What happens when a specific piece of technology at your office dies? In our new Replacing Office Technology series, we’re answering common questions from IT departments about how to replace the smaller technology systems that tend to need replacing more often than others. Today’s focus is on replacing office security cameras.
Important factors to consider
According to Nick Emanuel at Webroot, camera and footage security should be considered as important, if not more so, than other factors like resolution or storage costs.
“While cost often influences buying decisions for any new office equipment, ensuring the security of cameras and the footage they collect is critical when replacing older models,” he says.
Additionally, he notes that technology can only be dependable so long as its operational.
“Because cyber criminals are advancing new and sophisticated attack methods geared at connected devices like cameras, investment in secure solutions is imperative to a business’ overall security, and in some cases, continuity.”
When you give third-parties custody and management of your sensitive data, stored in black-box servers, it’s proven to be error-prone and hackable, says Raullen Chai, CEO of IoTeX and creator of Ucam.
“New models are designed to be hack-proof and decentralized, providing a great foundation for mission-critical systems. When combined with tamper-proof hardware, tamper-proof technologies, like blockchain, enable end-to-end trust and security without the need to hand data to a centralized corporation.”
Narrowing down the best office security camera for your needs
Emanuel says vendor selection should be weighed on each company’s approach to the security of data, access control, and storage procedures. Decision makers should complete an assessment outlining the purpose, benefits, justification, and necessary security precautions for the new camera(s).
Selection then can be based on achieving the aims of the assessment, not on a given price or feature.
“The assessment should cater to a business’ unique needs when evaluating the resolution and placement of cameras, access to footage, data storage, ownership and responsibility,” Emanuel says. “The budget should also be defined – both for the initial installation and the ongoing cost of maintaining the service.”
Prior to the assessment, businesses will need to first educate themselves on the data compliance and protections laws relevant to their office location(s). These will stipulate how camera data needs to be stored and protected.
Lastly, a business should clearly outline the steps it will take to ensure privacy and data retention while meeting compliance needs.
Chai warns that relying on hearsay and testimonials don’t always result in choosing the right technology for your organization.
“The best option for IT managers to explore is open-source and decentralized software. These battle-tested technologies are easily customizable to their needs, rather than being forced into expensive and hard-to-configure vendor systems that don’t keep up with the times. Open-source, tamper-proof hardware and software provide the most peace of mind and will soon challenge legacy service providers and vendor systems. Lower cost, greater customizability and stronger security is a potent combination.”
Must-have surveillance camera features
The following are some features that IT and decision makers should look for in a surveillance camera:
- High degree of tamper-proofing
- Encrypted data storage
- Data encrypted all the way through transit to a local or cloud-based server; sent over HTTPS
- Limited access controls which allow only authorized users access
Emanuel recommends decision makers ask potential vendors these questions to determine how footage is audited and accessed by third parties:
- How long does it take for footage to be deleted from your request to the vendor taking action?
- What happens in the event of a breach of security at the vendor?
- Does the vendor hold and make available audit logs of access to your data and footage?
- Does the vendor hold data security certifications and conduct regular audits to protect themselves from attacks?
What about outdoor security cams?
“A major consideration with outdoor cameras is the application of facial recognition technology,” Chai says.
“Unlike indoor security systems, where facial recognition and tracking can be freely utilized, outdoor camera systems using AI-powered facial recognition are illegal and/or hotly debated in many jurisdictions.”
IT managers should stay on top of emerging regulations regarding security and privacy to ensure their systems are not only compliant, but also able to support a modular suite of capabilities that can be turned on/off easily to meet new regulations.
Since outdoor cameras also capture people not necessarily affiliated with your company, privacy and security are paramount.