Many organizations only install a video management system (VMS) after an incident has occurred and they find themselves wishing they had video footage to see what happened. Pro tip: don’t do this! Additionally, these organizations think installing surveillance cameras is the solution to avoiding or combating future incidents. Surveillance cameras are most often used as a tool to discover what happened, as opposed to what is happening (unless your systems are actively monitored). While video can be a very helpful tool in a holistic safety/security strategy, it is not the end-all, be-all for a secure environment. There are a lot of nuances that can make or break your security plan, and it’s a lot more complicated than simply installing a few cameras and storing the video feed.
Cameras are Pretty Amazing
Let’s say you’re facing a serious security issue – someone takes an unauthorized cookie from the break room, for example. With the right VMS cameras, you can actually go back to the footage that was captured, zoom in on the perpetrator, and get a pretty clear picture of the cookie monster. Or, in the case of an issue like vandalism in your parking lot, you can review footage from a wide-angle camera, identify the general area of the issue, choose a better angle to zoom in on/look at the culprit, then review the footage of cars entering and leaving the lot to get the license plate number of the perpetrator. Pretty slick, right?
But They’re Not the End-All
One of the missing elements for organizations that “just want to install 100 cameras” is the objective-driven approach that should be used to ensure a full security strategy. There are many considerations that are often overlooked by security or surveillance companies that want to install “stuff” and leave. For example, what are the true business issues they’re trying to resolve? Surveillance cameras are a reactive solution – they’re only useful after something has occurred. However, there are ways to make them more proactive (for example, using motion-based analytics and organization-specific time specifications, surveillance systems can effectively monitor themselves and alert your team when needed). Even so, they’re tools that are largely helpful after the fact. So you need to consider other concurrent actions to create a more holistic strategy in order to keep your environment secure.
There’s More to It Than a Drill and Some Cables
Once you determine that a VMS can positively contribute to your security strategy, there are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to ensuring that the VMS is functional and as effective as possible. One such factor is ensuring that your current system can handle the additional resources your cameras will require. In addition, you need to consider training, sustainability, and maintenance for your VMS system. The video footage can’t be an effective tool if your cameras aren’t working, aren’t licensed properly, you can’t sustain their operation, or your team can’t access the footage they need (when they need it). Another key point that an objective-based approach will address is how to develop a policy around the way(s) your team will use the footage after it has been captured. Exporting forensic evidence can actually lead to costly liabilities. One way to mitigate the risk is by having a controlled, thoughtful policy dictating who can use the footage, under what circumstances, and for what purposes. These are items that are necessary to address if you’re aiming for a security strategy that’s effective and safe for everyone.
The Key to Managing Your VMS
There are so many considerations when deciding which VMS implementation is right for your organization, and the process isn’t made easier with a technology partner that simply wants to install cameras and leave. Leverage a partner that looks at your overall strategy and implements a VMS that will actually contribute to the security of your organization.