Facility Automation

Using Storage Facility Security Systems To Protect Units & Elevate Tenant Experiences

May 8, 2024
4 minutes

Self-storage facility operators are using state-of-the-art hardware and software solutions to protect units and elevate tenant experiences, moving the needle on customer satisfaction. Implementing access control technology can transform tenant experiences and allow facility teams to reap the benefits of workflow automation. This can reduce workloads and enable teams to focus on high-value tasks.

As facility operators look to meet the evolving needs and expectations of prospective tenants, they must embrace workflow automation tools, accelerating customer service and providing tenants with everything they need for seamless access to storage units.

An SSA Demand Study found that 54% of millennials visit their storage unit at least twice a month, with 36% going once a week or more. Unlike prior generations who would primarily use units for storing sentimental belongings, millennials utilize storage units for everyday items like bikes and household goods, resulting in a greater need for seamless access around the clock.

So, how can facility operators leverage workflow automation tools and access control technology to meet the changing needs of consumers?

In this article, we will explore:

  • What storage facility security systems are.
  • How self-storage security systems work.
  • Why operators should leverage access control technology.
  • The access control solutions that are available to operators.
Why listen to me? I have worked in the conversational AI space for close to a decade, with our previous AI company getting acquired. My day-to-day consists of speaking to operators of all sizes to understand their automation needs and wants, and see how to best help them get there. I am currently in charge of swivl's go-to-market strategy and am a co-host of the Self Storage Lab podcast.

Let’s briefly break down what storage facility security systems are.

What Are Storage Facility Security Systems?

An effective storage facility security system will take a multifaceted approach to safeguarding your property and the valuables entrusted to you by tenants. A security system will typically use both physical and electronic measures. Physical barriers like high fencing and secure gates can create a strong first line of defense to deter unauthorized access. Electronic solutions, such as access control and surveillance cameras, provide real-time monitoring and control, which offers an extra layer of security.

How Does A Self-Storage Security System Work?

With a layered approach to security, physical barriers serve as a deterrent, while electronic systems provide active monitoring and control. Ensuring both physical and electronic systems work in tandem is critical to safeguarding tenant belongings and offering around-the-clock access to storage units. Let's delve deeper into some key components of security systems and access-controlled storage:

Perimeter Security

As you know, perimeter security is a must-have for any storage facility. High, sturdy fences, secure gates with controlled access points, and strategically placed lighting create a physical barrier that discourages potential intruders from attempting to gain access to the storage units at your facility.

Access Control

Sophisticated electronic systems restrict access to authorized personnel and tenants, at any hour of the day. These systems may utilize key cards, personalized PIN codes, or even user-friendly mobile apps for added convenience. swivl’s automated “Get Access Code” feature on SMS and email channels has saved Operators over $150,000 in the first 6 months of its launch. You can learn more about this feature here.


A network of strategically placed CCTV cameras can provide visual monitoring of the entire facility, both indoors and outdoors. This allows for real-time observation and the ability to review footage should an incident occur. Investing in the right CCTV system is essential to maximizing the security of your units.

Episode 20: Access Control - How SAM & Five Star Storage Do it w/ Lynn Sykes & Eric Gardner | Self Storage Lab

Why Should Operators Leverage Access Control Technology?

The self-storage landscape is undergoing a significant shift. As revealed in the SSA 2023 Demand Study, a growing segment of tenants prioritize convenience and are willing to invest in solutions that enhance their storage experience. At a time when mobile device usage is skyrocketing and tenants require frequent access to belongings, integrating a user-friendly app-based lock system is a no-brainer.

Implementing access control technology offers many benefits for self-storage facility operators:

Higher Frequency Visits From Millennials

The SSA study highlights a crucial trend – millennials are driving demand for more frequent access to their storage units. Modern access control systems, powered by automation tools, cater to this evolving need by providing convenient 24/7 access, allowing tenants to access their belongings whenever necessary.

Allow Team Members To Focus On High-Value Tasks

Access control systems automate repetitive tasks such as tenant onboarding and access management. This frees up valuable staff time, allowing them to focus on more strategic initiatives like driving business development and exploring ways to take tenant experiences to even greater heights.

Offer 24/7 Access To Storage Units

Modern access control solutions, particularly those featuring mobile app integrations, empower tenants with the flexibility needed to access their belongings whenever they require. This enhances convenience and satisfaction, which ultimately supports a more positive tenant experience. With no shortage of tools at your disposal, it’s never been easier to create tenant experiences that inspire positive word-of-mouth.

Closing Thoughts

When facility operators embrace access control solutions and integrate various tools into their existing technology stack, it positions their facility for the future. As more storage facilities begin to leverage access control technology and offer around-the-clock access to units, millennials will come to expect this level of customer service as tenants. Fortunately, using tools like swivl, it’s never been easier to meet their needs.

We recently produced an Operator’s Blueprint for “Building an Unmanned Facility” - which is a must-read for self-storage teams looking to develop their technology stacks and explore workflow automation.

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