The benefits of migrating to cloud-based IP security cameras

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The adoption of cloud-based technology across all business sectors continues to rise. Recent data indicates that over the past year, 69% of companies have either started or continued migrating their IT systems to the cloud, including increased migration to cloud-based camera systems.

As cloud technology becomes more widespread, the use cases for such systems also become more advanced, with this idea perfectly illustrated in today’s cloud-based security systems. A huge number of households already make great use of commercially available smart doorbells and cloud-operated home security systems, and now, businesses are following suit. 

The benefits that cloud technology can bring are immense. Though to ensure that cloud security systems and cameras are suitably secure and reliable enough for commercial use, businesses must look towards enterprise-grade solutions.   

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about cloud-based security cameras for business, including the key features to search for and the benefits that certain systems can bring.

What are cloud security cameras? 

All security camera systems require three main components in order to suitably record footage, store data and communicate with each element of the wider security network. These components include: 

  • Security cameras 
  • A storage device 
  • A secure connection

In a traditional CCTV system, each security camera will be connected to a physical recording device via a wired connection, though there are several notable drawbacks that this configuration can bring. 

When choosing a security camera, cloud options are ideal for those who don’t have space for large servers on site. In a cloud-based CCTV camera system, cameras can leverage Wi-Fi or ethernet connectivity to transmit data to cloud-based video storage systems, minimizing the need for storage equipment on-site.

One of the considerations to keep in mind before installing a cloud camera system is the wiring and physical equipment needed. Traditional analog camera systems will need more wiring and additional on-site DVR or NVR hardware for video storage compared to cloud-based IP cameras connected via PoE (Power over Ethernet).

Wireless cloud-based camera systems 

There are also fully wireless cloud camera systems available, though these configurations are only really suited to businesses that only need one or two security cameras with limited functionality.

Unlike home security systems, cloud-based security cameras for business must have a reliable connection that isn’t prone to fading signals with internet connection, dropped video feeds or security breaches, all of which are far more likely to occur in a fully wireless security system.  

Cloud-based security camera systems for business often require HD video recordings and advanced features such as night vision, live video, two way audio and floodlight cam to efficiently monitor the safety of their property and people.

However, a wireless cloud-based IP camera can be useful to supplement a larger system in areas where wiring is impossible or cost-prohibitive. 

The benefits of cloud-based security camera systems for business 

While many businesses still rely on traditional security cameras and recording systems, more companies are making the switch to cloud-based security cameras for their increased flexibility and feature sets.

Cloud-based CCTV offers unlimited access 

When using an integrated cloud-based security system, security teams are less likely to run the risk of accidentally overwriting or deleting important footage from a manually operated camera system. 

Cloud-based IP cameras can be leveraged with a linked cloud storage solution to automatically save and store recorded data without the need for a physical device like a hard drive. This allows businesses to access historic footage and better organize information without hardware limitations, while providing the added benefit of remote access to browse specific files from a separate location. 

In addition, many cloud-based camera systems allow security operators to remotely control CCTV cameras and view live footage. With PTZ dome cameras (pan-tilt-zoom), remote operation can enable teams to proactively assess risk and respond to incidents from anywhere in the world, rather than being tied to a specific workstation. 

Cloud security systems require less maintenance 

Unlike physical hardware, which must be regularly tested and manually updated, cloud-based camera systems can be updated over-the-air. As long as the system remains connected, any new firmware and software updates will be automatically installed without the need for a dedicated IT support team. 

This means businesses are free to focus their IT departments toward other operations, with only their physical cloud IP cameras requiring some degree of maintenance to keep the system running. 

Cloud IP camera systems are easily scalable 

For businesses that plan on expanding, cloud-based security camera systems provide a greater degree of flexibility. New locations can be connected to your existing cloud-based video management system, storage capacities can be increased without additional hardware and the collected data from each business location can be stored, viewed and organized remotely by authorized system admins.

Operating through a cloud-based camera system will also ensure that all locations are running the same version of your CCTV software, as each site will receive the same automatic updates and new features, while still allowing each location to personalize some settings depending on their own site-specific workflows. 

In addition, many security camera cloud providers offer connection services that enable existing cameras to live on the same cloud network as new devices. In this type of hybrid cloud camera system, operators can get the most out of their security without the burden of managing two separate platforms.

