Leveraging the Cloud to Improve Physical Security
Many physical security departments now have a greater understanding of how cloud-connected solutions can maximise security, while minimising operational complexity. However, making the business case and deciding when the time is right to make the leap can prove more challenging.
This article aims to demystify the process.
Doing more with Cloud solutions
Technological advances, and policies requiring longer retention times for video, can put major strain on the budget. Particularly when it relies on the purchase, maintenance and running of additional servers. That’s why cloud solutions should be seriously considered.
The flexibility of the Cloud also opens up the potential to more easily deploy sensors and analytics that present useful insight back other parts of the business. For example, tracking occupancy levels or gaining an understanding of how a facility is actually being used. That opens up a business case for other departments to contribute to the expansion of the security system. It’s a win-win if it results in better security and better overall ROI for the business.
How safe is the Cloud?
Tier-one cloud providers offer the highest levels of physical security for their data centers since they have to comply with regulations such as SOC 2, ISO 27001, HiPAA, and PCI. It’s significantly beyond what most organisations could ever hope to deliver in-house. With the partners, IT tasks such as infrastructure maintenance and patching are automated, saving time and resources. Risks to system are managed with health monitoring tools that ensure robust cybersecurity and data privacy, alongside security mechanisms such as encrypted communications and strong user authentication and password protection.
Moving to the Cloud at your own pace
A hybrid solution may help organisations bridge the gap as they depart from on-premises solutions. Existing infrastructure can be modernised by extending functionality to the Cloud with a connected appliance, for example, to improve storage. Alternatively, on-premises solutions can be left untouched and a Cloud solution can be built around it, meaning nothing changes for the operator and more components can be managed from a central location within one platform interface.
On the subject of storage, organisations can keep longer-term video and data archives in the cloud, while storing short-term archives on local servers. Cloud storage is often used to back up video and data archives, protecting critical information in the event of unresponsive physical servers.
These physical servers, while independent, can also be tied together with a subscription-based Cloud service. Global operations are connected, offering central management, increased collaboration and it utilises more of the company’s resources. All of this is to say that the hybrid cloud model allows organisations to gradually expand their existing server and storage infrastructure by leveraging the benefits of public datacenters at their own pace.
Hybrid Cloud deployment considerations
There is no “typical” hybrid cloud architecture, but there are some common deployment implementations.
The first, and perhaps most common is likely to include an on-premises Video Management System (VMS) along with a simple cloud storage extension. This can support longer retention periods of video, downsized to a lower definition.
Another is to connect on-premises VMS and associated video analytics with Cloud applications that support the export and sharing of video. e.g., in a police department that needs to collaborate securely on video evidence between precincts and other law enforcement agencies.
Determining which category of hybrid architecture to deploy will always come down to considerations of budget, mission criticality, bandwidth constraints, storage costs, and in-house IT expertise. But thanks to the unprecedented flexibility of today’s hybrid architectures, whatever the organisation’s particular needs are, there is a solution for everyone.