8 Common Hidden Camera Mistakes to Avoid for Businesses
Spy cameras can be reliable security tools if you know how to use them at your office. Here are common hidden camera mistakes to avoid for businesses.
Do you know when you're making a mistake? Spoiler alert: probably not—if you did, you wouldn't make it.
Hidden camera mistakes are common. That's because hidden cameras are tools. Like any tool, using them requires at least some basic knowledge.
Imagine buying and installing a hidden camera in your business. You rest easy that night, feeling more secure and responsible. That wasn't so hard, was it?
Now imagine discovering that someone hacked your security camera. Someone's been spying on you with your own spy camera.
If you want to avoid that, read on to learn eight common hidden camera mistakes and simple steps to avoid them.
1. Not Testing Your Hidden Camera
There are many ways to test a hidden camera. The list below is basic—but thorough enough to get you started.
Initial Test: The most important test is the first test. It may be a while before you re-evaluate your security system, so get it right the first time.
Software: Check the user interface for error messages, bugs, and update reminders. Anything unusual could be a sign of trouble. A bug may be only an inconvenience—or it may be a doorway for intruders.
Storage: Be sure you can find, view, and download your footage. Also, check how long your system saves the footage. (And adjust it as needed.)
Lighting: View daytime and nighttime footage for natural lighting clarity. Also, check for minimal ambient lighting and light source positioning. (See below for more on those.)
Blind Spots: Record yourself walking and rummaging through the area under surveillance. Then review the footage. Address any blind spots or other issues you discover.
Follow-Up Tests: Be sure to repeat the assessments covered above, plus the items below. Keep in mind that these are only the essentials.
Make sure you have reminders so you know when to test your system again. If you consult with an expert, ask them how often your camera should be re-evaluated. That includes your own evaluations in-between professional assessments.
2. Not Securing Your Hidden Camera
The biggest irony of security systems is that they can expose you to danger. The good news is that you can reduce that risk by taking certain steps.
Passwords: Many hidden cameras feature online access through the manufacturer. That's great for remote monitoring, but it's also a vulnerability.
If your system came with a default password, be sure to change it. When you do, be sure to pick something secure. Even better, let a password management app choose it for you. And, of course, be sure to change it again periodically.
WiFi: If your hidden camera connects to your WiFi, then you should make sure your WiFi is secure. If it's not, a bad guy could access your network while parked outside your business. (Or in the building next door.)
Offline Cameras: You could install a camera that doesn't connect to a network at all. Just be sure to hide it carefully since the footage won't be saved in the cloud.
3. Bad Lighting Angles
When conducting your tests, be sure to check with the lights on and off, day and night.
- Side (bad): Lighting that comes from the side can cast shadows that reduce clarity
- Back (bad): Lighting from behind the person will hide their features and cause glare
- Front (good): Light coming from behind the camera will provide the best coverage
4. Low Light
Night vision cameras need light, too. Infrared cameras often emit their own (invisible) light, though not very far.
For this reason, you need to consider ambient light your friend. You can keep a baseline of minimum ambient light with a plug-in nightlight.
5. Not Consider Placement for Cameras
Plain Sight: Some of the best hidden cameras aren't even hidden—just disguised. So-called "nanny cams" are often inside teddy bears.
Choke Points: Choke points are like bottlenecks. They're the places that people are most likely to pass. Think of exits, entries, hallways, and windows.
Targets: If you're monitoring a business, then be sure to cover valuables. That includes cash registers, expensive products, and vaults.
6. Not Addressing Blind Spots
Covering every square inch of your business is usually impossible. That means you'll have blind spots in your footage. Mitigate these with better lighting or rearranged furniture.
Your surveillance needs might include a wide area. If you can't afford the investment to cover this entire area, you have options:
- Change camera angles periodically (for better coverage and to fool intruders)
- Place decoy cameras out in the open as a deterrent
- Install new, bright lights—they'll deter bad behavior while improving footage clarity
7. Not Updating Your Camera System
Software Updates: Hackers often exploit security systems by finding outdated ones. Updates often patch security holes that hackers already know about.
Hardware Updates: Check the market for any updates that make your camera obsolete. That can include recalls, breakthrough technologies, or known hacks. Electronics tend to get less expensive as time goes on. Be on the lookout for deals so you can get more cameras and better coverage.
Router Updates: Keeping your hardware and software up to date is important. But be sure to take the same care with the network the camera connects to.
8. Not Consulting With Experts
Set aside a budget so you can hire a security expert to assess your camera and other security concerns. Be sure to look for reviews and ask lots of questions. You pay consultants to be the experts, but they can also teach you in the process.
Be Smart About Hidden Camera Mistakes
You don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to avoid hidden camera mistakes. But you do need the basic know-how in this article. You're now better-equipped to protect yourself, your property, and your loved ones.