We recognise there is a fundamental need to secure your business critical assets, from vacant land, development sites and compounds, to plant, materials and fuel. As a leading provider of sustainable security, we are perfectly positioned to secure, monitor and protect your valuable assets.

Assets Link

Securing Self-Storage: How to Secure Your Storage Units

Securing Self-Storage: How to Secure Your Storage Units
Securing Self-Storage: How to Secure Your Storage Units

A recent update from the Self-Storage Association indicates that organised crime groups are targeting self-storage facilities, particularly those without adequate security, leaving valuables exposed to theft.

This guide security advice for self-storage companies, highlighting the key threats you should safeguard against and the best security features available to protect your customers, staff, property, business and assets.

Key Summary

  • Self-storage units are increasingly targeted for theft, prompting the need for robust security measures. Providers are generally not liable for customer losses due to theft, but negligence in security can lead to significant legal claims. This necessitates maintaining high-security standards to prevent reputational damage and ensure business viability.
  • It’s crucial for self-storage businesses to implement comprehensive security protocols, including regular risk assessments, physical deterrents like CCTV and motion sensors, and contractual policies requiring customers to insure stored items. Proactive security updates and employee screening or outsourcing to reputable security firms are recommended to address potential vulnerabilities.
  • Employing active security measures such as 24/7 CCTV monitoring, manned guarding, and mobile patrols significantly enhances site safety. These systems not only deter criminal activity but also provide real-time responses to incidents, thereby safeguarding the assets stored and boosting customer confidence in the facility’s security capabilities.

Recover Commercial Rent Arrears with Clearway

Security Risks for Self-Storage Premises

Self-storage is an affordable and convenient way to store personal items, business inventory and bulkier appliances for longer periods, with demand increasing every year.

“Self-storage operators reported a combined £990m of revenue and increased profitability in 2022 as the sector’s growth continued unabated despite the pressures on household budgets.”

The challenge for storage unit providers is that they are responsible for protecting the assets their customers choose to store within their locker or unit, with varying risks and compliance requirements.

As a self storage unit owner, the following security exposures may be familiar to you:

  • Break-Ins and Theft: The most obvious risk is the possibility of theft. Thieves can break into units looking to steal valuable items such as electronics, furniture, or personal documents.
  • Poor Access Control: If your facility does not have strong controls over who can enter the premises and when, it’s easier for unauthorised individuals to access storage units. This includes lacking secure gates, doors, or insufficient identity verification processes.
  • Inadequate Surveillance: Without proper surveillance systems like CCTV cameras in key areas, it becomes difficult to monitor who accesses the facility. This lack of oversight can lead to theft or vandalism that might go undetected until it’s too late.
  • Environmental Damage: Security isn’t just about preventing unauthorised access; it also involves protecting items from environmental damage. Facilities with poor maintenance might expose items to risks like water damage, pests, or mould, which can be as devastating as theft.
  • Internal Threats: Sometimes the threat comes from within, such as dishonest employees who might steal or facilitate the theft of stored goods. This risk is heightened if background checks and monitoring of employees are not thorough.
  • Lack of Fire Safety Measures: Fires can start due to various reasons including electrical faults or flammable items being stored. Facilities lacking proper fire safety equipment and protocols may suffer extensive damage and loss of customer trust.
  • Legal Liabilities: If a facility fails to comply with legal standards, whether in terms of customer contracts or safety regulations, it could face lawsuits or fines. This includes failing to keep the premises secure and not adhering to specific storage regulations.
  • Digital Security Threats: Facilities that use digital systems for security or customer management (like key codes or databases of personal information) also face risks of cyber attacks. Data breaches can lead to identity theft and other forms of digital fraud.

Commercial renters tend to retain self-storage units for up to 24 months, which means that sufficient security is vital to protect those assets, given that valuables could be kept on-site for prolonged periods.

Are businesses Liabile for Self-Storage Units?

Although you, as a self-storage business, are not usually liable for losses, any negligence or failure to provide security to meet the basic requirements of the service could lead to a valid, expensive claim.

Self-storage providers must deliver a reasonable level of protection because:

  • Self-storage units frequently targeted by theft will quickly become unviable businesses as customers look for more secure competitors or options.
  • Some customers may rely on home insurance policies, mistakenly assuming that their possessions are covered, resulting in disputes and legal challenges.
  • Reputational damage is extremely hard to recover from, and most new customers will prioritise levels of security when choosing a self-storage company or facility.

How to Secure Your Storage Units

Our advice for anybody working within the self-storage sector is to take a proactive approach to reviewing your security systems and ensure that your facility is visibly and effectively guarded.

There are multiple deterrents available, and if you haven’t evaluated your risk assessments recently, or are reliant on provisions that have been in place for some time, updating your security could be business-critical.

Essential Features for Self-Storage Security

Some of the tasks we’d suggest are pre-emptive and ensure that you aren’t exposing yourself inadvertently to a higher risk level than necessary.

For example:

  • Asking all new customers to sign a rental agreement or service contract confirming that they acknowledge they need to insure every item they store.
  • Vetting the site to ensure extremely valuable items (such as antiques or heirlooms) are excluded or stored in specialist vaults or high-security units, and preventing customers from storing any items deemed to be hazardous or prohibited.
  • Retaining detailed logs, assessing climate and pest control systems, and updating fire safety protection.
  • Screening employees or contracting out security operations to a reputable security provider.

