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Physical security and the cloud: why one can’t work without the other
Physical security and the cloud: why one can’t work without the other

Human beings have a long-standing relationship with privacy and security. For centuries, we’ve locked our doors, held close our most precious possessions, and been wary of the threats posed by thieves. As time has gone on, our relationship with security has become more complicated as we’ve now got much more to be protective of. As technological advancements in security have got smarter and stronger, so have those looking to compromise it. Cybersecurity Cybersecurity, however, is still incredibly new to humans when we look at the long relationship that we have with security in general. As much as we understand the basics, such as keeping our passwords secure and storing data in safe places, our understanding of cybersecurity as a whole is complicated and so is our understanding of the threats that it protects against. However, the relationship between physical security and cybersecurity is often interlinked. Business leaders may find themselves weighing up the different risks to the physical security of their business. As a result, they implement CCTV into the office space, and alarms are placed on doors to help repel intruders. Importance of cybersecurity But what happens when the data that is collected from such security devices is also at risk of being stolen, and you don’t have to break through the front door of an office to get it? The answer is that your physical security can lose its power to keep your business safe if your cybersecurity is weak. As a result, cybersecurity is incredibly important to empower your physical security. We’ve seen the risks posed by cybersecurity hacks in recent news. Video security company Verkada recently suffered a security breach as malicious attackers obtained access to the contents of many of its live camera feeds, and a recent report by the UK government says two in five UK firms experienced cyberattacks in 2020. Cloud computing – The solution Cloud stores information in data centres located anywhere in the world, and is maintained by a third party Cloud computing offers a solution. The cloud stores your information in data centres located anywhere in the world and is maintained by a third party, such as Claranet. As the data sits on hosted servers, it’s easily accessible while not being at risk of being stolen through your physical device. Here’s why cloud computing can help to ensure that your physical security and the data it holds aren’t compromised. Cloud anxiety It’s completely normal to speculate whether your data is safe when it’s stored within a cloud infrastructure. As we are effectively outsourcing our security by storing our important files on servers we have no control over - and, in some cases, limited understanding of - it’s natural to worry about how vulnerable this is to cyber-attacks. The reality is, the data that you save on the cloud is likely to be a lot safer than that which you store on your device. Cyber hackers can try and trick you into clicking on links that deploy malware or pose as a help desk trying to fix your machine. As a result, they can access your device and if this is where you’re storing important security data, then it is vulnerable. Cloud service providers Cloud service providers offer security that is a lot stronger than the software in the personal computer Cloud service providers offer security that is a lot stronger than the software that is likely in place on your personal computer. Hyperscalers such as Microsoft and Amazon Web Service (AWS) are able to hire countless more security experts than any individual company - save the corporate behemoth - could afford. These major platform owners have culpability for thousands of customers on their cloud and are constantly working to enhance the security of their platforms. The security provided by cloud service providers such as Claranet is an extension of these capabilities. Cloud resistance Cloud servers are located in remote locations that workers don’t have access to. They are also encrypted, which is the process of converting information or data into code to prevent unauthorised access. Additionally, cloud infrastructure providers like ourselves look to regularly update your security to protect against viruses and malware, leaving you free to get on with your work without any niggling worries about your data being at risk from hackers. Data centres Cloud providers provide sophisticated security measures and solutions in the form of firewalls and AI Additionally, cloud providers are also able to provide sophisticated security measures and solutions in the form of firewalls and artificial intelligence, as well as data redundancy, where the same piece of data is held within several separate data centres. This is effectively super-strong backup and recovery, meaning that if a server goes down, you can access your files from a backup server. Empowering physical security with cybersecurity By storing the data gathered by your physical security in the cloud, you're not just significantly reducing the risk of cyber-attacks, but also protecting it from physical threats such as damage in the event of a fire or flood. Rather than viewing your physical and cybersecurity as two different entities, treat them as part of one system: if one is compromised, the other is also at risk. They should work in tandem to keep your whole organisation secure.

