Security, in both the physical and digital sense, is imperative for companies to deter trespassers and would-be thieves, as well as to protect valuable equipment crucial for businesses to operate successfully. A robust security camera setup can take the pressure off any existing security staff as well as give business owners peace of mind out of hours.
Luckily for organizations, the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) technology, improved mobile connectivity, apps, and cloud technologies has radically changed the security landscape and made it easier than ever to set up multi-room or premise systems with easy installation and constant monitoring. Cloud or local feed storage, alerts and connectivity to smartphones and tablets, wired and wireless, battery-powered options, alarms, and both video, and audio feeds are on offer depending on the requirements of your business.
To make navigating the variety of hardware and vendor ecosystems available to today's company owners, we have assembled our top ten picks for businesses, large or small, whether or not you need outdoor, indoor security, or both.
Disclosure: ZDNet may earn an affiliate commission from some of the products featured on this page. ZDNet and the author were not compensated for this independent review.
Consider if: you want a flexible, mobile security solution without spending a fortune.
It was once the case that to protect a business premise, heavy-duty, wired surveillance systems were the only options available. Times have changed and with the explosion in mobile solutions and the increased bandwidth offered by broadband and 4G, there are mobile-friendly options for SMBs seeking a budget-conscious security option.
Ring began as a smart doorbell containing a camera for live feeds and a microphone, enabling users to speak to visitors remotely. Amazon saw the potential and acquired the company in 2018, resulting in a new range of accompanying products including cameras.
The benefit of the Ring camera range, including indoor, outdoor, stick-up, and floodlights, lies within its flexibility. Each camera can be connected to the same account and accessed via smartphone, alerting users to motion from all areas.
Of particular note is the new Stick Up Cams, which can be placed inside or outdoors, and on flat surfaces or walls. Battery, wired, or solar-powered options are available. The Spotlight and Floodlight models, too, are of interest given their inbuilt security sirens.
Users can set up their Ring devices to feed alerts directly to their mobile phones. Alternatively, Ring offers protection plans for professional monitoring with emergency services on speed dial.
As there are a variety of different cameras users can pick from, a mix-and-match set up to protect a premise is possible. Indoor cameras begin at $59.99. Stick-up cameras -- available as battery, wired, or solar-powered options -- can be purchased for $99.99 and up. A single spotlight camera will set you back $199, and floodlight cameras begin at $249.
Consider if: you want to discreetly keep an eye out for intruders outside of hours.
These can potentially be of interest to business owners already in the Nest ecosystem -- including users of the Nest Thermostat, Nest Protect fire and CO2 alarms, as well as Nest X Yale Locks.
The Nest Cam Indoor and Outdoor cameras are mobile options for premise security. They are best suited for budget-friendly users that need basic security measures in place. The cameras can record footage in 1080p HD, and when it comes to the outdoor version, this quality is maintained at night due to the use of all-glass lenses -- giving users a clear picture if anyone is sneaking around in the darkness.
Both versions have inbuilt speakers and will alert users via their mobile devices if suspicious activity or visitors are detected via motion or noise. Once the app has been installed and an account set up, monitoring begins.
A 30-day service, Nest Aware, will record everything 24/7 for free, but after this period expires, users must sign up if they want full video histories and not just real-time alerts. It is also possible to create surveillance zones for important areas -- such as where the till is located -- for immediate notifications.
The Nest Indoor and Outdoor Cams are priced at $199.
Consider if: you need wireless monitoring for the workplace.
Another option is the Arlo Pro 2. This slimline, IP65-certified option can be used either in or outdoors, being a weather-resistant model with a variety of mounting options, and can detect both sound and motion.
The Arlo Pro 2 can suit a variety of purposes; as a day-to-day camera on the shop floor; a discreet camera placed outside to act as a night watchman; or as a part of a full network of cameras in a large workplace. Alerts are sent to linked mobile devices and Amazon Alexa, IFTTT, SmartThings, and Stringify are supported.
In total, users can expect seven days of free cloud storage for recorded footage which rolls over every week. Alternatively, plans are available for users if they wish to secure continual monitoring and recordings in up to 4K resolution.
A base station is also included, in which users can plug a USB flash drive in to capture footage.
This option is modular, which means users can add new cameras to the network as and when they require. It is possible to purchase the Arlo Pro 2 as a two-pack together with a hub ($249), with three, four, five, or six cameras ($337, $399, $568, $649), or single bolt-on cameras for $149.99.
Consider if: you want an option that is compatible with a variety of smart hubs.
The Logitech Circle 2 is a motion-based camera which can be used at home or in the workplace.
Offering a 180-degree field of view, 1080p recording, and automatic day-to-night recording changes, the weatherproof system can be used in or outdoors and is best suited for those who want peace of mind without an overcomplicated CCTV setup.
The cameras connect to an Android, iOS, or internet-based application. After signup, users can check in on their devices at any point and will receive alerts to any suspicious activity. The free period for storing recordings is 24 hours, or subscriptions can be purchased to keep footage for up to 31 days.
Logitech's wired camera is compatible with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Amazon Echo Show, and Logitech POP. The wireless version is not compatible with Apple HomeKit.
