Your Source for Security Cameras & Other Security Equipment

IP Security Cameras & Surveillance Systems

Video Surveillance History

To better understand the current surveillance industry, you should know a little history. Without going into great detail, here are some important milestones of the video surveillance industry from the past decade.

Ten years ago, SD analog cameras and DVRs reigned supreme. While video management software and IP cameras were available, they had yet to become a mainstream solution.

Also around this time, some megapixel cameras were offered. They only supported MJPEG encoding (which made storage and transmission of these more expensive), but they boasted better quality than analog cameras.

And still in the early stages, but a topic of interest, were analytics, which had limited deployment during this time.

Around 2008-2012, IP cameras got a boost from the adoption of H.264 for megapixel cameras. Because IP camera usage was up, VMS software followed suit. The benefits of this upgrade were clear, making it easier for consumers to understand and accept the price increase.

As megapixel and IP cameras grew in popularity, interest in connecting cameras to the cloud was rising. While the dream was to eliminate any on-site recording and maintenance, bandwidth limitations and poor cloud VMS killed the dream.

In 2011, video analytics remained off the radar thanks to performance problems, unhappy customers, and ObjectVideo suing the industry. Even today, analytics are still slowly crawling out of the hole.

In the next few years, edge storage promised the elimination of NVRs and recorder appliances since the storage and software would be housed within the IP camera. Unfortunately, reliability issues deterred early adopters, and the introduction of inexpensive recorder appliances pushed edge storage to the back burner. Rather than becoming a main solution, edge storage was more commonly employed to provide redundancy for higher-end applications.

WDR & Low Light Conditions
Over time, surveillance camera technology has improved to better accommodate low light environments. Before, WDR (wide dynamic range) cameras, which automatically adjusted to harsh lighting conditions, were expensive and limited in availability. Low light performance was generally poor, and even worse in MP cameras (WDR in these were relatively non-existent). Today, the enhancements in quality are evident.

Smart CODECs
Smart CODECs dynamically adapt compression and I frame interval to scene conditions, which ultimately reduces bandwidth requirements and offsets the need to move to H.265. Within recent years, we have seen a rise in this technology. Moving forward, broad support of Smart CODECs will eventually drive down storage costs and remote network challenges.

HD Analog
For more than a decade, IP was the only practical way to deliver MP/HD, however the introduction of HD Analog has successfully killed off SD analog. HD analog uses coaxial cable for transmissions and has dominated sales for homes and small businesses. Some argue that it is just a temporary fix, while others say it will expand features and options to become a mainstay.

Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity has only recently become a major topic in video surveillance, however, many still brush it off. Though recent events have spurred concerns (ex. Sony hacking, Hikvision hacks, Axis’ major exploit), most users perceive a low risk of cybersecurity. As our systems become more connected, we can only hope that cybersecurity is better addressed and taken seriously among manufacturers and consumers alike.

Chinese Manufacturers
Chinese manufacturers have grown as contenders, with their earlier deployments showing poor quality and performance. However, over time, their products have improved and yet still maintain relatively low pricing. These manufacturers were originally OEM suppliers to Western brands, but recent years have shown their branded sales increase in the West.

Drive Down Costs
It seems manufacturers are in a current race to offer the lowest prices (whether to gain share or stay afloat) and consumers seem to be driving this shift. With numerous DIY and simple home solutions, we will see where the video surveillance industry is headed next.

What are your predictions for the future of video surveillance? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

To shop our selection of security camera equipment and packages, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. For questions about our products and installation services, or to schedule a free* site survey, please call 1-888-203-6294.

IP Video Surveillance For Your Business

Video surveillance can be an invaluable asset for businesses. It helps to improve security, manage risks, and boost efficiency. Most benefits of video surveillance can be seen and measure, however, determining its financial return isn’t as easy.

In order to better understand the fiscal value of IP video surveillance, security leaders consider the impact and effect of a hypothetical security event. This gives them better insight to how effective their surveillance system is. And by understanding how IP video surveillance adds value to your business, you demonstrate your overall dedication to success. Here are some of the ways IP video surveillance can influence and improve your business.

Protection
A common reason to employ IP video surveillance is to protect your property, employees, and customers. It can help to minimizes losses when it comes to a security incident, however, it can go further. The application of IP video surveillance can also ensure cyber security, data protection, intellectual property and brand reputation. By protecting these assets, a cohesive approach to risk management can be achieved.