The intrinsic role of lighting for video surveillance clarity and performance
The intrinsic role of lighting for video surveillance clarity and performance

The sound of sirens in the distance is commonplace, nowadays. Whether related to a medical emergency or everyday crimes, such as theft, property crimes, and so on, we’re all accustomed to hearing these sirens by now. It is worth noting that many incidents that police respond to take place at night. According to a recent report by the Sleep Judge, more than half of murders, manslaughter, sexual assaults, robberies, aggravated assaults and motor vehicle thefts happen long after the sun has set. To anyone looking to address the round-the-clock security challenge, deploying the most comprehensive surveillance solution is a must, and this means, looking at the instrumental role illumination plays in video capture. Limitations of traditional video surveillance For surveillance cameras relying on video analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver functionalities such as facial recognition, license plate reading and motion detection, nighttime crimes can pose something of a problem. Without adequate illumination, images from video cameras are grainy and unusable.If surveillance cameras can’t be used to prevent, detect and/or resolve crimes that occur in these areas, the entire security operation is obsolete Without proper lighting, potential criminals and moving objects essentially become indistinguishable, at night, thereby inhibiting even the most advanced security technologies. This limitation of traditional surveillance technology not only hinders immediate police response, but it also stops crime investigations dead in their tracks. Often, without video evidence that is clear and discernible, conviction in a court of law is next to impossible. A common response to this issue is to place security cameras near streetlights or well-lit areas. After all, according to NPR, street lights are effective in deterring crime,  as “there are people such as neighbors, pedestrians, or police, to actually see suspicious activity.” However, even if streetside and primary entrances are well lit, the areas that still need most to be surveilled are rear or side doorways shrouded by darkness, unlit back alleys, and so on. If surveillance cameras can’t be used to prevent, detect and resolve crimes that occur in these areas, the entire security operation is obsolete. Best-in-class security solutions must be able to see everything, day and night. A purpose-designed illumination solution Addressing this issue is easier than you might think. Much like a human eye needs some sort of light to “see,” so does video surveillance technology. Integrating external illuminators into a security solution can optimise camera performance exponentially, expanding a camera’s video capture and coverage abilities and ensuring the operation of video analytics, day and night. Opting for an external illuminator allows system integrators to select a device that matches the exact emission range of a camera’s field of view (FOV). The result is an evenly lit visual field, where captured images are clear and effective for security purposes. The two most common options available to integrators include infrared (IR) and white light illuminators. Each technology is built to optimise particular deployments, depending on their needs. Infrared versus white light IR illuminators emit IR light, which is invisible to the human eye and perfect for covert surveillance operations. When cameras need to be able to detect potential threats over long distances, IR illuminators are perfect for the job as they typically have longer emission ranges. IR illuminators are optimal for surveillance operations in license plate recognition, border patrol, safe cities, theme park, and medical sleep lab applications.Cameras deployed without proper illumination are rendered blind, especially at night If an end user needs to implement full-color video analytics for identification purposes, such as facial, object and license plate recognition, white light illuminators are undoubtedly an integrator’s best bet. IR illumination and traditional thermal security cameras, after all, are only able to provide black-and-white images, whereas object recognition software often identifies objects based on their color. White light illuminators installed alongside AI-powered surveillance cameras enable enhanced video image clarity, which, optimises video analytics performance. When customers want to physically deter suspicious activity, deploying white light illuminators is effective. A recent study out of Crime Labs New York found that businesses that deployed visible lights to deter crime “experienced crime rates that were significantly lower,” which “led to a 36 percent reduction in ‘index crimes’”. On top of all this, LED based white lights operate at low running costs and typically have long lifespans, saving end users thousands of dollars a year in energy costs without having to sacrifice surveillance optimisation. External versus built-in illumination Security customers looking to use lighting to deter crime and improve the performance of video surveillance may consider “all-in-one" solutions, as some cameras have LEDs (light emitting diodes) built into them. These LEDs typically encircle the lens and therefore shed light in whatever direction the camera is pointed. However convenient these may seem, built-in illumination can cause problems. First, LEDs built into cameras and next to other electronic components often cause heat to build up, which attracts insects that can trigger motion detection and obstruct a camera’s view. This heat buildup also shortens the LED lights lifespan. Built-in LEDs also tend to create “hot spots” with glare and reflection back into the camera, often because these lights only cover a 30-degree field of view (FOV), even though the average camera’s FOV is 90 degrees. This issue can severely limit a camera’s visibility, essentially rendering those remaining 60 degrees dark and unusable. All in all, when integrating lighting solutions into your security deployment, a cost-effective solution that enhances a camera’s video capture and coverage abilities, are external illuminators because they offer flexible choices of field of view and distances. Best-in-class security solution When it comes to criminal conviction in a court of law, “seeing really is believing.” Cameras deployed without proper illumination are rendered blind, especially at night, just as any security officer would be when patrolling the same unlit area. To guarantee end users the most reliable and highest performing security solution, consider integrating best-in-class illumination into your offerings.

