DIY Security: A Risky Business

by Anna Rogers

Technology these days has a way of making us all feel like professionals, doesn’t it?

Every so often I get a wild hair to set up my own family photo session. I have the tripod and the expensive Nikon and a creative plan. I envision that I’ll get professional results and save a few hundred dollars. After a lot of running back and forth, counting down seconds on the timer, and trying to get a baby to look at a far-off piece of equipment, I upload all the attempts to my computer. There isn’t a single photo with us all looking and smiling, and the framing and lighting are completely off.

I’m reminded that just because I have some semi-professional equipment, it doesn’t make me a professional. As I look through my less-than-desirable photos, I’m reminded that the old adage is true – “You get what you paid for.”

Security cameras are no different. Security system technology is available to the masses through big box stores, with promises of easy home or business installation and successful functioning, but not every camera system is alike. There are many reasons to choose professionally installed systems versus a DIY option.



From the equipment itself to the pixel quality of the picture, professionally installed systems will yield better quality that a DIY solution purchased from Amazon, Costco, or other similar stores. There is a big difference in equipment made for the professional market compared to that made for the commercial consumer market.

Although certain marketing may try to say otherwise, megapixels, recording times and types of lenses offered at big box store versus a technology installation professional are not created equal. Details like these can be a difference-maker in catching or not catching a burglar. In addition to picture quality, the hard drives in mass-market DIY systems are not built as well as professional systems, and a failed hard drive can prevent your home or business from retrieving the data when you truly need it.


Installation & Integration

Placement of cameras, camera choice, networking and integration are crucial to the system’s success. Professionals are experienced and knowledgeable about correct cables, different brands of cameras, correct installation height, and more.

Every home and business has a unique layout with different lighting and angles. DIY systems are one-size-fits-all and likely aren’t suited to meet the specific demands of your property.

In addition, if you install equipment yourself, any warranties may be voided if you can’t prove that you installed the equipment correctly.



If you like things neat and clean, you can ask your installer to hide your wires in the

walls when they arrive to install your system. Your technology expert can make certain your system is placed at optimal angles, focused, configured correctly with firmware updated, and that the entire system is fine-tuned to your network. A good installer will guarantee their work and come out to help whenever a technology issue is encountered or if you need help pulling footage from your system in case of an incident.