Best Security Systems for Small Businesses – Including Retail & Restaurants

Danielle Antosz
Last Updated on October 21, 2020
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Building a business is hard work. Keeping your investment, employees, and customers safe requires a security system that fits your budget and meets your needs.

Whether you’re concerned primarily about burglaries, loss prevention, or shoplifting, the right security system will give you peace of mind.

This guide explores a range of security solutions for small businesses. The technologies covered include video surveillance and alarm systems, and devices that monitor for environmental hazards like freezing temperatures, water leaks, fire, and carbon monoxide.

Since businesses have different security needs, we’ve broken down this list of security solutions into three separate sections; general small businesses, retail, and restaurant.

Small Business Security Systems

These security systems are suitable for service-based businesses, warehouses, offices, or solopreneurs who work from home.

If you are mainly concerned about burglaries and environmental hazards, like fire and water damage, these are the systems for you. Some companies (like ADT) do require a minimum monitoring contract, so keep that in mind when comparing pricing.

SimpliSafe: Low-Cost, No Contract, DIY Installation

Designed for the home or small businesses, SimpliSafe is a smart security system that you can customize to fit your needs.

  • No wiring or professional installation is needed
  • There are no contracts for monitoring
  • Supports Alexa and Nest
  • Doorbell cameras available

Components can be purchased a la carte, including motion detectors, doorbell video cameras, glass-breaking sensors, surveillance cameras (indoor only), smoke detectors, water leak detectors, freezing temperature detectors, and panic buttons.

That means you can buy the basics today and expand your system gradually.


simplisafe homepage


The system is easy to set up and uses peel-and-stick adhesive strips. The base station comes with a built-in wireless cell connection that communicates via Verizon or T-Mobile networks. There’s also power outage protection.

SimpliSafe is compatible with smart devices like Alexa, Google, Apple Watch, August Locks, and more.

Is SimpliSafe any good?

The SimpliSafe system is reliable, easy to set up, and is one of the most affordable security systems available. One of the big pluses is you can decide how many components you want to purchase and expand your system at your convenience.

There’s no contract for monitoring and monitoring is optional. Be aware that one SimpliSafe system will cover about 1,000 square feet.

Abode: Lots of Smart Home Integrations

Like Simplisafe, Abode offers a build-your-own security system package, which makes it easy to choose the components you need to protect your business.

Their components are similar to Simplisafe’s and include glass break detectors, occupancy detectors, open window sensors, indoor and outdoor siren, water sensors, and smoke alarm.

  • Supports a wide array of home automation devices including Zigbee and Z-Wave
  • Detects occupancy
  • Doorbell camera available

abode homepage

Unlike other systems, which only alert you if something is wrong, this system allows you to tell if someone is on-premises, no matter what they are doing.

No monitoring contract is required.

FrontPoint: Variety of Cameras, Smart Home Features

Like Abode and Simplisafe, FrontPoint offers self-installed smart security systems with automated technology and 24/7 monitoring.

  • Unlike Simplisafe, FrontPoint offers outdoor cameras.
  • Supports home automation via smart door locks, garage door openers, smart light bulbs, temperature control.

Equipment includes cameras, keypads, motion sensors, glass break sensors, carbon monoxide sensors, flood sensors, and smoke and heat sensors.


frontpoint homepage

They also offer a range of automation accessories, including smart locks, light bulbs, light controls, and a panic pendant.

Nest Secure

Made by Google, this system offers a full range of security and automation features including indoor and outdoor cameras, doorbell cameras, a learning thermostat, alarms, and motion sensors.

  • Smart home automation
  • Voice-controlled

google nest

It can be monitored by phone app and deactivated using the Nest Tag, which does not require a passcode, the app, or the Nest Keypad.

Fully customizable and integrates with Google Home devices.

Nest partners with Brinks Home Security for monitoring. In fact, you can buy Nest directly from Brinks.

It also works with SimpliSafe, Abode, Vivint, and many other security systems.

Price Comparison of Security Systems With DIY Installation

The following systems are designed for easy installation. They use “peel-and-stick” components in most cases.

BrandLowest Monthly
Monitoring Cost
Basic PackageMoney-Back
Guarantee
SimpliSafe$14.99Approx. $20060 days
Abode$20.00*Approx. $20030 days
FrontPoint$34.99Approx. $6930 days
Google Nest$29.99**$39930 days

* Abode offers a lower fee for monitoring during the first year when paid annually. After the first year, the monitoring price rises to $20/month.

** Monitoring by Brinks

The following security systems require professional installation and you must contact the company to get a price quote.

Vivint: Basics Plus Smart Doorbells and Locks

  • Voice-controlled home automation
  • Two-way audio communication on doorbell camera
  • Must contact company for a price quote
  • Requires professional installation

Vivint is a wireless, smart home, and small business security system with 24/7 monitoring. It’s pricier than the options listed above in this article.