ONVIF Profile T and H.265: the evolution of video compression
ONVIF Profile T and H.265: the evolution of video compression

In today’s market, efficient use of bandwidth and storage is an essential part of maintaining an effective video surveillance system. A video management system’s ability to provide analysis, real time event notifications and crucial image detail is only as a good as the speed and bandwidth of a surveillance network. In the physical security industry, H.264 is the video compression format used by most companies. Some companies also employ H.264 enhancements to compress areas of an image that are irrelevant to the user at a higher ratio within a video stream in order to preserve image quality for more important details like faces, license plates or buildings. The H.265, H.264’s successor, will be increasingly used for compression in the future. Some companies are already using H.265 in their cameras and video management systems, while a host of other manufacturers are certainly preparing for its broader adoption in the years to come. Video compression technologies Reduced bandwidth and storage requirements are the primary benefits of video compression technologies Reduced bandwidth and storage requirements are the primary benefits of video compression technologies. In some cases, H.265 can double the data compression ratio of H.264, while retaining the same quality. Increased compression rate translates into decreased storage requirements on hard drives, less bandwidth usage and fewer switches – all of which reduce overall costs of system ownership. H.265 compression delivers a lower bitrate than H.264, which is relevant to end users and integrators because the lower bitrate reduces strain on hardware and can reduce playback issues. It’s very important that the compression format that is used is supported in all of the different components of a system: cameras, desktop computers on which the VMS is running and the VMS itself. It is also good for end users and integrators to understand the basics of video compression. Having a basic understanding of compression allows users to tweak settings to reduce bandwidth usage even more. Many cameras come with default settings that can be changed to ultimately reduce costs. ONVIF physical security In the physical security industry, ONVIF is working to incorporate into its specifications the use of new formats such as H.265 but is not directly involved in developing the compression standards themselves. With Profile T, the new ONVIF video profile released will employ a new media service that is compression agnostic. This means that it can support new video compression formats, including H.265, as well as new audio compression formats, with the ability to include new video and audio codecs as needed in the future without having to redesign its media service. In the physical security industry, ONVIF is working to incorporate into its specifications the use of new formats such as H.265 Standardisation organisations that are directly addressing new compression standards include the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and a joint commission of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)/International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), which is addressing the coding of audio, picture, multimedia and hypermedia information. Other compression formats on par with H.264 and H.265 are being developed by companies such as Google. H.265 compression formats Using products that employ H.265 compression will reduce costs through bandwidth reduction, as will changing default settings on cameras, which are often conservative. Having a basic understanding of compression formats and how to tweak camera factory default settings also gives integrators the ability to further reduce bandwidth for added costs savings and increased system performance. These enhancements will analyse which parts of an image are most important and adjust local levels of compressions accordingly It is also worth noting that H.265 enhancements will likely be developed by camera manufacturers to further reduce bandwidth, as was the case with H.264. These enhancements will analyze which parts of an image are most important and adjust local levels of compressions accordingly. While H.265 itself is ready for prime time, its value as a tool for IP-based surveillance systems is dependent on support for the codec in all parts of the system – the VMS, server hardware, graphics cards and camera. Though widespread H.265 adoption is predicted, providers of these components are jumping on the H.265 bandwagon at different rates of speed. ONVIF is including support for H.265 in its new video profile, Profile T, because it believes it will become the most widely used compression format and ONVIF recognises the need to anticipate that migration as a future need of the industry. The new media service, which will be implemented with Profile T, will be future-proof in that when new compression formats are released in the future, ONVIF can adopt them very quickly. That flexibility will definitely help integrators.

