Choosing between a CCTV system or security guard can be difficult given the range of factors to consider. If you are unsure which route offers better protection for your business then continue reading.

Common considerations to explore before choosing a security solution include:

  • Cost
  • Reliability
  • Response Times

Traditionally, hiring a security guard was the best option for those looking to protect their business. However, CCTV is becoming a more appealing choice due to cost-effectiveness, advances in detection technology and improved response times. For a CCTV system to be fully effective in crime prevention it must include live video monitoring, also known as proactive video monitoring or PVM for short.

This article evaluates live monitored CCTV and security guards across the most common security and liability issues faced by businesses today. Understanding how these two solutions compare, and how CCTV has advanced in recent years, will help you make a better decision for your own business.


Monitored CCTV and Security Guards Compared

Hiring a security guard or installing a Proactive Video Monitoring system provides value to your business by protecting your assets. However, CCTV and security guards deliver value in different ways. Which is the most suitable for your needs? Here are some things to consider when making your decision:

Security Costs

Problem: You need a cost-effective solution offering 24/7/365  protection from theft and vandalism.

Security Guard: Hiring security guards to prevent theft and damage 24 hours a day, or for part of the day can be costly. You will need the services of more than one guard if the hours exceed the maximum working time.

Proactive Video Monitoring (PVM): PVM can offer 24/7/365 protection at one fixed daily rate, that does not change for public holidays, weekends or unsociable hours. It does not take holidays, won’t ever call in sick and is always alert.


Response Times

Problem: You need to deter and prevent crime within seconds before an intruder has the chance to commit theft or damage your property.

Security Guard: A security guard must first know a potential threat has entered your premises or site perimeter. If they are looking at the right screen at the right time or patrolling the correct location, an intruder will be detected and deterred.

Proactive Video Monitoring (PVM): PVM uses advanced analytical software to instantly detect an intruder approaching the perimeter of your business. An alert is immediately sent to a highly-trained Intervention Specialist in a remote Communication Hub, who will immediately view a live camera feed to visually verify the threat.

They will then proceed to issue a custom audio warning to the intruder using built-in speakers. This can be immediately followed by a call to the Gardaí and/or the premises key holder. An audio warning is enough to deter a criminal in the vast majority of attempted perimeter breaches.


Security Guard Responding to Crime


Liability Protection

Problem: You need a security solution that can also offer protection in the event of a personal injury or liability claim on your property.

Security Guard: A security guard can provide evidence but only if they were on scene at the time of the incident, in which case they can offer a witness statement.

Proactive Video Monitoring (PVM): PVM provides you with remote access to all recorded video on your property. This allows you to quickly investigate an incident in the event of an injury. Fraudulent claims can be quickly dismissed rather than pose a risk to your business. Using a remotely managed PVM service removes the need for human presence, therefore no risk accidental injury to security persons on your site.


Round the Clock Protection

Problem: You need peace-of-mind that your business can be protected 24/7/365, without exception.

Security Guard: Security guards can be hired to work on rotating shifts to provide 24/7 protection. However, staying alert and continuously monitoring every part of your premises can be challenging. Even the most motivated guards can get sick, arrive late or find themselves preoccupied with texts, calls or other device-related distractions.

Proactive Video Monitoring (PVM): PVM turns all cameras into 24/7/365 security guards. Each camera constantly scans for activity using advanced analytical technology without no risk of sickness or distracted. Your entire perimeter can be monitored at all times.


Covid-19 Restrictions

Problem: Your business has been affected by COVID-19 restrictions. You need a security solution that can remain operational without adding risk to your employees or those coming on and off your premises.

Security Guard: A security guard can function in these circumstances by adhering to the health and safety regulations. They will usually share a space with other guards. Keeping this space safe and infection-free involves strict cleaning protocol and adherence to social distancing. This may be difficult to implement and maintain. Guards will also need to be mindful of any keys, keypads, gate bolts and locks they touch to ensure they are regularly disinfected. There is always the risk of transmission when there is human involvement.

Proactive Video Monitoring (PVM): This type of system is operated remotely, so there is no risk of transmission of the virus from security service to site. PVM services can open and close gates remotely for the likes of deliveries, staff members or cleaning services, without any physical presence. There is lone worker protection available so people to attend the site alone, eliminating the need for 2 people or social distancing measures.


Installation Speed

Problem: You need a solution that can be quickly installed and expanded to ensure your property is not exposed to theft and vandalism.

