Why free security guard apps might not be a good idea

Date Published : Apr-24-2019

Written By : Phillip Livingston

We all love freebies and bargains, but when it comes to the security of your assets, it’s best to stick with a paid option. You might think that free security guard apps are a good deal but when you look closer, you’ll find that they come with a lot of risks. Read on to discover how these apps work and why they may not be a good idea for your business.


What is a Security Guard App?

A security guard app is a cloud-based system that operates on smartphone technology to streamline guard patrol operations. Patrolling guards are required to input a unique username and password to log onto the app. The application usually contains various patrol routes and checks or them to choose from. All they must do is select a checkpoint and clock it in with the relevant details. 

As soon as a security guard clocks a checkpoint, it’s logged in real time on the primary server. If the security guard is unable to reach a checkpoint, they can write a note stating the reason for not clocking that checkpoint. It could be due to a lorry or construction that’s blocking the path.

A security guard app enables security personnel to report faults and incidents by uploading photographs and making a note of what has happened. The central server logs the information automatically so that it can be exported to a PDF for easy sharing and resolution.

Once the patrol is done, the information can be accessed through the app’s search facility. These are just some of the features and benefits offered by good quality security guard apps. A good example of a comprehensive security guard app would be Condo Control Central’s Security Patrol feature.

It offers such features as security patrol management, incident report, key tracking, package tracking and so much more.


Reasons Free Security Guard Apps might not be the best option


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According to an app-risk management service company called Appthority, free apps pose a significant security risk. In fact, these apps can compromise the safety and privacy of your business. That’s because the files and information you share on free apps are easy to track for most hackers. Wrongdoers can use this data to infiltrate your property and place your tenants’ safety at risk.

Appthority’s report shows that 95% of the available free apps exhibit risky behavior more than paid apps. Free apps are more likely to read your unique device identifier (UDI) and other vital numbers about your device. Criminals can use this information to monitor activity, track your location and even control the flow of information going through the application.


Here are a few other reasons why free security guard apps are bad for business:


  • Limited features

Most free security guard apps offer a limited number of features, and this could force you to revert to out-dated guard tour patrol systems. This means you’ll have to use paper logs; your security guards will have to take physical notes and carry a notebook and pen just like in the old days.

On the other hand, paid security guard apps usually come with dedicated facilities for detailed report taking. This includes a section for writing notes and uploading photographs.

With paid apps, you’ll always have access to accurate information as soon as it’s uploaded onto the app by your security team. But this is a luxury that you won’t get with free security guard applications.


  • They don’t offer the full picture

Another possible loophole with free security guard apps is that most of them don’t come with a photograph-taking feature. As such, your security personnel won’t be able to offer any visual evidence of incidents or obstructions that could prevent them from performing their duties from time to time.

This lack of evidence makes it easy for them to forego tasks knowing that they won’t be required to provide concrete proof.


  • Delayed information

As you know, most security guard apps offer real-time access to guard patrol tour information.  Unfortunately, this feature is missing with most free security guard apps. There’s often a noticeable time delay in data delivery when it comes to free apps because they use inferior technology to keep costs low.

Cutting corners in this way can significantly slow down your operations as you’ll have to control patrols by visiting the safety checkpoints yourself. You’ll also have to file papers and make repeat telephone calls to confirm that patrol routes and checkpoints.

Rather save yourself time and money by investing in a paid app that offers real-time security management. This is the easiest way to ensure the safety of your asset in the long run.


  • Difficult to use

It’s worth noting here that any free app you come across won’t be as user-friendly as a paid version. Although the download and installation of the app are easy enough, you’ll have to deal with limited features that will increase your workload.

Plus, it’s not uncommon for free apps to come with an unattractive interface that’s poorly structured and more trouble than it’s worth to use.

You can say goodbye to the ability to track relevant data such as patrol time intervals, guard tour progress, and incident reports.


Meanwhile, a good quality paid app allows you to develop and implement all your important security patrol protocols efficiently and from a single control center.

For best results, we recommend using a software solution that’s simple and easy for everyone in your team to use. This will motivate each member of your staff to do their job correctly while maintaining high levels of accountability.

Not only does a paid app make it easier for security guards to clock in their patrols but it allows them to provide visual evidence of their findings. This allows the property manager to track unusual incidences and patterns that emerge during a patrol.

A security guard app that’s easy to use eliminates all the loopholes and “cracks” that your staff can exploit.  Instead, it facilitates a proactive workforce that’s committed to the same goal that you are, which is to keep your asset safe and profitable.


  • User management

When it comes to free security guard apps, don’t expect to find a fully-fledged automatic guard tour management system like that of a paid app. What does this mean for your property? For one, you won’t be able to customize access to different users who use the systems based on various administrative roles.

So, everyone will have the same privileges and access to the same files without any proper organization of roles. In the long run, this can lead to confusion when communicating with different stakeholders.

No-one wants to get pinged every time there’s an alert on the system, yet that’s exactly what will happen when you don’t have adequately organized user management facilities.


  • Lack of training and support

Continuing with the theme of “you get what you pay for,” free apps don’t provide anything in the way of training and support. After you’ve installed the app, you’re pretty much on your own and will have to learn how to use it based on available information, which is almost always limited.

This spells trouble because if you can’t properly use the app yourself from the beginning, how can you expect your staff to make the most of it?

Help your employees to avoid making mistakes by giving them a high-quality app that won’t set them up for failure.  After all, employees are more than happy to buy into technological solutions if they’re easy to use and understand. The less your security personnel must learn, the better.

A high-quality app will come with proper training and support that allows each team member to perform their duties with the utmost expertise and professionalism.

For instance, the Condo Control Central app comes with comprehensive training that’s conducted either in-person or online based on your needs and schedule. There’s also on-going support that will enable you to make the most of the app in a short amount of time.



It’s imperative for property owners and managers to analyze the risks of using free security guard apps. This is especially important in situations where you’ll be using employee-owned devices.

Truth is, free apps will merely limit your ability to get the results you want in the long run. They can also threaten the safety of your business by compromising data privacy and gate security.

That’s why property managers and owners are advised to invest in paid security guard apps that are safe, reliable and comprehensive. They’ll provide you with real-time access to all the features, information and training you need to run an effective operation from the palm of your hand.


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