Network video recorders (NVRs) - Expert commentary

Securing mobile vehicles: The cloud and solving transportation industry challenges
Securing mobile vehicles: The cloud and solving transportation industry challenges

Securing Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) in the transportation industry is multi-faceted for a multitude of reasons. Pressures build for transit industry players to modernise their security systems, while also mitigating the vulnerabilities, risks, and growth-restrictions associated with proprietary as well as integrated solutions. There are the usual physical security obstacles when it comes to increasingly integrated solutions and retrofitting updated technologies into legacy systems. Starting with edge devices like cameras and intelligent sensors acquiring video, analytics and beyond, these edge devices are now found in almost all public transportation like buses, trains, subways, airplanes, cruise lines, and so much more. You can even find them in the world’s last manually operated cable car systems in San Francisco. The next layer to consider is the infrastructure and networks that support these edge devices and connect them to centralized monitoring stations or a VMS. Without this layer, all efforts at the edge or stations are in vain as you lose the connection between the two. And the final layer to consider when building a comprehensive transit solution is the software, recording devices, or viewing stations themselves that capture and report the video. The challenge of mobility However, the transportation industry in particular has a very unique challenge that many others do not – mobility. As other industries become more connected and integrated, they don’t usually have to consider going in and out or bouncing between networks as edge devices physically move. Obviously in the nature of transportation, this is key. Have you ever had a bad experience with your cellular, broadband or Wi-Fi at your home or office? You are not alone. The transportation industry in particular has a very unique challenge that many others do not – mobility Can you trust these same environments to record your surveillance video to the Cloud without losing any frames, non-stop 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year? To add to the complexity – how do you not only provide a reliable and secure solution when it’s mobile, travelling at varying speeds, and can be in/out of coverage using various wireless technologies? Waiting to upload video from a transport vehicle when it comes into port, the station, or any centralised location is a reactive approach that simply will not do any longer. Transit operations require a more proactive approach today and the ability to constantly know what is going on at any given time on their mobile vehicles, and escalate that information to headquarters, authorities, or law enforcement if needed; which can only occur with real-time monitoring. This is the ultimate question when it comes to collecting, analysing, and sharing data from mobile vehicles – how to get the video from public transportation vehicles alike to headquarters in real time! Managing video data In order to answer this question, let’s get back to basics. The management and nature of video data differs greatly from conventional (IT) data. Not only is video conducted of large frames, but there are specific and important relationships among the frames and the timing between them. This relationship can easily get lost in translation if not handled properly. This is why it’s critical to consider the proper way to transmit large frames while under unstable or variable networks. The Internet and its protocols were designed more than two decades ago and purposed for conventional data. Although the Internet itself has not changed, today’s network environments run a lot faster, expand to further ranges, and support a variety of different types of data. Because the internet is more reliable and affordable than in the past some might think it can handle anything. However, it is good for data, but not for video. This combination makes it the perfect time to convert video recording to the Cloud! Video transmission protocol One of the main issues with today’s technology is the degradation of video quality when transmitting video over the Internet. ITS are in dire need for reliable transmission of real-time video recording. To address this need a radical, yet proven, video transmission protocol has recently been introduced to the market. It uses AI technology and to adapt to different environments in order to always deliver high quality, complete video frames. This protocol, when equipped with encryption and authentication, enables video to be transmitted reliably and securely over the Internet in a cloud environment. One of the main issues with today’s technology is the degradation of video quality when transmitting video over the Internet Finally, transportation industry has a video recording Cloud solution that is designed for (massive) video that can handle networks that might be experiencing high error rate. Such a protocol will not only answer the current challenges of the transportation industry, but also make the previously risky Cloud environment safe for even the most reserved environments and entities. With revolutionary transmission protocols, the time is now to consider adopting private Cloud for your transportation operations.

