Cloud adoption over the past few years has escalated at an astonishing rate, as we continue to embrace it for everything from the images taken on our devices to the music and movies we stream. According to Gartner, there's no sign of this slowing down, with global public cloud spending expected to grow by 20.7 percent to reach nearly $600 billion in 2023, up from $490.3 billion in 2022. 

Even for the most enthusiastic advocates, the journey to cloud adoption can be a confusing, daunting and intimidating experience. There will also be times where, due to the nature of an organization’s activities and/or corporate policy, an on-premise security system will be the most appropriate option. In such cases, security dealers and integrators can recommend a hybrid security solution that combines both on-premise technology for certain aspects of a customer’s operation and the public cloud for others. This helps clients facilitate a smooth transition towards the cloud as and when deemed appropriate. 

The on-premise infrastructure includes physical security components such as surveillance cameras, video encoders, network video recorders (NVRs) and local storage devices. A hybrid system then leverages the cloud for storing surveillance data, providing additional capacity and redundancy. Captured video footage is securely uploaded to the cloud, ensuring that it is protected from local hardware failures or physical damage.  

Features and Benefits

Agility — One of the most compelling benefits of the cloud is its flexibility. Users select their own provider, storage space and compute resources, allowing them to stay agile. As a cloud solution is hosted off-site, adding in cameras in new buildings or a wider estate into an existing system is made simple via tools such as the VIGIL CLOUD plug-in. It also makes future proofing simple, because additional services like access control can be added, as required. 

Efficient cost control — Rather than having to invest in additional server capacity and software licenses, a monthly subscription can be instantly adjusted. Furthermore, constant upgrades and updates to software ensure the user has the latest, most powerful features, while data storage capacity, processing power and networking can all be scaled up or down, with little to no disruption or downtime.

All area access — One of the common misunderstandings about cloud-based security is that it creates a level of complexity that makes system management difficult. This, however, couldn’t be further from the truth, as the cloud allows access to a security system from anywhere and on any device with an internet connection, and the ability to manage multiple locations seamlessly from one unified interface. 

Off site support and service — Being able to access a system via an internet connected desktop PC or smartphone has numerous benefits for installers, as they can now proactively troubleshoot and maintain a system, set and unset it, view individual camera status and quickly react to notifications remotely — thereby initiating a rapid response for faster decision making and reducing the impact of downtime. It also reduces the need for travel, optimizes manpower and makes a welcome contribution to a sustainability-based strategy both for them and their customers.

Finally, remote accessibility provides customers with the ability to leverage remote monitoring operations centers to manage their site’s alarms and video, without a need to put physical body onsite.  This means less risk for the customer, and the ability for dealers to provide a complete remote security service to their customers.

Understanding the Complexities

With the rapid increase in the amount of data created by surveillance cameras, the ability to manage and archive it via the cloud should be highly attractive. Yet when considering this option, the inevitable questions around data management and protection arise. The truth is that many of the fears and objections surrounding the cloud are unfounded.

Creating a hybrid security solution is not without its pitfalls though. Without proper planning, organizations may underestimate the complexities involved in migration, leading to delays, budget overruns and potential security risks. It’s crucial to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the existing infrastructure, identify migration goals and requirements and develop a detailed plan that includes identifying which cameras can be moved first.

Plan of Action

Failing to properly manage data during the migration process can lead to data loss, corruption or unauthorized access. Organizations should have a clear understanding of their data, classify it based on sensitivity and regulatory requirements, and implement appropriate data management and security practices. This includes considering data encryption, access controls, back-up and recovery strategies, and data retention policies.

Choosing the wrong cloud service provider can also have serious repercussions. Organizations often make the mistake of not thoroughly evaluating cloud vendors in terms of their security practices, reliability, scalability, support and compliance with relevant regulations. It is essential to conduct a comprehensive evaluation, including examining service level agreements (SLAs) and data center uptime, while also ensuring that there won’t be bandwidth and resolution issues. 

By combining the strengths of on-premises infrastructure and public cloud services, a hybrid surveillance system security provides a robust and flexible solution that offers scalability, redundancy, data protection,  access control, network security and back-up capabilities. This hybrid approach allows organizations to optimize their surveillance system's security while taking advantage of the benefits offered by the cloud.