Various Applications
Again, video surveillance goes beyond security and safety. It has become a fundamental aspect when building a business. Aside from monitoring on-site and remote locations, surveillance footage can be analyzed to improve employee productivity and help to measure the success of marketing campaigns. This data can be valuable across different departments, which adds to its value and merit.

Demonstrate ROI
There are different ways you can evaluate and determine the total cost of ownership for your system. For example, by investigating liability claims with video footage, you can save money and prevent future slip-and-fall claims. Some cases may be proven false, while others may bring to light new or unnoticed safety risks that can be addressed.

The stronger your system is, the more money you can potentially save. The most effective systems are comprised of enough cameras to cover all areas and detect crimes in progress, with highly trained staff to monitor the different feeds. A system that can do this as well as integrate the technology into all manner of law enforcement activities will demonstrate true ROI to security leaders.

Remote Monitoring
Remote monitoring is an excellent luxury of IP video surveillance. When alarms go off or unfamiliar activity is detected, rather than sending managers or guards to investigate, you are provided with alerts and can respond quickly and appropriately.

Building a system that meets these standards will be a great addition to your business. What other benefits do you enjoy with your video surveillance system? If you don’t have one now, are you considering implementing an IP video surveillance system for your business? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

We carry a great selection of IP video surveillance cameras, equipment, packages, and more. Visit SecurityCamExpert.com to browse our inventory or call 1-888-203-6294 to speak with a representative.

Protect Your Surveillance System

Installing a surveillance system in your home or business can provide you with a sense of security. However, if you do not properly secure your system, cyber criminals can gain access to your video feeds.

Aside from an unnerving invasion of privacy, unauthorized access to your surveillance video can help criminals study the area, identify where important property is located, figure out traffic patterns, sabotage systems, deny access to feeds, and much more.

Because IP security camera systems connect to LAN networks, extra precautions are necessary to safeguard your system from attacks. Breaches are usually due to human error, negligence, and misconfigurations, and can often be prevented. The following are common vulnerabilities and ways to protect your surveillance system.

Weak Passwords
Default usernames and passwords are common with most IP based security cameras. They are used to set up your system and accounts for remote access. Too often, people fail to change these passwords, or choose simple passwords, making it easy for strangers to access feeds.

Be sure to set strong passwords, use good password management or user certificates in lieu of passwords. You may want to consider changing your password periodically as well.

Poor Deployment
Avoid enabling unused services as it can leave your system vulnerable to attacks. For example, cyber criminals could install malicious applications and scripts using file transfer protocol (FTP) or an app platform from an untrusted developer.

Minimize your risk by disabling any unused services and installing only trusted apps.

Unclear Roles
Sometimes organizations fail to define who has access to different aspects of the surveillance system, possibly leading to confusion and employees with unnecessary access. For example, it may be unclear as to who is responsible for reviewing security measures to ensure proper protocol is being followed.

For IT departments, it is recommended to only allow users access to the resources they need to perform their job.

Software Bugs
Bugs and flaws in software codes can put your devices at risk. Luckily, you can do your part to prevent this.

Always keep your cameras, equipment, and software up-to-date with the latest firmware to ensure that bugs will not pose a threat. Vendors often post public common vulnerabilities and exposure reports which provide solutions for users.

Physical Installation Problems
Whether it is your cameras, wiring, or other infrastructure, poor installation can leave your system at risk.

Cameras should be installed out of reach to avoid any possible tampering or vandalism, but at a proper angle to view people and objects clearly.

Poor Physical Protection Of Equipment (Cabling, Servers, Gear)
If your cabling, server, or other surveillance equipment is not properly protected, your system is at risk for poor, intermittent performance. A small kink or damage to a cable can interfere with signal, causing disruption in your feed or even power failure.

Appropriate housing to protect your equipment from severe weather or extreme heat is available and is recommended for use if you are in an area susceptible to these conditions.

Poor Maintenance
Routine maintenance is ever important to ensure that your system is and will continue to function properly.

A preventative maintenance program should include a checklist of issues to look for in order to avoid small issues that can turn into big problems (ex. damaged/loose cameras and equipment, exposed, loose, or damaged cabling, dirt/moisture on camera lenses). This will allow the owner to become accustomed to the system and more aware when something seems different or wrong (ex. possible signs of tampering).

Flaws In Standard Network Protocols
Most network surveillance systems use standard network protocols (ex. FTP, TCP/IP), however, weaknesses or flaws in these protocols can expose surveillance data to attacks.