What to look for in a cloud security camera system

The basic functions of a cloud-based security system remain the same across most configurations, including remote access, adjustable storage and automatic updates, though with a wide range of products and providers to choose from there are some key features that businesses should look for. 

Cloud video library storage 

Cloud security cameras installed on business premises generate massive amounts of data, especially if these systems are configured to record footage 24/7. Even if a security network is designed only to film during working hours, video settings such as resolution, compression and definition can all result in large files that will quickly fill up the system’s available storage. 

It’s not uncommon for recording systems to feature programs that delete older data to free up space for new footage. Though if older recordings need to be viewed to settle a serious issue, this system can create a significant problem.  

For this reason, it’s best to seek out a provider that offers cloud library storage, as this will allow users to save and access their data remotely, and backup files of particular importance. 

Advanced video management system

The latest cloud-based video security providers offer advanced video management systems (VMS) to view, manage and analyze footage. Using artificial intelligence to perform intuitive search functions, a cloud-enabled VMS can provide a far greater degree of customization when compared to a traditional security network. 

When using an advanced VMS, businesses are able to configure customized real-time alerts (using events triggered by motion, sensors or unusual activity) to aid in faster incident response times, and leverage AI search functions to locate and organize important files and make use of remote access viewing via web browsers and mobile apps. 

Exporting and sharing footage 

One of the main considerations for a business cloud video security system is the ability to provide clear evidence should a serious incident occur. An effective security network must possess the ability to export and share recorded footage promptly and with relative ease. 

Somewhat surprisingly, not all service providers include comprehensive export and sharing functions, especially via remote access, so it’s worth taking the time to find a provider with this functionality to ensure prompt incident response times around the clock.  

Full-stack capabilities 

A truly effective cloud-based video security system should offer full-stack functionality, meaning the collected technologies that make up the entire network should all be managed and / or maintained by the service provider. The individual components that constitute a full-stack cloud camera system will include: 

  • HD capable power over ethernet (PoE) / IP security cameras 
  • Cloud-based NVR recorders offering remote access from any internet connected device 
  • An advanced VMS with intelligent features such as AI search functions, motion detection and customizable real-time alerts 

Many providers are able to integrate their cloud solutions with existing physical hardware, meaning a business that already contains suitable IP security cameras won’t necessarily need to worry about removing and replacing an existing installation. In this case, the new cloud-management network can be installed in line with the current infrastructure, though this must be discussed prior to installation. 

Open platform architecture

In addition to a well-connected camera and VMS platform, cloud security systems designed with open architecture allow for even greater interoperability. By connecting cloud-based cameras with other security and building systems, business owners can gain a better understanding of security across their entire operation, as well as get insights into potential oversights or gaps. 

Via an open API security camera, cloud integrations can include connecting access systems, visitor platforms, tenant applications and alarms or sensors to offer a more comprehensive and proactive approach to security.

How secure are cloud-based camera systems?

There is sometimes a misconception that cloud-based security can present weaknesses not found in legacy systems, though commonly the issues discussed come as a result of poor implementation or configuration rather than any limitations found in the technology itself. This concept holds true for legacy camera systems as well – your system is only as secure as its weakest link. 

When installed and managed by a professional and trusted provider, cloud-based camera systems carry several security benefits.

For example, IT teams are able to monitor and adjust security protocols in the cloud around the clock using remote access, and system updates can be rolled out automatically. 

Many cloud-based camera providers also enable IT teams to configure automated responses to common incidents or hacking attempts, freeing up a business security department to focus on more important tasks. By implementing additional security features such as multi-factor authentication, the risk of hacking can be reduced by as much as 99%

Is your business considering cloud IP security cameras?

As the adoption of cloud-based computing continues to increase across industries, the benefits of implementing an advanced cloud video security network become clearer. Beyond business use, religious organizations, educational properties, and government buildings that may use traditional government security cameras can benefit from cloud-based security.

When deciding on a suitable cloud security system for business, integration should be considered across the board, with the most effective solutions making use of a comprehensive cloud provider.  

Businesses should look for cloud-based NVRs, HD quality IP cloud security cameras and a full-stack offering that includes an advanced VMS with the benefit of AI and customizable incident response features.

With remote access and the benefit of additional security measures such as multi-factor authentication, cloud-based security camera systems for business can provide round-the-clock protection that’s far easier to manage than a traditional video security network.

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