Making the Case for Cloud Security
What to keep in mind when deploying your cloud security and surveillance strategy
- By Aaron Saks
- Sep 18, 2023
The cloud continues to be a major topic of discussion across the security and surveillance industry. Cloud adoption rates are continuing to increase as many customers move past earlier concerns about cloud security and reliability and begin to realize the significant benefits that come with the cloud: efficiency, scale, and cost savings.
The scope of a cloud deployment can vary from customer to customer, based on their market, requirements, the focus of their operations and budgets, among many other factors. For some, fully cloud environments work best, for others, on-premise is the way to go. Still, for others, a hybrid approach makes sense.
Cloud vs. On-premise vs. Hybrid
There are many applications that can dictate when a hybrid approach makes sense. For example, in many markets such as cannabis or banking – there are regulations stating you must have both on-site and off-site back-up storage. Hybrid allows you to have full on-site video recording capability combined with a full cloud user interface with all the necessary features and functionality without tying up network bandwidth. If you don't need to send all your data to the cloud all the time, then hybrid gives you the best of both worlds. You can mix and match or go either way.
Another of the biggest cloud benefits is flexibility and scalability. The cloud is flexible and elastic and scales to your needs and resources. That's one of the biggest benefits to the cloud: you can have a cloud-based video system up and running quickly.
If you are recording 30 days now, but in a few months or seasonally you need 60 days, just log in, click a few buttons and you are done. You do not need to go on site and change out hard drives. As more dealers and integrators become familiar and fluent with cloud video platforms, they will recommend and offer it to more of their customers, which will greatly help in keeping adoption rates on the rise.
Cloud video recording will also grow more accepted for use as sourcing and installing servers to manage the growing demand for video retention. This is attractive to many customers since cloud recording is elastic and only requires a few clicks to extend storage retention. We will see much more blending of on-prem systems with cloud backup or cloud archiving, with more customers embracing the idea of choosing, and only paying for the cloud services they need.
In the coming months and years, look for more companies using the cloud on an “as-a-service” basis, creating customized security network infrastructures enabling flexibility, efficiency, lower unit cost and scalability – all while being simple enough for users to manage themselves. They will embrace the ability to easily scale bandwidth up or down, or for certain time periods. For example, if their business is seasonal, they can plan for busier times of the year.
The edge is still a primary topic on everyone’s mind, as organizations continually seek to streamline their operations. The edge may refer to points of presence (PoPs) close to network endpoints, or connectivity that brings recording and storage closer to the data source or device. Security at the edge is much more effective and the fact that it is decentralized gives organizations more options for managing their own unique security requirements.
Perfect for standalone or remote systems, edge-based recording only uses a network for playback and review, conserving bandwidth and allowing more stable and reliable recording of high-quality, high-resolution content through on-board flash media. The addition of intelligent analytics further enhances the long-term value of stored content.
Ask the Right Questions
It is important to ask about where the data is stored – on who’s cloud, and where the cloud data centers are located. Who has access to the data and how is it securely stored and replicated. Other questions should be:
- How does a typical end-user access the system? Is it all web browser based, or are there mobile apps and a thick client?
- What about integrations with diverse types and brands of cameras? Do camera-based analytics trigger recording and searching? Can I move to PTZ cameras, de-warp fisheye cameras? How do multi-senor cameras integrate? Can I easily adjust camera settings remotely?
- Finally, how does pricing work in terms of storage, resolutions, multi-sensor cameras and advanced features?
A good cloud system should have its own data centers and not be running on “general purpose” existing clouds. They should have data centers in the customer’s country to ensure compliance with any data protection laws, as well as best performance. The data should be replicated to multiple data centers and segregated from each other customer for privacy. Data should be encrypted in transit and at rest, and no one – not even the cloud provider should have access to the video, except for the customer and possibly the integrator, if granted access.
A robust web-interface and modern mobile app is essential. Client software may be desired, but often not needed in many customer scenarios. Camera settings should be easy to configure remotely through the cloud system without the need to roll a truck to be onsite, such as adjusting zoom & focus, WDR, etc.
Companies today need fresh solutions fast and they simply need them to work. Increasingly, many are finding those types of solutions in the cloud.
This article originally appeared in the September / October 2023 issue of Security Today.