Difference Between Commercial & Institutional Security

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Commercial security refers to the systems commonly found in businesses, apartment buildings and other companies; institutional security refers to security measures set up by corporate or government entities to protect strict social structures. There are differences between security for companies and businesses and security for institutions such as schools or prisons. The differences are present in the level of security that is needed, the methods used, the purpose for the security and the importance of security.

Level of Security

Businesses and companies require a lower level of security than governmental buildings and institutions. This is because there is less of a threat to businesses than there is to institutions. Businesses usually install security equipment to prevent thieves from breaking and entering, or to prevent angry or disgruntled customers from lashing out at employees, but institutions are a much larger target for angry citizens. There is more responsibility for the institution to protect not only the employees, but the visiting public.

Security Measures

Security measures refer to equipment, personnel and methods that are used to ensure security. Security measures can come in the form of cameras, paid guards, specialty locks and other devices that can be used to prevent theft. These are the measures that can be installed by commercial businesses and companies. The level and type of measures used depends on the owner or business manager. For institutions, however, security measures are usually much more advanced. Hospitals and airports, for example, will use advanced screening methods, such as fingerprinting, retina scans and advanced camera technology to ensure the safety and protection of the institution.

Purpose of Security

While the owners and managers of commercial buildings often implement security measures to protect employees and customers, the main threat is burglary and theft, so methods are used to prevent this. In institutions, security is more for the individuals who are working or visiting. That is not to say that either is not subject to other threats; however, the greater risk in many institutions is verbal and physical harassment.

Importance of Security

As noted above, companies tend to employ security methods to protect the financial side of the business, although protection for employees and customers is also important. Security is expected of the business, but not in the same way as it is expected from an institution. Because an institution is a place for the public to convene, there is a larger threat from those who want to exact violence, such as vandalism or acts of terrorism. Therefore, the importance for adequate security at an institution is much greater than, say, a shoe store or other business. Angry people tend to lash out more at institutions than businesses.