Understanding managed video services, Part 2

[Editor's note: This is part 2 of a 2-part series. Hauhn's first part of this series appeared in December 2010 and examined six common ways that managed video services could be applied to security and business operations.]

When you are considering implementing managed video services, it's smart for the physical security team to involve people from the corporate IT department. After all, it is "their" network that will transmit the video data, and when you're shopping for the right solution, IT team members can help a security director choose the equipment that will be most compatible with the corporate network. For instance, if the network generally runs on Cisco equipment, they might be most comfortable with a Cisco-friendly solution for managed video services.

As you go down the path of managed video, there are a few other considerations that your IT team will explore before moving forward, including:

Network Design. IT needs to know that the class of the equipment is appropriate and that any desired redundancies to meet the network's service levels are specified.

Device Security. Expect to answer these three questions: Are the devices, applications and services being deployed secure? Will they provide necessary protection for the company's data and not introduce unnecessary risks? How will they be patched to prevent new vulnerabilities?

Network Impact. Video solutions can require a lot of bandwidth. IT will want to know how much data will be moving across the network and what changes are necessary to support the solution

Remote Access. If the solution requires connectivity back to the vendor for the delivery of services, what will be implemented to eliminate potential risks to the network?

The final step is indentifying the best provider of managed video services, and the decision often should be based upon experience, IT expertise and related network certifications. Not all integrators have the capabilities to provide managed video services. It takes a vendor with the ability to speak fluently with both the physical security staff and the IT department. It is not enough to have a staff member or two that has completed a few online tutorials on network connectivity; a vendor should have staff members that have industry recognized network certification.

Finally, and although it is not an IT issue, your vendor may need redundant monitoring centers, especially if your video security is highly critical. Additionally, any vendor should be able to explain service choices, costs and provide analysis about the return on investment. By using managed video services many small- to mid-sized organizations can afford the consistent level of security they need or would like to achieve. Larger organizations can benefit particularly where it may be difficult to staff multiple remote locations. And as we discussed in the first part of this series, these managed video services can also be used to enhance existing in-house security guards.

About the author: Jay Hauhn is the chief technical officer for Boca Raton, Fla.-based ADT Security Services.