What is the value of remotely monitoring a system's health and operation?
16 Oct 2018
When is it too late to learn that a video camera isn’t working properly? As any security professional will tell you, it’s too late when you find that the system has failed to capture critical video. And yet, for many years, system administrators “didn’t know what they didn’t know.” And when they found out, it was too late, and the system failed to perform as intended. Fortunately, in today’s technology-driven networked environment, monitoring a system’s health is much easier, and a variety of systems can be deployed to ensure the integrity of a system’s operation. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How can remote monitoring of a security system’s health and operation impact integrators and end users?
Security systems are only as effective as they are reliable. It’s equally as important to stay ahead of maintenance and operational issues as it is to ensure that the proper technology is implemented. Remote security monitoring can help businesses and facilities achieve this by providing continuous protection against the unexpected. Not only can the technology keep an eye on operations from anywhere through features like live video look-in and mobile access control, but it can also provide real-time updates on maintenance needs to ensure security systems are running effectively 24/7. This flexibility and easy access to data helps end users and integrators consistently and reliably secure their facilities.
Remote health and operations monitoring are crucial in ensuring high uptime and consistent performance. For integrators, this provides them with a global view of health and uptime across the systems they are responsible for, allowing them to prioritise intervention and proactively contact end-users before issues become critical. Remote monitoring also allows integrators to identify potential scalability issues, by using these tools forensically to see if there are any health and availability impacts of changes to the system, such as the addition of more devices, firmware or software upgrades, or changes to the network. Using remote monitoring in this way, integrators can identify best practices for upgrading or expanding systems, allowing for a smoother security implementation across their user base. For the end-user, all of this translates into a more robust system and peace of mind, knowing their integrators are always on the lookout for potential problems before they occur.
A lot of the focus of integrating cloud technology within the security business has revolved around development of VSaaS (Video Software as a Service). But I would argue that the first real impactful use of cloud technology will be on how physical equipment and software services can be monitored through a connected service. A daily challenge for end users is balancing human resources used in the operation of a system and daily maintenance, with maintenance having shared responsibility with the system integrator. By having data describing the health of the system shared on the cloud, system integrators can observe data on demand and create proactive maintenance plans in coordination with the end user. Such plans should result in increased system reliability and less downtime. If system performance data is aggregated and anonymised, it could also be used by manufacturers to analyse and form conclusions about maintenance schedules and system lifespan.
Remote monitoring of a security solution’s health is vital to the longevity of any viable system. Take, for instance, surveillance hard disk drives. There are many potential factors that can contribute to poor performance and data loss, such as temperature, vibration, shock and humidity. Fortunately, new hard disk drives are emerging that provide software to monitor operating conditions, making prevention, intervention and recovery possible. With the ability to review parameters related to drive health status in real time, end users can assess their device, review drive health recommendations, take actions to mitigate risk, and back up their data if the drive has deteriorated. Consequently, end users are better equipped to proactively defend against catastrophic failures and ensure data availability, giving them greater peace of mind. For systems integrators, this means more satisfied customers with an enhanced value and less time spent performing maintenance calls or responding to false alarms.
Keeping systems healthy and operating as intended is an ongoing, often-shared challenge for end users and integrators. End users depend on systems to be healthy and well-maintained to ensure the highest level of security for their people, facilities and assets. For integrators, ensuring effective system operation is an important factor in satisfying their customers’ expectations. New technology approaches are easing the path to healthy system operation, and cloud services are facilitating the sharing of information among stakeholders.
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