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Manned vs Remote Video Guarding: What’s the Difference?
19 Jan 2023

There was once a time when the concept of keeping business premises secure might have brought to mind the image of a night watchman patrolling a building while keys jangle at his side. Indeed, many organisations do continue to utilise manned, in-person security at their sites.

However, an increasing number of commercial functions have been performed remotely — as the world particularly saw during the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent times, it has become de rigueur to use apps on mobile devices for, say, collaborating and conferencing from a physical distance.

It therefore makes sense to transfer more and more business security responsibilities to the remote sphere. Now, admittedly, this prospect might start filling you with a sense of dread. Could some security holes start emerging as the transition process gets underway?

In truth, whether you opt for the traditional measure of hiring security guards or instead implement some kind of remote video guarding solution, both benefits and drawbacks can apply. It would thus be key for you to weigh up how these two security options compare on those fronts.

What is the traditional way of doing things with business security?

For a while, many businesses had only one type of security guard system available to them: one where at least one human security guard would remain in the vicinity to watch out for any signs of unusual activity and report back to the organisation itself if this did arise.

Though advances in technology have since enabled more and more businesses to start taking advantage of virtual guard systems, you shouldn’t be quick to scotch the worth of having manned guards — perhaps even in combination with remote ones — at your corporate base.

With a traditional human guard, you can arrange for them to remain physically present at the site for as long as you wish — though, naturally, the higher the number of hours you want them to be there, the more you could have to pay that guard for the privilege.

Still, a human guard can certainly be flexible. For example, you could have the same guard keep watch over multiple sites and undertake spot checks on a daily or nightly basis. This guard could stay at one site for just one shift before allowing a colleague to take over.

Even just the sight of a human guard can deter aspiring trespassers from attempting to enter the property — not least because, if security was indeed breached, there would obviously be someone there to immediately deal with the situation and, if necessary, call for backup.

While it would ultimately be up to you whether to have a 24/7 manned guard system or instead use human guards only at particular times, the former could give you personnel capable of signing for deliveries or authorising access for other contractors at otherwise awkward times.

The quality of the human guarding you do receive can depend on how you source it. All Time Security offers manned guarding services that comply with the British Standard for security guarding and are available to clients in either the private or public sector.

Our security agency is also approved by the Security Industry Authority (SIA), and can provide your organisation with a manned guarding system tailored to meet specific security needs. Our fully trained and vetted security officers can guard sites including: 

  • Building and construction sites 
  • Warehouses
  • Factories 
  • Public houses 
  • Car parks

Nonetheless, we acknowledge that human guarding can have its limits. For example, if an unexpected obstacle — like illness or bad weather — jeopardises a human guard’s efforts to turn up to work on time, your commercial security could be temporarily left vulnerable. 

Furthermore, the larger the site you need to secure, the higher the number of human guards you could need for it. This situation, in turn, can add prohibitively to the cost of a manned guarding system — but throwing remote video guarding into the mix could help dilute this expense.

What would remote video guarding entail?

Here is how remote video guarding works. CCTV cameras are strategically installed at various points around the premises — and, on a 24/7 basis, video from these cameras is fed to a remote base where security staff can watch the imagery in both live or recorded form. 

If the video flags up a security incident, responders can be sent to the site in order to act on the problem. Through utilising remote video guarding, you can keep constant watch over all areas  of a property — but at a far lower financial cost than doing so with human guards.

This basically means that, for smaller, newer organisations, remote video guarding can easily constitute a much better-value way of giving a business site comprehensive security coverage.

Just consider the example of our own CCTV remote monitoring service — where, once we have installed the required CCTV security system at the client’s workplace, an SIA-qualified CCTV operator can continuously monitor what is picked up by these cameras.

At any given time of day, night or year, there will be an operator keeping an eye on the numerous CCTV video feeds. Hence, you can have faith in your workplace’s security even when you are on a business trip, sleeping or on holiday.

One good reason for you to implement both manned guarding and remote video guarding solutions at your premises is that, if the remote CCTV operator does detect an on-site issue, they will be able to report this to the manned guards.

These security staffers can then immediately act to tackle the problem — enabling you to leverage practical benefits of both manned and remote guarding systems while reining in disadvantages that would usually be associated with either security measure when it is used in isolation. It is also worth pointing out that, when you draw upon the CCTV remote monitoring service from All Time Security in particular, you would be able to effectively use the solution in conjunction with our alarm response and key holding service. To enquire about any of our commercial security offerings, feel free to email us via

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