A guard tour patrol system is a simple but effective system for logging the rounds of security staff. Think of it as a tool for improving security routes and augmenting safety. Guard tour systems are is used for things like patrolling commercial buildings, monitoring climate-controlled environments, and checking high-risk areas such as correctional facilities or hospital wings.
Patrol systems are suitable for any facility
Patrol systems help ensure that security guards make their appointed rounds at the correct times. Management predesigns routes and strategically schedules them. When it comes time for a guard to complete a patrol, all they need to do is scan checkpoints with the appropriate device. Once the checkpoint is scanned, the system creates a record of the time and date. This effective proves that the guard was on time for the patrol, and that it was completed in the correct order.
Guard tour systems are not new. This concept has existed for many years. What has evolved is the technology. Security teams used to use mechanical watch clock-based systems to complete routes. Modern systems use handheld data loggers (wands, scanners or smartphones) and RFID/NFC sensors. “Checkpoints” are commonly placed at critical points such as vaults, equipment, restricted areas, and access points. They are designed to be discreet and won’t damage the property. Some systems are so sophisticated that if the guard fails to reach a checkpoint within a set time, another staff member is dispatched to ensure the guard is okay.
Since there is so little hardware required to get a guard tour system up and running, security companies can easily set up a patrol system in virtually any facility.
Types of patrol systems
There are three major types of guard patrol software. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, but most companies are using cloud-based systems because it is more dynamic than other options.
Desktop software system
A desktop system is installed on only one computer. The biggest benefit is that is accessible even when if the internet is down. The cons are that only one person can use the software at a time, and the system must be updated and maintained by the owner.
Client server software system
A local network client server will enable multiple users to access the software. The system can be slow if there are a lot of people on it, and maintenance still has to be performed manually. This can also be a costly option.
Cloud-based software system
Cloud-based software works everywhere with internet access. The biggest cons are that the user must pay an ongoing subscription fee, and that it cannot be used without internet. The pros are that many people can use the system at once even if they are not onsite, maintenance and updates are taken care of by the developer, and data is rarely lost.
New touring solutions rely on cloud-based software so that guards can access the program on smartphones. This allows them to move around freely, and they don’t have to worry about learning to use complicated hardware. Since the tour system is so minimal, it also makes it easier to implement changes and create multiple routes for multiple sites. These systems also share tour information to the platform automatically. The officer is not required to return to an upload station. Finally, all of that data is saved and organized. This makes it a lot easier for management and the company to spot trends, issues and opportunities that they would never see by looking at paper logs.
Industries that would benefit from a guard tour system
As mentioned before, almost any company could benefit from hiring a security company that uses a guard tour system. However, the industries below are considered excellent candidates for this type of software:
- Educational institutes that are looking for proactive ways to increase the safety of their students and faculty
- Commercial real estate organizations that need to protect their properties from damage
- Public transportation services that move thousands of people around everyday
- Financial institutions that are responsible for protecting large amounts of money
- Warehouse departments that have a lot of merchandise and a lot of real estate
- Health care facilities that have restricted rooms, vulnerable people and valuable assets
Now that you’re more familiar with what a guard tour system is, we can take a look at what specific advantages it has to offer.
- Safety is enhanced when security teams use the right security tools
Having a security team is an invaluable asset to your company or property. Only people can chase down a thief or defuse a situation between two angry customers. But security guards can only do so much at one time. That’s where a mobile guard tour system comes in handy. Security tools, including cloud-based systems like Patrol Points, allow security teams to be more productive and efficient by simplifying processes and minimizing manual work. Teams can spend more time keeping people and property safe when they spend less time writing out reports by hand or trying to figure out a new route.
Because mobile devices are network-connected, they can be updated live in the field. So, if something serious occurs while a guard is on patrol, they can send a report to their manager from wherever they are. Patrol Points also has features like authorized entry and key tracking, which help security guards ensure only those with permission are granted access to certain locations.
- Guards are less distracted by clunky, uncoordinated devices
Patrols are seamless when completed with a tour system. Guards simply scan each checkpoint using the software app. Many systems also tell guards where the next checkpoint is. All data is collected and organized automatically. If something isn’t quite right, guards will be able to investigate without being weighed down by equipment.
- Routes are not restricted by temperature or wifi
Systems that use small but durable RFID/NFC tags have an advantage over other systems. These devices, which are hardly noticeable unless you’re looking for them, can withstand cold, heat and rain. That means checkpoints can be placed anywhere inside or outside of a property. Moreover, some guard tour systems have an offline mode option. When the internet isn’t available, the checkpoint data gets saved locally on the guard’s smartphone. As soon as wifi is available, the data is automatically pushed to the platform.
- Information shared between you and the security company is drastically improved
Over the course of their shift, guards might forget some details if they have to fill out reports manually. It’s also hard to standardize reports if guards are just asked to write things down. However, an online tour guard system makes it easier for staff to log events as they occur. Report forms are the same for each staff member to ensure consistency. They can even attach photos or videos to incident reports so that management receives as much information as possible.
Moreover, management doesn’t have to go looking for reports. Every document is available in a centralized location. This makes it easier for them to share information with clients and stakeholders.
- Companies get proof that security strategies are working
Businesses want to know that the security company that they’ve hired is actually making a difference. Data and analytics can make that easier to prove. Most modern guard tour systems will have a reports feature that compiles custom data. The reports can show whether certain incidents are decreasing over time, what’s being done during patrols, and who’s taking out keys.
Data helps create transparency between parties. It allows businesses to ask relevant questions, and gives security teams the opportunity to prove their value.