A high-quality CCTV system is one of the most important investments your business can make, helping to keep your premises, employees, customers and property safe. Still, there are a wide variety of factors to consider, from how many cameras you need to whether or not you want a remote CCTV system.
CCTV must be tailored to individual businesses, which means designing the system carefully. Ultimately, your decisions here will come down to your own preferences, as well as your business requirements and circumstances. Nevertheless, in this article, we aim to help you identify the main factors to consider when designing a CCTV system.
Security needs and risks
The very first factor you need to consider when designing a CCTV system for your business is your specific security needs. It is crucial for business leaders to understand that “one size fits all” solutions are not viable, as the threats you face will be different from the threats other businesses face.
As explained in orientation published by the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), a key part of the initial planning process should focus on carrying out a threat, vulnerability and risk assessment. This will help you identify the specific security challenges your business is facing, and from there it becomes easier to design the right protection.
Once you have a clear understanding of your needs, you can start to get more specific about what your CCTV system will look like, including how many cameras you need, where they should be positioned, who will need access the data, and what level of image quality will be best for the lenses you have chosen.
Beyond your specific security needs, you’ll also need to pay close attention to your company’s financial situation and stay within your budget. This can be a difficult process as it will require you to be realistic about what you can afford and then prioritize the right aspects of your monitoring system.
A good way to reduce upfront costs is to invest in a cloud video management system. Typically, with cloud video surveillance, you will pay a monthly subscription to a service provider, in exchange for using their cloud storage, surveillance software, etc. This also has the advantage of making costs more predictable.
It’s also important to think about the total costs of running your CCTV system, rather than just focusing on the initial outlay. Who will have access to the CCTV system? What training will they need? Will you have to pay for software updates? What are the estimated costs associated with resolving hardware issues?
Deployment and accessibility
Next, you’ll need to think carefully about your preferred deployment method, with the two main options being on-premises deployment or cloud-based deployment. On-premises video surveillance is the conventional approach, where you manage the system on your premises, while the cloud-based deployment works on a video surveillance as a service (VSaaS) model.
Aside from the potential to lower upfront costs, one of the reasons many businesses turn to a cloud-based remote video surveillance system is the greater affordability it offers. In particular, the cloud-based approach allows remote access to live camera footage or stored CCTV data, from anywhere in the world, using any compatible device.
Of course, using a cloud video management system has a variety of additional benefits, including the scalability and added security that comes with cloud storage. Unlike on-premises solutions, you won’t need any storage equipment, as the data will be stored securely in the cloud, with the responsibility of the service provider.
The last major factor you will need to consider when designing a CCTV system is to ensure that it will comply with all applicable laws and regulations. Basically, the specific regulations that will apply to your business could depend on factors such as the industry you are in, where your business is based, and the location of the servers.
In the European Union, for example, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) governs the use of on-premises and cloud video surveillance. Even after Brexit, the UK retained the GDPR in its national law as the UK GDPR, under the terms of the Data Protection Act 2018, while many other countries’ national laws are based on principles similar.
Legislation will generally cover factors such as the purposes for which you can collect CCTV footage and how long you can store it. Using the GDPR as an example, businesses can retain data as long as necessary for the purposes for which the data is collected. Still, a system should be in place to delete data once it is no longer needed. The GDPR also requires that access to data be granted only to those who need it to perform their job.
The last word
Businesses need to invest enough in a good surveillance system if they want to keep premises, employees, customers, and equipment safe. However, the process of designing a surveillance system is multifaceted and will require you to carefully consider several key factors, including the threats you face and your budget.
On top of that, you’ll need to think about your preferred approach. Cloud-based systems are becoming popular among businesses and offer various benefits including lower start-up costs and greater accessibility. Nevertheless, you will need to take the time to fully explore your options before deciding if this is the best approach for you.
Logan Bell is Product Manager for video security solution provider cloud view and has over 20 years of experience in the technology industry.