Maintaining security in your self-service warehouse
Security has always played a role in attracting and retaining self-storage tenants. As the demand for enhanced functionality and convenient access to ownership has grown, facility operators have installed a range of increasingly advanced technologies. Now they just need to figure out how to maintain it.
Do you know which of your security components require regular maintenance and how often? If you have a problem with the equipment, do you know how to fix it? Otherwise, you have homework to do. These activities are not only vital to maintaining the health of your system, they are essential to protecting your buildings, staff, tenants and their assets, not to mention your company’s reputation. Let’s take a look at why it’s necessary and useful to implement an effective maintenance strategy for your self-storage security system and the specific areas to focus on.
Maintaining the security system offers several significant benefits. Ultimately, it supports the sustainability and profitability of your self-storage business. He is making it easier :
Improved access for tenants. When customers cannot access your property or their own units, it has a direct and negative impact on their experience with your business. It also creates problems for your staff as it creates more work and disrupts their daily routine. By regularly inspecting and maintaining your gates and other entry points, you can ensure tenants have access to the right areas at the right time, and employees have less to worry about.
Simplified site inspections. In the past, this was very time consuming as staff had to physically inspect the entire facility. Now, cloud-enabled security systems allow them to verify much of the property remotely from almost anywhere. It’s much more efficient, but it requires the proper platforms and safety devices, and they need to be maintained.
Reduced response times. Market-leading self-storage operators rely on smart cameras and other internet-connected devices to monitor their interior and perimeter in real time. Routine maintenance of your devices ensures that when a security incident occurs, you will be able to react immediately.
Increased return on investment. Security technology should be viewed as an investment, like any other mission-critical addition. As owners continue to upgrade and expand their infrastructure, maintenance is crucial to generating revenue rather than creating an onerous cost center.
Transparent data security. This is often overlooked, but data security is just as important as physical security. Whether caused by a malicious actor or the failure of an on-premises server, data loss or theft can be devastating. Routine maintenance of hardware and software components ensures seamless data availability and overall system integrity.
Maintenance and troubleshooting
Most self-storage security systems feature an ever-changing mix of software and hardware, and each component will have its own maintenance requirements. This is why maintenance and troubleshooting can be a challenge, even for experienced plant operators. Here are several items to prioritize and how often they should be inspected or maintained.
Keyboards (monthly). At the forefront of your customer experience, keyboards are highly visible and widely used. If they don’t work properly, everyone suffers. Maintenance should begin with a monthly inspection. Make sure the LCD screen is readable, buttons work properly, and there is no visible damage. Enter a valid code to verify that it displays the correct message and opens the correct door or gate. If the system is designed to accept remote controls, test one. Finally, ensure that every entry/exit event is logged in the access control system. If you notice a problem with any aspect of your keyboards, contact a qualified technician as soon as possible.
Gates (monthly). Your portals must operate efficiently and continuously. It is crucial to monitor their condition at least once a month. Look for signs of physical damage and make sure they lock and unlock properly. If your portal works with a mobile application, test its contactless functionality. If equipped with a backup motor, make sure the battery is charged and able to operate the gate during a power outage. If necessary, replace the battery. Contact a qualified technician to resolve more advanced issues.
Cameras and lighting (monthly). These are two table stakes when it comes to self-storage security, essential for securing all areas of the property. Perform a monthly inspection to ensure that all appliances are free of obstructions and in good working order. Make sure any motion-activated or internet-connected devices are working properly and check your cameras’ recording capabilities. Replace damaged equipment as soon as possible. Finally, seek help from a certified camera technician to troubleshoot network connectivity or smart functionality issues.
Door alarms (semi-annual). You know what they say: Out of sight, out of mind. You may not even think about your alarms until a security event occurs. In fact, self-storage operators often aren’t aware of faulty alarms until it’s too late.
At least twice a year, do spot checks by intentionally setting off the alarms on a handful of vacant homes. Check that they are working as expected and that the correct alarm is sounding for each. To maintain constant visibility into the status of all facility alarms, consider upgrading to an access control solution with real-time monitoring capabilities. If you already have an access control platform in place, run a report to identify units with low battery levels and replace the transmitter batteries listed there.
Smart locks (biannual). These provide increased security and convenience for customers, but just one malfunction can jeopardize your retention rate. When tenants lose confidence in the protection of their homes, it can be difficult to regain their confidence.
Every six months, randomly select several self-storage units (free or rented) and verify that the smart locks open and close when prompted. If a lock fails, perform a visual inspection. One of the main causes of breakdowns is the poor closing of the doors. Also, run a battery report of all smart locks from your access control platform and replace batteries if necessary.
Data backups (weekly/daily). Again, data security is crucial. A single breach or snafu not only compromises business information, but also compromises your ability to function, especially if you are unable to quickly recover and restore lost data.
If your facilities management platform is cloud-based, maintenance is relatively simple. Just check that your technology partner regularly backs up your data. If you happen to store your data on a local server, you will need to back it up at least once a week and keep copies onsite and offsite.
When to ask for help
Complex security system maintenance should never be on your list of do-it-yourself projects. There is simply too much at stake. A single outage exposes tenants and their property to threats and disrupts the operation of facilities. A failed repair attempt can even damage connected system components, creating additional costs and vulnerabilities.
A better approach is to seek help from a certified technician to troubleshoot the issues. You may also consider working with a security integrator, who can coordinate and connect various hardware and software components, optimizing the performance of your security system and maximizing its value to your business. In addition to making sure all the pieces work together properly, a local security integrator can ensure your system’s continuity with onsite support.
Security can make or break your self-storage business, so you can’t afford to skip routine maintenance. By performing regular inspections and maintenance and resolving issues quickly, you can ensure your system is up to the task of protecting tenants’ valuables and giving your operation a competitive edge.
Sarah Davis is a marketing and public relations specialist for PTI Security Systems, a global provider of access control technology solutions for the self-storage industry. For more information, call 800.523.9504; E-mail [email protected].