Surveillance technology trends are changing quickly and the foremost happens to be the shift from analogue CCTV to IP based systems. This rapid shift is due to the reason that the benefits of IP video over analog are plenty. After all who doesn’t want a better image quality and enriched scalability in their surveillance environment?
However, there are some important points to keep in mind when using IP based technology, irrespective of the fact that whether it is being used for physical security or for gathering and analyzing customer intelligence.
Managing bandwidth – When it comes to an analogue camera, the device produces an analogue signal that runs on cables in a closed loop to devices that commit an analogue signal to disk. In this setup the management criteria will be to make sure that the user has enough cable and connection strength.
While, in IP-enabled video, the video signal is turned into a series of data packets, which is then induced into the network to be used by apps that can manipulate that data just like any other digital traffic. This also facilitates the use of wireless technology, in areas where wire line connection is impossible, but video evidence from cameras becomes a necessity. But the point is that nowadays the data traveling on a network is effectively being pressurized with the demand for high resolution images. So, before going for IP surveillance, there are several elements to consider in order easing the traffic clog. The main elements to consider are number of cameras, their frame speed, how many hours a day are they recording, resolution strength, and the compression algorithm which is being used. Also make sure that you go for a switch upgrade for every 8-10 IP cameras on a network.
Video Surveillance Storage – Gone are the days when surveillance video used to be stored on VHS tapes. So, what’s next? With the video signal turned into digital i.e. 0s and 1s it is lying in the same environment as the rest of your company data. That gives us a thought on considering the other three factors which influence the storage options-
- IP SAN option – Storage Area Network or IP SAN abstract the location of the networked storage from the user and present the storage as a single pane of glass. The user is isolated from what network machine he/she are viewing/storing the video. This fact may not be that useful in generalized terms. But if the data is going to be shared across the various corporate lines of business, then having a kind of accessibility is always a plus.
- Storage policy – One of the most influencing factor on this issue will be that how long does the video evidence have to be stored? Do you want to keep the video from the lobby longer than the video from the loading dock? Are their any kinds of privacy implications prevailing to hold the data and so on…?
- Fortunately, a lot of that policy can be turned into business rules that seamlessly automate storage within a SAN.
- Storage tiering – Data tiers are used on storage platforms to make the storage access easy. The hot data which is in frequent access is pushed onto the high end accessible media such as SSD and the cold one is pushed to the disk or sometimes tape. So, online storage (hot data) exists on hard disks or flash connected directly to the SAN. The cold data can be pushed to a nearline storage which can be a removable tape or optical media connected to a network. However, nearline will be slower to access and its transitioning will be to archival. Offline storage requires human intervention to retrieve that data; as someone needs to actually mount a tape to a drive to get the data from the archives. So, a bit tedious job to the admin.
Security – It is evident that any data in transit can be prone to hackers. Likewise, camera data can also be intercepted in transit. But thanks to the evolving encryption technology, the data seems to be safe and secure.
But what about the other threats which are persisting in the digital world? Advanced Persistent Threats like malware circulation are also becoming a nuisance. In this genre, malware is induced into a network and is made to wait for the right instructions from a remote server. The consequences can range from complete visibility into the system to complete control of the system.
Taking video surveillance security for instance, the risks include data theft or destruction of video data at rest on the server end. Sometimes the camera devices can be commandeered to pan and tilt, in order to nullify their focus on temporary or permanent basis.
But no worries, as this security threat can be easily countered if the physical security team and the IT security team work closely together to ensure an end-to-end security regime.
Hope, this article helps in influencing your decision to shift from analogue to IP video surveillance.