The digital transformation of access control solutions
The digital transformation of access control solutions

The safeguarding of premises through the monitoring of entrance and exit points has traditionally been a very manual aspect of security. Human operators have been relied on to make decisions about who to admit and deny based on levels of authorisation and the appropriate credentials. But the access control business, like many industries before it, is undergoing its own digital transformation; one where the protection of premises, assets and people is increasingly delivered by interconnected systems utilising IoT devices and cloud infrastructure to offer greater levels of security and protection. Modern access control solutions range from simple card readers to two factor authentication systems using video surveillance as a secondary means of identification, right through to complex networks of thermal cameras, audio speakers and sensors. These systems, connected through the cloud, can be customised and scaled to meet the precise requirements of today’s customer. And it’s the ease of cloud integration, combined with open technologies and platforms that is encouraging increasing collaboration and exciting developments while rendering legacy systems largely unfit for purpose. Remote management and advanced diagnostics Cloud technology and IoT connectivity means remote management and advanced diagnostics form an integral part of every security solution.Cloud technology and IoT connectivity means remote management and advanced diagnostics form an integral part of every security solution. For example, as the world faces an unprecedented challenge and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause disruption, the ability to monitor and manage access to sites remotely is a welcome advantage for security teams who might otherwise have to check premises in person and risk breaking social distancing regulations. The benefits of not physically having to be on site extend to the locations within which these technologies can be utilised. As an example, within a critical infrastructure energy project, access can be granted remotely for maintenance on hard to reach locations. Advanced diagnostics can also play a part in such a scenario. When access control is integrated with video surveillance and IP audio, real-time monitoring of access points can identify possible trespassers with automated audio messages used to deter illegal access and making any dangers clear. And with video surveillance in the mix, high quality footage can be provided to authorities with real-time evidence of a crime in progress. Comprehensive protection in retail Within the retail industry, autonomous, cashier-less stores are already growing in popularity The use of connected technologies for advanced protection extends to many forward-looking applications. Within the retail industry, autonomous, cashier-less stores are already growing in popularity. Customers are able to use mobile technology to self-scan their chosen products and make payments, all from using a dedicated app. From an access control and security perspective, connected doors can be controlled to protect staff and monitor shopper movement. Remote management includes tasks such as rolling out firmware updates or restarting door controllers, with push notifications sent immediately to security personnel in the event of a breach or a door left open. Remote monitoring access control in storage In the storage facility space, this too can now be entirely run through the cloud with remote monitoring of access control and surveillance providing a secure and streamlined service. There is much to gain from automating the customer journey, where storage lockers are selected online and, following payment, customers are granted access. Through an app the customer can share their access with others, check event logs, and activate notifications. With traditional padlocks the sharing of access is not as practical, and it’s not easy for managers to keep a record of storage locker access. Online doors and locks enable monitoring capabilities and heightened security for both operators and customers. The elimination of manual tasks, in both scenarios, represents cost savings. When doors are connected to the cloud, their geographical location is rendered largely irrelevant. Online doors and locks enable monitoring capabilities and heightened security for both operators and customers They become IoT devices which are fully integrated and remotely programmable from anywhere, at any time. This creates a powerful advantage for the managers of these environments, making it possible to report on the status of a whole chain of stores, or to monitor access to numerous storage facilities, using the intelligence that the technology provides from the data it collects. Open platforms power continuous innovation All of these examples rely on open technology to make it possible, allowing developers and technology providers to avoid the pitfalls that come with the use of proprietary systems. The limitations of such systems have meant that the ideas, designs and concepts of the few have stifled the creativity and potential of the many, holding back innovation and letting the solutions become tired and their application predictable. Proprietary systems have meant that solution providers have been unable to meet their customers’ requirements until the latest upgrade becomes available or a new solution is rolled out. This use of open technology enables a system that allows for collaboration, the sharing of ideas and for the creation of partnerships to produce ground-breaking new applications of technology. Open systems demonstrate a confidence in a vendor’s own solutions and a willingness to share and encourage others to innovate and to facilitate joint learning. An example of the dynamic use of open technology is Axis’ physical access control hardware, which enables partners to develop their own cloud-based software for control and analysis of access points, all the while building and expanding on Axis’ technology platform. Modern access control solutions range from simple card readers to two factor authentication systems using video surveillance as a secondary means of identification Opportunities for growth Open hardware, systems and platforms create opportunities for smaller and younger companies to participate and compete, giving them a good starting point, and some leverage within the industry when building and improving upon existing, proven technologies. This is important for the evolution and continual relevance of the physical security industry in a digitally enabled world. Through increased collaboration across technology platforms, and utilising the full range of possibilities afforded by the cloud environment, the manufacturers, vendors and installers of today’s IP enabled access control systems can continue to create smart solutions to meet the ever-changing demands and requirements of their customers across industry.

