Auditing and evaluating the use of Video Surveillance System

One fear which is shared by the people involved in security surveillance is that the system won’t work when you really need it or may not meet the expectation levels.

Recent headlines in media have shown the effectiveness of CCTV systems in catching terrorists, thieves and cheats. The headlines can also be treated as proof on how CCTV systems can help in deterring crime and criminals.

However, they are also many stories in the media that prove that the suspect was unrecognizable by the camera and so the installed system was simply wastage of resources.

Fortunately, though this situation is preventable, most of us are not likely doing all that to prevent it.

Many companies rely on audits and third party evaluations to verify proper controls and procedures are being followed in their facilities. These audits are similar to those which are carried out in financial institutions.

Numerous companies are now considering their CCTV systems to be a critical part of their operation and so are performing regular audits of those systems.

But what exactly a CCTV auditor needs to know?

They are basically three things or a CCTV auditor to know

1.) System Functionality- This area can be broken down into the various subsystems, but the overall question is simple: Is everything working the way it should? Are images from cameras free of distortion and interference, and sharply focused? Do pan/tilt/zoom (p/t/z) cameras move when you tell them to and, more importantly, stop moving on command? Are images recorded with clarity as needed, and can you play them back on demand

While these may seem like common sense questions, it is surprising how many operators learn to compensate for systems that have deteriorated over time.

2.) System Performance– While system functionality can evaluate whether or not the installed equipment is working fine, system performance seeks to identify how well it is working- particularly for specific applications.

This feature evaluation will look beyond the quality of a camera’s image to determine the effectiveness of a camera in each particular location. The evaluation will also determine whether adjustments such as lens or equipment changes –or even repositioning will help increase usability and overall effectiveness.

Similarly, an audit will also determine recording duration, frame rates and compression quality and will also see whether all these traits are supporting the objective of having surveillance.

3.) Preventive maintenance- Along the way, an audit should identify elements of the system that may be prone to premature failure and make specific recommendations as to how they may be corrected.

Like cable strain on connectors is very common, and a few well-placed cable ties or supporting bracketry can often be an inexpensive fix. If there were problems with the initial installation, or subsequent changes and modifications, recommendations here will give you the flexibility to ensure things are properly corrected

Selecting an auditor

Perhaps the most difficult task in having a system audit performed is selecting the person to perform it. First of all, the auditor should have skills and experience to perform the task. They should be in a position to recommend effective solutions and improvements, while having experience with similar systems. Look for someone who is genuinely interested in improving your system, not just their paycheck, and insist they not be afraid to speak their mind.

A second criterion is that the auditor should have absolutely no financial stake in the outcome of the audit. If you are to use the results of this audit to justify investing in added equipment, you’ll be far better served bringing an independent evaluator’s opinion to the budget meeting rather than a quote from your integrator.

Moreover, the audit should also address the organization’s compliance with the operational policies and procedures. An external body may be retained in order to perform the audit. Any deficiencies or concerns identified by the audit must be addressed immediately.


Video surveillance system audits need support from employees and service providers. They should be aware of the activities which are being subjected to audit and that they may be called upon to justify their surveillance interest in any given individual.

The organization should regularly review and evaluate its video surveillance program to ascertain whether it is still justified in accordance with the requirements. This evaluation should occur at least once a year.

Need professional help in having a CCTV audit or evaluation?

DNF Corporation can help in having your video surveillance system audited/evaluated.

Click on DNF Corporation web link to know more


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