This article is part of a larger series on Retail Management.
Modern business security systems include everything from locks to motion detectors to flood monitors. Some offer equipment-specific tools like tags to prevent shoplifting. Most systems include a smart app for monitoring and controlling the system, while some integrate with Alexa or Google Home to set temperature, turn on lights, or activate the alarm.
We looked for the best business security systems with high-quality tools at reasonable prices and 24/7 professional monitoring. Some on our list are adapted from home security systems, while others offer more specialized services.
Based on our evaluations, the best small business security systems are:
- SimpliSafe: Best overall business security system
- Vivint: Best for smart device functionality
- Tattletale: Best for large outdoor areas or job sites like construction, garden centers, schools, churches, and auto dealerships
- Cove: Best office security system
- Frontpoint: Best DIY security solution with professional monitoring
- Vector: Best security system for large or multilocation businesses
- Brinks: Best for businesses that have existing security equipment
- ADT: Best for businesses needing specialized security or cybersecurity
Best Business Security Systems Compared
Free self-monitoring option
Professional monitoring monthly fee
Smart platforms integration
$274–$503 for kits
Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Watch, August Locks, and Nest Thermostat
$19.99–$44.99 (home); custom quote for businesses
From $599 for kits
Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Call for quote
Optional (from $79)
Amazon, Alexa, Google Assistant
$49.20** (home); custom quote for businesses
$402.96–$790.91 for kits
Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
$44.95–$69.95 (home); custom quote for businesses
Kit included in plan
Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Watch
From $199 for kits
Nest Secure, Smart Security Systems, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa
$45.99–$59.99+ (Call for quote)
From $599 for kits
Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
*$9.99 includes self-monitoring with unlimited recordings and alerts. Professional monitoring starts at $14.99 per month.
**Price depends on a 36-month contract.
***When purchasing online, Frontpoint assumes a 36-month contract at checkout. Call to see if you can get a lesser contract or monthly service.
Not sure which system is right for you? Take this three-question quiz for our recommendation (without being redirected to another page):
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SimpliSafe: Best Overall Small Business Security System
SimpliSafe is a popular security solution with inexpensive pricing and easy-to-use equipment you can install yourself. It’s the best choice for budget-minded businesses that need basic security in the form of locks, cameras, and environmental monitors like flood and fire. It earned good reviews from real-world users.
SimpliSafe earned 4.15 out of 5 in our evaluation. While it provides great value for the money, it is a home system that can be adapted for businesses. As such, it lacks some of the more advanced features you can find with bigger companies like Vivint, ADT, or Tattletale.
Lack of equipment-specific monitoring, truly wireless cameras (though some are Wi-Fi-enabled, they still need to be plugged into a power source), and limited video recording options are where SimpliSafe lost points. Vivint, on the other hand, does have all of these features (just at a higher price). SimpliSafe also offers no clear policy on reimbursement if its system fails and you have a theft or damage. Some, like ADT and Cove, offer some reimbursement.
Monitoring: SimpliSafe offers three monitoring plans. The plans are monthly and do not require a contract.
- Self-Monitoring plan with camera recording ($9.99/month): It does not tie to emergency services, but includes a timeline event log, remote arm/disarm, unlimited camera recording for five cameras, and smart home integration
- Standard plan ($18.00/month): Police, fire, and medical dispatch services, remote arm/disarm, and base station/cellular backup, plus a seven-day timeline event log, but no video verification
- Interactive Monitoring Plan ($27.99/month): All the features of the Self-Monitoring and Standard Plans, with unlimited camera recording for 10 cameras
Hardware: SimpliSafe has starter kits that include the base system and keypad, plus a combination of entry sensors, smoke detectors, motion sensors, smart locks, cameras, key fobs, and more (detailed below). You can also build your own set. Individual pieces of equipment run from $14.99 to $169.99.
