As we’ve discussed before, Video Management Systems (or VMS) are starting to migrate to the cloud more frequently. Whether it’s a small portion or the entire system, it’s becoming more common to find that an organization is using the cloud to manage and operate their surveillance system as opposed to housing it on-prem. And like every other type of technology, there are some benefits and some costs associated with using the cloud to house and manage your VMS. Here are three parts of your VMS that you might consider moving to the cloud:
1. Access Control
Unlike other forms of access control, this actually refers to your ability to access the stream and video captured by the VMS. Imagine the ability to access your surveillance footage from anywhere with an Internet connection. While this is a huge advantage for many organizations, there are a few drawbacks as well. The advantages are obvious: convenience, accessibility, and availability in emergency situations. You can literally share your feed with law enforcement and other emergency response teams, giving unprecedented access to the people who are responding to an active threat. The drawback is that there is a slight increase in vulnerability when it comes to hackers and digital security threats. Fortunately, this is easily manageable with the right technology partner and strategy.
If you have 10, 100, or even 1,000 cameras that are streaming 24/7, that means there will be a lot of footage that needs to be stored somewhere. This can actually be tricky to do on the cloud (although, it will strain your on-prem system as well). We frequently see a huge increase in bandwidth usage when organizations start storing footage on the cloud. There are some advantages as well, of course. It requires less storage on your network, but it can also interfere with other mission-critical applications on the cloud. Again, this all comes down to strategy. It’s determining how you configure your cameras to get the footage without overusing your resources. This includes features such as motion sensors and timers, as well as strategizing about camera placement. A good consultant can help you determine the best strategy for your organization.
Some experts would not consider management to be an important part of your VMS, but it’s incredibly important in ensuring the efficacy of your strategy. When you use the cloud to manage your VMS, your client is no longer a piece of software that lives on your physical machine—it becomes a browser-based client. This can be a huge help for your team. You no longer have to manage it yourself, your IT staff doesn’t have to point it at the appropriate server with necessary login credentials, and you can forgo the decoding software because the software is managed through Internet Explorer or Chrome—systems which are solidly managed through the cloud. While this means you have less control over the software, it also relieves a lot of the burden associated with your VMS.