For video streams sent over the network, the latest advanced encryption methods should be used.

Failure To Align Hardware/Software On The Network With IT Policy
If your hardware or software does not meet your IT organization’s network security policy, there will be security issues. For example, third-party software or apps are often poorly supported or lack security patches which make them vulnerable to security breaches. Thus, your IT department will not be happy.

Enforcing a strong IT policy is imperative for any business.

How do you protect your surveillance system from cyber and physical attacks? Share your best tips with your peers on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest!

Find a great selection of security cameras including IP surveillance cameras, CCTV security camera packages, and more at SecurityCamExpert.com. For more information, please call 1-888-203-6294.

Secure Your Wireless Surveillance Cameras

Wireless surveillance cameras are also known as IP (Internet Protocol) cameras. Aside from securing your property inside and out, they are also often used as baby monitors. When used as baby monitors, wireless IP security cameras are often equipped to pick up audio as well as video.

With these cameras, video footage is streamed to a secure online space and you may view what is happening on a computer or via a mobile app or device. To ensure the security of your live feed, these cameras should offer encryption for your streamed data along with a username and password protected hub or app for viewing your footage.

Does your system or equipment lack any of these? Do you want added security for your wireless surveillance cameras? Follow these tips to ensure the most secure experience.

Network Security
Aside from securing your devices, the wireless network you connect to should also be secure. If you are using your home network, make sure your router is configured to use WPA2-based encryption. This will cover the connection between your cameras and router, while the stream’s encryption handles the rest.

You will want to steer clear of viewing your feed over open wireless networks. If you enter any usernames or passwords over these networks, they could potentially be “sniffed,” leaving you vulnerable. While these can be helpful when it comes to decreasing your mobile Internet charges, connecting to these open networks should not be done without the assistance of a VPN (Virtual Private Network).

Online Streaming
Having your camera stream footage online 24/7 can be helpful, but it also leaves you more susceptible to privacy risks. Your ISP may be hesitant to support your excessive bandwidth needs for your IP security cameras, and any bugs in your system could threaten the security of your feed.

Online streaming should only be done when you are certain the stream is secure. For the remainder of the time, maintaining a closed and secure network for your IP cameras on a secure network should suffice.

Password Protection
Cameras usually have the ability to be password protected, but you must manually enable it. Once this feature is enabled, you MUST change the defaults. Since the default usernames and passwords for most cameras are easily to find, this is the easiest way hackers will be able to access your feed.

Aside from ensuring that your cameras are password protected, you should be sure that any device you use to access your feed is password protected as well.  For example, if you access your feed from your mobile device, and somehow it gets lost or stolen, someone may have unauthorized access to your feed, as well as other personal information stored on your device.

Positioning
With all this being said, the location and positioning of your cameras play an important role as well. In the worst case scenario, your feed gets broadcast to the public internet. Be sure that you position your cameras in areas in and around your property that you wouldn’t mind strangers seeing. For example, if you must install a camera in your bedroom, avoid pointing it at your bed or any area where you usually change.

Webcams
You may also be worried about your webcams now, too. While threats may arise from time to time, there are ways to keep your webcam secure, such as disabling Flash, updating firmware, and using firewalls.

If you built a custom IP security camera using webcams, hacking threats should be minimal. You have likely used dedicated, reputable software and taken the time to properly configure and secure your system with a username and password.

Maintain Security
To make sure that you keep your devices secure in the future as well, make sure that you keep any and all devices related to or connected to your system up to date. This includes your camera’s firmware, client software on your PC or mobile device, and more. These updates often contain patches for any new threats, and without the proper update, your system could be left vulnerable to an attack.

How do you secure your surveillance system? Do you have any tips to share with us and your peers? Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.

For a great selection of IP security cameras, CCTV surveillance packages, and more, visit SecurityCamExpert.com. To speak with a representative about our products and services, please call 1-888-203-6294.

Secure Your IP Security Cameras

If you haven’t already, it might be time to upgrade from analog security cameras to an IP security camera system. IP security cameras are easier to use and connect to your home network. Your surveillance feed is more readily available and can be accessed remotely, and your storage space can easily be expanded or adjusted based on your individual needs.

While there are many benefits of upgrading, IP cameras can be more vulnerable to hackers. The good news is that these issues can be combated with smart security measures. Here are some things to consider to protect your IP surveillance feed.

