Migrating to the cloud is an inevitable and irreversible trend in video surveillance. Compared to the conventional NVR architecture, cloud is far more scalable, flexible and cost-effective. This article argues that end user should definitely consider, if not outright begin on, moving their video surveillance to the cloud.
Before we begin, consider the following stats. According to TechJury
, 85 percent of businesses worldwide are already making use of cloud technology to store information. Also according to the website, 67 percent of enterprise infrastructure has become cloud-based in 2020, while 94 percent of the Internet workload will be processed in the cloud by 2021.
It’s clear that end users have migrated a lot of their business operations to the cloud. So, why not security and video surveillance as well? In fact, the numbers show that they are already doing this. According to Eagle Eye Network
, the video surveillance-as-a-service (VSaaS) market has reached US$1.8 billion by 2020 and is expected to grow at an 18 percent CAGR through 2024.
The figures provide indisputable support for the argument that VSaaS
is the future of video surveillance. This article strongly believe that the end user should switch to cloud, in the rare event that they haven’t done so already. Below we present our case why cloud/VSaaS is the way to go.
Read more: directory of 30+ VSaaS / cloud video surveillance and ACaaS / cloud access control providers
Reason 1: Remote monitoring from virtually anywhere
VSaaS breaks away from the traditional NVR architecture. Essentially, VSaaS allows video data to be monitored from virtually anywhere. Remote management is also allowed, whereby the cameras can be configured, updated or maintained over the air, reducing the instances of site visits. As Alen Zukich, CPO of Camcloud
“Once businesses make that shift to the cloud and can access and manage all their enterprise video surveillance data from the cloud, it’s unlikely they will go back. This is reflected in the incredibly low churn rates (cancellations) of our business customers.”
The remote monitoring capability of cloud is especially useful during and after the pandemic
, which has left millions across the globe to work from home.
“When the pandemic forced office closures and everyone was working from home, security managers with VSaaS systems installed could still fully monitor the cameras and manage access to their buildings, without having to be on-premise in security rooms and SOCs,” said Tom Buckley, Co-Founder of Qumulex
“The adoption has increased tangibly throughout the pandemic months; we are feeling it on the number of inbound requests and converted accounts. We attribute it to the deeper realization of the benefits of the cloud infrastructure especially in the multiple sites surveillance case,” said Viachaslau Hrytsevich, CEO of 3dEYE
. “Cloud fits perfectly into the remote work scenario, where end-users and security guards work from home. Cloud is popular due to the ability to solve the shortcomings of regular local VMS and NVRs like higher security, accessibility and reliability.”
Reason 2: Unprecedented scalability and flexibility in an OPEX model
Have what it takes to purchase NVRs, servers and other onsite equipment? This cost can be too burdensome for most users. Not a problem under VSaaS, which shifts users to an OPEX model that ensures the kind of flexibility not allowed in the NVR architecture. As Buckley explains:
“The recurring expense of VSaaS ensures that the end user is paying only for what they need and use, and further enables them to expand or contract at any point the number of devices on their network, without having to factor in additional servers, client licenses, and load balancing. It becomes very easy to add additional cameras, or to replace aging existing cameras with the latest technology from the many leading video surveillance camera vendors.”
The total cost of ownership of setting up video surveillance is significantly reduced. This is especially the case for enterprises with multiple locations.
“If you have an enterprise with dozens or hundreds of locations, an on-premise solution requires the deployment and maintenance of hardware and software and each location. VSaaS removes that complexity and overhead,” Zukich explains. “In a multi-location enterprise with many locations, the benefits of a cloud (VSaaS) architecture are compelling.”
Reason 3: Accessibility to more available analytics
Needless to say, video analytics are needed by more and more users to meet their business requirements. Cloud allows users to access almost an infinite number of analytics which are otherwise too expensive and too resource-consuming to be run on NVRs. Not only that, cloud allows users to choose analytics that they truly need and for the length of period that they need it for.
