT-managed networks are great for protecting data, while physical security monitoring, such as access control, helps protect the physical components associated with logical security. Along with cloud-based commercial security systems, we can expect continued advancements in server access control and encryption. Using highly encrypted systems like Openpath that operate in the cloud ensures businesses are running on the latest technology, with software updates pushed live instantly over-the-air. Comparatively, an on-premise commercial building security system will need manual software updates at each location or server every time there’s an upgrade.

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Business security system buying guide

Today, most organizations are looking for the best security system for business that offers a lot more than locks and a control panel. An alarm system, access control, video surveillance, and sensors are requirements for business security, as well as easy integration to existing systems. 

In addition to checking off the list of basic security requirements, some businesses need a customized security system; one that caters to their unique demands. Some businesses prioritize a robust, fortress-like security system with high-tech equipment and 24/7 professional monitoring, while others might focus on budget-friendly solutions with DIY installation. Our below commercial security system reviews lists a number of options based on budget, installation options, subscription service, and interoperability. 

Wherever your business falls on the spectrum of security needs, it is important to consider access control as a significant piece of your commercial building security system. Openpath is a great option for cloud-based access control that easily integrates with many of the leading security providers for a frictionless user experience. Talk to our experts to get an access control demo and learn more about how Openpath can work for your business.

Top business security system companies

ADT

One of the leading brands in residential and commercial security systems, ADT is best for businesses needing specialized security. If you can’t seem to find the right security system to fit your business’s specific needs, ADT might be able to fill in the gaps. 

  • Easy integration to other security and access control systems like Openpath

  • Custom security solutions to fit specific needs

  • Remote surveillance and access control with a mobile app

  • Professional installation and surveillance

  • Top-rated customer support for commercial building security systems

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Frontpoint

Known for its DIY approach and budget-friendly rates, Frontpont scores high for installation support and general security features. Professional installation is not available, but Frontpoint’s security systems are easy enough to install in an hour. Best security system for business owners who want to save on professional installation costs without sacrificing quality.  

  • User-friendly installation with plug-and-play hardware

  • Professional monitoring plan options 

  • Cellular connection with Wi-Fi backups and a 24-hour battery backup

  • Wide range of sensors, detectors, cameras, and smart devices to choose from

  • Top-rated customer support

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SimpliSafe

Similar to Frontpoint, SimpliSafe offers a DIY business security system installation at an accessible price point. It is best for businesses on a budget needing to cover security basics like locks, cameras, and environmental monitors to detect fire and flood. 

  • Easy DIY hardware installation

  • An option for professional installation is available at an accessible price

  • Only available as an indoor security system with no outdoor-rated hardware option

  • Intuitive mobile app that allows users to control the system from anywhere

  • Sleek design that makes devices look invisible

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Vivint

Vivint has a lot to offer when it comes to office security systems, from custom installations and easy integration to existing equipment, to 24/7 professional monitoring. Vivint’s custom approach allows businesses to find what works best based on their size, space, and vulnerable weak points.  

  • High-quality devices at more accessible price points

  • Wireless security cameras with motion detection

  • Smart features, including locks, thermostats, and temperature sensors to detect fire and flooding

  • Mobile capabilities that include complete system control, live or recorded video viewing, and a two-way talk feature

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Bay Alarm

Bay Alarm has the basics covered, with additional features that elevate their commercial security system. Known for exceptional customer service, the office security systems work best for new businesses that need the extra support.

  • Exceptional monitoring services with 24/7 support

  • Professional installation is required

  • Mobile app that allows users to remotely arm or disarm the alarm

  • Top-rated customer service

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Honeywell Sensors

A truly DIY solution, Honeywell is ideal for anyone looking to add a first layer of protection to their businesses without the additional cost and commitment to a professional monitoring subscription. Their security sensors are compatible with most third-party systems.  

  • DIY installation without an option for professional fitting

  • Well-designed sensors at competitive price points

  • A wide range of sensor options to choose from

  • Remote viewing through a mobile app

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Alarm.com

Known for its high-tech equipment, Alarm.com is best for tech-savvy business owners. The company offers interactive security with a two-way voice system, professional video monitoring, and an energy management feature that controls thermostats and lights. The mobile app allows users total remote access and is easily integrated to other apps. 

  • Easy DIY office building security systems installation

  • Professional installation is available through third-party dealers

  • Building management feature such as HVAC systems and temperature control to detect fire and flood

  • Cloud-based platform ideal for a multisite business security system

  • Easy integration to wireless locks from Schlage and Salto

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