Why Cloud Video Surveillance Should Be Considered


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There’s no denying that the prevalence of cloud-based solutions – in nearly all facets of life, business and beyond – has steadily surged, mostly notably in recent years. With the potential for increased storage, readily controlled remote access to data, extensive utility and minimized cost, it’s no wonder why the ever-reaching cloud has gained such an intense level of popularity. In fact, by early 2016, approximately 93% of businesses had chosen to adopt cloud-based solutions in some form, a statistic that has only increased in the last year and deepened its specific market reach. For the security and surveillance markets in particular, the breadth and availability of cloud-based solutions has shown incredible growth.

On the whole, video surveillance has always been a security industry sector that has charged forward in terms of advancement, and the pervasiveness of moving to hosted cloud-based video, or Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) solutions, has proven to be no different. Rarely stagnant, the video surveillance market has seen a noticeable spike in hosted cloud solutions, with a substantial 13.8% market increase between 2014 and 2015, to reach $789.5 million, and racing past the $1 billion mark by the end of 2016. By 2020, the global VSaaS market share is expected to continue to rise at an incremental rate of 20% annually, and estimated to reach a total of $1.8 billion worldwide.

Even as a billion-dollar industry with extensive reach, this technology often carries a perception of unattainability for many small- to mid-sized businesses, whose owners may view migrating to a cloud based video solution as completely out of their grasp. However, the striking number of benefits and long-term cost-effectiveness of adopting hosted VSaaS solutions over traditional Direct to Disk Recorder (DDR) surveillance systems are virtually unparalleled. In this day and age, with nearly everything steadily moving to the cloud – the question has become, even for small businesses, not if, but when their video surveillance will hitch to the trend. Following are just a few primary advantages associated with deploying a hosted cloud video surveillance solution, guaranteed to offer you and your business immediate value – both in cost-effectiveness and in maintaining video data access, recall and integrity when you need it the most.

Adopting a VSaaS solution means a heightened level of data security.
Perhaps one of the greatest misconceptions that’s persisted about cloud-based video solutions is related to how and where business’ crucial, sensitive data will be stored. While widespread modern-day vernacular has eagerly embraced the phrase, “in the cloud,” the disparity between the image this type of language conjures and the reality is stark.

For many who may not be fully informed, sending delicate video data “into the cloud” seems in and of itself to be a major risk, with the perceived ambiguity of the cloud offering no tangible sense of security in relation to such critical data. However, in many VSaaS solutions, the video recorded is almost instantaneously communicated to and stored within a highly secure data center. In most instances, these facilities are regulated by stringent federal security mandates and privacy guidelines. This comes with the reliable expectation that these centers will be well-equipped with superior protective measures that far exceed any feasible security preparations available to most small- and mid-sized businesses attempting to secure their own servers on-site.

In addition to the elevated security protection for off-premise servers, progress in recent years has resulted in cloud-based video management systems that do not carry the same cyber security risks of traditional Digital Video Recorder (DVR) and Network Video Recorder (NVR) systems. Without the presence of open ports, on-premise software or the need for on-site firewalls, VSaaS users can eliminate several crucial avenues by which traditional video surveillance systems are left vulnerable to cyber-attacks and potential data breaches, assaults which have proven time and again to impact businesses on a wide-ranging scale, with often crippling results. Integrators and their teams can resolutely secure the connection from cameras on the network to the cloud, establishing strict proprietary security protocols to ensure privacy and data integrity when video data is communicated and stored.

Furthermore, it’s not uncommon for security integrators and cloud-based video solutions providers to hire dedicated cyber security teams to consistently monitor their systems for emerging cyber threats and software limitations that may endanger the integrity of the solution and data stored. In the instance that a vulnerability is detected, these team members are often able to leverage the cloud as a means to apply immediate security patches to the onpremise device or application – halting trouble before it starts.

Cloud-based video readily offers a centralized source for instant data access and recall.
In many cases, VSaaS solutions have advanced to such a degree that they’re now able to provide a flexible configuration of both on-premise and cloud-based storage. No matter what, the goal remains the same – to provide ease of access to a single, central database from virtually anywhere at any time. With the seamless, fully integrated dashboards provided by cloud-based video management systems, business owners, who may not have the capital or capacity to hire a committed surveillance team or monitoring squad, are now able to access, manage and monitor video surveillance footage for various business locations from a single, remote platform.

This enhances a sense of peace of mind for owners, managers and any authorized users within the business, who can now feel more confident in their ability to retrieve critical video-based information and respond more readily to any incidents that occur at a given location. Additionally, this kind of technological elasticity opens the gateway for adopting much more efficient, fluid business practices. Emboldened by a new, more powerful control over access to their own proprietary data, business owners and designated managers can more assuredly evaluate internal security standards, employee policies and overall business protocols to boost profitability and graduate to more streamlined operational activities. A VSaaS solution offers the ultimate in terms of an on-demand, self-service solution; users can assume a greater sense of ownership over their video data with more expeditious access that isn’t contingent on their own geographic location in relation to the business itself.