SimpliSafe Starter Kits
Best for: Standard brick-and-mortar security
Best for: Businesses looking to protect employees and sensitive equipment
Best for: Establishments with multiple entrances and a lot of foot traffic
Best for: Restaurants and coffee shops with multiple entrances and windows
Includes three entry sensors and a motion sensor for your entrances and hallways, plus a base station, a keypad, and a free HD camera
Includes three entry sensors, two motion sensors, one panic button, one free HD camera, a base station, and a keypad
Includes two entry sensors, two glass-break sensors, one motion sensor, one panic button, one free HD camera, a base station, and a keypad
Includes three entry sensors, two motion sensors, two panic buttons, one glass break sensor, one key fob, one free HD camera, a base station, and a keypad
- Equipment: Unlike many of the systems on our list, which use third-party equipment, SimpliSafe manufactures its own. The camera and doorbell camera include intelligent heat sensors to tell a human from an animal, and the camera motion sensors can tell the difference between humans and cars. It notifies you when it sees unusual activity, and you can view the video or set it to record using the app.
- Take it anywhere: The SimpliSafe system is easy to install yourself, and you can take it with you when you move. Others, like Vivint, charge you to transfer equipment, while several require you to sign a new contract for the new location.
- Video verification (add-on): With this addition to your plan, SimpliSafe can view video footage related to an event to determine if an intruder is on the premises and understand what is happening at the location. It helps reduce false alarms. We found this feature with Vector and ADT as well.
- Environmental monitoring: With a professional monitoring plan, you also get SimpliSafe’s fire, flood, and extreme temperature monitoring tools. This also gives you a chance to qualify for insurance discounts with some insurance providers. Tattletale and Vivint also have temperature monitoring.
- Smart platform integrations: SimpliSafe offers both smart home and business platform integrations, namely: Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Watch, August Locks, and Nest Thermostat.
Where SimpliSafe Falls Short
- Glitching: Real-world user reviews often complained about the equipment glitching. False alarms and camera glitches are common complaints with most systems on our list.
- Unclear reimbursement policy: SimpliSafe does not have a clear policy of reimbursement if you are burgled or have damage because a system fails. We were told the policies change and “perhaps” it would reimburse you a couple of months’ monitoring fees. There is nothing on the website.
Vivint: Best Business Security System for Smart Device Functionality
Vivint has plans for both home and business, provides custom installation that may be able to incorporate any existing equipment you have, and has 24/7 professional monitoring. Vivint offers smart locks, environmental sensors for temperature or flooding, smart thermostats, and a smart control panel to run it all. Plus, its cameras are wireless.
In our evaluation, Vivint earned a 3.95 out of 5. It earned high scores for everything but price and general features. Vivint’s contracts are 42 to 60 months, which brought its score down significantly. Its equipment is standard, but it took a hit for not having biometric locks. Vivint has an excellent user satisfaction rate on our list, coming in behind Frontpoint and Cove.
Vivint provides custom quotes for businesses, but for comparison, its home security prices are among the lowest on our list. Home security monitoring runs from $19.99 to $44.99 monthly, with equipment packages starting at around $599. Vivint installation fees begin at $49.99 with $100+ for transferring your system after a move. Warranties are only 120 days unless you pay for premium service.
Vivint’s contracts run three-and-a-half to five years, which is slightly higher than most business security systems. Only SimpliSafe, Cove, and Tattletale do not have contracts. Frontpoint has contract requirements as low as one year. Vivint’s contracts are notoriously hard to get out of, so choose carefully.
Vivint Hardware Packages
Premium Plus Package
Includes three door and window sensors, a motion sensor, a water sensor, a smart hub, a yard sign, and window decals
Includes an outdoor camera, a doorbell camera, three door and window sensors, a motion sensor, a water sensor, a key fob, a smart lock, a smart hub, a yard sign, and window decals
Includes two outdoor cameras, a doorbell camera, an indoor camera, three door and window sensors, a motion sensor, a smart thermostat, a water sensor, a myQ Smart garage hub, a key fob, a smart lock, a smart hub, a yard sign, and window decals
- Alarm system equipment: Vivint offers smart locks; door, window and motion sensors; environmental sensors for temperature or flooding; smart thermostats; and a smart control panel to run everything. The temperature sensors include overheating or freezing alarms for sensitive equipment.
