Physical Security Costs – Here’s What to Expect

Security projects require planning, implementation, and maintenance . . . all within a specific budget and timeline.


At first, you’ll likely need outside advice. While you may have realized a new security vulnerability, professional resources can ensure you’re not missing anything. Security dealers and manufacturer representatives are available, usually free of charge, to analyze your application and risk. They’ll provide expert security advice with your industry’s best practices in mind.

Professional security consultants can also perform certified security vulnerability assessments (SVA) or review your internal assessment to develop a comprehensive action plan. Consultants will demand expect a fee for their services.


Once you’re certain of your risks and have a plan to address them, various solutions can be demonstrated for you by security dealers and manufacturers. Demonstrations range in complexity, from a simple desktop online demonstration in your conference room to a proof of concept demonstration on your facility grounds.

If your application would benefit from a pilot program, a security dealer can may be able to install a small sample system. This is usually available at a reduced price for equipment and installation. For example, your proposed solution may warrant a test of a specific outdoor camera in a very dark area on your campus for an extended period. You’ll be able to confirm performance within your own environmental conditions, seeing the camera operate at all light levels and in a variety of weather conditions. This type of evaluation is long-term and carries a cost. However, the cost to perform a detailed evaluation is usually worth the expense, especially compared to the risk of making a big purchase decision that ultimately doesn’t meet the demands of your application or expectations of your stakeholders.


Once you’ve identified the system(s) you want, your project may require that detailed specifications be written. These are used by purchasing agents to obtain competitive pricing proposals and/or to ensure that your preferred security integration partner is meeting the scope of work as outlined by your team.


Installation is the largest part of most implementation projects, often costing as much as or more than the equipment being installed. Various stakeholders must be included in the installation plan. Coordination with underground utility providers and other agencies may be required as well. Complicated installation constraints are costly and additional engineering time may be needed for multi-system integration.

Furthermore, other departments may benefit from using security devices as well. An engineering department may use video data, while a marketing department could use video analytics from a camera – both of which can help pay for the new systems.

System Maintenance

After the system is installed, ongoing maintenance and service is a must. While some organizations perform much of this in-house, there’s still the cost of labor, supplies, and operational slow-downs. A security integration partner may be contracted to perform these tasks on a scheduled contractual or time-and-materials basis.

Software Maintenance Agreements

Most systems require an ongoing software maintenance agreement (SMA). This is likely to be an additional cost. The SMA provides access to software upgrades and maintenance patches over a specific period, usually annually. Without the SMA, access to updates, critical patches, and manufacturer technical support may not be available.

Security Partnership

There’s not a specific total cost of ownership per security camera or access-controlled door. Every application is different. However, stakeholder inclusion and proper project planning will help you to deploy and maintain the best possible solution. An experienced security installation partner is an excellent advantage. A security professional can visit your facility to collaborate with administrators, security staff, IT, department leaders, and other key stakeholders. The resulting plan will be a tailored and comprehensive security solution that improves daily and long-term operations for every department.

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