Cybersecurity: what we can do as an industry
Cybersecurity: what we can do as an industry

In 2017, IoT-based cyberattacks increased by 600%. As the industry moves towards the mass adoption of interconnected physical security devices, end users have found a plethora of advantages, broadening the scope of traditional video surveillance solutions beyond simple safety measures. Thanks in part to these recent advancements, our physical solutions are at a higher risk than ever before. With today’s ever evolving digital landscape and the increasing complexity of physical and cyber-attacks, it’s imperative to take specific precautions to combat these threats. Video surveillance systems Cybersecurity is not usually the first concern to come to mind When you think of a video surveillance system, cybersecurity is not usually the first concern to come to mind, since digital threats are usually thought of as separate from physical security. Unfortunately, these two are becoming increasingly intertwined as intruders continue to use inventive methods in order to access an organisation's assets. Hacks and data breaches are among the top cyber concerns, but many overlook the fact that weak cybersecurity practices can lead to physical danger as well. Organisations that deploy video surveillance devices paired with advanced analytics programs often leave themselves vulnerable to a breach without even realising it. While they may be intelligent, IoT devices are soft targets that cybercriminals and hackers can easily exploit, crippling a physical security system from the inside out. Physical security manufacturers Whether looking to simply gain access to internal data, or paralyse a system prior to a physical attack, allowing hackers easy access to surveillance systems can only end poorly. In order to stay competitive, manufacturers within the security industry are trading in their traditional analogue technology and moving towards interconnected devices. Due to this, security can no longer be solely focused on the physical elements and end users have taken note. The first step towards more secured solutions starts with physical security manufacturers choosing to make cybersecurity a priority for all products, from endpoint to edge and beyond. Gone are the days of end users underestimating the importance of reliability within their solutions. Manufacturers that choose to invest time and research into the development of cyber-hardening will be ahead of the curve and an asset to all. Wireless communication systems Integrators also become complicit in any issues that may arise in the future Aside from simply making the commitment to improve cyber hygiene, there are solid steps that manufacturers can take. One simple action is incorporating tools and features into devices that allow end users to more easily configure their cyber protection settings. Similarly, working with a third party to perform penetration testing on products can help to ensure the backend security of IoT devices. This gives customers peace of mind and manufacturers a competitive edge. While deficient cybersecurity standards can reflect poorly on manufacturers by installing vulnerable devices on a network, integrators also become complicit in any issues that may arise in the future. Just last year, ADT was forced to settle a $16 million class action lawsuit when the company installed an unencrypted wireless communication system that rendered an organisation open to hacks. Cybersecurity services In addition, we’ve all heard of the bans, taxes and tariffs the U.S. government has recently put on certain manufacturers, depending on their country of origin and cybersecurity practices. Lawsuits aside, employing proper cybersecurity standards can give integrators a competitive advantage. With the proliferation of hacks, malware, and ransomware, integrators that can ease their client's cyber-woes are already a step ahead. By choosing to work with cybersecurity-focused manufacturers who provide clients with vulnerability testing and educate end users on best practices, integrators can not only thrive but find new sources of RMR. Education, collaboration and participation are three pillars when tackling cybersecurity from all angles. For dealers and integrators who have yet to add cybersecurity services to their business portfolios, scouting out a strategic IT partner could be the answer. Unlocking countless opportunities Becoming educated on the topic of cybersecurity and its importance for an organisation is the first step Physical security integrators who feel uncomfortable diving headfirst into the digital realm may find that strategically aligning themselves with an IT or cyber firm will unlock countless opportunities. By opening the door to a partnership with an IT-focused firm, integrators receive the benefit of cybersecurity insight on future projects and a new source of RMR through continued consulting with current customers. In exchange, the IT firm gains a new source of clients in an industry otherwise untapped. This is a win for all those involved. While manufacturers, dealers and integrators play a large part in the cybersecurity of physical systems, end users also play a crucial role. Becoming educated on the topic of cybersecurity and its importance for an organisation is the first step. Commonplace cybersecurity standards Below is a list of commonplace cybersecurity standards that all organisations should work to implement for the protection of their own video surveillance solutions: Always keep camera firmware up to date for the latest cyber protections. Change default passwords, especially those of admins, to keep the system locked to outside users. Create different user groups with separate rights to ensure all users have only the permissions they need. Set an encryption key for surveillance recordings to safeguard footage against intruders and prevent hackers from accessing a system through a backdoor. Enable notifications, whether for error codes or storage failures, to keep up to date with all systems happenings. Create/configure an OpenVPN connection for secured remote access. Check the web server log on a regular basis to see who is accessing the system. Ensure that web crawling is forbidden to prevent images or data found on your device from being made searchable. Avoid exposing devices to the internet unless strictly necessary to reduce the risk of attacks.

