The widespread use of security cameras is a modern fact of life. Whether it’s preventing crimes in public, company theft, or home invasion, they are at the forefront of society’s battle for a more secure existence. However, security cameras no one keeps an eye on are hardly effective.
This article explores security monitoring and why it’s necessary to do so on top of just installing some cameras. It then goes over the numerous camera types to help you choose what to invest in. The last segment offers concrete tips on creating a better camera-based security system and monitoring it more efficiently.
Having a security system in place isn’t enough to deter crime. Surveillance cameras have become common, so criminals have started taking measures to protect their identity as a matter of course. Since cameras can cover a wide area, even ones that capture high-resolution footage may not be able to record the crook with enough detail for any accusations to stand up in court.
A monitored security system will never stop recording or experience malfunctions without anyone realizing it. Your business or home may be the target of an attack, and you wouldn’t realize until checking the footage and discovering there is none otherwise.
Security cameras steadily improve at identifying noise and movements thanks to various sensors. These may also sound false alarms more frequently, causing owners to take real threats less seriously. Having someone monitor the cameras’ feeds and alerts will minimize the number of false alarms and increase the chance of uncovering genuine danger.
Most importantly, unmonitored security cameras can only witness a crime and do nothing to stop it. A trained professional may spot suspicious activity and de-escalate it before any crime happens. They can scare off vandals or contact the authorities in time to stop more serious activities.
The digital age has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on security camera system advancement. Conventional CCTV still exists and is beneficial for large companies that want to keep all their surveillance on-site. However, many more IP cameras connect to the internet. These cameras have live data feeds you can access online from anywhere with proper credentials.
Camera variety has also exploded. In terms of mobility, there are fixed and PTZ cameras. Fixed cameras need a good vantage point since they provide a single angle. PTZ stands for pan, tilt, and zoom. A camera that performs any or all three can cover a broader area or zoom in to capture more details.
Indoor vs. outdoor is another common distinction. Outdoor cameras are more rugged and can withstand harsh weather conditions, including water. Indoor cameras are more fragile, but you can place them in more convenient spots.
A camera’s shape can help prevent crime. Bullet cameras have an intentionally imposing design the criminals will recognize and steer clear of. The domes on domed cameras have a uniform tint that prevents onlookers from seeing what the lens is currently pointing at. Other cameras are designed to be inconspicuous or even friendly looking.
Lastly, cameras differ by resolution, frame rate, lens angle, and the type of footage they capture. Most only output conventional b&w or color video. More advanced models have IR lights that let them see well in the dark. The most sophisticated cameras use thermal imaging. This highlights people and other sources of warmth in conditions where the conventional video isn’t useful.
Designing an efficient surveillance system is the basis for effective monitoring. Ensure there are enough cameras of the right type to cover the premises. Provide enough light so footage quality doesn’t suffer during nighttime.
If you’re monitoring in-house, limit the number of people with access to the system and footage. Only a handful of responsible employees with proper training should have these privileges. You also need to adopt a monitoring policy. It should cover the type and purpose of recorded footage and detail protocols for storing and accessing surveillance files.
Restricting access only to users authorized to monitor your cameras is a top priority. Tech-savvy criminals can tap into camera feeds via their IP addresses, so using a shared proxy to mask them is advisable. This is also useful for situations when you want a third party to view your camera feeds without giving out vulnerable connection information.
Don’t neglect other software vulnerabilities either. Keep the operating systems and antivirus / antimalware on the computers used to run the security system updated. Moreover, don’t neglect to protect them and the cameras with strong passwords. Change these frequently.
Camera surveillance is only as effective as the measures you put in place to monitor it. Investing time and resources in proper monitoring and security procedures now will minimize losses and give everyone involved more peace of mind.