The unfortunate reality is that criminals are constantly looking for weaknesses in security—both physical and cyber—to exploit, particularly in times when people are distracted or businesses are disrupted. As a result, the critical need for security has been highlighted, even exacerbated over the past couple of months when widespread stay-at-home and other health and safety orders went into effect around the world. As a result, many businesses were suddenly closed, leaving them open to security threats. Unfortunately, not all security efforts have been as robust as they could be.

For example, in response to break-ins and thefts, some businesses fully or partially boarded up windows. In some cases, municipalities asked businesses to do the opposite, urging them to keep the windows clear and leave on a light so it would be easier to spot intruders.

While these types of extreme measures are almost certain to decrease as business operations resume, the need for around-the-clock protection will stay top of mind even we all return to a “new normal.” But pinning your hopes on uncovered windows and leaving the lights on is not very effective and will likely do little to discourage burglary and vandalism.

With this in mind, businesses have an opportunity to evaluate their existing security systems and procedures. Let’s take a look at some of the options that will provide the highest level of security both today and into the future.

 

Single-Source Solutions Strengthen Security

Business owners and managers need to know what is happening at a location, so with any security and surveillance solution, the ability to monitor a business either locally or remotely is paramount. As a result, with such a wide range of products and technologies available for improving security, integrating devices is more important than ever. For this reason, the best way to ensure seamless integration without sacrificing functionality is to deploy solutions from a single manufacturer. 

Bringing video, access control, audio, analytics, and other devices and systems together using an end-to-end approach provides an overall solution you can customize to your specific needs. And because everything within the security ecosystem comes from a single manufacturer’s portfolio, you will be able to take advantage of the latest innovations immediately, rather than waiting for multiple providers to coordinate updates to ensure integrations work as intended. This level of customization allows you to better address your challenges and choose the appropriate solution so you can meet your security needs.

At the heart of an end-to-end video surveillance solution is the video management system (VMS). This brings together all of the devices and systems into a single, centralized location for control and management.

For effective remote monitoring, a VMS must be simple to operate so users can effectively detect incidents and securely and quickly export evidence. Real-time alert notifications keep business owners aware of any suspicious activity, so the VMS should be capable of providing these alerts in a way that fits the customer’s specific business needs.

The most effective VMS allow businesses to be monitored locally or remotely with customizable options for quick and simple configuration, providing reliable solutions for all kinds of business specifications. Built with cybersecurity in mind, the software delivers secure remote access to video, along with a mobile app for freedom of use anywhere and at any time. With either PC systems or a mobile app, customers can receive notifications and add action keys to operate the system and take necessary actions to deliver effortless control from anywhere.

 

Automatic Alerts with Analytics

A key component of securing premises 24/7/365 is video analytics, which can instantly alert staff about an incident. This allows them to take immediate action. The more information you have to proactively assess a situation in real time, the better chance personnel have to respond quickly, deter an intruder, and increase overall security.

AXIS Perimeter Defender is a video analytics application that can be embedded in Axis cameras or encoders to automatically detect and send an alert when someone attempts to breach a facility’s perimeter. For example, no one should be in a retail store after hours, so if someone approaches the door, the camera will detect that individual and alert a staff member. From there, he or she who can remotely access the camera to view and assess the situation. Using integrated audio, an automated message could then be delivered to the facility. Or a staff member could speak directly to the individual to let them know the store is closed and they are being monitored by video surveillance. 

Taking this one step farther, AXIS Perimeter Defender also learns about the environment. In just a few days, it can understand the difference between day and night, and it uses this information to polish its performance, allowing it to perform optimally no matter the illumination. Furthermore, the application minimizes false alarms by disregarding other objects such as animals or moving vegetation.

 

No Light? No Problem

Of course, video analytics are only as reliable as the quality of the video they can analyze. One of the main challenges with remotely monitoring a location is dealing with situations that occur after dark because many IP cameras require a lot of lighting to deliver high-quality images necessary for securing a premise. Often the solution is to leave the lights on, as some municipalities have suggested. However, there are other, better, and more economically sound options.

Axis Lightfinder technology can help solve this problem by providing high-resolution images in extremely low light. The solution’s robust noise reduction capability delivers sharp, clear, color images in as little as 0.18 lux (and sometimes even less). In environments with the most challenging light conditions, businesses can turn to IP cameras with Axis OptimizedIR technology. This technology provides clear images in near complete darkness without additional light sources, which would reveal the camera’s field of view to potential intruders and require additional electricity.

No longer do you need to leave the lights on in the hope it will deter intruders. With Axis Lightfinder, you can rest assured your buildings are protected while also benefitting from energy savings. 

 

Cybersecurity through Lifecycle Management

In addition to physical security threats, organizations today also face greater threats of cybercrime. The truth is that any networked device could potentially provide hackers with a means to access the overall network and steal valuable information stored there. Or they could simply take down the security system, and a network camera outage could have disastrous consequences for a business. With the dramatic uptick in remote working, and online ordering and fulfillment associated with stay-at-home orders, hackers have many more potential entry points – many of them less secure than enterprise networks – to attempt to breach. 

Proactive maintenance is the best way to ensure a more stable and secure system in today’s ecosystem of interconnected and interdependent devices and solutions. The VMS, which controls the overall system, must also be regularly updated and patched, along with the operating system it runs on. Responsible manufacturers know this and regularly release software updates and security patches that consistently address vulnerabilities, while also fixing any bugs or issues that may affect a device or solution’s performance over time.

Older technologies represent the greatest risk to an organization, including from a cybersecurity perspective. Yes, updates and patches are the best way to improve cybersecurity, but many older technologies have little to no update capabilities. In fact, they may no longer be supported by the manufacturer. Unpatched technology leaves networks vulnerable to cyberattack. But following lifecycle management best practices—such as knowing where risk areas lie and keeping current on those risks—allows businesses to keep their premise more secure.

A lifecycle management program allows you to keep on top of what is critical in your environment and helps avoid the negative costs associated with cyberbreaches. Lifecycle management also allows an organization to keep pace with the constantly evolving threat landscape while ensuring they are using the appropriate and most advanced technologies while minimizing security threats and vulnerabilities in the process. This is important given that security is a critical function, and a network camera outage could potentially have dire consequences. For example, the functional lifetime of an IP camera could be upwards of 10 to 15 years. During that time, security vulnerabilities will change rapidly, making it difficult for manufacturers to keep pace with the cybersecurity threat landscape.

This type of program allows organizations to identify devices that are nearing end of life, which will likely have no firmware updates released. This makes them susceptible to risk. Additionally, some of these technologies may be running on outdated operating systems that are incapable of being updated or secured. In either case, these devices must be replaced with new network solutions the manufacturer supports. 

 

Today’s security measures will pay off tomorrow

Even as governments attempt to restore society to some semblance of normal – whatever that may look like moving forward – there is no doubt bad actors will continue their quest to exploit vulnerabilities for their own gain. Deploying solutions that combine the best of a variety of technologies and systems, and augmenting these solutions with lifecycle management best practice, is the best path toward protecting premises 24/7/365, regardless of what is happening in the world at large.