With low usage and an estimated two daytime events per day, you can expect the wireless option to last up to 90 days. Medium usage, based on seven-day events and three-night events every 24 hours, will reduce battery life to 60 days, whereas usage deemed high -- up to 27 daytime events and 13-night events -- may reduce battery life to 30 days before a recharge is needed.
The Circle 2's starting price begins at $179.99 for the wired option, rising to $199.99 for a wire-free alternative. A combination pack containing two wireless cameras with a spare rechargeable battery can be picked up for $399.99.$179 at Logitech
Consider if: you have multiple outdoor zones that need protection.
The Netatmo Smart Outdoor Camera should be considered if outside security is the priority for your business.
This option is a weatherproof camera substantial enough to be seen -- and may potentially deter unwanted visitors by its presence alone -- and does not rely purely on night vision. Instead, the camera is equipped with a floodlight that can be remotely enabled, disabled, or set to power up when motion is detected at up to 20 feet.
Users can also set up specific zones for immediate motion alerts.
The camera is compatible with iOS and Android, as well as Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant. In addition, there is no subscription fee as users can choose to store recorded HD footage locally, backup videos via an FTP server, or link their account to a Dropbox account.
A single outdoor camera is priced at $299.99. If you need to monitor more than one outside zone, you may want to consider a dual pack for $529.99. Alternatively, you can also pick up an outdoor and inside camera for $419.99.
Consider if: you require expansive wireless surveillance across your premises.
The Spyclops SPY-NVR8720W wireless camera system is a more traditional option for business users.
The SPY-NVR8720W is a Wi-Fi-enabled, eight-channel network video recorder (NVR) able to facilitate up to eight cameras recording at 30fps, and as such, is best suited for companies that require round-the-clock security. Infrared sensors are included for night recording.
The NVR comes with 1TB internal storage, expandable to 4TB through an internal SATA port. Output options include HDMI and VGA at 1024x768, 1366x768, 1440x900, or 1920x1080p and footage can be backed up through USB flash drives.
While a video monitor is not included, a mobile app on the Android and iOS platforms are available for remote viewing, and a mouse has been thrown into the package for controlling the surveillance system via its Linux-based GUI.
The Spyclops camera system is priced at $624.99.
Consider if: you want 360-degree, panoramic coverage of your business premises.
The D-Link Vigilance DCS-4605EV will suit business users who want panoramic security coverage of the shop floor.
This camera is best suited for businesses concerned about vandalism as the camera has been specifically housed in a rugged casing to prevent tampering or damage. Another advantage of this camera is how weatherproof it is; being able to operate in a range of conditions and temperatures from 30 degrees C to 50 degrees C.
The D-Link Vigilance includes a fixed 5-megapixel lens with a focal length of 2.8 mm and is able to record Full HD footage at a maximum of 2560 x 1920 at a 20-foot range.
Each camera can be connected to D-ViewCam, free surveillance software to manage a network of up to 32 cameras simultaneously. The camera also supports Power over Ethernet (PoE), to make deployment possible with a single cable.
The D-Link Vigilance comes in at $256.99.
Consider if: you want high-quality night vision.
The Panasonic WV-S3131L is an alternative dome camera option for enterprise players.
Equipped with a 2.8mm fixed lens able to record 1920 x 1080p footage at 60fps, Panasonic's offering comes with a 108-degree field of view, a built-in microphone, color night vision, and utilizes AI-based algorithms to improve recording quality when moving objects or people are involved.
After detecting motion, alarms can be set in different ways; simply to record, send an email notification, or to transfer images via FTP. Privacy masks for up to eight zones can also be enabled to stop the camera from recording particular areas.
Recorded content is encrypted and each camera comes with an onboard memory card slot for up to 64GB storage. PoE is supported, as are ONVIF profiles S and G.
The Panasonic WV-S3131L can be purchased for $411.
Consider if: you want a security camera and spotlight combination.
The Hikvision ColorVu turret camera is a weatherproof model suitable to keep track of outside movement on business premises.
Equipped with a 4mm fixed lens and a spotlight, the camera can record 2688x1520 footage at 30fps. In addition, the ColorVu is encased in a rugged shell to dissuade vandalism, can be rotated 360-degrees, and a range of image settings can be changed including contract, brightness, and white balance.
Users can set their device to trigger an alarm when motion or tampering is detected, as well as when unauthorized logins are noticed.
The ColorVu also comes with a built-in microphone for audio recording and a memory card slot for up to 128GB storage. PoE is enabled and ONVIF profiles S and G are supported with up to six channels of simultaneous viewing. Users can also download an Android or iOS app to manage their systems.
Hikvision's ColorVu is currently available for $302.
Consider if: you want a versatile surveillance network with local storage facilities.
ZOSI's 1080p CCTV system should be considered by companies that want a more traditional surveillance setup but have a budget to consider.
To install, the cameras must be wired and connected to a television or monitor. Video feeds, which can be set to begin when motion is detected at day or night, record at 1080p and footage can be both stored in an internal hard drive or transferred to a USB storage device. HDMI and VGA outputs are available.
These cameras can also be accessed in real-time through an accompanying Android or iOS mobile application and are deemed weatherproof.
The ZOSI 1080p wired camera system comes in at $169.99, complete with a 2TB hard drive. An upgrade to a 4K wired system will set you back $299.99 with the same level of storage.