Video surveillance not only deters crime, but also helps in providing video evidence for security intrusions. And as surveillance technology is maturing, many are taking advantage of intelligent video solutions to reduce capital and operational costs involved in the technology usage.
Cloud storage is one such innovation which not only reduces IT costs, but also streamlines application management and makes surveillance infrastructure more flexible and scalable.
So, it’s no surprise that companies are now turning their attention to emerging cloud applications for video surveillance.
However, a cloud can best support mission critical enterprise video surveillance deployments on a set of five primary requirements. They are-
- Security and
Bandwidth- The total bandwidth required for a video stream varies depending on the number of frames or images being captured per second. Also image quality i.e. HD clarity also plays a vital role in bandwidth calculations. As enterprises are getting busy in replacing analog with IP cameras, bandwidth is becoming even more important factor to examine. FYI, HD camera takes 4 times more bandwidth than an analog camera. As bandwidth speeds and accessibility are continuously improving, video upload to cloud is becoming free from obstacles. Also with large availability of buffering tools, which can limit video streaking until a time when more bandwidth is available( say night time) organizations are able to access required upload speeds consistently at all locations, especially those operating hundreds or thousands of sites. Also the other issue with bandwidth is that providers are putting a data cap on uploads and download and when exceeding the limits users can incur additional billing costs.
Does cloud storage make business sense? – It is basic sense that majority of collected video is never used. This is because only specific events trigger follow-up action. Therefore, when companies start seeing cloud storage as a viable option for their surveillance needs, they should first determine how long they need to archive their video and how much redundancy they require, as both factors may add to the total cost of their cloud storage solution.
Security risks are involved- It is evident that anything connected to web is vulnerable to security and privacy issues these days. And with video surveillance systems getting increasingly connected to Internet, the attention to cyber security risks and vulnerabilities multiplies to many folds. Also, given the legal, financial, and reputational risks associated with data breaches and leaked video, enterprises are intensely concerned about ensuring the integrity and security of their video networks.
Thus, for verticals such as port forwarding, firewalls, network topology and video encryption a greater expertise and effort will be required by the in-house IT team of an organization.
Also companies which strictly abide by internal policies and prohibit video data from leaving the corporate network or having it stored on third party sites may not be that interested in going for cloud based surveillance.
What in case of a network issue- Network issues or failures can cause data loss. If the camera is intelligent enough (has onboard storage) then it can sustain the network failure to a certain extent and start sending data packets again to the cloud server. But in worst case scenarios, packets that can’t leave the location might get overwritten or discarded, leaving no video record at all. This would be especially unfortunate if a robbery or violent incident was not recorded as a result.
Note- When video is stored on premises, there’s always a comfort of having local access and control.
Accessing the Cloud storage provider- Cloud based video surveillance storage and management is currently emerging. But has a lot of potential to make big in coming years. However, until the substantial bandwidth challenge can be conquered, cloud won’t prove as a cost effective alternative for most mid and large seized enterprises with multiple locations and more demanding video requirements.
As with most network technologies, the point of feasibility will be reached over time as new solutions emerge and build on previous technical capabilities. In the longer term, advances in video compression and faster, more affordable bandwidth services will help make cloud-based storage solutions a more viable option for many larger, multi-site enterprises.
Therefore, when exploring the opportunities associated with the cloud, it is important to move beyond the hype and take the time to carefully consider the implications a cloud-based video solution may have on your business. This should include preparing an appropriate set of questions to ask of any potential cloud service provider so you can accurately assess the advantages and disadvantages of the solution compared to your existing video management system, especially with respect to bandwidth, storage, cost, security and accessibility.