Winning companies are using video intelligence to not only improve their security but also their day-to-day operations. Is your team starting to access and use video footage more often? Then you're probably thinking of modernizing your surveillance system. Maybe you're even considering cloud video surveillance.
Choosing the right cloud video surveillance solution for your needs can feel complicated; searching for “security camera” or “cloud video surveillance” on Google presents an overwhelming number of options that all look the same. On top of this, you must account for several factors: How often do you check your video footage? How many locations do you need surveillance for? What's your budget? The list goes on.
Don't know where to begin? Don't worry — we've got you covered. In this article, we'll cover the pros and cons of four popular cloud video surveillance options as well as what types of businesses they're best suited for. Let's dive right in!
Option #1: Cloud Cameras
If comprehensive building safety is a significant concern for your business, and you want excellent cloud software to access your security footage, you should consider cloud cameras. Vendors of these devices tend to focus heavily on safety video workflows and often sell environmental sensors as well.
Be sure to budget out your entire security system refresh ahead of time, though. Each cloud camera can cost several thousand dollars. You should also make sure you trust your cloud camera vendor; these systems are not interoperable with other equipment on the market.
Consider cloud cameras if:
- Your business is constructing new locations.
- You already have a few locations.
- Comprehensive building safety is a main priority.
Pros of cloud cameras:
- Premium hardware
- Great software features
- Smart with bandwidth
Cons of cloud cameras:
- Vendor lock-in for multiple years
- Requires you to overhaul existing infrastructure
Option #2: Port Forwarding With Existing NVR
Are you a single-location small business that only checks your video footage once every six months? Then port forwarding could be the best option for your remote viewing needs. To enable it, find the port of your current network video recorder’s (NVR) web interface (e.g., 80, 8080, or 8000), its IP address, and your public IP address. You can then set up port forwarding in your router to send through your surveillance traffic.
The convenience of port forwarding comes with a few trade-offs. For example, it has no encryption and opens your firewall port. Also, you might lose access to your feeds if your IP addresses change. Avoid this by making your IP addresses static. You may need to contact your ISP to accomplish this.
Consider port forwarding if:
- You're a single-location small business.
- You access your video footage infrequently.
- Network security isn't a priority.
Pros of port forwarding:
- Keep your existing NVR
Cons of port forwarding:
- Only works for one user in one location
- Clunky software not built for how you use video today
- Compromises network security (no encryption)
- Dependent on static IP addresses
Option #3: Cloud Video Management Software
If you’re a large enterprise with multiple locations, several cameras, and a big budget, then your best bet may be to buy cloud video management software (VMS). These systems usually come with many features (e.g., video walls, viewing stations, etc.) to meet your unique needs.
There are a few caveats to be aware of if you go with this option. For example, since a cloud VMS streams your video to the cloud 24/7, you'll probably have to increase your network upload speed to accommodate your cameras.
Consider cloud VMS if:
- You're a large multi-location enterprise organization.
- You're willing to pay more to get every feature you want.
- You have an excellent network infrastructure in place.
Pros of cloud VMS:
- Upgrade without replacing cameras
- Easy to access
- All cameras on one dashboard
- Variety of features
Cons of cloud VMS:
- Extremely expensive
- Time-consuming to set up
- Network bandwidth upgrades often needed
- Easily disrupted by internet outages
- Only compatible with certain cameras
- Standalone VPN needed for encryption
Option #4: Hybrid Cloud Video Surveillance
Are you a small- to medium-sized business with multiple locations that heavily relies on video workflows? Do you check your camera footage often? Then there's another category you should consider: Hybrid cloud video surveillance.
Since solutions can drastically differ in this category, it is difficult to aggregate accurate pros and cons for every vendor in this segment. At Spot AI, we strive to deliver the following benefits with our solution:
Pros of hybrid cloud video surveillance:
- Simple and fast setup
- No need to replace cameras
- All cameras on one dashboard
- Powerful, intuitive software
Want to Know How Winning Companies Use Video Intelligence?
Video intelligence is rapidly expanding beyond security. Businesses of all shapes and sizes are using it to leverage unprecedented advantages. Regardless of which cloud video surveillance option you choose, this paradigm can provide significant value for every company — not only in security but also in how you operate day-to-day.
Want to learn more about how winning companies are using video intelligence? Try our demo to see how Spot AI’s platform can improve your organization’s safety, security, and efficiency.