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Surveillance

Video Surveillance Technologies

Video surveillance has often proven helpful in producing evidence after a crime has been committed, and plays a role in deterring some incidents. But unfortunately, it seems video surveillance is no longer enough. Threats of violence and attacks have become more prevalent, forcing us to increase our security measures.

Containing and preventing violence has become rather costly over the years. In fact, the economic costs for prevention and recovery reached a peak high at $52.9 billion in 2014. This cost is far greater than the cost of carrying out the acts.

A real time solution is necessary. This can start with technology that has the ability to detect weapons while assessing the level of threat in the process. While this advanced technology could save lives, it could also save us billions of dollars by stopping these incidents before they happen.

For example, the fiscal impact of the September 11th attacks was found to have cost $55 billion in physical damage, $123 billion in economic damage, along with other expenses such as developing the Homeland Security Department and funding the war. The tragedy of lives lost and money spent to repair damages shows us that a more proactive approach, rather than reactive measures, would prove to be more effective.

It is estimated that the United States spends about $100 billion a year on counter-terrorism measures. With proactive efforts, these reactive expenses could possibly go toward other areas that need attention and improvement.

Aside from anti-terrorism, surveillance technologies can benefit many industries. For example, big retailers are investing more into their security. Wal-Mart, for instance, is in the process of deploying drones to monitor warehouse inventory. It is advances like this that get us one step closer to embracing futuristic machines.

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

Shop our selection of CCTV security cameras systems and more at SecurityCamExpert.com. If you have any questions, please call 888-203-6294.

Video Surveillance Troubleshooting

Problems that may arise with security camera systems are sometimes related to powering issues or even factory defects. However, more often than not, these problems are usually attributed to improper cabling and connections, which boils down to the installation.

Prior to security camera system installation, technicians must be mindful of the features, functions, and especially the limitations of the actual hardware. While all installations are different, an understanding of the specific system and the customer’s expectation is crucial for a quality job.

Here are some common installation problems you may come across along with helpful trouble shooting tips.

Rolling Lines On The Screen
Whether they are white or multi-colored, these rolling lines or ghosting over the camera’s video are often caused by video cables that run close to high-voltage power sources.

To prevent this, cameras should be tested at another location prior to installation in order to eliminate any hardware defects as a cause to any future issues. Also, keep wires away from sources that supply high-voltage electrical charges at any point of the run. Improperly grounded electrical circuits can also cause video disturbances, which is why high quality camera cables are crucial.

Infrared Glare/”White Out”
The most common causes of IR glare are reflective surfaces and large, lightly colored areas. “White out” (unrecognizable white silhouettes on screen) is often caused by objects that are too close to the camera. Also, if you install infrared security cameras under eaves, the beams of the IR LEDs may hit parts of the structure and bounce back, causing the reflection to blind the camera.

To combat these potential problems, install your cameras in areas clear of any objects that may cause glare or obstruct the camera’s view. Also, be sure that the user keeps these areas clear (at least three feet). You should also test daytime and low-light conditions before completing installation. Cameras with “Smart IRs” that have dynamic IR strengths can help to alleviate these problems as well and ensure high-quality night time images.

IR Cameras Unable To See In The Dark
In order to employ IR cameras properly, a surface is necessary for the IP light beams to bounce off. For example, when you point a flashlight into the night sky it remains dark because there is nothing allowing the light beams to bounce back.

Choose cameras that have sufficient IR distance capabilities. During installation, point the cameras at an angle facing a surface (ex. ground, wall) and test them under low-light conditions before proceeding.

Extreme Glare During Daylight
If your property has lots of glass doors and windows, you may have an issue with extreme glare. Glare from the sun does not mix well with security cameras, which means a special alternative is necessary.

In these situations, you want to invest in cameras with mechanical Wide Dynamic Range (WDR). These are designed to prevail in extreme lighting conditions. While “digital WDR” does it exist and can be helpful in these situations, it does not work as well as true, mechanical WDR.

