Enterprises Need to Consider their Physical Security Roadmap

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new technology physical security camera mounted on wall

You can easily search for specific images and information on the smartphone in your pocket, yet you most likely can not access critical video footage across your locations from a mobile device. Why is that?

The answer is pretty simple: Your business could be stuck on the old method of on-premises video surveillance – the NVR (network video recorder).  While the cloud-based video surveillance market has seen considerable growth in 2021 many businesses have not made the switch. 

Is Your Company Stuck in the Past?

Many companies still rely on an antiquated architecture for video surveillance. I am referring to what we call on-premises surveillance systems, a setup where surveillance software is installed locally on servers. 

Let’s think about this for a minute. Do you run your own e-mail server? Most likely you, and even your company, use some form of cloud-based e-mail. This could be a hotmail.com, gmail.com, yahoo.com, or aol.com address. For your company it would more likely be Gmail’s Enterprise version, G-Suite, or Microsoft’s Office 365. In any case, almost no one runs their own SMTP server, like Microsoft’s Exchange, anymore for their personal email.

How about your photos? Do you still host those on a fileserver at your home or office? More likely they’re on iCloud or G-Drive. Salesforce made a killing by moving the CRM server to the Cloud. Quickbooks is mostly online now, instead of software downloaded and run locally. 

Wherever you look, the best solutions are now in the cloud.

Today’s Fast-Evolving Threat Environment Requires Innovation Now

According to Gartner Research Group, enterprises need to rethink their physical security environment to reduce escalating IT costs and get more proactive, especially given the ever increasing threat environment.  

An antiquated surveillance architecture model requires more IT resources to manage server upgrades and ongoing maintenance and limits how responsive you can be across your enterprise. Cloud-based solutions include maintenance and hardware upgrades are often included in the SaaS based pricing model. 

Additionally, cloud-based solutions offer dramatically improved incident response across multiple sites.  Imagine a suspect was last seen in the Engineer Department of a University and you want to see where he went across campus.  On-premises solutions can not provide you with this level of tracking – at least not easily.  You would need to login to each server to see each building.  Cloud-based solutions let you search for the suspect and quickly see where he/she has been across all locations — all in a single view with the push of a search button.  You can imagine how dramatically this will improve your incident response rates.  

It’s Not Worth the Risk

In comparison to on-premises solutions, cloud-based surveillance systems reduce a company’s risk in several ways.

First, there is the networking security risk that comes with on-premises solutions.  When you want to view a video from one location from another location you need your system to be on the public internet with an open port in your firewall where every bored kid across the globe can try to hack into it. Or you need a VPN — which has its own vulnerabilities and often rules out mobile access.  

Second is the data risk.  With on-site systems video can be stolen, tampered with or destroyed by fire, flood or other natural disaster.  When data is stored in the cloud it is safe from these risks. 

So Why the Inertia in Moving to the Cloud?

I think most of the inaction stems from three factors. The first is the false thinking that the cloud is less secure than traditional systems that are physically located at the enterprise. The second is a general lack of understanding of the concept of the cloud. Business leaders may not realize that many aspects of their organizations are already operating in the cloud. It is estimated that more than 90% of companies use the cloud for daily computing operations, and about 30% of IT budgets are dedicated to these systems.  The third and most important reason is that they just haven’t gotten around to it yet.  That seven year old video system technically still works.  You can’t search by object or face in the video, see facemask compliance statistics, or do anything else very useful with it; and it has fully depreciated in value, there just hasn’t been a compelling enough reason to move. Yet all it takes is one incident, whether it’s a hack or a slow response to an incident, to make you realize you should have made the switch.

I see positive things ahead when it comes to the adoption of cloud-based surveillance systems. Gartner’s 2021 Hype Cycle for Cloud Security report predicts worldwide public cloud services will grow 26.2% this year. If anything, the past 18 months of lockdowns have shown the power and capabilities of cloud-based systems and their ability to deliver for organizations of all sizes. Now it is just a matter of applying those lessons to security.

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