Difference Between Surveillance Cameras and Security Cameras

Whether you own residential or commercial property, your eyes can’t be everywhere at all hours of the day. Through technological advances, cameras can now record a strikingly clear picture of the comings and goings around your property. Security and surveillance cameras are a priority for anyone owning property. So, what is the difference between surveillance cameras and security cameras?

What Is a Surveillance Camera?

What Is a Surveillance Camera?


Surveillance cameras tend to be placed in public spaces that need to record open areas and work jointly with security cameras. They are installed in offices, retail locations, homes, and other public places to deter criminal events and provide security. Recorded footage from a surveillance camera may be used as evidence in the event of a crime.


These cameras work on an IP network that connects the camera from remote systems and transfers video to a secure location. An IP camera system permits longer recording times, which makes it perfect for video surveillance systems.

Benefits of Surveillance Cameras

Despite coming at a higher price point and being a bit more complex to install, there are benefits associated with surveillance systems.


Permit Remote Monitoring of a Location

Providing there is an internet connection, people can easily monitor all areas no matter where the cameras are. Individuals can view camera feeds using a tablet, smartphone, or computer from any location.


Deter Criminal Activity

Surveillance cameras deter crime, whether you have installed them at work or home. Most surveillance cameras are placed discreetly, but signs alert potential intruders to their presence. Since criminals become acutely aware they are being watched the moment they see signs of a security system, they tend to abandon their attempts at crime since they know that everything they do is being recorded.


Clear Footage

Gone are the days when footage was fuzzy and distorted. Most cameras today provide detailed and precise pictures of events occurring throughout the premises. This makes the identification of criminals much easier.


Drawbacks of Surveillance Cameras

The most significant drawback is the upfront cost. This type of security system tends to cost more than security cameras. However, sometimes peace of mind is worth the initial investment.


Cost of Purchase and Installation

Another drawback to surveillance cameras is that you often have to buy accessories for the system separately. This adds to the already-high price of the system itself, not to mention the cost of a professional installation.


Not Easy to Use

Some of the modern security systems are quite complex and challenging to operate. If you are not a technologically-minded person, you may find operating top-quality cameras tricky.


Surveillance Systems Can Be Abused

Cameras located in public areas can be misused and often abused by others. People are often able to collect data from a surveillance system and use this information to blackmail others with the footage.

What Is a Security Camera?

What Is a Security Camera?

Also known as Closed Circuit Television cameras, these devices can go anywhere, including outside or inside a business or home. Cameras transmit signals from an area to distant monitors, which watch the most important things. Some security cameras need to be installed by a professional, while others can be installed by homeowners.


Benefits of Security Cameras

The best thing about a security camera is that footage is only recorded once motion has been detected to conserve bandwidth and energy. With some cameras, infrared night vision and motion sensors can detect movement with clarity no matter the time of day or night.


They will allow you to view your footage in high definition, providing you with a clear visual. You will always know what you are looking at, eliminating confusion. You can combine cameras with other security solutions like doorbells that allow you to speak with anyone who comes to your door for complete safety.


Provide Evidence of a Crime

Security cameras can provide evidence of expected or unexpected occurrences with a clear picture, as many contain high-quality video and audio. This makes it easier to identify criminals and may be admissible to the police or used in a court of law for evidence.


Monitor Unusual Activity

These video cameras provide a way to monitor any suspicious activity in your location. They allow you to observe all activities within the business or home. They can also be instrumental in lowering crime in places with high criminal activity.


Observe Scenarios

You can put these cameras anywhere, provided a power source is in close vicinity. Depending on your requirements, they can be hidden or mounted in plain view to monitor the activities of those entering and exiting your business or home. It is an effective way to track and detect anything that happens on your property.


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Drawbacks of Security Cameras

As with anything, there are disadvantages to security cameras as well. These include:


Vulnerability of Being Hacked

Technological advancements have inspired some intruders to become more tech-savvy. This enables criminals to identify false or real cameras. Once identified, they discover ways to disconnect or disable power sources to the video cameras.


May Be Useless in a Power Outage

If your cameras do not contain backup batteries, you may not have security footage during a power outage. Some criminals capitalize on this by breaking into places they know are usually monitored.


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Privacy May Be Compromised

There are some controversies surrounding security cameras, especially in the workplace. Employees sometimes feel the cameras are an invasion of privacy or think it means their employer doesn’t trust them.

What Is the Difference Between Surveillance Cameras and Security Cameras?


Security and surveillance cameras are essential items of equipment for protecting your property. While they may appear the same, and there is some overlap in terms of functionality, there are differences between the two systems.



A surveillance camera’s goal is to record remote activity at different times to observe anything that may draw criminal attention. It also provides evidence of disasters or crime.


