One of the responsibilities of a property manager or HOA board is to manage their community’s safety and security. In addition to security alarms and surveillance cameras, guard tour systems are an effective way to ensure safety in a planned development community. This solution is especially relevant to condo buildings or communities with multiple openings and generous square footage.
However, too many people make the mistake of choosing a guard tour system that doesn’t meet their needs. The key to avoiding this is to narrow down your options to a system that’s efficient and highly accurate.
Read on as we give you a few pointers on what you must consider in order to find the best guard tour system for your building.
What is a guard tour system?
A guard tour system is a type of software that’s designed to digitize and automate the process of keeping your property secure. There’s a wide variety of guard tour systems to choose from, but only a few can offer a comprehensive suite of features and functionalities.
In the past, guard tours used to come in the form of radios. After some time, operators moved to a pen and paper system before the introduction of wands. Nowadays, the guard tour system is far removed from its predecessors.
They no longer require the use of wands, wall-mounted plates or receptacles. They’re also cheaper and easier to use than older guard tour systems because they don’t require nearly as much hardware.
What to look for in a guard tour system
Before you purchase a guard tour system, you must make sure that it allows you to answer the following questions with ease:
– Which security guard is assigned to each area?
– How many devices have been issued? How will you track them?
– Are your security guards following a predetermined schedule or are they just winging it?
You must also find a way to track your guards in real-time to ensure productivity and accountability. Eliminating the use of wands and other antiquated systems can help you achieve all this with ease.
Innovative guard tour systems are known for their efficiency and they offer reliable security data. These systems can significantly reduce the number of missed inspections that you experience, and they foster trust and responsibility.
You’ll be able to identify your security team’s shortcomings before they become a threat and secure your premises against a myriad of security dangers. Here are a few other important factors that you need to look for in a guard tour system before you purchase it:
Nothing beats the peace of mind that comes with knowing where your security guards are always situated. This is the level of accountability that you can expect from cutting-edge guard tour software.
Find a system that allows each guard to upload pictures and audio files along with each incident report they submit. This is a great way to fast-track solutions while ensuring that inspections are completed on time. This gives you a total picture of what’s happening on the field as the information is relayed to you in real-time through a smartphone, tablet, PC or any device you’re using.
With the right guard tour system, should be able to access accurate historical data at your fingertips. This includes a history of all completed tours and a breakdown of all the reports filed thus far. Since you’re no longer using outdated pen and paper methods to record and store data, you should access it all straight from your mobile device.
You can rest assured that the information you get from the guard tour systems is accurate as its captured and stored in real-time, with no way to augment any of it.
This makes it so much easier to perform effective data analysis with your HOA board and implement any necessary changes that might help to improve your security efforts. The system also allows you to spot inefficiencies so you can take informed action to improve your security operation.
Having access to relevant data 24/7 means you can manage and execute efficient guard tours. For instance, you can use the information you’ve analyzed to generate randomized patrol schedules that make it difficult for wrongdoers to breach security.
Look for a foolproof security system that can work on and offline. That means it’ll continue to record checkpoints and reports while it’s offline so they can be logged into the cloud once online connectivity is restored.
Also, search for software that’s protected by the latest encryption technology to ensure accurate reporting. The last thing you want is one of your security guards to temper with the system in order to relay inaccurate information.
Your guard tour system should be invulnerable to attack or at least make it difficult for hackers to access your information. Although your security data should be easy for you to access you need to have full control over who else can view it.
You must look for a system with a straightforward interface that’s intuitive and easy to use. Of course, you might come across a few learning curves here and there, but this shouldn’t be a major barrier. The fact that you’ve moved to a paperless system is often not enough.
There need to be clear indicators of how to navigate the menu, settings, and features with ease. Security guards and supervisors shouldn’t struggle to understand how the software works. Anything that takes longer than a few minutes to explain and understand is probably not as user-friendly as you think. The great thing about effective guard tour systems is that they come with a straightforward main page through which all the different functions are easily available.
– Added value
A guard tour system should offer value for money beyond cost-effective operation. The best way to gauge if you have a value-added system is to look at the variety of features it offers. For instance, is should allow you to assign and manage patrol schedules, timesheets, and other integrated features.
The software should also enable security guards to generate reports and upload documents quickly and efficiently.
– Real-time access
Make sure your guard tour system is stealthy enough to offer a real-time response to any issues that arise on the property. For instance, it should allow for real-time data capturing that anyone with access can share in an instant.
There shouldn’t be any delay in the transmission of data especially when it comes to timesheets and report logging. As a property manager or HOA board member, you should be able to see which security guard is on duty and where they’re situated on the property.
If you can’t see your checkpoints immediately, then you might come across issues with accountability and productivity in the long run. Guards can easily falsify check-in times and location which makes it difficult to view real-time surveillance.
You should at least get a demo or free trial version before you commit to a guard tour system. That way, you can test it out and see it in action so you can figure out if it’s the right pick for you. The software provider shouldn’t ask you for your credit card information until you’ve completed a 14-day free trial or a demo.
Another factor that contributes to affordability is a company’s willingness to offer a customized approach. This means you only pay for the features you use. This eliminates redundancies, improves efficiency and leads to a cost-effective solution that meets your needs.
Selecting the right guard tour system shouldn’t feel like a science exam. It should be as easy as managing other aspects of your property. The important thing is to ensure that you’re getting value for money and a reliable system that keeps you in the loop.
Now, there are numerous benefits of using a guard tour system like patrol points including improved accountability, flexibility, and data analysis. You’ll be able to monitor guards in real-time and process reports immediately for improved building security.