Insufficient Power Causing Cameras To Drop Out
Without the proper power source, security cameras will not perform properly, causing them to drop out or lose power. While spec sheets may specify the camera’s power needs, they may not factor in the added power necessary for IR/low-light applications. For example, the system may work fine during the day, but drop out at night when the IR kicks in.

It is advised that you use a power supply which supports twice the voltage requirements of all your cameras combined.

When it comes to power, distance may play a role as well. Voltage drops can occur due to poor quality cables and long distances. To avoid this issue, AC voltage is recommended for runs greater than 250ft.

Inadequate Coverage
With great features and functions come limitations as well. For maximum coverage of your property, first map out your installation to identify areas that need surveillance. Based on the locations, you can determine which specific features you need for certain areas. For example, focal lengths and angles of view should be considered (longer lenses for closer view, shorter lenses for wide-angle shots). In general, license plate cameras should be installed no more than five feet from vehicles and valuable points of interest (such as cash registers, entrances and exits) should have a camera dedicated solely to monitoring that area.

Have you come across any issues not mentioned here? How did you resolve it? Share your stories and advice with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Choose SecurityCamExpert.com for quality security cameras along with professional installation and support services. Visit us online or call 888-203-6294 to learn more!

California Surveillance Laws

When it comes to surveillance, there is a fine line between privacy and public safety. Because of this, surveillance laws are often scrutinized by both sides. A new bill was introduced at the end of 2016 which requires any local law enforcement agency in California that uses surveillance technology to submit a plan to local officials on how it uses equipment and information collected. This would need to include surveillance plans for any facial recognition software, drones, and even social media monitoring, and would be presented at an open hearing.

While this disclosure from law enforcement may put some worries at ease, others may want more. Privacy advocates believe that this is still not enough to cover spying equipment and technology that is continuing to evolve and expand. On the other side, law enforcement officials argue that creating plans and policies for each device may be unfeasible and interfere with investigations.

But state Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) says that it was introduced “to create transparency and a check and balance.” Without regulations on these devices and technology, they can easily be abused and infringe on our privacy rights.

With fairly comprehensive digital privacy laws, California has been actively working toward disclosure when it comes to law enforcement surveillance. State laws require a probable cause warrant for access to digital content and devices (ex. cell phones) and law enforcement must catalog information and make it publicly available.

The new bill gives agencies until July 1, 2018 to draft policies detailing all the types of surveillance technology used and the authorized reasons for using them, along with the types of data collected, who can access them, and a description of their training. It also prohibits an agency from acquiring new technology unless approved by local officials at a regularly scheduled public meeting.

Last year, two surveillance laws went into effect, one of which requires to draft and publicly post privacy and usage policies for operating automated license-plate recognition software. The other requires the same for the use of cell-site simulators (“Stingrays” or “Dirtboxes”). These are powerful tracking devices that function as fake cellphone towers to collect information. However, their ability to collect information from innocent people not under investigation has sparked outrage and court battles.

Despite current surveillance laws, privacy advocates believe that not all agencies are complying and that not enough is being done to ensure that they do. To evade the disclosure requirements, agencies could borrow technology from other federal agencies, which is not subject to state law.

In an effort to check compliance, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other nonprofits and watchdog groups searched through numerous California government websites to make sure surveillance policies were posted. While many were easily located, policies for at least 90 agencies (which, based on public records, were believed to use surveillance technology) could not be found. Since this task in April 2016, more agencies have posted their policies online.

While the new bill is meant to be inclusive and comprehensive, concerns remain. Some worry that criminals may figure out how they are being tracked, others bring up issues of time sensitivity when it comes to buying or borrowing new technology, and privacy advocates are still skeptical about the cost, risks, and enforcement.

There are obviously mixed feelings about this new bill, and other surveillance laws. What are your views? Share your thoughts and opinions with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Keep an eye on your home or business with quality CCTV surveillance systems. Find a great selection at SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 to speak with a representative.

2017 Video Surveillance Trends

We have seen the video surveillance industry change over the years. With improvements in quality and accessibility, surveillance camera popularity among businesses and consumers has grown.  As we embark on this New Year, we look ahead to what new surveillance trends are on the horizon.