- Surveillance equipment: Monitor your inventory with motion-detecting indoor cameras with built-in speaker and microphone, plus an outdoor camera that offers a 140-degree field of view, night vision, and zoom, which can recognize the difference between an animal and an intruder. The Vivint Smart Drive allows you to store your video footage for 30 days. (Users have lately complained about the cameras, however, saying they pick up small movements while missing people and cars. Check out Cove or SimpliSafe for better cameras.)
- Smart control: Vivint’s security system includes a touch-screen home control panel, a mobile app for remote access, and a keypad that allows you to arm, disarm, view live feeds, and communicate with anyone from your premises.
- Automobile security: Vivint also has tools for automobile security—a nice addition for service vehicles and something not found in other systems we reviewed (although Tattletale has RV security systems.)
- Recordings: You can save your camera footage on the camera for 45 days. Also, you can choose to record clips or record 24/7. Most of the systems on our list offer some recording and storage, but not to this level.
- Smart technology: Like many systems on our list, Vivint integrates with smart devices. Its systems are designed to work with Z-wave smart locks, thermostats, and more.
- Smart platform integrations: All of Vivint’s smart tech security hardware works together with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant so you can remotely control and manage your business security measures.
What Vivint Is Missing
- Self-monitoring option: Some small businesses on a budget prefer a self-monitoring option to minimize costs by eliminating monthly fees. If this is something you would like to have, try SimpliSafe or Cove.
- Biometric locks: Vivint does not have biometric or keycard access controls or equipment-specific sensors. For this, look to ADT or Vector.
- No reimbursement policy: Some services like ADT offer some reimbursement if you have a break-in and the alarm system fails. Vivint, however, specifically says it is not responsible for break-ins or property damage.
Tattletale: Best for Compounds & Outdoor Security
Tattletale’s commercial plan is specifically designed for the needs of large outdoor areas such as construction sites, utilities, recreation sites, garden or landscaping businesses, schools, and churches. Features include invisible fences and an ultra-durable portable security system that can track some 500 sensors. Tattletale’s home system is suitable for small businesses as well, but you need to get your own locks or access equipment.
In our evaluation, Tattletale earned a 3.91 out of 5. The system is very affordable, has great installation support, and earned high user reviews. However, it has the lowest score for general and hardware features of the systems on this list. Limited device compatibility, warranties for equipment and damage, lack of smart platform integration, and inability to use the system to check locks, cost it points.
Tattletale lists pricing on its website, something many business security systems don’t do. Business plans with outdoor monitoring cost $40 to $70 per month. Home monitoring, which can be used for shops or offices, comes with two options. For $33.95 per month, you get police, fire, and medical monitoring with mobile alerts as well as contacting the authorities; for $20.95 per month, you get text or email alerts only.
Indoor equipment is priced about average for the industry, with sensors starting at $29.95, and the touch screen costing $399. Commercial equipment is more expensive, especially for the outside units. The sensor hub starts at $999. However, these systems are outdoor-rated and extremely robust. All equipment comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a one-year warranty.
- Heat detection alarms: The commercial environmental sensors include a rate-of-rise sensor that can sound an alarm if the temperature increases more than 10 degrees per minute or rises above 194 degrees. Only Vivint offers something similar, although its sensors send out an alarm when an area is too hot or too cold.
- Large area security: For large properties with equipment, such as auto dealers or utilities, Tattletale offers motion detectors with 90-degree views and 40 feet of sensitivity as well as invisible fences. The Portable Security System can track up to 500 sensors, be set for 125 users, and is one of the most durable in the industry. It contains a strobe warning system as well as a 115-decibel alarm.
- Plug-and-play technology: Even with its wide array of outdoor equipment and ability to integrate up to 500 sensors at a time, Tattletale maintains a plug-and-play setup with its unbeatable PRO security system so you can opt for a DIY installation.
