Closed-circuit television best practices for small businesses

By: Libby Reed
Risk Solutions Specialist

Closed-circuit television (CCTV), commonly referred to as video surveillance, is a popular security measure amongst individuals. Since technology is more widely available than ever before, many people are finding affordable security options to protect their homes and businesses. Numerous retailers market surveillance cameras that are often inexpensive and easy to install without professional assistance, appealing to small business owners concerned with protecting their assets.

Benefits of CCTV

  • Ability to view live video when away from the premises
  • Capability to record video footage and store data for extended periods
  • Potential to dissuade someone from breaking into the property or committing theft if they see there are surveillance cameras in the area
  • Ability to review footage should an adverse incident occur (e.g., break-in, robbery, confrontation, assault, etc.)
  • Incident footage may be useful evidence for local authorities, legal personnel, and insurance adjustors in displaying the series of events, persons involved, and other aspects of an occurrence

If a small business chooses to implement CCTV and related security measures, following best practices can help to ensure the effectiveness of their system. The following list describes some best practices but is not comprehensive. Please consult with product manufacturers, security professionals, and/or legal counsel regarding individual systems.

Best practices for CCTV

  • Ensure that the CCTV system, including all individual components, is properly installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Pay close attention to camera placement and ensure that key areas where an incident could occur are covered in the video footage. Always follow applicable privacy laws regarding camera placement and video surveillance.
  • Develop a formal policy with written procedures for system operation, monitoring, and maintenance. Any personnel that will have access to the system or performs maintenance should be trained on proper use and rules for data management.
  • Secure access to recorded and live video footage. Keep detailed records of where data is stored, what information is kept, and who has access.
  • Implement a policy describing how long recorded footage will be stored and procedures on how to properly remove old data.
  • Do not delete unfavorable footage from your system (e.g., footage showing negligence by the business), which may count as destroying evidence from a legal standpoint. Honesty is truly the best policy here.

Sources: Business News Daily, Vector Security

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