Thinking about upgrading your video surveillance? Dive into the world of cloud-based systems and weigh the benefits and considerations.
In today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape, cloud-based solutions have revolutionized various aspects of business operations. One such area is video surveillance, where cloud-based systems offer enhanced capabilities and flexibility. But is it right for your company? Let’s delve into what a cloud-based video surveillance system entails and the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision about implementing this technology for your company.
What is a cloud-based surveillance system?
Cloud-based surveillance, also known as Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS), is a solution that stores and accesses video footage on the cloud rather than on local servers, recording devices or physical storage devices that take up precious office space. Essentially, it allows businesses to monitor their premises from virtually anywhere in the world, with real-time access to surveillance feeds via the Internet. When users want to go back and look at the footage from a particular day, they can directly search on the cloud.
Pros of cloud-based video surveillance
Easy remote access and monitoring
Cloud-based video surveillance systems allow you to monitor your premises from anywhere, at any time. Whether you’re in the office, traveling or working remotely, you can access the live feed and recorded footage through a web browser or dedicated mobile application. This flexibility empowers business owners and supervisors to maintain oversight and ensure security even when they are physically absent.
Cost-effective and scalable
While cloud-based surveillance sounds like a high-end technology, it costs less than you think. Unlike traditional surveillance systems that require significant upfront investments in hardware and infrastructure, cloud-based solutions operate on a subscription-based model where users only need to pay for used storage space. This eliminates the need for expensive on-site storage equipment and reduces maintenance costs, making it a financially attractive option for small to mid-sized businesses.
Additionally, as your business grows, cloud-based systems can easily be scaled up to accommodate additional cameras and cloud storage requirements, providing a flexible and cost-effective solution.
More secure and reliable
Cloud-based video surveillance systems offer improved security measures compared to traditional setups, which can be physically damaged and compromised, leading to a loss of recorded footage. They appear as a more secure option as they are regularly backed up to the cloud to minimize the risk of data loss. Moreover, the footage stored by cloud-based systems is encrypted and cannot be tampered with, which adds a layer of security to these systems.
Also, with VSaaS, the service provider automatically and remotely handles software updates, ensuring the system is always up-to-date and equipped with the latest features and security patches.
Cons of cloud-based video surveillance
Data security concerns
Although cloud-based surveillance providers implement robust security protocols, the technology is still imperfect. Data breaches remain a recurring problem that cloud-based management system providers need to address. For example, in December 2019, Wyze Labs, which makes smart cameras and connected home gadgets, confirmed that approximately 2.4 million customers’ information was leaked to the public from databases, including their email addresses and lists of cameras in their homes. The database was left exposed for 22 days before it could be fixed.
Similarly, in March 2021, Verkada, a security startup company in Silicon Valley that provides cloud-based security camera services, encountered security breaches. Not only did hackers gain access to over 150,000 of the company’s cameras in police stations, jails, schools, Tesla factories Equinox gyms and Cloudfare offices, but they also accessed the complete list of the company’s customers and its private financial information. The company settled the crisis finally by disabling all internal administrator accounts and preventing further unauthorized access to sensitive information.
These incidents have demonstrated the importance of selecting a reputable provider with a strong track record in data protection. Regularly updating and maintaining the system’s security features, including strong passwords and encryption, are crucial to minimizing the risk of unauthorized access to sensitive information.
In addition, to bolster security and prevent unauthorized access to footage, companies can deploy multiple cloud services and providers simultaneously, enabling granular security settings such as individual user permissions and restricted access to specific parts of the system. They can choose to store footage in both private and public clouds depending on their needs and minimize the risk of unauthorized access to sensitive company information.
Internet dependency and bandwidth limitations
Cloud-based surveillance relies on a stable internet connection to transmit and access the footage. Hence, a weak or interrupted connection can disrupt real-time monitoring or cause delays in retrieving recorded videos.
Besides internet connections, bandwidth is another important component in cloud-based surveillance systems. For higher image and video quality, companies need to pay more money to use more bandwidth. Although some providers offer unlimited bandwidth, others have restrictions on bandwidth use. Therefore, companies must compare the service plans offered by different providers regarding bandwidth usage before signing up for the service.
Dependency on third-party providers
Implementing a cloud-based video surveillance system means relying on external service providers. This introduces an element of dependency, and any disruption or service outage from the provider’s end could impact your surveillance operations. It is essential to thoroughly research and choose a reliable and trustworthy provider with a reputation for consistent service availability and support.
The future of cloud-based video surveillance
As digital transformation accelerates, we can expect to see greater integration between VSaaS and advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and the Internet of Things (IoT). These integrations will provide enhanced capabilities like real-time alerts, predictive analytics and automated threat detection.
Clearly, the adoption of cloud-based video surveillance is more than a temporary shift; it’s a fundamental transformation of the business security landscape. Businesses should prepare for this trend by investing in robust internet infrastructure and familiarizing themselves with data privacy regulations and best practices.
Before deciding whether to adopt cloud-based surveillance, each business must assess the advantages and drawbacks in light of its unique requirements, internet infrastructure, budget considerations and future growth plans. Can it support the bandwidth requirements? Are you comfortable with the level of privacy and security offered? How will the ongoing costs fit into your budget? Consider your options carefully, and invest in the one that best aligns with your company’s vision.
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