“The cloud provides elastic processing capability, so you always have the processing power needed. The user can purchase the analytics they need, for the video streams in which they need them, for the period of time they need them. In essence, renting analytic capability. As such, if the user wanted to deploy an analytic for a short period of time (for example, deploying a people-counting analytic for a special event) the user could purchase that capability for that time period from the analytic vendor,” Buckley said. “There are thousands of cloud-based video analytics available from a wide range of vendors. The systems integrator could handle this on behalf of their customer, bundling cloud-based analytics for the user and adding it to the monthly recurring cost, or the user could choose on their own to find and deploy analytics to meet their specific requirements.”
In the end, VSaaS allows the user to access a wide range of analytics to extend their video surveillance usability. According to Carter Maslan, Co-founder and CEO of Camio
“VSaaS facilitates fast improvements in AI and machine learning for analytics that bring intelligence and actionable insights to video surveillance. The real-time data and communication of VSaaS moves the security industry from passive evidence collection to proactive security – a huge step toward more effective security operations.”
Arguments against cloud, and their rebuttals
No, cloud is not all perfect. But in the end, cloud benefits outweigh drawbacks. Below we discuss the validity of some arguments against cloud and see how certain issues in cloud can be addressed.
Argument 1: Cloud bypasses SIs and cuts them out of the deal
Indeed, some cloud providers go directly to end users. But this is not always the case. Take Camcloud, for example. “We are a channel-first company. All of our business plans and solutions are offered through our network of security integration partners who can offer a cloud-based solution to their end clients, all under their own brand,” Zukich said.
If anything, the VSaaS model strengthens SIs who transition from one-time equipment sales to recurring subscription sales. “It's a marshmallow test,” Maslan said. “A recurring 20 percent margin is much better than a one-time 40 percent margin. VSaaS helps SIs expand their services too — with digital transformation of security operation centers that can be 50x more efficient with SaaS-connected workflows.”
Argument 2: Cloud locks end users in
This only happens with certain proprietary cloud providers who sell their proprietary cameras that essentially become “bricks” should the end user choose to “churn” or get out of the service. This will NOT be a problem if the user chooses an open-platform cloud provider.
“We need to take into account that the pure cloud VSaaS can be open or closed – some companies lock customers in with specific cameras which is not sustainable for a client. We vote for the cloud providers that connect all ONVIF-protocol streaming devices out there providing the flexibility to connect existing installation base and add any new IP cameras,” Hrytsevich said.
Argument 3: Cloud is not secure, especially after the hack at a high-profile cloud provider
Again, this is more of a problem for VSaaS providers using proprietary hardware throughout; once hackers gain access to a central point they gain access to the entire network of cameras. And again, choosing an open platform VSaaS provider is the way to go.
“By going with a VSaaS vendor who is open platform, that risk is almost entirely mitigated, as every connected video device is different,” Buckley said. “Even if someone were able to hack into one camera, that wouldn’t enable them to hack into others. Further, if there’s an on-premise gateway separating the cameras from direct connection to the internet, that gateway acts as a secure firewall, preventing cameras from being accessed from outside.”
“VSaaS providers which are leveraging the security services of the major public clouds such as AWS, Google or Azure – handle their security best. The level of cybersecurity expertise of public cloud providers such as AWS is unmatched. Using end-to-end encryption for video and metadata, 2-factor authentication and alerts is also a must for any VSaaS,” Hrytsevich said. “As to the architecture – we establish additional layers of security so that the video streams cannot be accessed from a central point. From the ground-up, the system is built with privacy in mind – no central super admin. Integrators do not have access to the customers video streams, and there’s full access transparency for our customers and their clients/end-users.”
VSaaS offers various benefits. It allows remote monitoring from virtually anywhere. It ensures unlimited scalability and flexibility, and allows users to access a wide range of analytics. These benefits are compelling reasons for end users to make the switch today. Like it or not, cloud is the future, and it’s time for users to brace for this future.