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9 tips for security camera best practices

April 14, 2015

Businesses that base their building security plans completely on security cameras can create a false state of security. The cameras could be faulty, not positioned properly or in the right places, or not suitable for seeing in the dark. Yet, when careful consideration is given to their selection and use, cameras can become a valuable ally in your overall security plan.

Head of Real Estate Zurich North America

Adam Hurley is Head of the Real Estate customer industry segment for Zurich North America. He is... About this expert

security camera

How can you make sure your surveillance cameras are really helping to secure your building? Zurich’s commercial property insurance team offers some helpful tips:

  • Selection: Make sure your camera is of good quality and installed correctly to ensure proper visibility for current time and recorded viewing. Conducting a site security assessment can help determine your needs; using a professional installer is also important.
  • Placement: Consider where previous incidents have occurred when selecting camera installation sites. As blind spots are discovered, budget for additional equipment. Installation also should be secure and not within reach of passersby. 
  • Recording method: Figure out how long you want to keep recordings. Will you use a loop system to record over prior events or will separate tapes be maintained for a set period before disposal or reuse?
  • Real-time monitoring: Decide if your security staff needs monitors for real-time viewing. If so, hold them responsible for monitoring the screens on a regular basis. 
  • Staff training: Make sure employees avoid blocking the camera’s view. What good is a camera placed in a critical area if an employee is obstructing the camera’s lens?
  • Footage retrieval: Label tapes with dates and areas to make search and retrieval easy and efficient. 
  • Incident investigation: Use recorded footage when investigating incidents. 
  • Maintenance and adjustment: Check periodically for equipment condition and adjustment needs. Your security or facilities management personnel should be able to inspect equipment, make minor adjustments (i.e., angle viewing changes) and know how to get equipment professionally repaired or replaced. 
  • Hand-held cameras: Consider purchasing a handheld video camera to tape planned and surprise drills and supplement your recording equipment.

In this era of heightened security risks for facilities in almost every industry, a well-thought-out security plan can be your best defense against criminal activity, security breaches and overall property damage.

Without proper planning and prevention, are premise liability claims more likely? Visit Zurich’s Property security site for additional resources to help you protect your facility. 


The information in this publication was compiled from sources believed to be reliable for informational purposes only. All sample policies and procedures herein should serve as a guideline, which you can use to create your own policies and procedures. We trust that you will customize these samples to reflect your own operations and believe that these samples may serve as a helpful platform for this endeavor. Any and all information contained herein is not intended to constitute advice (particularly not legal advice). Accordingly, persons requiring advice should consult independent advisors when developing programs and policies. We do not guarantee the accuracy of this information or any results and further assume no liability in connection with this publication and sample policies and procedures, including any information, methods or safety suggestions contained herein. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any of this information, whether to reflect new information, future developments, events or circumstances or otherwise. Moreover, Zurich reminds you that this cannot be assumed to contain every acceptable safety and compliance procedure or that additional procedures might not be appropriate under the circumstances. The subject matter of this publication is not tied to any specific insurance product nor will adopting these policies and procedures ensure coverage under any insurance policy.

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