All across the U.S., private security firms are hired to protect public institutions, critical infrastructure systems, intellectual properties, and sensitive corporate information. Many companies also turn to private security agencies for a range of services, such as protection of employees and property, investigations, pre-employment screenings, IT security, and many others.
But security comes in many forms, and one of the most effective (and cost-effective) forms of security is video surveillance. Video surveillance technology allows property owners and managers the ability to keep an attentive, unblinking eye on multiple sensitive locations all at once, and without ever having to risk the physical safety of on-site guards. And as advances in technology continue to improve surveillance effectiveness, more organizations and individuals are committing themselves to video-centric security solutions. In fact, research suggests that the video surveillance market is currently experiencing explosive growth, and will continue to expand over the next several years, reaching a combined worth of 71.28 billion USD by 2022.
However, while effectiveness and cost may be two of the major factors to consider when choosing a surveillance firm, they are not the only issues that need to be examined. For a surveillance company to be reliable and trustworthy, it needs to comply with all local laws, regulations, and requirements, and that means being licensed.
The Difficult Process of Surveillance Licensure
When it comes to licensing, surveillance providers face certain obstacles. In order to operate legally, they first need to designate which kinds of services are being offered. For example, a surveillance provider who only offers video monitoring may have different licensing requirements than one that includes alarm services, and both may have different requirements from a provider that offers other services. At the same time, two providers that offer the exact same services, but in different locations, may have a completely different set of licensing requirements and examination fees, because the laws themselves that define these requirements are established on a state-by-state basis—getting licensed in California, for example, may require a different process than getting licensed in New York, and getting licensed in more than one state becomes even more complex. To top it all off, state laws may change from year to year, necessitating greater effort on the part of surveillance providers in order to remain fully vetted. Taken all together, these issues demonstrate the absolute level of commitment that is required to become a fully-licensed security-and-surveillance company in the United States
Why Licensure Matters
But how important is it really to make sure that your surveillance provider is legally certified? Well, the answer to that question depends upon how much value you place on the items or property that you are trying to protect, and how much value you place upon your own rights.
The sheer amount of work that goes into becoming fully licensed as a security-and-surveillance provider helps to weed out less-dedicated organizations. After all, if a provider is unwilling to commit to the licensing process, then how committed is it likely to be to the safety and security of its clients? When it comes to choosing the right security provider, corner-cutting should be a major red flag.
Additionally, it’s important to remember that the laws that govern security- and surveillance-provider licensure exist for a reason. Personal and property security is a minefield, where providers need to be able to maintain client rights and safety, while still achieving system effectiveness. By introducing a system by which providers can be examined and certified against a clear set of legally-ratified conditions, the government helps to ensure that everyone is being protected in the best possible way at all times, and that the right party will be held accountable in the event that something goes wrong.
Video surveillance is a fast-growing industry, and with that growth, the number of surveillance providers is likewise sure to increase. But not all providers are equal, and not all are certified. When choosing a surveillance company, be sure to do some research into licensing. A fully-vetted and legally-certified surveillance provider is much more likely to be able to provide you with effective, professional service, and to so without stepping on anyone’s rights.