We all love watching those reality shows where the bad guys are caught on camera — most often making fools of themselves. We chuckle to ourselves as they try to rob or break into a place of business only to get caught red-handed.

But securing your business from possible theft or vandalism is no laughing matter. If you have a security system already in place, do you know whether it is functioning properly? Have you ever gone to check the footage only to find that nothing has been recorded? Conversely, the system might have recorded activity, but it is too blurry to be able to identify anyone of possible wrongdoing.

Camera systems should be checked daily to make sure they’re working properly and recording. Newer and more advanced systems make this easy by feeding directly to your smartphone or tablet.

If you are considering a do-it-yourself (DIY) security system, consider what happened to this business owner, who opted to save money by purchasing a system from a retail store with a low-resolution camera. He hired an electrician with no experience with commercial security systems to install his DIY security system.

Since no security professionals were involved, proper protocols were not established to ensure that it was properly functioning, nor did it easily interface with his phone or tablet. As a result, no one ever checked the cameras.

Two months after installation of his DIY security system, the store was robbed. When the police came and they went to check the footage, they discovered that the inexperienced manager and/or electrician had never even set the system to record. No video… no suspects!

The lesson is that thieves are out there planning their next job. Saving money when you can is good. However, cheap systems, cheap cameras and inexperienced installers may end up costing you more in the long run.