With cloud storage becoming a common feature for today’s security systems and cameras, it’s important to offer cloud video storage to your customer…but also important to understand its limitations. Cloud video has its advantages for security, but it isn’t right for everyone, and installers need to be able to discuss the pros and cons so clients can make the right decisions about devices.
To help, we’re reviewing those pros and cons here as a quick guide for the information you may want to provide!
Pros to Providing Cloud Storage
Easy to Use: When security cams store their video on the cloud, the owner of the system doesn’t have to do anything to make it happen. Motion sensors and internet connections take care of the details, so owners can simply log on to view any captured video data. These systems are typically provided by major brands with well-developed apps that send owners alerts when motion is detected and video is recorded. There’s no need to examine a hard drive or for video to pass through a security guard workstation first.
Accessible Video Data: Cloud video data is highly accessible. No wired connection is required to view it, and since the video is stored on remote servers, any device with an internet connection and login can access it. That means owners can view video on their computers, smartphones, tablets, or other devices. They can either decide what to do with it immediately, or switch to a larger screen for a closer look, depending on their preference!
Less External Hardware: Security cams that offer cloud storage tend to be lightweight and mobile. As long as they have battery life and an internet connection, they can usually be entirely wireless and easy to set up anywhere. While some models do offer a slot for an SD card or onboard storage, it isn’t required. Overall, this means less external hardware to manage, repair or replace throughout the life of the device. It also means there is less need for a security hub or central storage point, which can help reduce costs.
Better Analytical Tools: Data that’s only contained on local storage is difficult to thoroughly analyze beyond what owners can see on the screen. Data that’s stored in cloud servers, however, can be run through filters and analytics from the security provider. This allows for clearer video, video tags, prioritizing video that shows faces, etc., and quickly managing large numbers of video clips to weed out those that are unimportant.
Ideal for smaller businesses and homes: Cloud storage is an excellent way to encourage smaller businesses and homes to adopt recorded security footage solutions, without needing to worry about the details. It’s the ideal entry-level option, and as security needs scale up for larger companies or buildings, then additional solutions can be discussed.
Cons to Providing Cloud Storage
Long-Term Data Storage is Harder: Cloud storage plans tend to limit video stored to a certain number of GBs that are rolled over periodically (every week, month, etc.). That means video only stays in storage for a certain amount of time before being deleted. This requires owners to view any recorded video and download important videos to local storage to save them for legal action, insurance, etc.
Wi-Fi is Always Required: Cloud video needs reliable Wi-Fi. These cams simply aren’t feasible in locations that have spotty Wi-Fi or no internet connection.
Fees and Limitations Apply: Sometimes a certain amount of cloud storage is offered for free by the security provider. However, to increase cloud storage potential, or at least increase the amount of time cloud video is held before being deleted, owners usually need to pay a monthly fee for the service. This is usually an additional fee on top of any month monitoring fees they may already pay, raising overall costs.
Security Data is Dependent on the Vendor: Cloud video is held and protected by the vendor – but that can lead to risks as well as benefits. What if the owner wants to move to a different security provider? That cloud video usually can’t be migrated over. What if the vendor shuts down unexpectedly, or encounters technical problems? Then the cloud video services are lost. This requires a lot of confidence in the security provider.
More Security Concerns: When internet connections are involved, it’s always smart to discuss the potential of hacking or data theft. This isn’t a common problem with cloud video, but it does add the risk of a security breach, and is another reason that confidence in the vendor – and proper internet security protocols – are very important.
Cloud storage is a helpful addition to a security cam, but isn’t right for every situation, and requires good security management practices on behalf of the owner. As long as your company is able to explain the ins and outs, offering devices with cloud video is a great idea! Be sure to describe the specifics, both in person and in any online materials you may use.