Latest IDIS news

IDIS launches a tech-explainer eBook on video analytics to better security, safety and business intelligence
IDIS launches a tech-explainer eBook on video analytics to better security, safety and business intelligence

IDIS’s latest tech-explainer eBook – The Benefits of Deep Learning Driven Intelligent Video Analytics – explores how a new generation of AI video solutions is delivering better security, safety, operational efficiency, and business intelligence. The eBook, which can be downloaded now from the IDIS website, reflects the company’s commitment to supporting its systems integrator partners as they focus on delivering advanced video solutions into growth sectors. Modern network cameras In recent years, the terms ‘intelligent’ and ‘artificial intelligence (AI)’ have been applied to many different types of security system, but without agreement on what AI means, says IDIS, so it’s important to understand that not all solutions are designed to the same standard or deliver equal value. The new eBook explains some of the differences between conventional ‘blob’ analytics - found in most modern network cameras and relatively prone to false-alarm triggers caused by environmental factors - and more powerful deep learning technologies. This newest generation AI solutions leverage neural networks made up of multiple layers of algorithms and advanced processing and can be more accurately called ‘intelligent’ video analytics. Deep learning video solutions Metadata search functions also allow users to benefit from advanced interrogation of single and multiple cameras Deep learning’s real value comes from its ability to detect events of interest and distinguish these from video data input which is just ‘noise’. But some caution is still needed, warns IDIS: deep learning video solutions can still disappoint if the engines and algorithms that drive them are not fully trained and able to recognise objects reliably and accurately. By contrast, effective deep learning video analytics can deliver multiple benefits, from preventing ‘alarm overload’ in busy security control rooms, to freeing up personnel resources and enabling security provision to be better focused. Metadata search functions also allow users to benefit from advanced interrogation of single and multiple cameras, speeding up investigations and automatically locating objects or people of interest. Face mask detection The eBook also outlines how AI video can support efficient return-to-work strategies and ensure COVID-secure facilities and workplaces using highly accurate analytics for face mask detection, social distancing adherence, people counting, and occupancy monitoring. Guidance is also provided for systems integrators, demonstrating how the same functionality will deliver value beyond the pandemic, with benefits such as facilities and workspace optimisation, and actionable insights, particularly for the retail and hospitality sectors. “The best AI offerings today add value for customers by rapidly increasing productivity and efficiency, and providing useful business intelligence,” says James Min, Managing Director, IDIS Europe. “This new eBook explains how systems integrators can get past the jargon to support end-users, building a compelling business case that both addresses immediate priorities and demonstrates long term return on investment.”

IDIS suggests users to use their fingerprint algorithm to protect the integrity of the recorded video
IDIS suggests users to use their fingerprint algorithm to protect the integrity of the recorded video