Security Guard: A security guard can be hired to protect your property without the installation of a camera system or related hardware. Additional facilities will be required such as a cabin with heating, electricity and toilet facilities at a minimum. You could also employ the services of a security patrol that would check in on your premises a certain number of times per day.

Proactive Video Monitoring (PVM): There are both permanent and temporary PVM solutions available. Rapid deployment units use PVM to protect sites and premises in a hurry. They can be deployed in a matter of hours without the need for existing infrastructure, such as power or an internet connection.


Quick CCTV Installation


Full Perimeter Protection

Problem: You are concerned about potential weak points around the perimeter of your business or site. You need a solution that can monitor all areas simultaneously and not let any attempt to gain entry go undetected.

Security Guard: A security guard can complete random foot patrols of the perimeter, at different times during the day. During a patrol, a security guard can quickly investigate issues and offer a physical deterrent to any prospective intruders. However, this protection is limited to patrol frequency and where the guard is on their route around your site.

Proactive Video Monitoring (PVM): Proactively monitored CCTV cameras can be placed strategically around the perimeter to ensure any breach or human movement will trigger an immediate alarm. This enables a highly trained Intervention Specialist to view a live feed of the situation and intervene accordingly.



Problem: You need a solution that is not susceptible to intimidation from gangs or criminals.

Security Guard: Background checks and other measures can help when hiring a security guard. What is difficult to manage is the threat of intimidation by gangs or criminals, forcing the guard to turn a blind eye to malicious activity.

Proactive Video Monitoring (PVM): A PVM system cannot fall victim to intimidation or threats. Security surveillance is done from an extremely secure, remote location, a Communications Hub. Any malicious activity on your site will be picked up immediately and deterred via an audio warning and/or a call to the Gardaí.


Complete Transparency

Problem: You need a fully impartial, transparent security service that guarantees you the full picture relating to an attempted break-in or incident.

Security Guard: Contracting a guard from a well-established, reputable security company can offer you strong reporting abilities and visibility. However, human error and bias are not fully removed from the equation.

Proactive Video Monitoring (PVM): PVM records an incident exactly as it happened, there is no way to hide information. You have full access to all recorded and live video, along with a range of reports to ensure you get the full picture at all times. However, PVM cannot complete administrative duties.


Easy to Access Security Footage


Covering Multiple Sites

Problem: You need a solution that delivers consistent results across multiple locations, in multiple territories.

Security Guard: Services provided by a security company may differ across countries, regions and even counties. Finding a provider that operates in the country of your secondary locations can be difficult, and opting for local services can result in inconsistent service levels.

Proactive Video Monitoring (PVM): PVM offers you a uniform solution across all your locations. Consistent practices and responses can even be guaranteed across multinational locations. You will also have access to manage each facility and view video footage with the same ease as with a single site.


Security Protocol

Problem: You need to access security data reports on demand, control which areas of your building are secure at predetermined times, access video and control which contacts are notified if a perimeter breach is attempted.

Security Guard: Your security guard can be trained to complete administrative tasks and report back manually on a daily/weekly basis.

Proactive Video Monitoring (PVM): PVM services act as a complete remote site management tool. You can access a wide range of site management tools remotely from your Android or iOS device. Allowing you to quickly and easily control all aspects of your protocol and arming zones.



There is a lot to consider when weighing up the two solutions. Whatever your decision, it’s vital that you avail of the services of a reputable company. This will ensure peace-of-mind regarding the quality of the services and systems involved in securing your business or site. Some businesses prefer to combine proactive video monitoring with on-site security guards. The two working together offer a powerful security solution.

To recap, here are some of the main benefits of proactive video monitoring:

  • Cost-effective – Can offer significant savings against hiring a full-time security guard
  • Reliable – No distractions, no illnesses, cannot be threatened or intimidated
  • Prevents Crime – Proactively intervenes against unauthorised activity within seconds
  • Trustworthy – Impartial, unbiased and fully transparent
  • Comprehensive – Also functions as a remote site management tool, wide-ranging applications


Below is a Video of Proactive Video Monitoring in Action


About Netwatch

At Netwatch, we know how challenging it can be to find a security solution to meet your needs. Our objective is simple; to provide you with a proactive video monitoring solution that not only meets security requirements but also leaves you safe in the knowledge your property is protected by industry-leading technology and highly trained Intervention Specialists.

Netwatch has been providing proactive video monitoring services across a wide range of industries for almost 20 years. Our experienced team can provide you with a tailor-made solution to meet and exceed your security needs.

If you would like to discuss proactive video monitoring for your business, please request a call-back via the form below.