- Equipment locks: Tattletale is unique in its equipment security. Its equipment locks work like bike locks to tie down your equipment. Alternatively, attach its Rattler™ alarm to the machine or hide it in a pile, like in a stack of lumber at a construction site. When someone tries to move the equipment, the alarm goes off.
- RV alarm system: Tattletale has a system designed specifically for RVs, something we did not find with other systems. This could be a good choice if you have a food truck or mobile office.
What Tattletale Is Missing
- Tools for homes and smart platform integrations: We did not find door locks in Tattletale’s catalog. It also does not offer smart home technology integration. Try SimpliSafe for the most options for smart platform integration.
- No reimbursement policy: Tattletale says it does not have a compensation policy for loss due to the system failing, but the only failures it has seen in 23 years were from user error such as ignoring a warning or letting a battery die.
- No native surveillance camera equipment: Tattletale integrates with Arlo for its indoor and outdoor camera equipment. However, high-grade PRO cameras for business security systems are currently out of stock. Consider SimpliSafe if you prefer a security hardware package that includes a free HD camera.
Cove: Best Office Security System for Offices & Small Stores
Cove is primarily a home security system, but it does offer plans for small businesses at inexpensive prices. All its plans include professional monitoring, but it lets you set up your own system or bring in an expert to do it for you. We recommend it for offices and small retail stores because it offers a good variety of cameras and sensors, but is limited in its access tools and does not have specialized security tools like Tattletale or ADT.
This system earned 3.83 out of 5 on our rubric. Cove’s best score was for pricing, with plans starting as low as $14.99 and inexpensive equipment as well. It has a strong showing for general features, only taking a hit for not working with other devices, and it also lost points for not having equipment-specific hardware. Additionally, there have been a lot of customer complaints in 2022, which lowered its score. However, it’s easy to use and overall offers good value for money.
Cove does not have standard packages like many of the systems on our list, but rather lets you select the items you want and the monitoring plan you need. At the time of this writing, Cove offers a free video doorbell as well. The questionnaire asks how many doors and windows you have, if you need cameras, etc., and then makes a package for you that you can add or subtract from.
We priced out a plan with an alarm panel, two door sensors, two window sensors, a motion detector, a water/flood sensor, a fob, an indoor camera, and an outdoor camera. It came to $272 with discounts ($871 without). This is competitive with other plans on our list.
The monitoring is mandatory, and businesses can choose from two plans. For 60 cents a day ($18 per month) you get monitoring, flood and fire protection, three-factor alarm verification, smash and grab protection, automatic tests, and a one-year equipment warranty. For 93 cents a day ($27.90 per month), you can add on smart technology, seven days of cloud storage, a lifetime equipment warranty, and camera integration.
- Three-factor communication: Cove communicates with you in three ways when an alarm is tripped. LiveAssist is the two-way channel between you and Cove through the alarm panel. At the same time, they will text the number on record and you can quickly respond with Dismiss Alarm or Dispatch. Finally, they will call. If they don’t get an answer, they contact emergency services.
- RapidSOS: The RapidSOS system lets 911 call centers pull information like location directly from your smart devices. This ensures operators get the correct information quickly to send responders. Cove is one of the few security systems connected to this network. SimpliSafe is also connected to RapidSOS, while ADT integrates with RapidDeploy, which is similar.
- Touch-screen Panel: Cove offers a tablet-like touch-screen panel that is tamperproof, self-testing, and includes a button so you can talk to the 24/7 monitoring team whenever you need to. This is good for letting them know about false alarms or an emergency when the alarms did not trip for some reason. The panel also has instructions to lead you through the installation process on your own. Overall, it’s one of the best control panels we saw.
- Works with Alexa and Google Home. You need Cove-Plus monitoring for the Alexa Skill, but once it’s enabled, you can use it to arm or disarm the system. Google Home gives you even more tools, like asking for alarm status or history of alerts.
Where Cove Falls Short
- Does not work with other devices. You’ll need to purchase Cove equipment. The equipment comes with a one-year warranty and has overall good reviews on Amazon.
