Hosted Video: Safe and Sound

Is the cloud ready for video surveillance

Security is always a concern when you start to move data from a site-based scenario to a cloud-based solution. Since we currently trust the cloud to support confidential and critical e-mail information as well as sensitive personal financial information, why wouldn't we trust it with our video data? We've tacitly accepted Internet-based services as safe and implicitly trust them because of all the logical and physical security measures deployed to protect our information. An IP security camera is just another IT device on the network, so it should have all the same multi-level passwords, HTTPS encryption and IP address filtering protecting measures in place to secure the data.

Additionally, the data centers that store SaaS information-from corporate data, to healthcare files, to video hosting-must also follow strict IT-regulated guidelines to ensure the integrity of the data. These sites not only have lock-and-key, video, access control and biometrics safeguarding the perimeter, but many also have armed guards patrolling the grounds 24/7. These same hosting providers who have been storing critical data for years are now ready to store video surveillance as well.

An analog system in the cloud?

For the recent installers of analog surveillance systems that don't think the cloud is worth pitching, don't fret: there is an opportunity there, too. Moving to the cloud is as simple as converting the existing analog systems to IP through the deployment of video servers (encoders). An inexpensive encoder can be installed to digitize the analog stream and communicate over network infrastructure. It's also a great way to show analog-experienced end-users the benefits of IP without making them jump in head first.

Video encoders afford analog users the ability to easily and cost-effectively migrate to IP functionality that leads to cloud-based management of video systems. You can now leverage an existing analog customer as an up-sell, recurring monthly revenue opportunity by transforming their system into a proactive security and business intelligence tool that will elevate the overall security footprint.

The complexity of deploying and supporting hosted systems is perceived as high, but in fact the opposite is true. Innovations in hosted video platforms and partnerships behind the scenes enable the Internet communication between the cameras and the hosting provider to be done without port forwarding efforts that were required in the past. This translates into a seamless, easy to deploy solution not only for integrators but for end-users to functionally utilize because many of the typical installation issues of IP addressing, DNS configuration and firewall navigation are removed from the scenario. In many cases, surveillance cameras can be auto-configured to communicate with a specific video hosting provider's network in a plug and play fashion. In fact, integrators can set up this communications link between the camera and the hosting provider's cloud before they leave for the job site. This allows integrators to stage large jobs in advance by removing logistical issues often associated with large deployments, which means that more jobs can be done in one day.

There are many reasons why some of our most relevant systems and platforms are moving to the cloud. They allow us the freedom to access information and manage our daily business with ease and without restriction. Video surveillance is now one of those functions that can live in the cloud and can provide the means by which to manage our video surveillance platforms in a cost effective, easy to use environment. Setting up the partnerships for success is the next step.

Matt Krebs is the business development manager for the hosted video division at Axis Communications Inc. He can be reached at