Remote Guarding vs. Security Guards: What’s the Difference?

Apr 23, 2019

Imagine how you’d feel if you showed up to work one day to find your office destroyed. Your walls are vandalized, your technology is stolen, and your employees are scared to come back.

Security is a top priority for diligent property managers, and there are a lot of options out there to get the job done. To help you decide which one is right for you, we’re taking a look at the difference between traditional security guards and remote guarding alternatives.

Security Guards


We’ve all heard the horror stories — whether in person or even on the TV screen. Security guards sleeping on the job or monitoring the wrong portion of the property as the bad guys slip in, unnoticed, and pull off their heist.

Download Now: Free Starter Guide to Comparing Top Security Options For Your Business

On-site security guards are typically employed by property owners and managers to be physically present during non-business hours, and often overnight. They are usually paid by the hour, perform routine checks, and write reports of any instances they observe.

Security guards are great for those who need to have a presence on-site and must enforce parking rules in real-time. The downsides of having them, however, include the challenges around managing them, not being able to monitor your full property at all times, and the expense around hiring employees.

Here’s the full list of pros and cons:


  • Maintain a physical presence on-site
  • Handle on-site tasks like opening gate entrances, checking doors to ensure they are locked, and walking staff to their vehicles
  • Provide tenants/clients with a visible sense of security
  • Directly controlled by property managers
  • Enforce parking rules in real-time
  • Greet guests and patrol buildings as needed


  • Tend to fall asleep during overnight shifts, often because security is a second job for guards who come to work already fatigued
  • Difficulty in covering large areas, unless you employ multiple guards
  • Time and resources dedicated to security personnel management
  • Low wages discourage engagement. “At 2 AM, they are super hesitant to communicate with suspicious individuals or sketchy groups of people. They are concerned for their own well-being and I don’t blame them; remote guards don’t have that issue,” says Alpha Video Surveillance CEO Mike Loumos.
  • Often lack specialized skills and communication abilities due to lack of education
  • They’re expensive. The average cost to the client in Nevada is about $17 per hour for an unarmed security guard. In California, it’s $21 per hour, which can equate to monthly costs of $4-$5,000 for a guard that works eight hours a night, seven nights a week.
  • An abundance of downtime leads to boredom and inadequate attention to detail. “I have found that security guards on many occasions play with their smartphone, watch Netflix, YouTube, or are on social media while they should be working. Their habit is to patrol once an hour and document those findings,” says Loumos.

Remote Guard Service


Think about all the slip-ups a security guard can make: falling asleep on the job, being unable to monitor everything at once, boredom, and more. After all, we’re all human! But what if technology could get the job done cheaper and more reliably?

Download Now: Free Starter Guide to Comparing Top Security Options For Your Business

Remote guard services utilize high-tech cameras placed strategically around a property, and record 24 hours a day, seven days a week. During non-business hours, camera footage is monitored live by staff who respond immediately when an incident is observed.

These services are great because your entire property is monitored by well-paid, highly trained staff who are keeping watch over video surveillance and can provide intervention quickly. The only drawbacks are due to the staff being remote — but in a world that’s becoming smarter and more remote, this may not affect the quality of your security.

Here’s the full list of pros and cons:


  • Watch all areas of the property at all times, simultaneously
  • Intervention within 60 seconds of unwanted activity arriving on property
  • Well-paid, highly trained staff monitor camera footage and respond
  • Transparent events with video evidence of all activity
  • Allows officers to report an incident with video or screenshots accurately
  • Keeps the remote guarding company honest, because every event is captured with audio so the client can easily track guard staff response time
  • Video surveillance backed by technology that improves every year, allowing for minimized incidents and faster response times
  • 24/7 video footage. Even when the property isn’t monitored live, continuous recording ensures the client has access to events that happen during the day
  • Technology never sleeps, takes a day off, or shows up late
  • Includes a suite of equipment and services including:
    • Camera repairs/service
    • Full access to tech support
    • Daily system checks to ensure proper operation
    • Free service calls to visit the property
    • Low cost. On average, remote systems cost 35-50% less than physical security guards
    • Equal police response time when compared with on-site security, but with a lower personal risk of engagement


  • No physical on-site presence
  • Cannot perform tasks on location, like greeting guests or walking them to their vehicles
  • Unable to enforce parking regulations

As you can see, remote guarding services are best for those who want to monitor their entire property at once and use the most powerful camera surveillance tools available. And, they reduce the risk posed to on-site security guards who have to confront threats directly.

Still not sure which security solution is right for you? Download our free guide: Comparing Security Options For Your Business.