Developments
According to industry experts, aside from working on image quality and cost-efficiency, we will see an increasing focus on software developments. Things like built-in intelligence, deep learning, and other advances in video management are sure to surface this year.

New vendors and product lines with new configurations are likely to emerge this year as well, expanding upon multi-sensor and multi-directional cameras. The advanced technologies will soon make their way to the market for home and private use, forcing others to provide alternate offerings.

Managed services and moving toward cloud computing will rise in demand. By utilizing managed services and the cloud, businesses can manage their cyber security risk by employing companies whose sole purpose is to maintain data security. This will then force manufacturers to provide end-users with more network-based solutions.

Cyber Security
With cyber security issues with surveillance cameras and devices making headlines last year, it has become a more prominent concern. This negative attention can drive down demand, which means manufacturers must address this issue immediately and proactively.

Things that will be considered include rigorous testing of products, increasing end-user and integrator education on how to use the system as well as a best practices guide. Firmware must be updated quickly and often, especially when new vulnerabilities are found.

Overall, cyber security must be approached as a team effort. Manufacturers should take all considerations into account when building and designing hardware and software, as well as strengthen password requirements and incorporate strong data encryption, and take lead when educating users and the industry of potential risks. In the same vein, customers should know what is insecure and how to best protect themselves for attacks.

Competition
Competition will be high throughout the year. Most manufacturers are working to improve image quality, frame rate, and low-light performance to please the consumer demand. As features and functions progress, so will the surveillance industry as a whole. Bottom line for customers is that they will be looking for the best solution with the best total cost of ownership.

What other trends do you foresee for 2017? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Shop our affordable selection of CCTV surveillance cameras and equipment online at SecurityCamExpert.com. To inquire about site surveys or installation services, please call 888-203-6294.

Drones For Home Security

From law enforcement surveillance to recreational use by consumers, drones have grown in popularity over the years. Because of their advanced capabilities, a company has even created a drone home security system.

Proposed by Sunflower Labs, the system is designed to complement an existing alarm or security system. The drone streams video to your smartphone when a potential danger is detected, allowing you to determine whether you need to take further action or not.

The system is comprised of a drone plus in-ground smart lights used to detect motion, vibration, and sound. Using advanced data analytics, the system can differentiate humans from cars and animals. When there is a disturbance, artificial intelligence determines whether it is dangerous or not. For example, mail delivery persons will be recognized by their behavior (typically a quick stop by the front door or mailbox).

On the other hand, suppose a person approaches the back door and lingers. A push notification will be sent and you will be asked if you would like to look into the situation. Assuming you say yes, the drone will lift from its perch and autonomously fly to where the suspicious person is located. The drone will hover (30ft) until it is told to return to its nest. There is also an option within the app to alert local police.

By sending the drone to investigate first, Sunflower Labs CEO Alex Pachikov believes that this will decrease the number of false alarms. The drone also allows you to monitor your entire property instead of just entrances and exits, like most other security systems.

The drone is designed to be a minimal nuisance. Currently, the propellers automatically shut off if they hit anything, and considering its size, it is relatively quiet. The ultimate goal is decrease noises to a quiet hum and to get its weight down to half a pound (its current weight is two pounds) before it ships. In addition, it features two cameras which only capture footage of the home owner’s property in order to protect neighbors’ privacy.

Still, there are safety, privacy, and nuisance concerns about the drone. Since August, new rules allow operators who have passed an aeronautical exam to fly commercial drones under 55 pounds no higher than 400ft. And autonomous flying is not allowed for commercial drones.

Despite this, Sunflower Labs has no worries. They believe the policies will not apply as the homeowner will use the drone for non-business purposes. Since recreational users face fewer restrictions, homeowners will likely be held in the same regard.

As this system continues to develop, more details will emerge. As for now, the lights are expected to cost $159 each, and the drone may be rented for a fee (comparable to the cost of traditional alarm systems).

Would you consider utilizing this drone security system for your home? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest!

For traditional security cameras and equipment, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. If you have any questions or need assistance, please call us at 1-888-203-6294.