Latest Dedicated Micros news

BSIA CCTV Seminar and Exhibition 2015: Exhibitors set to showcase innovative products
BSIA CCTV Seminar and Exhibition 2015: Exhibitors set to showcase innovative products

The exhibition will let delegates get hands-on with some of the most innovative products in the CCTV industry A number of companies involved in the design, installation and operation of CCTV systems will be exhibiting as part of a sell-out seminar in London next week. Organised by the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), the event will take place at London’s Emmanuel Centre on Marsham Street – close to the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey – on Thursday 12th November. The seminar will cover a variety of interesting topics including the latest changes in surveillance legislation and technology, whilst also exploring recent developments in the CCTV sector. Running alongside the seminar, the exhibition will give delegates the opportunity to get hands-on with some of the most innovative products in the industry. Exhibitors that will be showcasing their products on the day include: ATEC Security ATEC Security is a specialist security systems integrator and winner of multiple Security Excellence Awards. The ATEC Difference is about creating value not only through security innovation, but also by ensuring security projects deliver financial, operational, staff and business intelligence benefits. ATEC take time to understand your issues, your operating environment and your business, and deliver reliable integrated solutions and support built around your operational requirements. They achieve unparalleled quality through meticulous design, comprehensive documentation and rigorous project management, with processes built around Home Office best practice. The portfolio includes some of the most advanced technologies available from carefully selected manufacturers. Find out why customers such as London City Airport, The City of Westminster and First Capital Connect, choose to work with ATEC by visiting their stand. Dedicated Micros The seminar will cover a variety of interesting topics including the latest changes in surveillance legislation and technology, whilst also exploring recent developments in the CCTV sector Dedicated Micros will be showcasing their latest cost-effective high definition IP and analogue product ranges. Based on a unique architecture, these solutions provide greater reliability, connectivity, interaction and performance across a seamless operating system. Visit Dedicated Micros’ stand at the CCTV seminar to find out how their latest products can help to secure business. Bosch Security Systems Bosch Security Systems supply quality and innovative security solutions. They will be showcasing some of their latest in-camera technologies. Starlight technology offers a new quality standard in round-the-clock video surveillance. Regardless of lighting conditions, time of day or object movement, cameras deliver incredible levels of detail even in extreme low light situations. Intelligent Video Analysis (IVA) assists by alerting you when pre-defined alarms are triggered and by smartly combining up to 8 IVA rules, complex tasks are made easy and false alarms are reduced. Their Content Based Imaging Technology (CBIT) offers 3 main features: Intelligent Dynamic Noise Reduction, Intelligent Auto Exposure and Intelligent Tracking: IDNR technology intelligently distinguishes between noise and relevant information, such as movement, this reduces bitrate by up to 50%. National Security Inspectorate NSI is the first choice certification body for the UK’s leading providers of security and fire safety services. Over 1800 organisations commit to rigorous and regular checks by NSI’s national network of qualified auditors who carry out in the region of 4000 audits per year, verifying compliance with relevant Standards and industry Codes of Practice. Buyers who choose to contract NSI approved companies can be assured of security and fire safety services delivered to the highest standards by businesses committed to excellence. NSI will be delighted to talk to visitors at the CCTV Exhibition and Conference about the benefits of contracting NSI approved companies. Observant Innovations Observant’s PATROL Camera System is a vehicle mounted 360-degree panoramic video camera. PATROL enables visual documentation of everything occurring in the vicinity of a patrol or tasking, ensuring that nothing is missed. The system captures everything, in all directions, all of the time and has been built to withstand tough environmental and usage conditions. Featuring 360-degree panoramic imagery, hi-res 14 MP video and stills imagery and a rugged IP67 form factor, the PATROL Camera System provides a number of benefits including public reassurance, greater impartiality and improved dispute resolution. Also exhibiting will be Dallmeier Electronic UK Ltd and Thorn Security Limited.