- No DIY monitoring. You will need to pay for Cove security monitoring. If you prefer a DIY option, then look at SimpliSafe.
- Supply issues. The majority of complaints in 2022 have been with the inability to get replacement parts, or in getting low-quality or defective items and having to wait for a replacement. This could be a result of supply chain issues and placing new customers over existing ones.
Frontpoint: Best DIY Business Security System
Frontpoint is a DIY security system with professional monitoring. You can purchase the equipment and install it yourself and then get a monitoring plan. The plan listed with the purchase is for 36 months at around $50 per month and includes identity theft protection from Allstate Identity Protection.
The system earned 3.65 out of 5 in our evaluation. It got high scores for value and did well for installation support (important for DIY installation options) and general features. However, it lacks some of the more specific tools that others provide, like biometric locks and equipment-specific sensors. For most businesses just needing simple location security, it’s a good system and has the highest customer satisfaction score after Cove.
Frontpoint’s hardware and monitoring pricing has increased since our last review.
Like Vivint, you need to call for a quote for your business, but it lists prices for its home plans, which depend on the equipment you buy. The home packages start at $402 for the most basic. The equipment costs are about on par with the others on our list, but like so many of its competitors, it offers deep discounts for new customers.
Monitoring costs $49.20 per month. In the past, we found evidence that you could have a monthly plan, but they have changed their plans since our last review. Now, there is only one plan, and the checkout assumes a 36-month commitment. You may be better off calling for a customized quote and discussing the commitment. As with so many security systems, the contracts are notoriously hard to get out of.
- Two-way voice cameras: Like several of the security system providers on our list, Frontpoint’s cameras have two-way voice communications. Not only can you speak to a visitor you see in the camera, but if it’s an intruder, you can warn them away before they break in.
- Crash and smash protection: If your device is destroyed, such as by a burglar, the authorities are immediately notified. Most simply treat this as another alarm, while Tattletale boasts equipment that’s almost unbreakable.
- Custom business security package: Frontpoint offers businesses a custom security package for hardware, automation, and professional monitoring. Frontpoint’s experts will assist you with the best solution for your unique business layout and needs. This is pretty typical for business security systems.
- Smart automation: This feature allows you to customize your security and alarm settings such as lighting and temperature, as well as alert notifications. You can also integrate Frontpoint with smart platforms such as Google Assistant and Alexa.
- Perimeter Guard™: Paired with video analytics, Frontpoint’s camera can be customized to let out flashing lights and loud beeps when intruders are detected within its field of vision.
What Frontpoint Is Missing
- Professional installation: Frontpoint does not have professional installers, even though most DIY security systems, such as SimpliSafe, offer this option.
- No biometrics: Access control is limited to the keypad only; it does not offer keycards or biometric access. If you need this, take a look at Vector.
Vector: Best Business Security System for Multiple Locations
Vector Security earns a spot as one of the best security systems for businesses because it offers plans and equipment specific to the needs of different industries. It is one of the few providers that has commercial-grade equipment and dedicated consultants who help with customization for your unique business as it changes or expands, making it ideal for larger or multilocation businesses that need a serious security solution while working within a budget. Vector works with the automotive, financial, food, warehousing, grocery, healthcare, restaurant, and retail industries.
It earned a 3.63 out of 5 in our evaluation, taking hits for pricing, contract length, and auto-renewal policy. The warranty is shorter than many, which hurt its score, as did the lack of some advanced tools like equipment-specific monitoring.
As with the other business security systems on our list, Vector does not advertise prices for business services. Home plans require a three-year contract that includes equipment and monitoring. The lowest plan costs $44.95 and includes a control panel, three door/window sensors, a motion detector, and signage. The mid-range plan costs $59.95 per month with an upfront fee of $99 while Vector’s highest plan has a one-time fee of $149, and then runs $69.95 per month. Vector gives you a discount if you want to install it yourself and have a technician walk you through it and check your work.
Contracts: Vector’s contracts include an auto-renewal policy. When your contract is up, it can be renewed automatically for another year. Many users were surprised by this. Read the contract carefully.