How Connected Technologies Can Help In Emergencies

Staying connected to your home is a convenience in itself, but in the case of natural disasters and emergencies, it can be an invaluable tool. If you live in an area prone to extreme weather, you likely have an emergency plan in place. However, a connected home can provide new and safer options to manage the situation.

Regardless of whether it is your home, vacation property, or even the home of a loved one, here are some ways connected technology can benefit you in the face of an emergency and beyond.

Crimes
Unfortunately, emergency evacuations mean abandoned homes and properties, which is ideal for looters. With connected security cameras, you can keep an eye on who might be entering your home, as well as monitor the possible damage occurring as a result of the natural disaster.

Smart Sensors
Installing water sensors can alert you of flood conditions and even slow leaks, which can cause significant damage over time if not detected early.

Aside from water sensors, carbon monoxide and gas detectors can save lives by alerting you when levels become dangerous.

Connected devices such as smart locks and garage doors often have motion detection sensors which notify you when someone enters or exits your home.

Remote Monitoring & Push Notifications
Because you can monitor from a safe distance, these are ideal in emergency situations. Push notifications provide up-to-date alerts which allow you to deal with situations in a timely fashion. Both enable you to monitor and understand what is going on without putting yourself in danger.

Affordable & Reliable Communication
Because these technologies seem so advanced, people often interpret this as complicated and expensive. However, this is not the case. There are various solutions on the market that offer relatively simple installation for cost-effective prices. Because the accessories and transmission processes have become more affordable over the years, connected technology is more accessible and easier to manage and maintain.

Insurance Discounts
You can possibly get a discount on your homeowner’s insurance if you install smart, connected devices. Many insurance providers are now offering discounts for those with smart homes. Some providers even partner with connected technology manufacturers to offer more incentives for customers.

Furthermore, choosing smart devices for your home helps to relieve emergency personnel and law enforcement agencies. Instead of entering an area affected by a natural disaster, you can check in on your property remotely to stay out of harm’s way and avoid interrupting the ongoing work of emergency personnel.

Peace Of Mind
As a whole, connected devices can offer some peace of mind in stressful, dire times. While these devices can be extremely helpful in disaster areas, all homeowners can benefit from a connected home.

Are you currently using any smart devices or connected technologies within your home? Share your experiences with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

For the best affordable CCTV security and surveillance equipment, visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call 1-888-203-6294 today!

The Future Of Retail Loss Prevention

Loss prevention tactics began with in-store monitoring and patrol. As our technologies evolve and the popularity of online shopping continues to grow, security measures have improved. In fact, a U.S. retail fraud survey revealed that spending on store fraud prevention declined while online fraud prevention spending increased.

Because cybercriminals are constantly sharpening their skills, loss prevention specialists are using new technologies to their advantage as well. For example, data analytics have helped specialists understand suspicious behaviors and patterns in the e-commerce and m-commerce environment, and social media vigilance has helped to identify potential threats.

As the retail industry continues to expand and grow, what’s to come in the future of retail loss prevention?

Video Surveillance
It’s true that retail uses a variety of different technologies to operate, including point-of-sale transaction profiling as well as RFID tracking. However, now more than ever, video surveillance is playing a larger and smarter role.

With video surveillance, loss prevention officers have been able to catch thieves in the act and the recordings have provided excellent evidence. With the introduction of built-in facial recognition technology and video analytics, video surveillance can do so much more.

In the same vein, the smart features, connectivity and convenience put these devices at risk. While their role is to protect the business, retailers must do their part to protect their devices, data, shoppers, and employees.

IT & Outside Vendors
Because of this, loss prevention specialists must develop their knowledge and skills with the new technology. They should understand how to use data analysis to identify ever-changing criminal activities, such as new ideas, concepts and schemes.

Loss prevention specialists, cybersecurity specialists and IT team members must all work together to create a system that complies with privacy issues and maintains heightened security to prevent any data breaches or disasters.

Development Of New Responsibilities
As retailers begin to shift from their brick-and-mortar stores (some even closing completely) to focus on e-commerce and m-commerce, the role of data loss prevention specialists will morph into something new, which encompasses more aspects involved in keeping a company safe and secure.