Growing concern about deep-fake videos will make it increasingly important to be able to demonstrate the integrity of video evidence, warns South Korea’s largest in-country video tech manufacturer IDIS. Rapid advances in digital video manipulation techniques, and a rise in alleged deep-fake celebrity videos being reported in the news, will put pressure on both video tech users and on prosecutors to demonstrate the integrity of any footage they use. Internal disciplinary proceedings “As we look ahead, wherever video is presented for use as legal evidence, or as part of internal disciplinary proceedings, we will see more attempts to assert that footage is not genuine. Courts will dismiss evidence where tampering cannot be ruled out,” says Dr. Peter Kim, Global Technical Consultant, IDIS. It will be vital that users can demonstrate beyond doubt that their footage has not been tampered" “Any challenge to the integrity of video evidence, if not countered, risks undermining the value of the entire video solution. This is particularly true in applications where investigating and prosecuting wrongdoing is a key function of the camera system. So, it will be vital that users can demonstrate beyond doubt that their footage has not been tampered with in any way.” IDIS, which supplies complete, end-to-end video solutions for applications ranging from high-risk critical infrastructure to commercial settings, has created protection of video footage integrity through its patented Chained Fingerprint™ algorithm. Exported video data IDIS recorders use Chained Fingerprint to ensure the integrity of the recorded and exported video data. Each frame is assigned a unique numerical ‘fingerprint’, calculated by relating its own pixel value to the fingerprint of the previous frame. This means that every single image frame of the video is linked by an encryption ‘chain’ with its neighbouring image frames. The encrypted chain is stored as part of the video data when the video is recorded or exported as a video clip using the IDIS ClipPlayer. Before playback, the ClipPlayer scans video and recalculates the fingerprint chains of the video data. If any part of the image frame is tampered with, the fingerprint chain will be broken and will not match the chain value calculated at the time of video export, prompting a flag. “As organisations look to upgrade or invest in new video solutions, protecting themselves against claims of video evidence tampering should be high on their priority list,” Kim adds.

IDIS contributes to major customer achievements in a hotly contested year for awards
IDIS contributes to major customer achievements in a hotly contested year for awards

IDIS features twice in the 2021 OSPA security awards, with shortlisting in two key categories: Outstanding Security Equipment Manufacturer and Outstanding In House M anager. Following a highly competitive selection round, the finalists have been praised by the organisers for making a significant impact at the highest level within the industry. “The OSPAs are growing year on year and really have become the ultimate accolade for everyone working in security, whether a buyer or supplier,” says founder of the OSPAs, Professor Martin Gill, describing the 2021 awards as a bumper year. “With such stiff competition, I can honestly say that every finalist is a winner.” High performance surveillance IDIS’s shortlisting as manufacturer of the year recognises the company’s commitment to delivering affordable, end-to-end video solutions that give end-users and systems integrators everything they need for trouble-free, high performance surveillance. Judges noted that IDIS continues to innovate, developing advanced deep learning analytics, powerful mobile tools, and practical solutions to help customers face emerging challenges, including operating during pandemic conditions, and preparing for the future beyond. And pioneering use of IDIS video tech is recognised in a second award category, with Tracey Edwards of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust being shortlisted as manager of the year. Her work, and her use of IDIS video tech, has helped improve care outcomes for children and young people with complex mental health needs. Improve clinical standards IDIS has been partnering with several leading systems integrators to deliver these projects An ambitious programme of video infrastructure upgrades across the Trust’s facilities, using end-to-end solutions from IDIS, began in 2018. The series of projects included both new builds and refurbishments. By ensuring that a complete, high-definition video record of events could be reliably stored and easily searchable, incident investigations were made easier, and that has helped to improve clinical standards. IDIS has been partnering with several leading systems integrators to deliver these projects, companies including Galeco, ISD Tech, and Triple Star Fire & Security. The completed end-to-end solutions have included 12MP fisheye cameras, full HD IR domes, and failover-protected, cyber secure storage. As a result, comprehensive area recording has transformed surveillance - with no events missed and no blind-spots - without the cost of 24/7 live monitoring. Best surveillance solutions Tracey Edwards’ OSPA nomination comes hot on the heels of her being named as Security Manager of the Year in the Security & Fire Excellence Awards. Both accolades also recognise her voluntary contributions to the wider field of mental healthcare security, and her efforts to improve understanding of mental healthcare issues with various police forces. Jamie Barnfield, Sales Director, IDIS Europe, welcomed the latest OSPAs recognition: “IDIS and our integration partners are working hard to deliver the most effective and best value surveillance solutions to our customers. And we are committed to the long-term success of all our projects and to providing the highest standards of ongoing support.”

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