Private security industry - choose security providers that value quality over price
Private security industry - choose security providers that value quality over price

It’s dangerous to compromise on safety features in search of a low-cost security solution, as it can put employees at serious risk Driving quality in the private security industry is vital to the ongoing effectiveness of the products and services that the industry provides. Figures show that, post-recession, buyers are increasingly aware of the importance of quality when it comes to choosing security providers, with 20% citing quality over price as a crucial factor in their decision. Pauline Norstrom, chief operating officer for Dedicated Micros, a CCTV manufacturer, is a strong advocate of choosing quality over price when selecting a security provider. Norstrom, who is also chairman of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), recently delivered a speech on the subject at IFSEC, the largest event for the security industry in London. Here, Norstrom shares her views with SourceSecurity.com about the potential hidden costs of low-price solutions. The issue of quality over price is a fundamental issue for businesses, operators, buyers and security providers to consider. When we talk about quality in the security sector, we are talking about the safety of employees, the public, assets and commercial outputs. I recently watched a television show featuring a car manufacturer. Its message was about choosing quality rather than a low-cost option – the analogy it draws is someone buying a cheap parachute. The person who buys the more expensive parachute is the person who drives the car that works. Would anyone buy a cheap parachute? I certainly would not. Directors have a statutory responsibility for the safety of their employees, as compromising this is not only a threat to a company's profitability, but could put them out of business This comparison emphasises the gravity of choosing between quality and price. Choosing a security solution based solely on the latter can put the safety of your employees at serious risk. Directors have a statutory responsibility for the safety of their employees, as compromising this is not only a threat to a company's profitability, but could put them out of business. Risk assessments and mitigating recommendations Before selecting a security product or service, a formal risk assessment must be carried out in order to reveal a business's vulnerabilities. This is a necessity, as ultimately the cost of loss has a direct effect on a company's bottom line. I speak on behalf of the BSIA in urging business owners or their delegated authorities to engage with reputable security specifiers to help them develop an operation requirement specification containing key risks and mitigating recommendations. As a result, the chosen security provider must respond with the best solution to minimise risk and satisfy needs. Typically, cheap systems do not minimise risk as they use non-compliant products and have non-compliant designs, and therefore miss important events. So, while procurement teams may have achieved their purchase price target, they have put their business at risk and not fully met its needs. Low cost offerings’ safety compromises Buying cheap can also result in a high cost of replacement and increased insurance claims. When you take these risks into account, are the savings really worth it? Given that the highest quality products are available in the market, why are compromises made in the private security industry? What are the reasons? Chief factors include a lack of bank lending and Government support for British companies, the global economic crisis (which created opportunities for low cost offerings to creep into the marketplace) and a lack of working capital – in some cases, it might be about cash as opposed to price. But we do know that buying cheap must result in compromises, because cheap is usually associated with taking something out. So how exactly do you define quality in the private security industry? And why does quality often cost more? As an illustrative example, let's say you have two offerings, both of which meet the basic requirements set out in the operational requirements specification. The cheap offering may scrape through on terminology as many requirements specifications are distilled down to the lowest common denominator. But, as opposed to higher quality offerings, the added functionality and benefits are all extra and companies face having to pay more further down the line. It may also be that training and operating procedures are not provided. Security tailored to specific needs A cheap product will merely provide a “one size fits all” service that is not tailored to the specific needs of a business. A quality offering is one that not only ticks all boxes but provides additional value benefits and offers measurable return on investment (ROI). Manufacturers should not provide CCTV solutions that simply meet elementary criteria. Products must provide maximum innovation over and above the basic requirements of a security solution. An end user or installer would pay more for quality solutions than for cheap offerings because they achieve fast response to preventable loss, reduce network vulnerability and offer extensive support and expertise throughout the life cycle of the product. This support can prove invaluable to a business in the long run. A principal reason you pay more for a quality product is that there is more investment into that product's development, which incurs cost in time and resource. Support and care during the life of the product and contract cost money, as does the training and development of staff. In return for this investment, you are able to grasp what the product can do for you and get exactly the solution you need. Buying cheap can also result in a high cost of replacement and increased insurance claims. When you take these risks into account, are the savings really worth it? To establish whether your provider has a high quality product or service, you need to ask several questions. Do they respond to customer's needs? Do they provide continual assessment and improvement programmes? Are they members of an industry association, such as the BSIA? The answers to these questions should give you an idea of whether or not your business has invested in a cheap or high quality option. When you are using a cheap security solution, loss is not always obvious as the costs are hidden. It might be that in-house staff are covering the deficiencies, or keyholders are called out unnecessarily, resulting in increased overtime costs. The costs may not measure truly what is the impact of a service on a business, so there needs to be a holistic view taken. Those who have this view are often directors or senior managers – otherwise the cost of ownership is little understood by buyers. Market knowledge and vulnerability awareness If you are involved in procurement of services, you need to have security market knowledge. Procurement teams must understand what makes a security provider different and better and who is responsible for business loss if something goes wrong. Business leaders must ensure their procurement teams are properly apprised and make sound recommendations based on industry knowledge. In the United Kingdom, this knowledge can be found within the BSIA, as it contains 18 discreet sections covering all areas of the security market, from access control to police to public services. These sections are designed to meet very specific requirements. So to conclude, it is my view that quality is far more important than price and compromises should not be made when it comes to security and safety. These are board room responsibilities and directors must be apprised to the risks and vulnerabilities. The way that procurement teams and owners and operators can protect themselves is by choosing a company which opts into quality, best practice and standards – a company that is different and ultimately better than the others. Low quality providers get away with offering cheap solutions if business owners take no interest, but this will ultimately come back to haunt the business as they will end up footing the bill.