What are your thoughts on the future of retail and loss prevention? Share your predictions and opinions with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest!

Choose the best security cameras and CCTV surveillance equipment to protect your business or home. Visit SecurityCamExpert.com to browse our selection today!

Ethics & Laws Of Home Surveillance

When you decide to install home security cameras, where you place your cameras and how you use your footage is important to consider. For maximum protection, it is recommended to monitor common areas as well as possible points of entrance. While home surveillance is not banned, there are a few things to keep in mind to avoid breaking the law.

Home Surveillance Concerns
Within your home, you do have the right to record without informing others, but there are very large exceptions to this rule. First, any area where a “reasonable expectation of privacy” is assumed is off limits. For example, if your home security cameras are monitoring your front yard and possibly the sidewalk and street, your expectation of privacy in these areas is low. On the other hand, bathrooms and bedrooms, where you may be in a state of undress, have a high expectation of privacy, and, thus, are prohibited.

Second, if your cameras enable audio recording, you may want to brush up on wiretapping laws. While these vary slightly from state to state, federal statutes allow audio recording so long as one of the two parties consents. This basically means that you, as the recorder, may know and give consent without informing the other party. However, some states, including California, require dual consent, meaning both parties must be aware and agree to be recorded.

In regards to recording burglars, any trespassers forfeit any expectation of privacy in your home. You may record the person, submit the footage to police, and use your video in court.

For cameras that run non-stop and record audio, you will want to warn any person that is allowed access to your home that these cameras are there and running, otherwise you may run the risk of breaking wiretapping laws. These people include family members, guests/visitors, delivery persons or installers.

The Consent Conundrum
You may now be wondering how you can lawfully gain dual consent. Will verbal consent or a surveillance sticker in the window suffice, or should you have every guest fill out a consent form upon entering? Unfortunately, consent for audio recordings must be given in written form. It is a common misconception that window decals or yard signs are sufficient means to gain consent, as it is expected for visitors to see and recognize them.

However, in a home setting, there may be an exception to the rule. With home cameras, it boils down to what you do, or intend to do, with your recordings. If you don’t do anything with the recording, it is likely that no one will know or care – no harm, no foul.

If you do something with the recording, things change. For example, say a celebrity is a guest in your home and now you have footage of this celebrity hanging out in your home. While selling this footage to a gossip magazine for profit may seem enticing, you will be breaking the law. First, consent was never given from this celebrity.  Second, you cannot use a recording for commercial gain without the subject’s consent.

In regards to wiretapping, a possible solution is to simply turn off audio recording if your devices permit. However, why turn off a service that you have paid for? While thieves are usually fairly quiet while they work, using audio recording for eavesdropping may be beneficial (but puts forth yet another ethical dilemma).

Uses For Recordings
Let’s say you record someone in your home plotting a crime, or admitting to committing a crime. Most states allow you to use the recording to prevent a crime or prove that one was committed.

However, if the recording does not involve a crime and you decide to post it on YouTube or a social media site, you could be engaging in illegal activity. Using a recording for exploitive or commercial purposes (as in the previous celebrity example) may be misappropriation if not all parties consent. As a reminder, laws vary from state to state so please look into your own state’s laws.

Also, even within your own home, recording with the intention of blackmail is illegal.

Law enforcement has the right to ask for your home surveillance if they suspect illegal activity, and a warrant will likely be necessary. However, since most recordings are stored in the cloud, they may be able to go straight to the provider and obtain the footage, bypassing your permission to access.

What Should You Do?
To err on the side of caution, be sure that everyone entering your home is aware that the cameras are there, and avoid placing them in areas where privacy is expected. If you wish to withhold the information, so long as you do not do anything with the footage, you should be fine.

However, there are other reasons to be careful with the privacy of your security cameras. While you may not have the intention to do bad things, hackers may be able to access your cameras and broadcast your feed. To protect yourself and your guests, it is advised to take reasonable security precautions (ex. strong passwords, maintain security Wi-Fi network), and take the ethical high road when using new technology.

