How to choose the best CCTV system for your small business

No longer only for protecting large commercial properties or monitoring public areas, closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras offer easy and accessible video surveillance for small businesses too. Plus, they can act as a deterrent against potential intruders.

With an increasing range of affordable options that are quick to set up and easy to run, as well as a number of specialist security companies, this type of protection is gaining popularity – read on to find out why.

This article will focus on security cameras for small businesses. In each section, some common questions will be answered. Also, some examples of top products and suppliers will be offered.

You’ll learn more about:

What is CCTV?
Which type of security camera should you choose?
Wired or wireless: which is best?
How can security cameras benefit your small business?
What are your legal obligations?

You can skip to the section that’s most relevant for you, or scroll down to read the complete guide in order.

If you’re ready to compare quotes now, fill in the form at the top of the page.

What is CCTV?

CCTV – also known as video surveillance or security cameras – allows you to record and monitor what’s happening on your premises. Whether you use wall-mounted cameras or standalone devices, security cameras are used to enhance safety, as well as to provide evidence, should a crime be committed on your property.

Which type of security camera should you choose?

One of the first things to take into consideration when choosing the best CCTV system for your business is if you want a camera that can work independently, or if you want to create a system (either now or in the future) that includes multiple cameras.

Another key decision is between wired or wireless – which type of device, and installation, will match your business’ needs the most?

You should think about the cost – balance the initial higher outlay for a wireless system against the expense of labour hire to fit a wired system.

Alternatively, consider the price of improving your business internet, or any other necessary tech updates, to run a security system wirelessly.

What are the different types of CCTV cameras?

Wireless cameras

  • Internet protocol (IP) cameras are digital and connected to the internet
  • Connect to a Wi-Fi network and can be accessed via a compatible device
  • Access the camera from anywhere in the world with an internet connection
  • Store data on the cloud or a micro SD card (a portable chip)
  • No need for professional installation
  • Apps used to accompany device and perform tasks e.g. change view, set alerts
  • Some may offer additional features e.g. a regular/security light

Wired cameras

  • Traditional choice for video surveillance
  • No need to rely on, or run, a computer and internet connection continuously
  • Suitable for remote locations that may lack reliable Wi-Fi
  • Can be designed and controlled by a specialist company
  • Offer a strong visual presence

Outdoor cameras

  • Designed specifically for external use
  • Weatherproof materials suitable for a range of climates
  • Can include anti-tamper features
  • May be wall-mounted

Wired or wireless: which is best?

Consider the disruption – if you’re looking for a quick fix to boost your security, then a DIY wireless camera can be up and running quickly. Whereas the wait for an engineer to install a wired system could be longer, as well as the actual disruption to your business while the fit is taking place.

Next, ask how important is visual design to your business? A wired system will need holes to be drilled. If you’re already operating, a wireless camera could be the way to go to avoid unnecessary additional fixes and repairs. However, if your business premises is still in the fit-out stage, then you could incorporate cables into the design process more easily.

Yet it may be something else that makes the decision for you – internet signal strength. A wireless CCTV camera system will require a reliable connection. Depending on your location, an adequate connection may not be possible, meaning wired cameras are the only option. If your site already has Wi-Fi capability, then be sure to check that you’ve got the strongest and fastest connection possible to run a system wirelessly. If not, then it could be worthwhile to upgrade your business broadband package.

Other factors

Some more key things to consider when choosing security cameras include:

Location – you’ll need to decide early on if you want indoor or outdoor cameras, or both. This will impact the type of CCTV system that you can have. As if external video surveillance is key for your business, then you’ll need to keep location a top priority to find the best outdoor security cameras for your business.

Storage – how much and how long you can store the recordings for is a key point to consider. Some cameras allow for seven days of storage, while other devices offer up to 30 days. Also, where will it be stored? Some options include remotely: on the cloud, digitally: on a micro SD card; or locally: on a computer or hard drive.

Night vision – decide if your business needs this extra functionality. For example, if you’re looking to monitor premises that may be a target at night in particular, such as construction sites or warehouses.

Price – there are several elements to this, including: initial outlay for the equipment and service, ongoing costs such as monthly subscriptions; as well as any other additional expense you may incur on an ad-hoc basis, such as maintenance and repairs.

Image resolution – this is measured in pixels (p); the higher the number, the greater the quality of the image. Low resolution cameras (e.g. 480p) are sufficient for general monitoring at a distance. High resolution cameras (e.g. 1080p) offer increased quality and close-up detail – for example, if you need to check car number plates.

Design – while the actual design can take many forms, CCTV cameras are essentially designed to be either discreet or to stand-out. Which you choose depends on your business needs, and in particular if you have a preference for either covert surveillance or to send a warning.

