TABLE OF CONTENTS

7 best cloud-based security camera systems for protecting your business

By

Matt Klingbeil

in

|

5 minute read

Table of Contents

How Traditional Security Camera Systems Miss the Mark

Is your business looking to invest in a new security camera system? If so, a cloud-based security camera system is something worth evaluating.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the physical security industry is growing, meaning that more and more businesses are investing in better systems (or are investing for the first time). The BLS notes in the same report that artificial intelligence (AI) is playing an increasing role in the market — and we certainly agree.

Security is a worthwhile investment: While proper or strategic implementation affects results, security cameras are proven to reduce incidents of crime. 

Traditional security camera systems, which are used once in a while for break-ins and isolated security incidents, can do this to a degree. But, customers are usually forced to buy all their hardware and software from one vendor and setup can be complicated. 

On the other hand, cloud-based security camera systems provide AI functionality that empowers security teams to make better daily decisions that improve physical operations and create safer, smarter workplaces. 

Below, we’ll cover more of the benefits of cloud-based security systems and the gaps left by traditional systems. If you’re considering shifting to cloud-based systems, we’ve included seven of the leading options to consider.

Learn more about our AI Camera System in an upcoming webinar.

What Is a Cloud-based Security Camera System?

A cloud-based security camera system is any internet-connected security camera system that uploads footage directly from IP cameras to a cloud server. This type of system operates differently than others, such as analog tape-based CCTV systems, DVR systems (which record to a local hard drive), and NVR systems (which record to a network drive on the premises).

Despite the high-tech name, cloud-based security systems are actually simpler and often cheaper than older technologies. With few to no moving parts, IP cameras are inexpensive to make, and because the system operates in the cloud, businesses need less system hardware.

Cloud-based systems are slightly more exposed due to the nature of online systems. Still, as long as you choose a reliable provider, this exposure is more than offset by productivity and capability gains. Additionally, backing up your cloud-based security storage with local storage can further insulate your business against outages.

Benefits of a Cloud-Based Security Camera System

What benefits do you gain by using a cloud-based security camera system for business, rather than an older system with no cloud capabilities? We've found five significant benefits that you can start enjoying right away once you make the switch.

Centralized Remote Access to Video Footage

Because cloud-based security systems push recorded video footage to the cloud, your business can access that footage from anywhere. And it's all stored together (in a sense): From the user perspective, all footage from all cameras is equally accessible, just as if it were all stored on one giant server or hard drive at your main location.

But it's not at your main location: it's on a cloud server that you can access from anywhere. Your main building, your home, an airplane as you fly to meet a client — anywhere with Wi-Fi. 

This simplified access also allows cloud-based systems to empower more teams:  While traditional systems are generally only used by one team, cloud-based systems can be used by multiple teams — from HR to IT to operations and beyond. 

Decreased Risk of Data Loss

Using a cloud-based system lowers your risk of losing data. Think of your typical network-TV crime procedural. The bad guy runs into the back room and steals the tapes or smashes the DVR, and that's that — footage destroyed.

Of course, real life doesn't always look like those TV shows, but at the risk of oversimplifying, they do show the problem here. If all your security footage is stored within throwing distance of your security cameras, it's much easier to get to and destroy that footage.

With a cloud-based system, footage uploads to the cloud in real time. And no one's breaking into those cloud provider server farms like they might break into your security closet. However, for an added layer of security, your organization may opt for a cloud-based system that provides local and cloud storage, like Spot AI. 

It’s well known that managing local storage can be cumbersome, but streaming video to the cloud from multiple cameras can strain even the best uplink and is expensive. With a hybrid approach, these problems can be mitigated.

Simplified Saving and Sharing of Footage

In the days of analog tape, saving the right footage was a chore. First, you had to find the footage in question, which involved hours of manual searching. Then you had to store it and label it properly. Copying and sharing footage was equally (if not more) time-consuming and complex.

