Data is Protected
With a hosted video solution, customers do not relinquish control over their physical surveillance system, just the physical location of their surveillance data. The key is to understand the SLA for your specific service and ensure the hosting provider has proper auditing procedures in place.
Know that hosting providers employ layers of extra safeguards to keep a customer’s video secure. Transmission is protected by multi-level passwords, SSL encryption and can be further protected by virtual private networks and firewalls. Owner identification keys restrict camera communication to a specific hosting provider’s cloud. Authentication protocols prevent port hijacking. There are also a number of regulations from the data center world, such as SAS70, RSA encryption and ISO 27001, that govern how host providers ensure the security of video transmission, storage and access in the cloud.
Protection of the actual video storage is another part of the equation. Ruggedized off-site storage — i.e. in the data center — limits a customer’s exposure if there is a fire in their facility or a break-in where the first thing the thief might steal or destroy is the DVR.
But what if the Internet goes down? As further protection, customers can augment their hosted solutions with low-cost local network attached storage (NAS) to prevent the loss of critical video recording and an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) to protect against power outages. When Internet connectivity is restored, the NAS can automatically stream the stored video to the cloud for off-site archiving.
Bandwidth consumption is always a concern when streaming video over the Internet. Fortunately, highly efficient compression technology such as H.264 enables end-users to send quality video even over DSL and cable modem connections. To save further on bandwidth usage and archival storage, the system can be configured to record on a specific schedule or only when an event is detected, such as motion in the scene or a door contact disengaging.
If a business owner needs HDTV or megapixel clarity, they can add the inexpensive NAS device — starting at around $200 for multi-terabytes of storage — for high-definition, full frame video onsite, while redundant, lower-resolution video streams to the cloud. Or, they can store video in-camera on an SD card or the NAS and schedule uploading to the cloud at a time of day when there is less competition for bandwidth.
Business Continuity Assured
Since hosting data is a provider’s primary line of business, they build safeguards into their operation to ensure the continued integrity of each customer’s surveillance system. Hosting providers design their state-of-the-art data centers to withstand disasters, using such methods as server farms programmed for automatic failover in case of hardware malfunctions. They staff the centers with highly-trained technical personnel to ensure quick problem resolution and maximum uptime that often follows the rule of “five nines” (99.999%). Like cell phone service providers, their hosting contract includes seamlessly handling hardware and software upgrades, virus protection and other healthcare checks to optimize system performance.
If the customer requires additional cameras, IP video can scale by one camera at a time — unlike the analog world where if you need to add a ninth camera to an eight-channel system, you need to buy a new DVR for the one extra channel. If the system and business outgrows the hosted solution and must scale to 20, 30 or more cameras, you merely connect the cameras to the NVR or PC server storage as needed. But remember, bandwidth capacity grows every day. The 10-camera cap suggested by hosted video providers today could be double that in a few years.