A surveillance camera system has the added benefit of capturing and detecting motion within 12 to 30 meters of it. Some will also permit users to monitor the cameras remotely.


Surveillance cameras tend to be found in financial institutions, businesses, casinos, factories, airports, and large buildings. They are in any area that needs monitoring at all times. Cameras are frequently concealed and go undetected by those around them.


Security, or CCTV cameras also watch over a designated area, and this tends to be by a remote operator. This may be video from inside a camera or by using a separate window on a computer by using IP technology. The cameras themselves do not have control over the environment being watched.


These cameras are often placed in plain view and used as a deterrent to prevent crime. They are more commonly found in homes and small businesses, where only suspicious activity needs to be recorded.



A surveillance camera monitors and controls a particular property. It generally consists of a network of cameras connected to IP networks. The IP networks, in turn, are connected remotely to a central location of the cameras.


On the other hand, a security camera system contains a video feed from all your connected cameras. It sends them to a receiving device, like a monitor. The connection is made by a coaxial cable.




The main difference between a security and a surveillance camera resides in the functionality of each device. Surveillance cameras monitor public areas from a distance and tend to be unmasked and visible.


Security cameras contain no control over the environment that they are observing. They just record what transpires in front of their field of vision. The footage is then sent to recorders or digitally transmitted through cable wires.


Security cameras capture images and record them. They can transmit audio and video signals to NVRs (Network Video Recorders). Once transmitted, the signals are recorded and viewed.


A security camera detects any motion in a specified area, then sends alerts through text messaging, email, or mobile apps when something is sensed. Some cameras permit security professionals to see and monitor cameras in real time.



Invest in a surveillance camera to monitor a specific area to prevent undesirable situations. Security cameras can manage the security of industrial and public spaces, and you can combine security detection to enhance protection capabilities.



Surveillance cameras provide digital signals transmitting recorded video feeds to NVRs using a single cable. This eliminates the requirement for installing several power cables. However, you must use cabling to send your video feed to several monitors with a security camera. Cameras need to be placed strategically in single locations.


Are Security Cameras Worth It for Small Businesses?

Are Security Cameras Worth It for Small Businesses?

Many people understand the importance of installing security cameras. For some, this isn’t fully realized until after a burglary, robbery, or large-scale theft. Once you have been the victim of a crime, you are more likely to take further precautions to ensure it doesn’t happen again.


Small businesses should consider security when installing expensive technology, like new computer systems. These items make a company a target for theft. However, hiring an expert to install a surveillance system may be too costly for a small business with a tight budget.


Security cameras can also be expensive, depending on the equipment needed. However, most smaller companies use them rather than surveillance cameras because they tend to cost less. Since there are many places you can use them, from homes to large businesses, they are sometimes a better fit.


They have a range of applications depending on capabilities, size, and manufactured materials. Businesses should consider all the variables before determining which system is best for them.

Should I Use a Security Camera for My Home?

Should I Use a Security Camera for My Home?

If you want a state-of-the-art system, remember that smaller ones may not be the better choice. Large cameras provide better detail than smaller ones. In this case, they may be more helpful.


You should thoroughly research the features that are important to you before making a purchase. You will need to determine how visible the camera will be to potential intruders. Will they be able to see it? Do you want them to see it?


Another factor is budget. As stated, the price can vary significantly among devices. Ensure your system falls within your budget before you commit. Also, be sure the features are what you are looking for. These, too, vary among devices.


You will need to figure out the installation. Will you hire a professional for the wiring, or can you do it yourself? You will need to factor in the additional costs if you have to hire someone.


What about the storage capabilities of the device? Some have digital video recorders. If this is an important part, will you store the footage properly? Furthermore, can you upgrade for more storage if you need it?


Security cameras for a house can generate the peace of mind needed to know that your dwelling is protected. They also have a higher standard than other types of cameras. Before making that investment, you will need to investigate the different surveillance methods available to find one that best suits your requirements.

Final Thoughts

There is a difference between surveillance and security cameras, depending on what you use them for. Businesses use surveillance cameras more when they need monitoring throughout the day and night. This type of camera will capture footage from a wider angle and are often less conspicuous than security cameras.


A security camera system, however, is generally used in homes unless you have a true CCTV system setup that monitors several locations with cameras. While they may be more obvious, the added benefit is that it deters crime because no criminal wants to be captured on film. They also conserve energy since they only come on when motion is detected.


Ultimately, which one you use may depend on what you hope to record. Many businesses don’t want criminals to know they are being monitored. They want to be able to catch a thief in the act because they will need that evidence for prosecution. Since they capture a wider area and can be almost undetectable, surveillance cameras are a wiser choice.


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