BSIA's CCTV seminar and exhibition in London to highlight recent developments in the CCTV sector
BSIA's CCTV seminar and exhibition in London to highlight recent developments in the CCTV sector

The event enables CCTV manufacturers and installers to showcase their latest technological developments A popular CCTV seminar and exhibition is set to arrive in London this November, and will provide an opportunity for CCTV companies to reach out to delegates from a range of organisations including local businesses, civic authorities and the Police. Organised by the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), the event will take place at London’s Emmanuel Centre on Marsham Street – close to the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey – on Thursday 12th November, and is expected to follow on from the success of a series of CCTV seminars held by the Association over the past couple of years, which have served to highlight the appetite for information regarding CCTV best practice among end-users and security buyers. A limited number of exhibition spaces are available at the event, enabling CCTV manufacturers and installers to showcase their latest technological developments, while an informative seminar will explore the latest changes in surveillance legislation and technology, while exploring recent developments in the CCTV sector. Confirmed speakers at the event include: Tony Porter LLB QPM, Surveillance Camera Commissioner Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville, Central Forensic Image Team, Metropolitan Police Pauline Norstrom, Chief Operating Officer at AD Group / Dedicated Micros and Chairman of the BSIA Simon Adcock, Managing Director of ATEC Security and Chairman of the BSIA’s CCTV section James Barrett of Safer London The event is kindly sponsored by the British Standards Institute (BSI). The BSIA expects the event to attract around 150 delegates from a number of organisations across the South East, for whom admission will be free of charge. Meanwhile, exhibitors will benefit from the following: 1 table with electrical connection Refreshments / lunch (for 2) Company logo on the programme for the day Inclusion in pre and post event promotion, including press releases, email marketing and social media activity A copy of all delegates’ contact details, sent post-event The opportunity to promote attendance at the event via the BSIA’s YouTube Channel

Related white papers

Security investments retailers should consider for their 2021 budget

How end-to-end video security solutions can help your organisation with social distancing

Understanding video management systems