DVR and NVR-type systems made things much easier; still, extracting and sharing the right footage could get complicated. And larger or longer files still required physical media for making and sharing copies.

Cloud-based systems like Spot AI simplify things even further. Now, sharing the right footage is as simple as a few clicks with some systems. With Spot AI, you can use keyword and video metadata search and share the right clips in seconds rather than hours.

Reduce Reliance on Expensive Hardware

Before cloud systems, surveillance camera systems relied on a number of expensive cameras and multiple pieces of (equally expensive) hardware working together. The best cameras money could buy were rendered useless if the video storage hardware malfunctioned.

What's more, as that central hardware grows out of date, it often becomes less stable and could even become vulnerable to exploitation or cyberattack.

But cloud-based systems don't rely (or don't rely as heavily) on a central unit or DVR. When footage jumps straight from the camera to the cloud, you're less reliant on that middle layer of failure-prone and vulnerable hardware. Plus, cloud-based systems can even push software updates out to the cameras when needed, keeping your camera hardware running well.

With camera-agnostic cloud-based systems like Spot AI, organizations aren’t forced to buy cameras from any vendor — you can use the ones you already have. For Spot AI users that don’t have cameras, we provide premium IP cameras at no additional cost.

Improved Camera Health Monitoring

Let's say you're responding to a security incident. Your distance cameras with a wide field of view but lower video quality pick up the suspect, but not at an actionable level of detail. The person walks right by a closer-range camera and looks right at it — but that camera, the one that would've given you clear images, isn't working.

You've got nothing.

With older systems, often the only way to know that a camera is failing is to wait until someone notices a camera that's already failed. That paradigm leaves too much room for security systems to fail their main purpose.

But with cloud-based IP camera systems, the system can automatically monitor and analyze camera health, proactively notifying you when an issue needs to be addressed.

Now that we've covered the most important benefits of switching to a cloud-based security camera system, let's look at seven of the best options in that space.

Evaluating Your New Camera System

1) Spot AI

Spot AI is more than just a security camera system: it's AI-powered video intelligence. It uses a combination of cloud-based IP cameras and both cloud and edge computing to deliver both convenience and speed.

What does it mean for Spot AI to be AI-powered? It means you no longer have to sit through hours and hours of footage to find the relevant portions. It can also produce AI alerts when it notices defined criteria or events unfolding in real time.

Spot AI transforms the concept of a security camera system from something slow, clunky, and reactive to something that works in real time.

What's more, Spot AI is a superior choice for a cloud-based security camera system because it offers far more than just peace of mind. Because it's powerful enough to analyze in real time, businesses use Spot AI to monitor workplace safety, improve customer experiences, analyze traffic flow, and drive higher efficiency.

Spot AI's system is simple to install, consisting of IP cameras, an Intelligent Video Recorder (your on-site edge device), the Spot AI cloud, and the dashboard (accessible from any device). Best of all, Spot AI is camera agnostic (so it works with any IP camera). And if you don't have IP cameras already, that's okay: Spot AI provides bullet cameras and turret cameras for free.

Main Features and Benefits
  • Incredibly easy installation and maintenance; no IT experience required, easy for small teams to manage.
  • Compatibility with any IP camera (camera-agnostic system).
  • High-quality IP cameras are provided free of charge (if you need them).
  • Cloud and edge computing work together with Spot's on-site Intelligent Video Recorder and a modern, easy-to-use cloud dashboard.
  • Search and resolve incidents in minutes.
  • Collaborate with anyone in a single interface.
  • Pull all locations into a unified modern dashboard.

2) Rhombus

Rhombus is another cloud-based security system; this one targeting enterprise customers more than smaller businesses. Rhombus offers a well-integrated platform with an open API, an entire range of cameras (including weatherproof outdoor security cameras), and motion sensors and alarm monitoring service.

Rhombus excels with larger businesses that already have significant network resources in place. If working with an API is outside your wheelhouse, Rhombus may not be the right fit.