How to choose the best CCTV system for small business

  1. Think about your business requirements – why does it need CCTV?
  2. Decide on the number of cameras – individual or a system?
  3. Consider which type is most suitable – wired or wireless?
  4. Review your internet connection – is it adequate for your requirements?
  5. Think about where the cameras will be located – indoor, outdoor, or both?
  6. Match the design to your business’ needs – discreet or stand-out?
  7. Consider the additional functionalities you may require – storage, night vision, image resolution
  8. Check the cost – is it affordable and does it reflect the benefits?

How can security cameras benefit your small business?

Whenever you implement a new product or process into your business, you want to be sure that the benefits will warrant any cost and/or disruption. If you choose the best security cameras for your small business, then here are some of the ways in which you could benefit.

Increased security – Perhaps the key reason for installing CCTV is the enhanced protection and security it can offer your business. Knowing that your premises is monitored 24/7 can give you peace of mind.

Remote access – If you choose a smart camera that has an accompanying app, then you can view and monitor your security cameras remotely, from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

Decrease costs – Installing a security camera system into your building, whether you do it yourself or hire a professional company, can help to save money. This is because you can reduce the number of security guards, or you might not even need them at all.

Reduce errors – With a security camera that’s constantly recording, there’s no chance that suspicious activity may be missed, as is the case with traditional people-monitored systems. Plus, with additional features such as motion sensors and infrared, even the most minute movements can be detected.

Visual deterrent – CCTV can send a strong visual deterrent to would-be intruders. By placing cameras in prominent positions, people may be less likely to target your building if they know they’re being filmed.

Investigation evidence – The recordings captured can be essential when it comes to providing evidence for investigations, should your premises be broken into, or otherwise attacked.

What are your legal obligations?

By using CCTV on your premises, you’re collecting personal information about people. This can include capturing their identity on camera, as well as details like car number plates. This type of information is regulated by the Data Protection Act, the legislation which governs how companies can hold and use personal data.

If you decide to implement video surveillance, then you must inform people that you are doing so. Usually, this takes the form of signs that tell people CCTV is in use, and also who the provider/operator is (if applicable).

Furthermore, you also have to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The ICO is the independent authority in the UK for upholding data privacy for individuals and information rights for the public. You can find more information about your responsibilities as a CCTV operator here. The ICO has also compiled a Code of Practice to assist with legal compliance, which includes a handy checklist for small businesses.

Compare best security cameras

Essentially, there are two options when it comes to choosing the best CCTV system for your small business – self-installation or use a professional security company. Below are some top examples of each option.

Self-installation system

When you’re just starting your own business or you’re in the early stages of its operations, a security camera that you can install, use and monitor independently is probably your best option. Allowing you to protect your property and act as a deterrent to potential intruders, an IP camera that works with a wireless internet connection offers an ideal surveillance solution for start-ups.

The Arlo Pro stands out due to its multiple features and sleek design, as well as its accessibility – both financially and practically. So what does it feature?

Arlo Pro

  • Wireless connection
  • HD camera
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Built-in siren and two-way audio
  • Automatic night vision mode
  • Weatherproof – use indoor or outdoor
  • Cloud storage
  • Option
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Accompanying app available
  • Ideal for small commercial premises/home-based businesses

Professional installation

If you’re looking to step up your security surveillance – maybe because your business has high-value products or high-risk locations to protect – then a security camera system from a specialist company could be the best choice.

Secom is a leading UK security company and NSI Gold approved, meaning it’s been checked and meets the highest standards for alarm and security system installations. Plus, it also offers business alarms, so you could get full security protection from one company. So what does it offer?


  • Choice of packages – CCTV and IP cameras
  • Option to have a bespoke system designed
  • Offer video analytics to enhance camera surveillance
  • Provide advice about cameras: type, location, storage and light levels
  • Ideal for larger premises or growing businesses


A lot of information has been covered, from providing an understanding of CCTV, to details about how to choose a surveillance system. Plus, examples of products and suppliers to let you know what’s available out there. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Security cameras use freestanding or fitted devices to monitor a location
  • Connection is either wired (cables) or wireless (Wi-Fi)
  • Check your internet connection before installing a wireless camera
  • Select specially made outdoor cameras for external surveillance
  • Decide if a DIY system or a professional installation is required
  • Be aware of your responsibilities under the Data Protection Act
  • Choose CCTV cameras that match your business requirements
  • Consider what will be most cost-effective for your business: both now and as it grows

What are the next steps?

You’ve learned more about the different types of CCTV systems out there, as well as which factors to take into consideration when choosing the best security cameras for your small business.

Next, you can speak to experts – Startups can help with this. Fill in the form at the top of the page to compare quotes now.

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