Cloud Video Surveillance Challenges for the Enterprise



Video surveillance is a necessity for enterprise security. Enterprises use IP video surveillance to monitor and secure their IT infrastructure and the workplace. Depending on the size of the enterprise and the number of video sources, the enterprise has to deal with a lot of high resolution videos; which means big data.

Cloud surveillance enables the enterprise to access multiple video sources and centralize the entire data for simplified management and accessibility. Besides acting as a bridge, the cloud also provides storage solutions for this pool of video data. However, there are a number of challenges associated with this solution.

Here are the top 10 challenges of cloud surveillance.

Top 10 Cloud Surveillance Challenges

1. Bandwidth

Bandwidth is the primary attribute that regulates data transmission. Data transmission rates are proportional to the bandwidth. The greater the bandwidth, the faster the upload and download speed of the data; similarly, the smaller the bandwidth the slower the upload and download speed of the data.

In order to access video data using the cloud, bandwidth plays an important role. Bandwidth service providers charge a lot for it. For instance, Comcast sells business internet with 10 Mbps upload for $199/month. And if you are an enterprise that requires more bandwidth than 10 Mbps, then you have to pay a lot more.

There are a number of options that can help deal with this expensive situation. One such option is a “hybrid cloud”. This solution combines on-premises hardware with the cloud, using cloud connect services. Enterprises can use this solution to keep their recently recorded data on-premises while using the cloud for cold and/or archival data. This reduces the bandwidth requirement and the applicable costs.

2. Storage

Cloud services provide computation and storage, that is scalable, dynamic and available on demand, to the enterprise. Basically, there are two parts of the cloud:

The “computation” part of cloud deals with the delivery of video while the “storage” deals with archiving and/or backing up.

Initially, the cloud presents itself as an impressive cost effective storage solution; however, these costs can add up quickly. For the sake of comparison, consider an enterprise with 1 TB of video data storage requirement in a month. The enterprise has two options: purchase hardware (HDD) or use the cloud. The 1 TB HDD will cost the enterprise around $75 to $80 whereas storage in the cloud can be more expensive. In Amazon’s case, the cost of storing 1 TB is $97. Add to this the cost of data accessing (computation), data redundancy cost and replication costs if you choose to use them.

Comparatively, once again, a hybrid storage solution offers better costs. Enterprises can choose to keep low resolution videos on the cloud while keeping the more frequently accessed and high resolution on-premises. This practice will not only reduce latency and speed up the process but will also lower the cost of solution as well.

3. Accessibility & Ease of Use

The cloud is meant to facilitate simple and easy access to the centralized video data. It’s not worth much if it’s restricted to specific servers, operating systems, activeX components, plug-ins, and/or other software.

An ideal cloud surveillance should have a simple and elegant interface, accessible by any web browser on any system, server and device without using a custom software or plug-in. This reduces utilization and deployment costs as well, as it removes the necessity of customized systems or software or plugins.  In terms of use, accessibility and simplicity of cloud surveillance are the primary concerns of every enterprise.

4. Speed

Speed is the top priority in most, if not all, storage scenarios. However, in matters of security and enterprise data it is even more important. The key feature of cloud video surveillance is that the recorded data is accessible whenever needed, not only quickly but with high quality as well. Quickness and quality are significant factors when it comes to live footage. When it comes to video surveillance, sometimes even a 30 second delay or low quality footage is simply intolerable. By using a network for faster communications, enterprises cannot guarantee faster throughput and high quality. That’s because the appliance and software being used play an integral role in the output.

On-premises infrastructure such as enterprise NAS storage can support the speed requirements of video surveillance systems and if the appliance has cloud connect services, it can extend the data storage to the cloud; enabling not just speed but also simplified management and accessibility.

5. Management

The cloud facilitates remote access and management of data regardless of the location and time. When this data comprises of hundreds of sources such as multiple cameras in different location, effective data management or “surveillance management” becomes mission critical. It is important to ensure that each camera is operational and recording video properly. This implies that continuous checks are needed for appliances and the data. The system requires reporting of any abnormality in real-time to ensure minimum disruption and downtime.
Immediate notifications of a malfunction, pinpointing the fault in the system, can save resources and enhance the durability of the system.
Management of the cloud surveillance is essential and enterprises should acquire cloud services that provide all of the following:

  1. Simplified management of the entire system.
  2. Real-time access to any and all cameras in the system.
  3. Real-time reports of malfunctioning cameras.

6. Security

The cloud offers simplified and remote access; however, is this access secure? The tech world has gone through transformation with the advent of the cloud. Industry giants like Amazon, Microsoft and Google have invested huge sums of money to empower the security and durability of cloud based services.

As cloud surveillance collects security data, it is very important that this data is highly secure and accessible only to the right personnel. The biggest question pertaining to the cloud is always about security. Enterprises and IT administrators need to know exactly where the data is stored and who has the permissions to access it. Can the service provider access it? Can a staff/resource of the service provider access it? Can a third party service provider access the stored information? These concerns have always been associated with the cloud.

With 2016 and 2017 enduring ransomware attacks that affected enterprises globally, the cloud has become a sanctuary. As ransomware is not capable of infecting the cloud, enterprises are putting their mission critical data to avail the security of the cloud. The general perception of the cloud was that it is not secure; however, as the utilization increases the trust on cloud services is also increasing.

7. Scalability

The most promising aspect of the cloud is its flexibility. Enterprises using cloud services can scale-out when they need more resources via a single click. This makes cloud an effective storage solution for variable data volumes.

This scalability of the cloud should not only accommodate a fixed number of cameras, it should be capable of dynamically expanding and incorporating more cameras; all while effectively facilitating data recording and management.

As mentioned earlier, the cloud’s ability to scale out is also subject to the appliances and software used by the enterprise.

8. Self Service

The worst part of any technology service is vendor lock-in. Technology is changing ever so quickly as different service providers introduce efficient solutions. The cloud needs to be capable of adapting to custom demands. For instance, the pay as you go feature of the cloud is effective for most enterprise environments. Enterprises can choose to compress or expand their cloud’s storage and pay relatively. This optimizes processes and makes the solution cost effective.

An effective cloud surveillance solution should facilitate you to easily increase and decrease your cloud services on demand as per your requirement without any additional charges or long term contracts.

9. Future Proof

The most daunting task of an IT environment is to update the system when new updates and features are introduced. The worst case scenario is when an appliance or service is discontinued and a new service or appliance is introduced. In this instance, enterprises have to face the difficult decision of either migrating to the newer technology and endure the cost, or keep running the older version and hope for the best.

Cloud environments are better because they are adaptable to new features and updates and they do not ask for drastic investments. This makes them future proof and ideal for the enterprise.

10. Transferability

Sometimes enterprises realize after the acquisition of a cloud service that it’s not exactly as per their requirements. That’s why it’s advised to acquire services that facilitate transferability. Enterprises need to ensure that the cloud enables complete data acquisition and download if needed. That way, enterprises can move from one cloud to another if it doesn’t suit them.

Using DNF Security’s services, enterprises can effectively address all of these challenges. DNF security’s services have been leading the global market for two decades and are utilized by enterprises around the globe.

All of DNF security’s appliances come with cloud connect services, so enterprises can acquire storage in the cloud. Our partnership with Amazon and Microsoft enables enterprises to store their video surveillance data in the cloud and they can also opt to backup to AWS (Amazon Web Services) or Azure.

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