Firmware Updates
Keep your firmware up-to-date. Manufacturers are always watching for any system or security vulnerabilities. When one is found, they work hard to address the issue and inform their customers of the necessary firmware update. Pay close attention to these notifications so that your system is secure. Checking your camera manufacturer’s website can also help, in case you don’t receive, or happen to overlook, any notifications.

Keep Cameras Local
Plain and simple – if you don’t want your feed to end up on the Internet, don’t connect your cameras to the Internet. Keep your cameras on a local network with non-routable IP addresses (ex. 192.168.0.5 or something similar). Though, even with this measure, your cameras could still be exposed by software that sets up port forwarding or uses UPNP to expose your cameras to the Internet. Be sure to visit your camera manufacturer’s website to learn how to set them up in local-only mode.

Passwords
Any password can be better than no password at all. Most cameras do not have password protection for video feeds set on default. After you install and set up your cameras, be sure add password protection to secure your feed. Create a username and strong password, and make sure you change it periodically to increase security.

Do your cameras come with default usernames and passwords? Change them immediately after setup and installation. This is the easiest way for hackers, or anyone, to gain access to your feed.

WPA2 Encryption
When it comes to wireless cameras, the only network you should connect it to is a WPA2-encrypted wireless network. Encryption adds protection and will keep hackers away.

Placement
Think about the placement of your cameras. Only place cameras in areas inside your home that you are comfortable with being monitored. No matter how secure your system is, there is a chance a new vulnerability has not been found yet and you could become the victim. Remember, when in doubt, leave the camera out.

Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest to share your own tips with your peers. Or visit us online to browse our outstanding collection of security cameras, CCTV surveillance equipment, and more. Have any questions? Feel free to contact us at 1-888-203-6294.

Secure Your Network IP Cameras & Devices

Network IP security cameras are often more attractive to users because they possess their own IP address and can connect to your network. So long as there is a network connected, these IP cameras can be installed nearly anywhere.

While their convenience and performance are alluring, strict safety measures should be enforced. Because they connect to your network, if not properly protected, they can become a vulnerable access point for hackers, and may threaten your overall network security.

If you are considering installing network IP security cameras and devices, please be sure to recognize the different ways to secure your network.

Understand Your Risk
Take a look at your network overall and understand the risks at hand. Research any potential vulnerabilities and figure out what needs protection. With comprehensive information on potential threats, you can better understand what needs to be done. Here are two questions you should ask yourself during this process:

  1. Do I need to separate any data on my network? If your data has no need to interact, it’s probably best that they remain on separate networks. Not only does this help security but it also aids in resource management. Physical wiring or VLAN can help to separate your networks.
  2. Do I have non-traditional network devices on my network? Be wary of any third-party connections and keep an eye on everything that’s connected to your system.  Data breaches have been in the news recently – don’t become a headline. Considering how damaging a data breach could be, it may be wise to increase your budget for security measures.

Secure Your Network Ports
Your network ports are the easiest and most accessible way for hackers to get in. Be sure to secure these entry points.

  • User/Administrator Credential Management: Always, always, ALWAYS change the default usernames and passwords on your devices. That is one of the easiest ways for hackers to gain access to your system. Create separate user and administrative logins, or utilize multi-factor authentication if available, for more protection.
  • Physical Port Security: The basic measure for this is port-based MAC address lockdown, which requires manual provisioning when a port link is lost and then recovered. Further measures depend on what your IP cameras can support. Whatever you have, you should always employ port-based/edge-connection cyber security on all of your network devices.
  • Video & Data Flow Protection: You don’t want strangers accessing your security feed. Be sure to protect your video feed from end to end. To do so, there are various encryption options, some stronger than others. Research your options and choose which method would be best for your system.

Know What Security Options Are Out There
Cyber security is always changing. Keep yourself informed and up-to-date on the latest news and information. You will want to focus on physical security and IT when you are searching the web, or attend seminars and trade shows that focus on those topics. With your ever growing knowledge, you can continue to improve and protect your network devices.

Have any cyber security tips to share with your peers? Join us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest!

For a great selection of network IP cameras and more, visit us online or give us a call 1-888-203-6294.

Should I Upgrade To Network IP Cameras?

As times change, so does technology. Analog security cameras are slowly fading away, being replaced with much more advanced and efficient solutions. In particular, network IP cameras offer numerous benefits and are a welcome upgrade from analog cameras.