This level of proprietorship is also true of a VSaaS system’s recall and storage capabilities. Those who adopt cloud-based video surveillance solutions are offered extreme scalability in terms of storage retention and video resolution – which can often be expanded without having to substantially modify existing hardware. Advanced bandwidth management capabilities allow users to extend retention periods for video, as well as limit or increase the resolution of video footage stored to both the devices and within the cloud infrastructure. The malleable nature of VSaaS means most systems can offer an immense economy of scale and adaptability, able to adeptly sync up with the current state and forecasted growth of many small- and mid-sized businesses for a solution that is conscientious of budget while still maintaining an open vision to thrive.

With built-in redundancies, VSaaS removes frequent points of failure often associated with traditional video surveillance and assures that businesses will drastically reduce their risk of data loss.
It’s indisputable that your video surveillance system is only as good as the data it gathers and stores. In the event that this data is somehow lost, the connection disrupted or devices tampered with, the system itself loses all value, most catastrophically in times of crisis. As is the case with traditional DVR and NVR systems, one of the most glaring limitations is linked to this essential quality, and how the crux of value can be significantly diminished due to the systems’ singularity in how data is stored. For example, the infrastructure of many of these conventional solutions relies solely upon video data being recorded directly onto the camera device itself, meaning the success of the system depends almost entirely on a single gateway and the health of the surveillance devices on the network to ensure data is gathered and stored properly for later recall. Therefore, if a device malfunctions, breaks or is vandalized, it becomes increasingly likely that the integrity of and access to any crucial video data will be jeopardized. Because traditional systems are not usually equipped with the means to regularly perform automatic system health checks or communicate the occurrence of a system failure – and many business owners are unable to employ dedicated monitoring teams to watch incoming camera footage 24/7 – this can happen at any time, directly resulting in the loss of valuable intelligence inherently derived from surveillance footage.

Also, frequently with traditional surveillance systems, if there were to be an equipment breakdown on the camera network, whether intentionally caused by unauthorized individuals or unplanned as part of a larger system misfiring, it’s likely that there is no capacity to notify a centralized location of the issue in a timely manner. This means that cameras and their storage capacities are rendered inoperable until the issue is realized manually – often too late, after an emergency or disaster has taken place and attempts to access footage have proven unsuccessful – and a certified repair can be scheduled. In this way, choosing to keep a traditional video surveillance system is a bit like a ticking bomb, just waiting for a hardware-based malfunction or damage to occur that could leave the system completely ineffective.

By contrast, VSaaS solutions aim to eradicate these liabilities by automatically housing a data backup safely off-site in a secure data center, so that, even if cameras are destroyed, fail or malfunction, your business’ video data is actively protected and can still be accessed. Additionally, most cloud-based solutions will offer a limited source of on-premise storage as a secondary backup, in case the internet were to falter at any time. Finally, with interactive, webbased dashboards, cloud-based video surveillance systems are more readily able to alert users to the status of cameras or other system components, including when devices have gone offline, or if there are persistent bandwidth issues that need to be resolved. Users can receive these alerts within seconds and begin the resolution process, so that system downtime is minimal and the core data being collected remains intact.

Moving to cloud-based video surveillance has the proven long-term cost-effectiveness and flexibility to meet your specific business needs.
For any small business, cost concerns are always at the forefront when evaluating the decision to adopt any new system – and is certainly a factor in selecting surveillance options. In a multitude of ways, and perhaps surprisingly to those just being introduced to the technology, VSaaS solutions have proven to be more cost-effective than traditional video solutions in the long run. Most notably, cloud-based video solutions can minimize upfront expenditures and the cost of labor required during installation and on-going service fees.

For instance, if a business has multiple locations and elects to use a conventional DVR or NVR solution, that means that an on-premise server would have to be purchased for each facility, often running at a cost of $1,000 to $4,000 apiece in the current market, in addition to acquiring licensing for each camera device on-site, coming in at a cost of approximately $50 to $150 per camera annually. A VSaaS solution immediately eliminates these hardware-based expenses and involves less time and labor for system configuration. For example, a traditional surveillance system with anywhere from one to eight or more cameras generally takes about three to five hours to configure and bring all devices online. However, a cloud-based solution of similar size can be configured in just five to 10 minutes, significantly cutting back on configuration and labor costs. Because of the intuitive nature of VSaaS solutions and their configurations, this extra, often overlooked expense is eradicated and more flexibility offered in terms of whom businesses can turn to maintain their systems.

When considering these factors, the monthly subscription cost to support a cloud-based surveillance system equates to far less than the requisite total cost of owning a traditional video management solution. Users no longer have to concern themselves with annual maintenance fees, router configuration costs, multi-site integration labor, extra IT staffing, training, repairs and more. With reduced upfront costs and low-level support requirements in configurations, coupled with a solid foundation of built-in redundancies and extensive scalability, VSaaS solutions are the irrefutable future in video security – an all-inclusive future that will allow small- and mid-sized businesses to keep pace with the times without breaking the bank.

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