Much of Vector’s commercial-grade equipment is not listed on the website catalog. You will need to contact the provider for pricing. All equipment comes with a one-year warranty.
Essential Security System
Home Automation System
Includes a control panel with Bluetooth speaker, three door/window sensors, a motion detector, a yard sign, and stickers, plus professional installation and monitoring
Includes a control panel with Bluetooth speaker, three door/window sensors, a motion detector, a video doorbell, a smart thermostat, a yard sign, and stickers, plus professional installation and monitoring
- Biometric access: Vector has biometric access controls, something only ADT lists as available. If you have secure areas that need more than a code for entry, Vector can support you.
- Additional access tools: Vector has one of the widest ranges of access security tools we saw. It even has proximity readers, which is a card or fob that automatically gives someone access. Also, it offers turnstile readers and intercom systems.
- Push notifications: All the systems on our list can text or call you in case of alarms. Vector also lets you choose to receive email, text, or push notifications for other events such as an employee entering the store, particular cabinets or safes being opened, the system being disarmed, or someone trying to log in to your account. The Cancel-Verify feature lets you cancel false alarms online or through your app from anywhere.
Where Vector Security Falls Short
- Not available everywhere: Vector is only available along the East Coast and a few interior states so you should check with your local vendor for availability options. For wider options, check Vivint or ADT.
- Limited warranty: The equipment warranty is only a year. Compare this to the three-year warranties of other systems such as ADT and Frontpoint.
- Equipment monitoring: Vector does not have tools to monitor specific equipment such as machines for overheating or automobiles for theft. If you need this, look to Vivint or Tattletale.
Brinks: Best for Using Compatible Equipment
Brinks is one of the few security systems we found that says it can work with existing equipment. It sells both Nest and Security Safe equipment, which you can pay to have installed or install yourself. It has a firm three-year contract, so be sure you understand the terms and are confident in the service.
This system earned 3.49 out of 5 in our evaluation. Like with many others, the long-term contract and lack of clear online pricing for businesses hurt its score; it also lacks certain tools like biometric locks. It charges a monthly insurance cost of $5 for its equipment if you want the extended warranty. However, it earned strong scores for general security functions, installation, and ease of use.
You need to ask for a quote, which is location-dependent. However, according to Safehome.org, hardware packages run $199–$1,099 for the equipment plus $39 a month for monitoring. You can return your Brinks system within 30 days to get a refund. After that, you are tied into the three-year contract or will need to pay the remainder of the equipment fees, depending on whether you purchased a Nest Secure System or a Smart Security System.
You also have an option to build your own security package or purchase add-ons to the standard security hardware kits. Although no longer listed, equipment is also sold separately from $29 to $199. This is competitive when looking at individual pieces.
Brinks Hardware Packages
Smart Security Essential
Smart Security Complete
Smart Ultimate Security
Includes a smart control panel, two door/window sensors, one motion sensor, and the mobile app
Adds a video doorbell to the Essential kit so you can watch livestreamed videos on the control panel and the mobile app
Includes an additional door/window sensor and an outdoor camera to the Smart Complete Security package
- Use existing equipment: Like Vivint, Brinks may be able to incorporate your existing equipment into its system. This could save you money and make transitioning from another security company easier.
- Built for large areas: The hub can handle 119 smart home or security devices and can be controlled using smartphones, Alexa, Google Home, Apple TV, and other systems. The system itself can handle 256 unique passcodes and takes a photo of the person using the panel.
- False alarm prevention: Like SimpliSafe and others on our list, Brinks has video verification, so it can check for signs that an alarm is true. Plus, it has two-way voice communication on its indoor cameras so you can speak to someone on camera. This could be enough to scare away a would-be thief or to verify that it’s an employee who flubbed their code.
What Brinks Is Missing
- No biometric locks: Brinks does not have keycard or biometric access controls. Check Vector for these.
- No equipment-specific monitors: It also lacks equipment-specific monitors, which you can find with Tattletale.
