Decision makers responsible for surveillance of high-profile large private and public institutions are increasingly realizing they cannot rely exclusively on an on-premise security system to provide the protection that high-profile locations now require.
While many of these facilities still use local surveillance storage with NVRs and servers, they may still have issues accessing video footage should they encounter issues with the on-premise solution. The best practice is to complement local IP camera surveillance deployments with cloud storage, to protect the most vulnerable access points and to ensure footage is safe and accessible.
When these locations install hundreds of IP video cameras, it is not feasible for them to add all camera footage to the cloud. Surveillance managers should ensure that high-profile cameras (front desk, drop off zone, entry/exit points, server rooms) are backed up to the cloud, to protect against failure of hard drives or servers onsite.
Choosing the best cloud provider
When choosing a cloud provider, secure encrypted connections, simple setup and ease-of-use are the most important factors to consider. You will want to avoid any cloud configuration that has a complex network setup, requiring you to open up ports on a network known as port forwarding. It’s important to identify a provider that does not require port forwarding. In addition to avoiding complex network configuration, one should also avoid cloud solutions requiring additional devices and gateways. Why add more on-site hardware for a cloud solution when you can connect directly from camera to cloud? Extra hardware can become an additional point of failure and increase the probability that footage is not backed up to the cloud. It is best to remove as many points of failure as possible.
A trusted provider of cloud video surveillance will have direct partnerships with the top camera manufacturers in the market. These direct partnerships allow for embedded software development solutions and firmware adjustments that ensure connections are encrypted directly from the camera to cloud servers, while providing a simple setup optimized for cloud deployments. Camera manufacturers only choose a handful of cloud providers to work with, due to the complexity of the development and time investment required to work with each cloud provider. Some of the top camera manufacturers focusing on direct relationships with cloud video surveillance providers are Hanwha, Axis, Hikvision, Vivotek, Dahua and Flir.
If you have an existing IP camera surveillance system, you already have a device onsite recording to a server. With the right cloud recording solution, you aren’t required to have any additional onsite devices.
Things to evaluate when choosing the right cloud solution partner:
- Plug & play with a secure connection to the cloud
- An easy-to-use platform to retrieve and view recordings
- Mobile and web based applications
- Open platform
- Dealer channel
Overcoming Bandwidth Concerns
When choosing a cloud surveillance system as a single solution or as a complement to your existing system, you may have concerns of overloading your internet connection. It’s important to understand what is happening with the transmission of these cloud systems. There are two separate streams—download speeds, (consumption with streaming, etc.) and upload bandwidth (consumption transmitting video to the cloud). A provider who respects the customer’s upload bandwidth ensures the minimum consumption rate enables recording of only the necessary cameras to the cloud. This is typically accomplished by utilizing the smart codec and/or dynamic resolution technology from within the camera, which is different for each camera manufacturer. Wisestream, Zipstream, H.264+ and Smart Stream II are all examples of different types of smart codec.
For System Installers
If you are a camera system installer, this is important to your business model and your customers’ businesses. If you are not currently providing a cloud storage solution, you are doing a disservice to your customer by not ensuring that the systems you are installing are properly backed up, and that uptime is maximized. Knowing hardware is prone to fail, you risk the loss of important footage at secure locations for later review, without cloud backup. It’s important to remember as a video surveillance professional that businesses defer to you as the video surveillance expert.
Even though total cloud solutions are not ideal for every deployment, installers should at least build a redundancy plan to ensure security for their customers’ high-profile cameras.