Components include security cameras, doorbell cameras, outdoor cameras, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, water sensors, and store automation products, such as a smart thermostat and smart locks.

Price includes professional installation.

vivint homepage

The system can be monitored via a mobile app, Google Home or Amazon Echo device, or the Vivint Smart Hub device.

ADT: Wired or Wireless, Remote Door Lock Control

  • Sophisticated panel supports 128 zones, 96 users, and home automation
  • Runs on cellular or wifi
  • Must contact company for a price quote

ADT are known for their wired security solutions. Features include intrusion detections, access control, video surveillance, fire protection, and cybersecurity solutions.

However, in the face of upstart competitor Simplisafe and DIY security solutions, ADT has released a wireless solution called Pulse and ADT Command. With the mobile app, you can remotely control lighting and door locks in addition to receiving alerts.

adt homepage

They offer a risk assessment to explore your security and automation needs before installation.

Most wired plans require a 36-month monitoring contract.

Retail Security Systems

Every year, shoplifting and fraud cost retailers over $46 billion according to the National Trade Federation (NRF). So, when it comes to retail security, many businesses want to do more than prevent break-ins, they also want to prevent theft from both employees and guests.

The retail security systems in this section will help you provide a secure environment for shoppers, guests, and employees by limiting theft, prevent unauthorized access, securing the perimeter and parking lots, and warning you about fires and other environmental hazards.

Many retail security systems offer video surveillance solutions, facial and object recognition, EAS security tags for clothing, electronic alarm portals, and solutions for securing electronics on display.

What is an EAS system?

Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) is a technology that is used to detect tagged items if they pass through a detection system and alert staff.

They are most often magnetically attached sensors which cause an alarm to sound if the item passes through a door sensor. EAS systems are considered the standard in retail theft prevention.

InVue: Retail Display Security That’s Customer-Friendly

InVue offers a range of retail-specific anti-theft features, including several for display and hanging merchandise, cabinet and drawer locks, and iPad stands used in point-of-sale (POS).

  • Their products are designed to boost customer engagement and interaction

Their OneKey device makes it easy for stores to manage which employees can access merchandise. This reduces theft and can improve customer service.


invue homepage

Their anti-theft devices work by limiting access and preventing items from being removed from displays.

Stanley Security: Comprehensive On-Site Security

Stanley Security offers a broad range of security solutions, including video surveillance, intrusion detection, access control, and fire detection.

They also provide:

  • Comprehensive life safety systems that are compliant
  • Advanced analytics for loss prevention
  • Solutions for small business and large commercial enterprises

stanley security homepage

Retail-specific security solutions include traditional store monitoring, lockdown systems, panic buttons, EAS (electronic article surveillance, which is deactivated at purchase to prevent theft), and much more.

ADT Retail: Surveillance and Access Control

ADT also offers retail-specific security solutions that include environmental, intrusion, theft, and cybersecurity risks.

  • Indoor/outdoor video surveillance for site security and to reduce inventory theft
  • Hold-up alarms and other employee safety features

They provide a range of options, including fire alarms, intrusion alerts, video monitoring, access control, and POS monitoring.


adt retail homepage


How much does ADT Business Security cost a month? Monitoring contracts vary based on the security solution you choose, but the average cost is between $50 and $60 per month.

Installation and equipment costs vary based on your needs.

Sensormatic: Loss Prevention and Inventory Tracking

Sensormatic (a division of Johnson Controls) is specifically designed for loss prevention. They offer top of the line solutions designed to protect all types of merchandise in any retail location.

Their solutions focus on:

  • Theft reduction that includes insights to reduce shrinkage
  • Smart inventory control that offers personalized shopping experiences to boost engagement and conversions

sensormatic homepage

Solutions include electronic article surveillance, source tagging, video monitoring, and in-depth analysis so you can make informed security decisions.

Sensortags: Security Tags and Detection Portals

Designed to protect your business form both internal and external theft, Sensortags offers security tags, door monitors to alert staff of theft, as well as tag removers, activators, and lanyards.

Their products include:

  • Hard security tags available for a variety of frequency ranges
  • Deactivators and detachers
  • Accessories like lanyards, p-clamps, extra pins
  • Entry/exit portals

sensortags homepage


This company does not offer video, intrusion, or fire security solutions.

However, for retail stores looking for just theft protection devices, this may be a reliable option.

SoLink: Smart Video Surveillance Linked to Each Transaction

SoLink provides a unique “smart” video analysis service that is searchable by transaction and that integrates with your other security systems.

With this system, merchants can:

  • Identify and pinpoint trends and events affecting profitability
  • View video of any transaction that is flagged as problematic

Their systems help businesses match video footage with transactions, and focuses your attention on notable events, unusual transactions, and unauthorized activity.


solink homepage

Solutions include 360 video surveillance and monitoring, detailed filters and searching, and an easy to use app for reviewing and sharing video footage.

