Video surveillance has come a long way since the days of security guards staring at fuzzy images on monitors. Today’s video management systems (VMS) provide a wide range of tools and capabilities that help make security personnel more efficient by allowing them to focus on what really matters.
At an organizational level, a VMS can also be the cornerstone of a physical security system that does so much more. Whether you want increased business intelligence or improved incident management, choosing the right VMS is crucial.
The challenge is satisfying all your stakeholders on the way to getting the VMS that meets your organization’s needs. We’ve put together a list of features to help get you moving in the right direction.
1. Adaptability is key
Don’t get stuck just thinking about today. Whether you’re doing a rip-and-replace or considering video surveillance for the first time, you need to think ahead.
In the future, you might need remote site monitoring, automatic license plate recognition (ALPR), cloud storage solutions, or high definition (HD) and 4K video support. A VMS with an open architecture that’s flexible and modular will allow you to easily incorporate these upgrades and new features.
A solution that can adapt and scale to the growing needs of your business will keep you from patching together technology or constantly shopping for replacements.
2. Unification is not integration
If your VMS is not truly unified with your other core security solutions, you’ll be forced to maintain multiple systems from different vendors. This means spending money on different servers and spending time on multiple maintenance programs and training sessions.
You can reduce your total cost of ownership by moving away from independent systems to a unified solution. Then, with consolidated monitoring, reporting, and a map-centric approach to security management, you’ll be more efficient, make better decisions, and react to incidents faster.
3. Centralize operations
If your security personnel have to spend valuable time connecting to each of your sites individually or dealing with hard-to-navigate event and device lists, they aren’t focusing on what’s important.
You need a solution that provides a clear picture of your entire security system in one operator interface. This will allow personnel to immediately locate cameras, doors, and other devices from one central location.
And, when you centralize operations, it’s easier to properly manage users as well as access permissions and security measures.
4. Go mobile
Responding to incidents or emergencies in the field takes operators away from their workstations.
Having a system that includes both mobile and web applications means security personnel have the security system with them no matter where they are.
When a system includes these applications, your security personnel can use their phones and tablets to monitor live or recorded video, control remote cameras, review access-control events, and receive and acknowledge system alarms. They can also stream live video from their phone back to their workstations, turning their smartphones into mobile surveillance cameras.
5. Get in the cloud
It’s likely that you’ll need to add storage over the lifetime of your surveillance system. Whether you expand your network, change your video retention policies, or introduce redundant archiving, being able to add storage quickly and cost-effectively will be important.
Cloud-based storage with built-in redundancy and failover capabilities is a great option. A solution that allows you to maintain video recordings in the cloud while continuing to leverage your existing system will also give you the flexibility to increase or decrease your storage capacity without having to buy extra hardware.
6. See your entire environment
Keeping security teams on the same page can be challenging, especially when your organization has multiple sites.
With a unified security system, your security personnel can manage and view all your sites and devices on geo-localized maps. This can help them quickly team up to respond to an incident or threat. They can also take immediate action directly within a map, like unlocking doors, controlling PTZ cameras, and managing alarms.
Look for map technology that lets security personnel display all your unique live events and alarms, video, cardholder pictures, and license plates. This way, your whole team can collaborate easily.
7. Step into the future
With so much going on, staying focused on security monitors can be difficult. Losing focus, even for a second, can have serious consequences. With video analytics, you can filter out noise and flag the unusual. The VMS will alert you to the presence of an intruder, a car going in the wrong direction, or an object that shouldn’t be there. Then, you can quickly decide if a response is needed or not.
When you combine intelligence with automation, it’s even easier to stay on top of more routine tasks. One example is a system that automates camera checks to notify you if a camera has changed position or been tampered with. This can dramatically reduce the drudgery of manual checks.
8. Prioritize your cybersecurity
Today, everything is connected. Security cameras that don’t offer protection against cyberattacks can leave your network and critical infrastructure vulnerable.
Statistics from the latest Symantec Security Threat Report revealed that “routers and connected cameras were by far the main source of recent Internet of Things (IoT) attacks, accounting for more than 90% of all attacks on the honeypot (computer security systems).”
Partnering with trusted vendors helps you protect your organization. Any device you put on your network or anyone you work with should be backed by a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. This will help ensure that your system is bolstered against potential attackers.
9. Protect privacy
In an increasingly interconnected world and especially with the proliferation of cameras, privacy is a real concern for both public and private organizations. To address this, governments at every level are implementing rules and regulations around protecting individual privacy. As a result, they have determined that simple password protection is no longer enough.
A better approach to video security already exists. You need to deploy solutions that protect privacy by design. This includes secured authorization as well as encryption for video streams in transit and at rest.
10. Optimize your bandwidth and storage
It takes a lot of storage to accommodate streams from dozens or even hundreds of cameras. You can reduce your total cost of ownership with a VMS that lets you optimize your use of bandwidth and storage and offers intelligent, flexible streaming options designed with HD video in mind.
Security Center Omnicast, for example, calculates the most efficient routes between cameras and workstations while dynamic stream selection automatically switches stream quality when needed. And stream settings can be customized for live or recorded video, so you can protect key evidence by transferring your video recordings to the cloud for long-term retention.
11. Bonus! Stay up-to-date
When you’re looking for a new VMS, keep in mind that an out-of-date system won’t allow you to fully benefit from these 10 features. If you’re not running the latest version, you also run the risk of missing out on important upgrades and advancements. And, perhaps most significantly, older versions are more prone to snags and crashes that can leave your organization open to vulnerabilities. Check out this blog post to see how you can ensure that your systems are up-to-date.
A VMS built on an open and unified platform will give you the very best that video has to offer. Learn more here.