The next step is to carefully evaluate the efficacy of your security and move quickly to reinforce your defences, improving customer confidence and mitigating any weaknesses in your surveillance or perimeters that may attract criminal behaviour.

1. A Full Risk Assessment

site risk assessment

A full risk assessment is fundamental to security, especially in a high-risk environment such as a self-storage facility.

Clearway provides a detailed site survey conducted by skilled security professionals, assessing the presence, scope and assigned risk level of a vast number of variables, such as:

  • Environmental factors that may impact physical security – think exposure to flooding or high winds that dictate the right CCTV cameras.
  • Customer data protection procedures, record keeping and licensing protocols.
  • Access control, from approving individual visitors to verifying vehicles on-site, permitting staff entry via key fobs or entry systems and monitoring who is on-site, where and for how long at any one time.
  • Back-up equipment in case of emergencies, such as damage to lighting, cameras or keypads.
  • Surveillance and boundary protection, including motion sensors, cameras, unit alarms, door locks, lighting and perimeter fencing.

Your risk assessment is part of a thorough analysis process and identifies the possibility of a risk, the probability, and what you can do to protect your site.

2. CCTV Surveillance

does cctv need electricity?

CCTV cameras on all entry or exit routes are the minimum required by the Self-Storage Association UK, although the quality and protection varies considerably between surveillance systems.

Clearway can recommend the most suitable CCTV for your premises, considering:

  • Layout, blind spots and main access points.
  • Hours of business and the need for night-vision/infra-red cameras.
  • Key places/vulnerable areas where surveillance is essential, including indoor areas, car parks and spaces between your buildings and property boundaries.
  • Functionality, from remote monitoring requirements to immediate alarm activations.
  • Protection against a range of risks such as fire, flooding, gas and illegal entry.

Many self-storage providers opt for video motion detection systems, backed with multiple layers of technology to capture high-resolution footage, prompt security responses, or issue voice commands to prevent attempted intrusions. Clearway provide the extremely popular Video Verified Alarm a stand-alone, battery-powered, wire free, mobile network alarm system which will detect movement via multiple sensors, record and send a short video clip via the mobile network to a predetermined recipient or monitoring station.

Solar-powered outdoor CCTV towers are also popular and mean that even if there is an electrical power outage or wires are vandalised, your commercial-grade surveillance always remains on.

Don’t forget AI CCTV!

PPE detection for construction

Intelligent security systems offer a cost-effective solution for protecting self-storage facilities, reducing the reliance on costly security personnel while enhancing site safety.

You can now use CCTV with AI integration to:

  • Automate Facility Management: Utilising advanced technologies such as CCTV, access control, and intruder alarms that integrate seamlessly with facial recognition software to enable unmanned site management. This not only strengthens security but also ensures that all access points are continuously monitored and controlled without the need for constant human oversight.
  • Integrate Access and Security Controls: By implementing facial recognition technology, self-storage facilities can provide secure yet convenient access for customers. This system automatically manages and synchronises site security features, ensuring that access is granted only to verified individuals, thereby streamlining entry processes and enhancing overall site integrity.
  • Automated Logging of Vehicles and Personnel: Smart security systems can automatically record all site visits, logging detailed information including the date, time, and vehicle details. This digital log provides a reliable and efficient method for tracking site activity, which is crucial for both security and administrative purposes.

Find out more about smart security solutions for self storage facilities here. 

3. CCTV Monitoring

alarm monitoring services

Although it sounds obvious, many storage facilities operate passive CCTV systems, only checking footage when an incident occurs.

Active CCTV is a far better solution, with 24/7 monitoring year-round.

This system allows trained security responders to deploy when a threat is detected, with evidence to demonstrate what is happening and what level of response is most appropriate.

Clearway provides continual remote monitoring through our NSI Gold Standard Alarm Response Centre, ensuring a professional security team is always on hand to monitor your site, and alert  emergency services, attend an incident, or follow your own security protocols whenever an incident begins to unfold. This provides total peace of mind for business owners and staff.

4. Mobile Patrols and Manned Guarding

Manned Guarding

Finally, we strongly recommend the unrivalled human element of manned guarding, with entry points protected by physical checks and barriers to prevent unauthorised vehicles from entering.

Any customer who can access a self-storage facility without being noticed by security is highly unlikely to consider the business a safe place to store their valuable possessions.

Accredited security staff are proficient at identifying threats, de-escalating a range of scenarios, and showcasing professionalism to back up your business reputation.

We often suggest regular mobile security patrols, ideally with canine teams, enabling you to cover a much larger area and further strengthen your site defences against potential criminal activity.

Get Expert Advice on Self-Storage Security

At Clearway we find more often than not, that a combination of more traditional and technology-based security solutions works best in providing total protection for your business and its assets.

Please contact the Clearway team if you would like to learn more about the potential security risks present at your self-storage facility or to chat about the best approach to defend your premises from the rise in organised crime.

With over 30 years of security expertise, we’ll be happy to provide the benefit of our knowledge to ensure your self-storage business is protected from every threat and you can continue to provide a secure, safe storage facility for your customers. At Clearway we secure, monitor and protect.

Back to top

What are you looking for?