Is Your Security System Holding Back Your Organization’s Cloud Initiative?
Now may be a perfect time to transition from On-prem VMS to a Cloud Deployment
- By Jennifer Hones
- Jan 09, 2023
More organizations today are relying on cloud-based solutions to transform and grow their business than ever before. All major cloud service providers, including Google, Amazon, Microsoft and IBM, have seen astonishing growth in cloud-solution revenue over the last few years, and there is no slowdown in sight.
The traditional conservative and cautious nature of the security industry has resulted in the slow adoption of cloud solutions. But the capabilities and business growth potential that cloud solutions now offer the security industry — specifically in quickly deploying and scaling multi-camera, multi-location video management systems and managing extensive archives of recorded video — make it something that security professionals, systems integrators, and in-house data and information professionals can no longer ignore.
Technology continues to revolutionize how security professionals complete tasks and make decisions. Advancements in connectivity and interoperability are driving new and enhanced processes and services — and the cloud is one of the most prominent developments in this revolution. As more and more organizations begin to realize the benefits of the technology, the industry is seeing an increasing desire to transition video surveillance and data storage to the cloud and embracing a hybrid on-prem/cloud approach.
Making the Shift
Moving security and video management operations to the cloud can be highly advantageous for organizations with a cloud-first strategy. Organizations understand the benefits of cloud-based solutions. They are looking to leverage them to optimize operations and improve efficiency. Transitioning to a hybrid or total cloud solution for video management can help these organizations meet their data infrastructure strategies.
Deploying a large, on-premises VMS usually requires a lengthy procurement process, costly hardware, and ongoing maintenance. In addition, of course, along with larger on-prem systems comes the need for additional space and power for system operation and cooling. Cloud deployments reduce on-premises hardware requirements and leverage the cloud provider’s infrastructure in setting up and maintaining on-site VMS systems.
The result is a highly flexible VMS solution with adaptable compute, storage, and networking that adjusts easily to the needs of the business. Reduced on-premises hardware, partially outsourcing IT infrastructure, and turning CAPEX into OPEX help organizations optimize their cost structure and deliver better results.
While cloud solutions can scale for any size organization, they are especially ideal for large enterprises, federal organizations, and smart city applications that have many disparate sites with low camera counts. For example, a telecommunications company that needs to secure multiple cellular towers in a large geographic area is an excellent candidate for a pure cloud solution. Such distributed multi-site organizations can accelerate toward cloud-first initiatives and scale quickly to meet business demand.
Additionally, if the cloud provider is one of the top service providers, they guarantee delivering a reliable infrastructure and platform, which in turn, reduces the risk of service disruptions and ensure continuous operation. Minimal hardware use and shifting to a predictable variable cost model help organizations leverage the solution's cost-efficiency to deliver better results.
Hybrid on-prem/cloud deployments are an excellent way to leverage the flexibility of the cloud. In a hybrid cloud scenario, the only hardware maintained on-premises are the cameras and the end device used to access the system. This means that the cloud provider maintains the servers, recorders and data centers 24/7. Rather than having to purchase and install dozens or even hundreds of terabytes worth of drives and storage infrastructure, users can buy an 8-terabyte box (for example), record video for a day or two, and then archive the recorded video to the cloud. This does not change the organization’s workflow but does reduce the upfront and ongoing costs of maintaining an on-Prem system.
A major user concern we have heard lately is how video retention needs and regulations are rapidly changing. Video retention times and regulations were standard in the pre-pandemic business era. Keeping video data assets for 30, 60 or 90 days was common, and those best practices did not change much. However, in the current business environment, fraught with supply chain issues and other complications, many organizations now require longer video retention times, which can be very expensive and troublesome for on-prem systems.
The insurance industry is an excellent example of this current dynamic. Insurers of shipping freight and large-ticket items like automobiles, industrial machinery and other components would traditionally require captured video held for 60 days to assure the safe handling and delivery of the goods and help resolve claims in the event of damage. Nevertheless, in this new era, with freight and supply issues taking so long with point-to-point shipping, insurers are starting to demand video be archived for six months or even longer. Therefore, many systems built to archive video data for 30 or 60 days, now need to accommodate much longer retention times. Shifting to a hybrid cloud approach offers a path to accommodating these dynamic needs.
Shifting to a hybrid model gives users the best of both worlds regarding security. It allows a mix of on-premises video technology and cloud services. Hybrid models enable users to achieve uniform access to live video, recordings, and alarms across cameras connected physically on-premises and virtually via the cloud. This leads to increased functionality options without compromising on feature-rich and powerful video surveillance.
Leveraging a hybrid cloud VMS can help enterprises to simplify large-scale deployments, gain real-time insight into activities and enhance surveillance operations with centralized management. By combining the top elements of on-premises and cloud solutions, organizations get the best of both worlds.
Aside from its ease of use and operational benefits, perhaps most importantly, hybrid cloud VMS allows organizations to enhance risk mitigation and security efforts while augmenting everyday business operations. The intelligence garnered can be acted upon immediately — which is crucial when defending against a fast-changing risk landscape.
Taking the Leap
A cloud strategy can feel like a big jump from traditional VMS setups. But as organizations continue to move nearly all other workloads to the cloud, they're starting to see what it would look like to transition one of their last comput-intense holdouts — their VMS. At this point, integrators and in-house end-user teams are experienced in working with cloud services; the cloud providers are developing more services specifically for video management and utilizing archived video. In addition, as cloud-first initiatives become more common, moving storage-intense video assets to the cloud contribute to lower service costs.
Fortunately, every cloud-computing platform is making it very easy right now to start on their service. Often, minor service tiers are entirely free and take just a few minutes to set up. If your organization is thinking about moving its VMS to the cloud, there has never been a better time to take those first exploratory steps and try it.