Jun 28 2021

A Framework for Modernizing Video Surveillance

Benefits of a new video surveillance system can stretch far beyond physical security.

Video surveillance is a stalwart tool when it comes to physical security. Businesses of all kinds have been using video surveillance systems to help guard properties and protect employees, as well as using it as a forensic tool to help law enforcement.

Over decades, video tools have improved: Ever-smaller cameras produce sharper pictures, and digitization of video has streamlined security operations. But many organizations are still using legacy video surveillance systems, which are not only less efficient, but also don’t have the same capabilities of some newer tools.

To successfully modernize a video surveillance system, businesses need to begin with the end goal in mind. Following these steps will make for a smooth process that can push organizations to get more out of their systems than just physical security.

Phase 1: Develop a Strategy and Vision

There was a time when video surveillance had just one goal: protecting the organization. But that has changed as capabilities of cameras and the systems they feed have expanded, requiring forethought beyond simply purchase and plug-in. 

Before beginning the modernization process, businesses need to consider what they want to accomplish with their video surveillance; first and foremost, security. Think about how the organization’s people and property need to be protected, and where the vulnerabilities may be. It’s also important to evaluate existing systems and processes to determine their effectiveness when it comes to forensics, and make sure your video storage is sufficient.

When planning a shift to a new system, it’s critical that employees are on the same page. During the planning process, businesses need to make sure that the roles of IT, building management and security are all clearly outlined. These groups must be able to work together and communicate to successfully implement a modern video surveillance system. Once all of this is complete, these new responsibilities and processes must be documented for reference and accountability.

Phase 2: Plan Infrastructure That Meets the System’s Needs

Once a plan has been agreed upon, the next step is to turn to existing infrastructure. For IT, this means looking at both on-premises and cloud options for video storage. Data storage must be adjusted to accommodate whatever new policies are being put into place. Networking connections must also be assessed to ensure that any new assets can be securely connected to the system.

Most important, that architecture needs to be able to support the agreed-upon video management software. The VMS needs to be integrated with various access control and visitor management solutions, as well as the hardware that will be installed.

MORE FROM BIZTECH: Learn how to expand the value of your physical security system.

Speaking of hardware, it would be beneficial to evaluate any legacy tools before procuring new equipment. Determine which assets can be integrated into the new VMS, and what would still work within the new surveillance strategy. Once that’s complete, select any new cameras needed and decide where they should be placed for optimal efficiency.

Phase 3: Deploy Surveillance Tools and Integrate Your Systems

Once a plan is in place and the necessary supporting infrastructure is ready, it’s time to begin deploying the new system. Businesses should run any necessary cabling and networking to power security assets, and provision the needed storage for the video feeds that will be coming into the VMS.

This is also the time to position cameras, ensuring optimal visibility into vulnerable areas. These cameras need to be integrated into the VMS, configured with the proper triggers and protected by the necessary cybersecurity tools at the network’s edge.

The VMS itself also needs to be configured. Make sure it has the proper policies and notifications to give managers the visibility they need. It also should be integrated not only with the security assets, but also with access control and visitor management systems.

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Phase 4: Expand the Value of Your Surveillance System

Physical security is the main reason for adopting video surveillance, and that’s not likely to change. However, modern video systems can be used for far more than just surveillance. Video can also monitor and analyze production and workflow, monitor hazardous environments and enhance worker safety.

Modern video surveillance can also help businesses build a better customer experience. Analyzing where customers go in a store or watching their behavior around a certain item can help inform product placement and other aspects of the experience.

Modern surveillance tools can also be used to protect the business in other ways. Organizations can use video to protect against litigation or reduce insurance costs. Video can also be a crucial tool in correlating data and insights from other aspects of the business.

By planning ahead, building the right supporting infrastructure and executing the right deployment, businesses will find that their video surveillance system provides far more than just physical security.