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ISS BLOG - The Essentials I Use to Keep My Self-Storage Facility Secure, Plus Advanced Technologies We Should All Consider

Security should be a priority for every self-storage operator. That’s a given. But while facilities should always employ the basics, there are also new technologies to consider today. In this article, the owner of I-5 Self Storage in Tustin, California, discusses the tools and best practices he uses to keep his own property safe.

Randy S. Wong

February 9, 2024

4 Min Read

Self-storage security has evolved significantly in recent years. As the owner of I-5 Self Storage and a former state prosecutor, I understand the critical importance of staying ahead in this arena. In this article, I’ll discuss the fundamentals of site safety, and then delve into some of the more advanced technologies available today. Following are the tools and best practices I use to ensure security at my property in Tustin, California, plus some advanced ones to consider.

I-5_SS_Gate_and_Keypad.jpgThe keypad entry at I-5 Self Storage
in Tustin, California

The Essentials

Before we explore more advanced security options currently on the market, it's crucial to remind ourselves of the essentials. In my mind, these are the pillars that should be in place at every self-storage property:

  • Quality staff: Having a well-trained and attentive site employees is fundamental. They should know how to recognize suspicious activity and be proactive in preventing and addressing it.

  • Physical fortification: A robust perimeter is the first line of defense. Fencing, access gates and strong locks are essential components of a secure facility.

  • Superior lighting: A well-lit property doesn’t only deter criminal activity, it ensures greater overall safety for customers and staff.

  • Tenant screening: Proper vetting processes can help prevent problematic individuals from renting at your self-storage facility in the first place.

I-5_Surveillance_Sign.jpgA surveillance warning

Advanced Options

While the above traditional security measures remain essential, advancements in technology have opened new avenues for self-storage security. My facility either employs or has completed a trial implementation of the following:

Access control. Modern systems use electronic key cards or biometric authentication to limit access to authorized personnel only. These can be integrated with surveillance cameras for enhanced monitoring.

Camera monitoring. I also encourage you to invest in high-definition security cameras and monitoring, as they help law enforcement efficiently capture and prosecute criminals. Your cameras should cover all critical angles including entrances, hallways and common areas. In addition to recording footage, some self-storage operators are exploring the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to detect suspicious behavior.

Emergency network. Integrating your camera system with shared hubs and speakers can improve emergency-response times. This approach allows for real-time communication with security companies, enabling swift and appropriate interaction in case of suspicious activity. Staff can be hired to watch security footage in real time and can then use a public-access system to communicate with anyone observed on the site. They can also determine or request deployment of first responders.

Cybersecurity. Self-storage facilities aren’t immune to cyber threats. Implementing measures to protect sensitive customer data is paramount. This includes robust firewalls, encryption and regular security audits to identify vulnerabilities.

Internet of Things (IoT) sensors. These can be used to monitor environmental factors like temperature and humidity in storage units. Sensors can send alerts to staff or tenants if conditions deviate from the norm, helping to protect valuable belongings.

License-plate readers. This recognition technology allows for the automatic identification of vehicles entering and exiting the facility. This can be invaluable for tracking who comes and goes, aiding in investigations and ensuring that only authorized personnel access the premises. Additionally, the option to share this data with law-enforcement agencies can greatly enhance crime-fighting efforts.

I-5_Self_Storage_License_Plate_Reader.jpgThe license-plate reader at the I-5 gate

Tenant tools. Many self-storage facilities are adopting mobile apps and tenant portals that allow customers to manage their storage units remotely. They often include features like digital locks and real-time access logs, increasing security and convenience.

Moving Forward

Studies show that effective security systems decrease crime rates and keep commercial facilities safer. The latest technologies, many including AI enhancements, are an absolute game-changer.

Gate_and_Signs.jpgThe facility’s security signage

Self-storage security has come a long way, thanks to advanced technology and collaborative efforts with law-enforcement agencies. As we move forward, it’s imperative for facility operators to stay current on the latest advancements and prioritize the safety of customers and staff. By combining traditional practices with cutting-edge technologies, we can create properties that aren’t only secure but efficient and customer-friendly. Together, we can lead the industry to a safer and more secure future.

Randy S. Wong is owner of I-5 Self Storage in Tustin, California. Following his time as an attorney and state prosecutor, he pursued his lifelong passion for motorcycles. While serving as the national managing director of the nonprofit Motorcycle Safety Foundation, he discovered the need for vehicle storage, which led him to design and develop his own self-storage property. To reach him, email [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Randy S. Wong

Owner, I-5 Self Storage

Randy S. Wong is owner of I-5 Self Storage in Tustin, California. Following his time as an attorney and state prosecutor, he pursued his lifelong passion for motorcycles. While serving as the national managing director of the nonprofit Motorcycle Safety Foundation, he discovered the need for vehicle storage, which led him to design and develop his own self-storage property. To reach him, email [email protected].

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