How To Secure Your Cloud Surveillance System

Cloud computing is commonplace for organizations of all sizes. From business-critical software to email and data analytics, it’s hard to think of a business system that can’t be hosted in the cloud. We’ve all heard of the benefits of cloud-based systems. They are generally more secure, cost-effective and scalable than managing your physical hardware infrastructure.  

A growing number of organizations are coming to understand the benefits of adopting a cloud surveillance system in place of more traditional, on premise solutions, opening up a vast range of features and security benefits. In fact, according to the Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) Global Market Report 2021, the VSaaS industry is expected to grow from $2.93bn in 2021 to $5.96bn in 2025.  As video surveillance moves from a static deterrent to a proactive, real-time system that goes way beyond basic-video capture, moving to a cloud-based system to manage it makes sense.  

However, adopters must understand that VSaaS solutions are not all made equally. Like any other product or service, there are varying levels of quality and standards. Different services will offer different levels of security and protection, and businesses need to be aware of the available choices and the pitfalls to look out for. Choosing poorly could have enormous consequences for your business, so you must feel confident that these areas are covered.  

In this article, we explore how to secure a remote video monitoring system properly. 

Features to Have 

First, it is essential to address some of the main features you should look out for when shopping around and exploring the different VSaaS solutions on the market. The sheer number of available features can seem overwhelming, especially for smaller organizations that may not have the internal resource to manage the project. Each service will have its unique range of features, but some are much more indicative of a secure service than others, and some of these features can be regarded as essential. 

One example of this is data encryption. Entrusting your data to the cloud requires an exceptional level of security. When moving to a cloud-based surveillance system, a high level of encryption should be offered by the provider and, ideally, this should cover data when it is in transit, as well as data when it is at rest.  

Cloud and encryption technology go hand-in-hand, so look for a unified solution with encrypted data stored on secure cloud servers.  Not only should strong encryption be standard, but think about where the data is being held and the prevailing laws and regulations in that country. You want to ensure that no third party can access your surveillance data without your knowledge.  

Meanwhile, as an article written for the ITPro website explains, security is improved when data is stored in one application and when all systems run based on a common framework. When this is the case, the software can be quickly and continually updated, ensuring improvements are made across the board, and any security flaws are addressed fully.  Proactive monitoring and patching are key to responding to the latest security threats.  

Many services of this kind also provide alerts if there is a system malfunction and can also aid security. Of course, it is also essential to find a service that provides easy access to data as and when you need it. If you have an incident that requires immediate attention or to provide footage to the authorities, you need to be confident that this process is fast and secure.

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Legislation Compliance 

Another way to ensure the security of a cloud CCTV or remote video monitoring system is to ensure the system is in full compliance with relevant legislation at all times. Such legislation is designed to protect individuals and ensure companies live up to data protection standards and cover their backs regarding how they store information.  Many organizations fail to recognize how data protection applies to surveillance systems, focusing instead on areas such as data and email. This can leave them open to severe financial and legal consequences.  

A significant benefit of VSaaS is the ability to pass on some compliance elements to the service provider. For example, it should be possible to find a provider that delivers a service that is in full compliance with GDPR or with equivalent data protection legislation in other parts of the world, reducing the workload for your organization.   

A crucial part of GDPR legislation involves the security of personal data, including data captured by a cloud surveillance system. By adopting a service that complies with this legislation, you can have greater certainty that your CCTV system is operating with security consideration and protecting your business from penalties. 

That said, you will need to be aware of your obligations, mainly if you process data in multiple regions where the legislation governing data protection may not be consistent. When designing any surveillance system, complying with relevant data protection regulations should form a crucial part of your system. If necessary, seek professional advice to ensure that there are regulatory gaps.  

Security Awareness Training 

The other primary way to make sure your cloud-based surveillance system is kept as secure as possible is to invest sufficiently in regular, high-quality security awareness training for any employees who are authorized to use the system.  Even the most sophisticated online security can be breached if users aren’t trained sufficiently.  

Many of the biggest security threats businesses encounter can be traced back to some kind of error made by an employee. This could be due to poor security practices, such as reusing passwords for multiple services, or human error, leading to an employee unwittingly providing access to secure systems to a malicious actor.   In some cases, business leaders may make mistakes when granting access to systems, while in others, external data breaches could occur.   

The provision of regular training is one of the best ways to avoid the kind of costly errors that could hinder the overall security of your surveillance system. It can ensure employees are aware of best practices, are kept informed of emerging security threats, and remain alert to the importance of keeping CCTV data safe and secure at all times. It’s very easy to fall into bad IT security habits, believing that it is only large high-profile companies that are at risk. However, most breaches and cyber attacks are carried out on SMEs, many of which do not have the resources to recover from such attacks.  

Security training can also highlight the advantages of two-factor authentication, biometric authentication, and other methods that provide security beyond a simple password system. After all, passwords alone can be vulnerable to threats like phishing, social engineering, and brute force cyber attacks, potentially leaving systems compromised. With remote and hybrid working becoming the norm, embedding the importance of IT security is critical to your business. In fact, during the pandemic, when many people were required to work remotely at short notice, cyber attackers targeted these workers intentionally, leading to an immediate increase in malicious email traffic. They took advantage of the fact that many organizations were concentrating on keeping businesses running, potentially at the expense of good security practices. There was a race to take advantage of these workers before robust training, and other security features could be rolled out.  

As cyber-attacks become more sophisticated, so must the training you give your employees.  

The Last Word

Video surveillance technology has advanced so that it is no longer a passive security measure to be reviewed after the event. With the introduction of video analytics, it is now an innovative, proactive system that can prevent and interpret events in real-time, increasing safety and security. 

The growth of video surveillance as a service can be partially attributed to organizations recognizing the security benefits, including the ability to access data remotely and avoid having a single point of failure within a CCTV system. However, this switch to VSaaS solutions still requires a strategic approach to keeping the system secure.

Although much of the security will be handled by your service provider, it is imperative that you choose that service provider wisely. Don’t make assumptions that could be costly further down the line when you find out that the system is not fit for purpose or puts you in breach of data protection laws. Finding a supplier you can trust should be your priority. 

In particular, you should try to opt for one that offers a high level of encryption, proactive monitoring and patching, regular software updates, compliance with data protection legislation, and advanced authentication.  Combine this with practical security training for your employees, and you can feel confident that your cloud surveillance system is as secure as it can be.

About the author: Logan has over 20 years of experience in the technology sector, working with industry leaders such as Blackberry and Sony. As Head of Product for Cloudview, he uses his extensive product management experience to drive the company forward as one of the leading names in video surveillance solutions.

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