They also offer in-depth reporting, including analysis of revenue, motions and events, filtered searches, and a graphic view of data through the Discover Dashboard.


Video: This interview with Jack-in-the-Box will give you an immediate insight into Solink’s value.

VideoSurveillance.com: Indoor and Outdoor Video Security Systems

VideoSurveillance.com offers video surveillance solutions to protect your retails store inside and out.

Their cameras are sturdy enough for outdoor installation and can be used to monitor parking lots, entrances and exits, warehouses, and more.

Features and options include:

  • Rugged outdoor design
  • Discreet placement option
  • Instantly view areas when an alarm goes off
  • HD resolution

videosurveillance homepage


They offer IP video systems with 720p or 1080p HD resolution for clear image capture.

Kogniz: AI-Powered Threat Detection

Kogniz is a very different retail security system. They provide an AI security solution to protect retail environments.

Unlike most systems, which just record footage, Kogniz’s video monitoring systems use facial and object recognition to provide threat detection and analysis.

The system can detect:

  • Loitering
  • Unusual repeat visits or casing
  • Presence of an individual on a “watchlist”
  • Objects and weapons

kogniz homepage

It works with your existing video surveillance to provide a safer environment and prevent theft.

Pricing is not listed on their site; you must contact for a quote.

Restaurant Security Systems

Restaurants face unique business challenges, including high customer traffic counts, high employee turnover, risks of hold-ups or robberies, perishable inventory, and tighter-than-average profit margins.

As a result, restaurants require customized security solutions that keep these factors in mind. As a restaurant owner or manager, you are likely interested in video surveillance; fire prevention; guest and employee safety; and cash register or POS surveillance.

The systems below offer a range of security solutions designed with restaurants in mind, including panic buttons, installation of fire protection systems, and parking lot protection.

Stanley Security Systems: Comprehensive, Customized

Stanley Security Systems offers a full range of security solutions for restaurants, including intrusion alarms, access control systems, video surveillance, and monitoring, silent alarms for robbery protection, panic buttons, fire alarm systems, safe locks, and monitoring solutions.

Their offerings include:

  • The Sonitrol audio-verified intrusion technology
  • Access control
  • Duress and hold-up solutions, including panic buttons
  • Video surveillance and monitoring
  • Fire alarm systems and regular test and inspection services for compliance and safety

stanley security restaurants


They also provide system installation, design, monitoring, and maintenance plans.

Stanley Security has experience providing security for a variety of restaurants, from neighborhood pubs to national chains.

CPI Business: Video Surveillance, Intrusion Detection

CPI offers custom security solutions for restaurants, including fire monitoring, access control, and video monitoring. They have offices in the southeastern United States including North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia.

Solutions include:

  • A mobile app that receives instant alerts including changes in refrigeration temperatures. You can monitor a situation in real-time including viewing multiple camera feeds simultaneously.
  • Video surveillance and continuous recording
  • Professional monitoring uses audio/video verification when dispatching police

You can access real-time audio and video streams via your mobile phone and receive alerts related to things like access and temperature.

cpibusiness homepage

CPI protects several national brands, including Wendy’s and Five Guys.

Johnson Controls: Comprehensive, Plus Real-Time Vehicle Monitoring

Johnson Controls offers security systems designed with restaurants and entertainment locations in mind.

Standout features include:

  • Temperature and humidity monitoring
  • Real-time fleet and driver monitoring
  • Remote video escort for cash transfer events

Additional features include integrated video surveillance, intrusion detection, commercial fire safety systems, and access control to protect sensitive areas.

johnsoncontrols homepage


Remote management means you can access everything via the web from any location.

Contact them to receive a customized assessment and quote.

Protection1: Serves Small or Chain Clients

Protection1 is a customer service-focused security company that offers a range of solutions designed with restaurants in mind.

Key features include:

  • Extensive critical condition monitoring (temperature, humidity, electrical, excess water levels, etc.)
  • Asset sensors and monitoring (e.g. copper wiring, computers)
  • Backup communications in event of tampering or outages.

Protection1 offers standard intrusion detection, fire and life safety alarms, video surveillance to ensure food safety and protect against theft, and integrated phone communication systems.


protection1 homepage

Their eSuite reporting and analytics platform makes it easier to turn tons of data into actionable reports you can use to protect your business further.

Sonitrol: Comprehensive, Audio Verification

Sonitrol provides custom-designed and installed security solutions. Their intrusion detection technology uses audio to dispatch law enforcement quickly.

The company states: they have “the highest apprehension rate and the lowest false alarm rate in the industry.”


Watch as police respond to an automotive shop burglary and capture the suspect with the help of Sonitrol.

