Protect your self-storage facilities from break-ins and theft.  At a self- storage facility business, people are always coming and going—so how can you ensure security at all times?

There are several access-control products available to self-storage operators today, and knowing which to choose can be difficult.  A checklist will help you choose the perfect security solution for your new site, or assist in the expansion or retrofit and upgrade of an existing one.  

Keypads. They must be durable, weather-tested, UL-listed keypads with thick metal enclosures that are properly grounded and sealed during installation.  Keypads at all gate entry and exit points are ideal. They’re the only means for tracking how long tenants are on site.

Access Control Systems where keypads are installed at all gate entry and exit points allow an audit trail to be created so you can track everyone that enters and exits.  Most Access Control systems today use cloud-storage, reducing cost, and allowing access and viewing of audit information remotely from any device (with proper credentials, of course).


Flexibility is also important.  The best keypads have inputs for proximity-card readers, credit card readers, fingerprint scanners and more.  Those that allow tenants to pay at the gate after hours, addressing past-due bills at any time are a bonus.

Cameras.  Cameras make people feel safe, and that alone is a compelling reason to install them at your site.  Internet-protocol (IP) cameras are ideal for self-storage facilities because they have the best resolution and zooming capabilities for the price.

Most IP cameras are cloud-enabled, which allows you to view your feed from any Web browser or mobile app. Thermal cameras and temperature-monitoring cameras are great add-ons for premium facilities with wine storage or boat/RV lots.


Consider adding pinhole cameras in your entry and exit keypads so you’ll have an up-close view of everyone entering and exiting the facility.  It also gives you a close view of tenants alongside their access history so you’re better equipped to deal with internal theft should it arise.


Gates and Fencing.  The best type of gate for your business will depend on space constraints and the physical layout of your property.  Slide gates, barrier arms, swing gates and vertical-pivot gates are a few of the more common types found at storage sites today.


Door Alarms & Electronic Locks.  Your customers want to know your facility is safe, but more importantly, they want to know that their unit is safe.  Individual door security products help prevent theft from tailgating and help increase the value of each unit at your site.  


Alarms and electronic locks can increase revenue as well because you can charge higher rental rates for alarmed units.


Control Hardware and Security Software.  Your system needs to give you real-time reports and provide the ability to easily create access codes for new tenants.  Ideally your controller and software allow for mobile gate entry, custom reporting, and pay-at-the-gate features.


Mobile- Enabled Apps. Mobile Apps for gate entry are an unbeatable tool for your access-control system as well as your marketing efforts.


Millennials and younger tenants love apps, but customers of all ages love convenience.  These tools are like a garage-door opener for your gate and other doors, and are also a great way to make your site more handicap-friendly.  


The one you choose is important.  Select one that works with your access-control system so you’ll have a log of all access activity.  Or better yet, when choosing an access control system, or upgrading an older system, be sure it includes mobile credential capabilities.


Site graphics. These are a great way to show off your facility and security features to anyone who walks in your office.  Let your security be a marketing tool for your property by putting your features on display.

Elevator keypads and controls. These are a bit lesser known, but elevator keypads are rising in prominence as more multi-level facilities are built.  Elevator controls ensure tenants only have access to their unit floor, reducing the risk of customer theft.

Self Storage Facility Security Technology Advances


There have been several advancements in these technologies above including near-field communication (NFC), mobile apps, license-plate recognition (LPR) and automated vehicle identification (AVI).


Near-Field Communication

According to Wikipedia, NFC is a set of protocols that enables two electronic devices, one of which is usually a portable device like a smartphone, to establish communication by being within very close proximity.  


A customer can use his phone to open the facility’s access gate.  It’s easy to use, and makes it so tenants don’t have to remember their access code.  It also shows them your business is embracing security technology.


NFC is flashy, but WiFi and Bluetooth are more robust and expandable. There are apps that allow you to view your storage facility video cameras, and security and management system remotely.  Some allow your tenants to open the gate, receive notifications when their unit is opened or closed, access their account balance, and make a payment. This technology is where everything is heading.


License-Plate Recognition

LPR isn’t a do-it-yourself project, but if you hire someone to set up the system, it’s easy to maintain and use.  You enter the customer’s license-plate information into the LPR software. When his car approaches the facility gate, the system reads and recognizes the plate and permits entry.  


When using this type of integration, it’s best to set up a camera or set of cameras specifically for this purpose.


Automated Vehicle Identification

LPR and AVI technologies are not only more widely used today, they’re becoming more affordable.  AVI is sometimes referred to as radio frequency identification—fancy words that simply mean you have a “tag” in or on a vehicle that sends a signal to a receiver and opens your gate without any involvement from the user.


Security for self-storage industries will have to satisfy the changing consumer market.  Customers want more convenience and accessibility on their terms. They just want to just click, swipe and go.  Further, an up-to-date access control system for your self-storage facility business can be used as a marketing advantage and selling point against your competitors.


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Tags: Self Storage Facility Security, access control systems, self storage systems

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