Security in Self Storage

Security in a Self Storage facility is by far the most sought-after item on a self storage customers shopping list. According to the Self Storage Association of Australasia’s (SSAA’s) 2010 Demand Study, almost a quarter of these shoppers are looking for a secure storage facility. “Of course!”, I hear you say, “That’s obvious”. Well it might be obvious to some, however there are a lot of managers and owners out there in ‘Self Storage land’ that possibly don’t get this as an obvious concept.

Many people who have attended Storman or SSAA training, tradeshow’s or who have been speaking with the industry recommended security providers will know that security is not just about how you secure the customers goods, but also how you – as self storage operators – go about securing other parts of your business, such as your data, PIN’s, DVR (Digital Video Recordings) and the like. This information is just as valuable as your storers goods and in most cases more-so, given that should the “worst case” scenario happen, these tools are what you will be relying upon to get you out of trouble. Why is it then, that so many operators take these issues so lightly?

 

Ask yourself: “When was the last time you conducted a PIN or prox-card audit?”. Many managers fail to understand that these audits will allow you or your manager to discover patterns of access, duplicate PIN’s and holes in your security long before they emerge as a potential problem at your site. Have you asked these common questions of your facility security recently?

  • When was the last time you walked your site to determine if someone has shifted the cameras away from their desired angles?
  • Have you really studied the view from the cameras and worked out where the blind spots are?
  • Have you tried to gain access after hours to see what the actual response time is for your security company?
  • Do you know how to replay a recording to “see” an incident?
  • Do you know how to copy that footage off onto a backup medium to give to the police if asked?
  • Does your customer time zone let you in anywhere else?
  • What happens to your security if the power fails?
  • How do you read the gate log to see the sequence of events?
  • Should you have longer PINs (i.e. 6 digit vs. 4 digit)?
  • How much footage is stored on your DVR before it starts writing over old data?

 

Many operators that I have contact with seem to think that once they have this security setup that there is no reason to check it or test it for holes. Why not? If you have dishonest customers or even staff then you can be sure that they are testing these things to see what they can get away with. Too bad for you if you find out too late that your customers have found these security holes before you did.

If you are marketing your business as having certain security features then you are obliged to maintain those features, if you fail to do so then you could be in breach of advertising laws or worse still liable in the case of a security breach. It does not take much for you to regularly perform a security audit, and it is certainly worth the effort.

 

So, “we may have a problem” I hear you say – what can I do about it? Well the first thing is to recognise that you may not be the best person to investigate these things and I am pleased to say we have experts in the self storage security industry that can help you. Your first port of call should be the SSAA’s service member listing and call your provider to see if they can conduct a security audit as they will surely understand their products and the limitations of it better than anyone else.

In many cases this may be a free service as these providers could well have a check list of things to look for or a series of technical articles that will explain what you need to do to check these things. Your next option may well be to budget into your expenses to have a qualified representative from the security provider come out and inspect your site. After all we all agree that a money spent now is better than being sued for tens of thousands later on. At the very least, you should be auditing your security system yourself on a regular basis.

 

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