ADT: Best for Businesses With Specialized Security & Cybersecurity Needs
With over 145 years in the security business, ADT is a staple among commercial and home security services. We recommend it if you are a stable business with specialized needs because it offers an excellent variety of monitoring and alert services covering everything from burglary to flood to cybersecurity. It’s a strong choice for businesses that need a comprehensive system.
In our evaluation, ADT earned a respectable 3.4 out of 5. It has the highest scores for general and hardware features out of all the systems on this list. However, expensive pricing, long contracts, lack of overall transparency, and mixed customer reviews prevented ADT from earning a higher score.
Since our last review, ADT’s prices have increased, particularly for hardware.
ADT’s website lists three business professional monitoring plans: Secure, Interactive, and Complete, with costs running from $45.99 to $59.99 per month. There is a standard three-year contract that also includes an extended warranty for equipment. It also offers add-ons for cybersecurity, access control, and video verification tools, but you will need to contact ADT for the costs.
As for business security hardware, ADT sends a person to your location to do a consultation and make recommendations for you to build your own hardware package. According to ADT’s shop page, a build-your-own-equipment plan starts at $599 which you can pay in full or in installments of $9.98/month for 60 months, $16.64/month for 36 months, or $24.96/month for 24 months.
Basic equipment includes:
- One touch-screen panel
- Three doors/window sensors
- One motion detector
- Remote arm/disarm via ADT’s mobile app
You can customize and add more hardware, which will, of course, increase your monthly equipment cost. There’s also a professional installation fee that starts at $99.
- Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tagging: ADT was the only security system on our list to provide RFID tagging of merchandise to reduce theft in retail stores.
- Variety of cameras: ADT also tops our list for its variety of cameras. You can get wired, wireless, or hidden cameras, which you can program to record when they detect motion or to record continuously. ADT offers on-site or cloud storage of recordings, and you can view them on your smartphone app. It also has video doorbells and offers video verification like SimpliSafe and Brinks.
- Advanced access features: You can provide access control to employees and visitors. ADT has biometric scanners or key cards. With its commercial plan, it can check visitors against local and federal criminal databases before issuing a keycard.
- Reimbursement policy: If for some reason, you do incur damage or theft because of a flaw in the system, ADT will reimburse you a percentage of your insurance deductible. Only ADT, Brinks, and Cove have a clear policy.
Where ADT Falls Short
- Locked into the contract: ADT has a lot to offer but can be expensive. More concerning, however, is the number of complaints about how hard it is to leave the service. Even with legitimate reasons such as moves, customers found themselves stymied by customer service and hit with extra fees.
- Low satisfaction rate: ADT had the lowest satisfaction rate on our list: 1.94 out of 5 averaged over multiple review sites. Terrible customer service and long contracts that are expensive to break are the common themes. Very few mention equipment or monitoring. Most reviews are from homeowners.
How We Evaluated Business Security Systems
We delved into business security systems, looking at a dozen US services. We narrowed it down to those that provide service in multiple states, have plans suited for small businesses (even when they were primarily focused on homes), and offer professional monitoring. Next, we looked at the equipment, features, and service, concentrating on physical security. We also considered environmental monitoring.
Click through the tabs below for our full evaluation criteria:
25% of Overall Score
Pricing is difficult, as many services want to evaluate your needs and create a custom package. Where necessary, we used home pricing as a comparison and considered extra costs for installation and equipment. Tattletale had the best score for pricing, followed by SimpliSafe.
20% of Overall Score
This section dealt with monitoring and guarantees, such as what happens if the system fails. ADT led the pack in this area, with Cove second.
15% of Overall Score
We looked at specific features in the equipment itself and what it can cover for you. Again, ADT took the top spot here, followed by Vivint.
20% of Overall Score
Do you get professional installers? How well does customer support help with issues or billing questions? How easy is the app or control panel to use? Each provider scored well here, except ADT.
20% of Overall Score
This score combines our judgment of price, ease-of-use, and feature set with the reviews of real-world users. We gave Frontpoint and Vivint the best expert scores.
