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Self-Storage Security Primer: An Overview of Basics for Facility Operators


By David Essman

Your specific needs for a self-storage security system may vary compared to the needs of your competitor, but there are several items most facility operators will have in common. These include a perimeter fence, motorized gate, access-control keypads, individual door alarms and several security cameras, just to name a few. Your security system will be comprised of several, if not all, of these items to offer your customers and property the best protection possible.

There are several good reasons to provide security: protecting your investment, providing comfort to customers who entrust their belongings to your care, and the protection of your staff and tenants. Before you make that big investment, however, let’s review the security options available.

The Access-Control System

The keypad access-control system, combined with your perimeter fence and motorized gate, could be considered the primary piece of your security system. This system permits customers who have a proper pass code to gain access inside the perimeter fence, and keeps those who don’t out.

These systems, especially computer-based ones, are loaded with many other useful features catering to the self-storage business. Some can restrict access to all or a select group of customers to specific hours. For example, you may wish to limit most tenants to office or daylight hours while still permitting preferred customers 24-hour access. In addition, you can automatically implement special holiday hours.

Another nice feature available in several access-control systems is the ability to restrict customer access to certain areas on your property. For example, you might have several buildings on your property and want to limit a customer’s access to the main gate entrance and the building that contains his unit. To accomplish this, a modern access-control system can usually support 50 or more keypads. Elevator control is another system feature, which can restrict elevators and floors to tenants having space in those areas.


Although not always one of the first things to come to mind, lighting can play an important role in the overall security of your investment. This holds especially true at locations offering 24-hour access. A well-lit storage business will be more of a deterrent compared to one poorly lit with many areas where a predator or vandal could lie in wait. Conversely, a well-lit property is inviting to tenants at night, as well as a great selling point in marketing your facility to customers.

Modern lighting for your investment is more efficient and economical than ever before. In addition to exterior lighting, consider automatic-lighting controls for indoor storage hallways. This system will automatically power up and down in specific areas of the buildings as tenants enter and exit your property through your security system.


Intercoms are a great complement to your security system. More operators are positioning intercoms and keypads throughout their self-storage properties. It’s beneficial to the manager and tenants to have a means of communicating with one another. Whether your tenant is having trouble with a roll-up door or there’s an emergency, intercoms with a few easy-to-read instructions placed throughout the business are a good selling point and safety measure.

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