A World of Possibilities

The basics of using IP video to enhance the security of your organization

Identify the Risks, and Determine the Value and Costs

The bottom line for any organization is the question of the value of IP Video's functionality to the overall operation and the cost to deploy it — with the cost to deploy oftentimes overriding the value of its functionality. So first and foremost, you need to know your risks and to decide where having a better, clearer, steadier view of what is happening will lower risk.

Would it bring value to your organization if you had live video — not just pictures, but detailed video through video patrolling? Would you need as many guards? Would this bring value to your company? Would you centrally monitor your facilities? Would it lower your costs and risk if you outsource monitoring?

Once you've identify the risk and the value of IP Video's functionality, you need to be able to explain it in detail to management with visual aids. Present them with a three-, five- or 10-year plan based on the size of your organization and the breadth of your projects. Make your management understand that you will implement new resources through attrition, as old technology needs repair or replacing. Let them know that you can stop the project at any point in time, as the current system is never compromised — only improved.

The cost of an IP-based system is in the network and the servers needed to build the backbone. It is up-front money really, and once the needed resources for your networked cameras are fully established, you can hang as many cameras as you want on the network, anywhere that you want them.

A mathematical discussion of the cost of a DVR vs. the cost of a server can clinch the deal for management. As one customer said to me, “my DVRs cost $8,000 apiece, I had racks of them. $8,000 times 20…I bought four servers for $50,000.”

Getting Company-wide Buy-in

When you are talking networks and servers, you clearly need buy-in from your IT department. As I said, I i t is not your task to know all about network technology and network security any more than it's the IT person's task to understand where all the physical security risks lie and how to manage them.

A customer told me that “getting IT buy in is easy — as I haven't met an IT guy yet that didn't think that IP cameras were pretty darn cool — especially when they are monitoring IT server rooms and other key areas of concern, ensuring that no one touches their equipment.” If the IT department is getting benefits from your IP camera solution, then they are more likely to share expenses. And if there are other departments in your group that gain benefits, they too can share the costs.

For management's buy-in, you will need to include tangible examples of where the investment brings benefit to the company and to them. How it can lower their liability, improve operations, add functionality and/or increase profitability? This requires that you look at your role and security's role in the organization — and you need to be your own sales agent in this process.

Most security professionals don't come from a business background, so selling the value of the security department may be outside of your comfort zone. But dig into your commitment and passion for protection and doing the right thing, and the ideas and the words will come.

In one case, a single IP camera viewing a new construction site allowed a CEO to watch daily construction progress and to share that progress with visitors as they came to his office. Sometimes, the answer to promoting a change can be that simple. Send a live feed to the CEO of an event unfolding. Engage them in the process.

Ready for the Future

With your cameras on the network, you are collecting business information. And that data can be comingled with other corporate data to provide more overall information to the organization. What will become apparent is where there are unidentified risks — as you will literally be seeing things that were not in your view before.