Make the Right Choice
Make sure you choose the right VMS for your business
- By Ray Cooke, Andrew Elvish
- Apr 01, 2018
Since every business is unique, it comes as no surprise
that each has different security needs. Whether your
business is contemplating an upgrade or delving into
a comprehensive video surveillance system for the first
time, it’s important to consider how a modern VMS
integrated with state-of-the-art security devices can provide not only
security but also analytics and business intelligence to help you move
beyond visual security into understanding your entire environment.
Presenting a well-thought-out spec to your integrator of choice will
make sure your priorities are met as well as your budget, and help ensure
your VMS and connected peripherals scale as your business grows.
Cybersecurity and the Price
of Thinking Only About “Price”
Five years ago, cybersecurity was not considered a key requirement
in a surveillance system. Now, when it comes to risk, cybersecurity is
an essential consideration for every large commercial or government
customer. There are plenty of very cheap, solutions available both
for cameras and VMS, but as the notorious cyber breaches of recent
years have demonstrated, there are inherent risks associated with
choosing a system purely on price. A VMS system is only as secure as
its weakest end-point. Be prepared to ask tough questions to ensure
that a VMS and camera manufacturer work together to protect video
data, credentials, as well as ensure that the endpoints have a solid
Choosing a VMS platform that is actively being developed gives
you a system that’s effectively evergreen and able to deliver new value
and up-to-date device security even though you’ve owned it for years.
For cybersecurity, it’s important to weigh the overall cost of risk to
your operation. A cyberattack at a smaller company might have even
more devastating consequences than one at a larger organization. As
we enter a world where cybersecurity liability insurance is becoming a
hot topic, the importance of working with trusted partners has never
been more important.
Cybersecurity concerns are obvious, but equally important is the
inability to scale as your business grows, limited to no integration
with your other systems, and the costs of maintenance and reliability.
How often can the software/firmware be upgraded when bugs or security
flaws are discovered? Will the VMS you chose notify you when
a firmware update to your cameras is available? Will it give you the
option to push that update to all the cameras on the network? These
capabilities may cost more up front but deliver substantial savings
over the life of the system.
Decision Factor: Basic Video Integration
It’s important to find a VMS vendor who can integrate all of the
value that modern security camera manufacturers bring to the table.
Just because a camera manufacturer builds a super intelligent, nextgen
analytic, doesn’t mean it’s going to work in any VMS. It’s important
to ask questions about the size of the vendor’s partner program.
How closely aligned is the vendor with the cameras you may want to
use? You might want to use a certain type of Hanwha camera, for
instance, only to find out that a VMS doesn’t have the horsepower
or the integration capabilities to fully use it. Companies sometimes
under-buy because they want to go cheap, but they can equally overbuy
when it’s not clear what they actually need to accomplish.
The relationship you form with a vendor will last for years, so it’s
important to find someone you trust. How established are they in the
industry? Are they leaders or followers? Google the news and find out
who is routinely breaking the mold and thinking outside of the box.
Decision Factor: Beyond VMS –
Unifying your Security Infrastructure
When choosing a video management system, it’s important to consider
whether you’ll require integration with other elements of your
security/business infrastructure. Do you have access control, perimeter
fence detection, intercoms, POS or other business processes that
need to be integrated with your security system?
Systems such as Genetec Security Center are built to manage every
aspect of a security infrastructure in one unified interface. A unified
platform goes above and beyond tagging or bookmarking video
when an access control event occurs or unlocking an access-controlled
door from the video surveillance user interface. It is a unified
user interface that offers seamless integration between video, intercom,
access and intrusion systems with built-in reporting, analytics,
and alarm management functionalities. With this type of solution, it
is possible to configure and manage video cameras, access-controlled
doors, print badges, monitor intrusion panels, and have everything at
the security personnel’s disposal to ensure the level of security of a
facility within a single consistent software suite.
While unifying solutions into a single pane of glass makes it easier
for operators to see what’s happening in their environment, sometimes
that’s not enough. Due to the size of these sites, even the most
skilled security operators could become overwhelmed with juggling
daily tasks while also trying to spot intruders, objects or crowds.
That’s where advanced analytics come in, allowing operators to
break through the complexity of managing it all, alerting them to the
most pressing situations. Managers, city officials or other users don’t
have time to comb through data or manipulate spreadsheets to find
meaningful information. Instead, organizations are looking for ways to transform security data into relevant insights that they can act on,
whether that’s a store, city, airport or anything else.
Decision Factor: When your
VMS is Smarter than You Think
For small to medium sized security installations, a modern VMS system,
such as a Wisenet WAVE VMS from Hanwha Techwin, can offer
analytics and insights that will help an organization run more efficiently
and more intelligently too. They can make the most of their
cameras’ advanced features and onboard advanced analytics such as
intelligent video analytics (appear, disappear, loitering), market intelligence
statistics (queue management) and sound classification (explosion,
glass breakage, gunshot and scream detection).
Video analytics remove the burden from security personnel and
mitigate human errors. Video surveillance then becomes easier and
more efficient, allowing operators to receive real-time notifications
or enabling easy search to see the analytics, and quickly review video
after the fact – never relying on constant human intervention/monitoring.
Security operators can also stay informed about their security
system’s health without the need to have a full-time person dedicated
to manually verify the position and operation of each camera.
To Cloud or Not to Cloud
For certain businesses, leveraging the cloud for VMS and/or data
storage makes a great deal of financial sense. Cloud-based infrastructure
substantially reduces up-front investment in hardware.
You never pay for unused capacity, system maintenance, and never
have to worry about hardware becoming obsolete and failing. It
allows you to scale at your own pace and operating expenditure looks
better than capital expenditure on the books to most accountants.
For many, a hybrid approach might be ideal, as the need to offload
older video clips can become a burden depending on your policy on
video data retention. The security and safety of video data in the
cloud is unmatched by most on-premises solutions.
Traditional security systems rarely generate revenue and investments
in security equipment are often tightly scrutinized. Completely
overhauling a system, regardless of the technology employed, is entirely
dependent on budget availability and management’s buy-in.
With today’s smarter cameras, VMS, and advanced integration, business
intelligence gathering presents a new way to directly monetize
investments in security infrastructure.
So, when shopping for a VMS, it’s important to look at the track
record and innovation of the system you are considering. Focus on
your ability to extract maximum value from the product. You might
be encouraged to look at the “cost per channel” of video, but it might
be wiser to consider the “value per channel” to your business that a
well-matched VMS system can provide in terms of both security and
business intelligence. VMS platforms are continuously evolving to incorporate
just about any type of data gathering imaginable. Why not
have your VMS text your phone to tell you when lines are building
up and you need to send more staff ? These capabilities are available
today, and much more is coming
soon to a VMS near you.
This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of Security Today.