These benefits include easy installation, transition, expansion, and management. Installation for network IP cameras has become easier as plug-and-play options are more readily available. New technologies have allowed analog and IP cameras to coexist within the same system, allowing a slow and smooth transition to an all IP system. Because work is done over a network, expanding and upgrading your security system can be done in house, saving you time and money. Managing your security camera system becomes effortless as you can access your feed remotely through apps on your mobile devices, tablets, or PCs.

There are many reasons to consider upgrading to network IP cameras, and many cost-effective options are out there. Here are a few of our top-selling network IP cameras:

SCE CMPS330 720P Wireless Night Vision IP Camera

This wireless IP camera offers plug-and-play installation, along with cloud storage service and remote viewing through mobile devices. This night vision camera possesses 12 LEDS, 1/4” CMOS image sensor, and 720p real-time video coding (with H.264 stream support). Delivering quality picture and performance for a low price, this camera is a steal!

Grandstream GXV3672-FHD-36 Outdoor Day/Night FHD 3.6MM IP Camera

With this Grandstream outdoor security camera, you’ll get quality and reliability. Boasting a 3.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor and HD Lens, H.264 stream support, and a pre/post event recording buffer, you won’t miss a thing. This camera also has embedded video analytics as well as support for SIP/VoIP, motion detection, and notifications on PC Client. There’s not much this security camera can’t do.

SCE 7184A 2MP HD IP Network PTZ Camera

Offering excellent pan, tilt, and zoom abilities, our IP network PTZ camera provides the best features for a smart price. Our PTZ camera has 1080P full HD resolution, 30x/20x optical zoom and 16x digital zoom, with up to 328FT IR distance for comprehensive, quality surveillance. With an appealing design and price, this IP network PTZ camera will be a great addition to your security camera system.

You can browse the rest of our stock of network IP cameras and NVRs (network video recorders) online at SecurityCamExpert.com. To speak with us directly, you can call us Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:00pm at 1-888-203-6294.

Want to connect with us through social media? Like us, Plus 1 us, Tweet us, or Pin with us today!

Tips To Secure Your Security Camera System

By now, you may have heard of the website that hacks into various security camera feeds that have not changed the default names and passwords for their systems. The supposed goal of the site is to “show the importance of security settings” by making various business and home security camera footage available to Internet users.

As disturbing as this website is, it is important to get the word out on how to secure your IP security camera system. Use these tips to keep your private security camera system private.

Change The Default Admin Name And Admin Password

If you haven’t already, please change your account names and passwords. As previously stated, the security cameras were accessed because users failed to change the default names and passwords, allowing anyone with internet access and patience to login to their accounts. Keep password requirements on and choose strong passwords. Try to use different passwords for every account, with 10 or more characters including upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. The stronger the password, the harder it will be to hack into your system, keeping your business or home safe from strangers’ eyes.

Keep Each IP Camera Secure

Connect your IP cameras to your local network and assign non-routable internal IP addresses. For help with this, you may need to contact your IP camera manufacturer. Take it a step further by password protecting each camera as well. You may need to manually turn this feature on after set-up. It may be tough to keep track of all your passwords, but it will be worth it to keep your surveillance feed secure.

Read The Fine Print

Be sure that your system uses encryption to protect your data, especially if you’re using wireless cameras. Encrypted data provides yet another measure to protect against hackers. Also, be sure the website in which you access your live feed begins with “https” vs. “http” as the former possesses added protection.

Keep Firmware Up-To-Date

Keep an eye out for firmware updates as they address any vulnerability issues that may arise. If you miss an update, your system may be susceptible to prying eyes. Your manufacturer will likely post alerts on their website, so you may choose to subscribe to their website or set personal reminders to periodically check for updates yourself.

Be Mindful Of Security Camera Placement

Place cameras in locations you wouldn’t mind strangers seeing. Don’t place them in areas that would make you feel uncomfortable or where there is an expectation of privacy. In the unfortunate event that your system becomes compromised, you’ll at least know what people can and cannot see.

As we implement security measures in the form of security cameras and systems, it is always wise to secure these devices as well. Security cameras help us conveniently monitor our properties while we’re away, but if the wrong people gain access, not only does it violate our privacy, but we can become targets. Prevent hackers from gaining access by utilizing the tips mentioned above.

Do you have any other tips or personal experiences to share? Help your peers by sharing with us on our social networks – Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Your safety is important to us. For the best affordable, high quality security cameras, visit us online at SecurityCamExpert.com. To speak with us directly, you can call us at 1-888-203-6294. Our offices are open Monday-Friday 8am-5pm.

Recent Comments