Features include standard security solutions, such as video surveillance, access control, fire alarms, and intrusion alerts, but they also offer restaurant-specific solutions such as freezer and kitchen temperature monitoring and online access control.

Sonitrol provides a $5,000 performance warranty if a forced entry is not detected. They also offer a 3-month satisfaction guarantee.

sonitrol homepage


FAQ

Here are some common Q&As on business security systems. Feel free to add your question in the comments below this article. We’d be delighted to answer it.

How much does it cost to install a security system?

Not all security systems require professional installation. Systems like SimpliSafe, Abode, and FrontPoint cost nothing to install: they use peel-and-stick adhesive on their components so anyone can install their own systems. There’s no wiring or drilling required.

Installation costs for other types of security systems can vary widely depending on the company and the size and type of systems you’re installing. Costs may start at $100 and range up to the tens of thousands of dollars to cover multiple retail locations.

How much does a security system cost for a small business?

The cost will depend on the type of system you’re purchasing and the area that’s being covered. Expect to spend at least $250. A 1,000 square foot office or warehouse can use a system from SimpliSafe, which starts at $214 for a base station, keypad, and two entry sensors.

Add-on components from SimpliSafe cost between $14.99 – $34.99 with security cameras coming in at $99 per. Monitoring starts at $14.99/month.

Visit the sites of other security companies to compare costs. Some security companies may require that you contact them for a quote.

What is the best low-cost security system for business?

The best low-cost security system for your business is going to depend on variables like liability issues in your industry, what type of products you offer, and what business you’re in.

That said, for a straightforward security system with intrusion detection and panic buttons, you can’t go wrong with SimpliSafe.

SimpliSafe is cost-effective for new businesses. You can start with as few components as you like, and order additional ones a la carte, as you grow.

Can you use SimpliSafe without a subscription?

Yes, you can use any SimpliSafe security system without paying for professional monitoring. Realize though, that if you don’t sign up for professional monitoring, SimpliSafe will not dispatch police for you when your alarm goes off.

At any time you can opt-in for professional monitoring for $14.99/month. Since there are no contracts, you can use and cancel the monitoring at will.

Does SimpliSafe automatically call the police?

If you’ve signed up for SimpliSafe’s monthly professional monitoring, then any time your alarm is triggered SimpliSafe will call you. If you do not answer your phone, they will call your backup number (which may be your cellphone).

If you don’t answer that number they will contact 911 and emergency services will be dispatched to your location.

Note: When you sign up for monitoring, you will choose the two numbers for them to call.

Does Vivint do commercial security?

Yes, like other wireless security providers (including FrontPoint, Abode, and SimpliSafe), Vivint can be used to protect businesses.

However, unlike the other 3 providers mentioned, you’ll need to contact Vivint to get pricing information: there isn’t any pricing listed on their website.

Is ADT better than SimpliSafe?

ADT used to only offer “wired” security systems that required professional installation. With the release of Pulse and the recent release of ADT Command, the company entered the wireless market as a competitor to upstarts like the budget-friendly Simplisafe.

Which is better for you will depend on your needs and your budget. Generally, you’ll pay more for ADT.

That added cost is connected to sophisticated technology. For example, the ADT Command panel supports up to 96 users and 128 “zones.” It can run concurrently on cellular and wifi. Like Simplisafe, it can be voice-controlled via Alexa.

What are the different types of security tags?

The different types of security tags used in retail include:

  • EAS tags, which set off an alarm when they pass through a doorway.
  • “Benefit denial” tags like CheckInk tags, which eject dye to ruin stolen clothing.
  • Bottle tags prevent theft of liquor.
  • Optical tags prevent eyewear theft.
  • Visual tags, which don’t set off alarms but by their presence mitigate theft.
  • Cable security tags are used to attach a tag to a retail object like a fishing reel.
  • Lanyards or “leashes” are used in conjunction with alarm devices to secure electronics like smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches on display.

How do RFID security tags work?

RFID stands for radio frequency identification. There are two types of RFID tags, passive or active. Active tags use a microchip and antenna to transmit and receive data via radio waves.

Passive tags receive energy from an RFID reader, are longer-lasting and more robust than active tags. Both active and passive tags require a reader.

Some anti-theft applications of RFID tags include tagging of retail products and company equipment.

Conclusion

Three key factors you should keep in mind when choosing the right security solution are:

  • The needs of your physical location, such as how many cameras are required and whether you need access control
  • Your future security needs as your business grows
  • The unique security risks your business faces, such as whether you need EAS capabilities.

Be sure to consider additional costs, such as installation fees, monitoring costs, and whether you are required to sign up for a minimum monitoring contract.

Choosing the right security system for your business is no small matter; in a tragic event, it could be the difference between life and death.

Take the time to consider all your options and make an informed decision.

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