What To Look for in a Security System
By far, the most common complaint with security systems is how difficult it is to break a contract. Therefore, pay close attention to the conditions under which you can cancel and what kind of fees you will incur. Do not take the salesperson’s word—read the fine print yourself before signing.
Also, look for reimbursement policies if the system fails and you are the victim of theft, fire, or other damage that the system should have alerted you about. We were surprised to find that many times, this is not clear. If you don’t see it, ask, and get it in writing.
Reviews can only tell you so much. Be sure to ask questions important to your business. We have compiled a list below to ask providers including:
- Know the threats specific to your area (whether you are just starting a retail business or have an established location), and ask how they handle those issues.
- What is the response time for alerting you? For alerting the authorities?*
- Do they have independent video verification before calling the authorities or false-alarm safeguards?*
- How many passcodes can the system handle?
- What limits can you set on employees? For example, can you allow Betty to arm and disarm the entire system anytime, but give Reggie access only for morning shifts?
- What happens if the equipment fails? Are there fail-safes in place?
- Do you have hidden cameras?
- How do they catch someone tampering with the system and in what ways (ex: blocking the camera, cutting the power, breaking the equipment)?
- Can you integrate your existing equipment into the new system? Does it work with smart technology like Alexa?
*Ideally, you should be alerted whenever your system detects something. In most cases, you are notified before the authorities so that you have a chance to check it out via video link or to put in the appropriate cancellation code. If your system is tied directly to the authorities, then you may only have a delay in which to cancel the alarm before they are automatically notified.
Business Security System Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is there a difference between a home security system and a business security system?
While many small businesses can use home security systems for their businesses, there is a difference. The laws concerning use and placement are stricter for businesses, for example. Also, a home security system may not have all the devices you need, such as security tags for retail items.
What are the pros and cons of having a contract vs a monthly subscription?
First, some systems require a contract, so if you want that company, you need to commit to one or more years with them. However, many companies offer incentives like free equipment, maintenance, or installation.
As noted above, breaking a contract is difficult and expensive. There are some systems that require as much as 80% of your remaining contract costs. Some systems are portable, so you can take the equipment with you and change the address being monitored, and this can influence cancellation. Read the cancellation clause in your contract before signing.
Can having a security system get me a discount on my insurance?
Homeowners often get insurance discounts for professionally monitored alarm systems. Most do not for self-monitored solutions. Check with your agent to see if this applies to your business. You may need to show some proof, such as a contract.
How do 3G/4G/5G networks work with a security system?
Most security systems use cellular for backup, communication, or notification. As technology turns to 5G, cellular providers are transitioning out of 3G and no longer supporting this equipment. Verizon, for example, has started phasing out 3G completely, and this is affecting several companies on our list. When looking into the equipment, ask whether it uses the 3G network and what this means for replacing the equipment later.
How do I prevent false alarms?
The best way to prevent a false alarm is to be aware when your system is active, as most false alarms are caused by someone entering the building when the system is armed and not putting in their code. False alarms often come with fines to pay for the time spent by authorities, so be sure your employees are trained. It also helps to have a remote app on your phone that lets you input codes. Most business security services have this feature, but be sure to check.
I need equipment to deter shoplifting. What system works for me?
On our list, ADT offers retail anti-theft devices in addition to monitoring. Of those that did not make our list, InVue offers the widest variety of anti-theft devices, from cable tags to stands for phones, to security for hanging items. It even has caps to prevent people from sampling perfume or wine. (Learn about other ways you can reduce retail theft.)
Business security has gone beyond motion sensors and fire alarms. Now, systems can include biometric locks, cameras with two-way communication, flood sensors, and smart home technology. When considering the best, determine your needs first. Also think hard about whether you want to be locked into a contract, as these are notoriously difficult to get out of.
We found SimpliSafe to be the best business security system for small businesses because of its affordability and ease of use. While designed for homes, it offers excellent tools for small businesses and has monthly contracts as opposed to demanding a commitment of years. Visit SimpliSafe and get started on securing your business.
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