Have any other tips or experiences to share? Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Choose from our quality security cameras and surveillance equipment to protect your home or business. Shop our stock online or call 1-888-203-6294 today!

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.

Video Surveillance In The Cloud

Businesses often turn to video surveillance to enhance security. In recent years, it has become a more feasible option for small businesses to employ cloud-based video surveillance due to lower costs and easy maintenance.

While some swear by the cloud, others are hesitant and worry about its security. If you are considering moving your video surveillance management to the cloud, you should get a better understanding of how it will work and how you can ensure that your data stays safe. Take these measures to ensure that your cloud-based video surveillance is as secure as it can get.

Is Your Hardware Secure?
Before you even think about cloud security, you must make sure that the equipment you have is free from security vulnerabilities. Do your homework and research different vendors’ reputation and history. Once you find a vendor you trust, make sure that your equipment is up-to-date with the proper software installed and in use. Maintain security by keeping your firmware current and using strong passwords. If your vendor has any other recommended best practices, be sure to follow them.

Vendor-Defined Cloud
Because the definition of “cloud” can vary from vendor to vendor, make sure you know exactly what your vendor is offering. When it comes to cloud service for video surveillance, you should be provided with camera management and data storage in the cloud. Your media infrastructure and value-added services should be managed in the cloud as well. Beware of vendors who advertise a cloud service, but really only offer remote access to a local device. This can be beneficial, but is limited in comparison to real cloud services.

Learn More About The Cloud & Data Center
If your cloud provider’s solutions are rooted on well-known cloud servers such as Amazon, Microsoft, or Google, you can rest assured that their general security is adequate. However, if they are using their own proprietary data center, you may want to proceed with caution. While there are secure clouds out there, you don’t know for sure how secure theirs is.

It is much easier to track a well-known cloud provider’s track record. For example, the Amazon AWS data center is supporting some of the largest internet services in the world. Their data storage environment is designed to limit the loss of data objects and is set for “encrypted at rest” which means it is stored encrypted in the cloud.

Camera To Cloud Connection
You should always understand how your system works. When it comes to your cloud-based video surveillance, you should know how your camera connects to the cloud. There are three different types of connections:

  1. No network configuration required
  2. Network configuration required
  3. The use of on-site device or gateway (not a cloud solution)

When it comes to your cloud solution, we will deal with the first two options only. If you prefer no network configuration required, your available options will be limited, but viable. Some vendors offer a solution to configure your cloud cameras with no network configuration, while others have built-in direct connections for your camera to the cloud.

Beyond that, any other cloud solution is likely a P2P solution, which tends to be less reliable than other options, so be sure to research your camera and cloud vendors.

The other option is to configure your own network to permit access to your own device from the internet. This is technically called “port forwarding” and, if done correctly, can be completely legitimate and safe way to configure your cameras. If you choose this route, here are some tips to boost security.

  1. As with everything else, choose a strong password.
  2. Ensure that all available firmware updates are applied.
  3. Ask your cloud provider for a list of IP addresses that will be used and white list them. This will create a very restricted list of servers that can connect to your device.

Implement these measures and work with your network or IT person and you have an adequate way to configure your cloud video surveillance system. You will avoid any black box P2P connections while opening up a huge list of cameras you can use for cloud surveillance.

Cloud To User Connection
Now that everything is in order, find out how the cloud makes your data available to you through its web or mobile apps. All your data and video is under their control, therefore the traffic from the cloud to your web browser or mobile app should be strongly authenticated with username and password and encrypted in transit using TLS, including standard web traffic and video streams.

While other limitations may occur (ex. bandwidth capacity), security concerns should not hold you back from cloud-based video surveillance. As evidenced, there are smart ways to keep your cloud video surveillance safe and secure. If done correctly, cloud-based video surveillance can offer a better solution than local storage solutions.

Does your business employ cloud-based surveillance? Share any tips or advice with us and your peers on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

For a wide range of network IP security cameras, CCTV surveillance packages, and more, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. If you have any questions and would like to speak to a representative, please call 1-888-203-6294.

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