Main Features and Benefits
  • Manage complex systems from a single pane of glass.
  • Each camera stores its own footage locally (on the camera) and interfaces with the cloud, leading to higher camera prices.
  • Connected sensors and alarm monitoring add value.

3) Eagle Eye Networks

Eagle Eye Networks is a deeply powerful (but deeply complex) security system that incorporates a cloud VMS and API platform along with an extensive catalog of some of the best security cameras and other hardware. Cameras, bridges, body cams, switches, and CMVRs combine to form a cohesive (albeit extremely expensive) system.

Eagle Eye is a viable option for a cloud-based security camera system for businesses. But like Rhombus — perhaps even more than Rhombus — Eagle Eye is difficult to install and hard to learn. It's built for larger, more robust businesses with a staff full of security personnel. You typically can't get up and running quickly, and extensive training is required.

That's not necessarily a bad thing: If you're a large, well-funded business with vast assets to protect, Eagle Eye Networks may be just what the doctor ordered. But for most small and mid-sized businesses, it's just too much and too complicated.

Main Features and Benefits
  • Smart video search allows users to search for objects using natural language, similar to a web search.
  • Eagle Eye Networks offers a license plate recognition system (LPRS).
  • API platform provides flexibility and scalability to businesses operating at a sufficient scale.
  • AI analytics deliver operational and security insights.

4) Verkada

Verkada is a cloud-based security ecosystem that includes cameras, sensors, access control, air quality solutions, and professional alarm monitoring (including intrusion detection). On the security camera front, Verkada uses PoE cameras with built-in storage similar to Rhombus.

One unique element Verkada offers is 24/7 active monitoring.

Main Features and Benefits
  • Offers face detection, gender appearance, and person of interest notifications (where allowed by state and local regulations).
  • Intrusion detection is available.
  • Active monitoring provides value to some businesses.

5) Arlo

Arlo is a cloud-based security camera system geared for the home market as well as small businesses. The core product (the Arlo Pro) is a set of up to six cameras that connect wirelessly with a base unit. The true wireless battery-powered cameras can run for up to six months without needing to be plugged in, which is a novel (if not all that useful) feature.

You won't find AI-powered features here, nor will you find the kinds of all-encompassing product offerings of the larger competitors. In fact, if you run into a right-fit problem with Arlo, it's likely that you've outgrown their capabilities and need something more robust.

Main Features and Benefits
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit.
  • View video footage in a dedicated app.
  • Package detection and custom activity zones offer minimal automated alerts.

6) Frontpoint

Frontpoint's tagline is "Your DIY home security system" — which tells you most of what you need to know. Wireless video doorbell home security cameras, smart locks, and other smart home technology are extremely beneficial around the house, but their usefulness at your business may vary.

Frontpoint's technology can adapt to a very small business, but it will not scale well.

Main Features and Benefits
  • DIY approach makes it easy to tinker and customize the system to your liking
  • 24/7 professional monitoring
  • Sensors for fire, motion detection, carbon monoxide, and flood

7) Blink

Like Frontpoint, Blink targets the home market rather than the business one, but its range of cloud-based security camera systems can have a role to play for some businesses.

Blink is a good low-cost option for small businesses, but it lacks the features required for a true business security solution. Once you grow beyond a single, relatively simple location, you'll outgrow Blink.

Main Features and Benefits
  • Unique (for the smaller market) cameras like a wired floodlight camera and a mini pan-tilt cam
  • Motion alerts that can notify your mobile device
  • Options for both local and cloud storage

Level up Your Security Camera System With Spot AI

The cloud-based security system market is broad, with everything from home-oriented limited systems to massive, enterprise-spanning ones — and everything in between.

Spot AI fills a unique void in the market. It's a scalable system that works for small businesses but easily expands as you grow and scale. And with the true power of AI unlocking real-time capabilities you'd never imagined you could access, you'll be able to transform not just security but operations and safety, too.

Ready to secure your business using the best of the cloud and the edge? Get started with Spot AI today!

Tour the dashboard now

Get Started