How to Build a Proper Surveillance System

Aug 19, 2022 | Blog

The importance of storage infrastructure cannot be overlooked when designing an end-to-end security system

Designing an end-to-end security system for end-users today looks nothing like it used to. Back in the day, common practice was installing analog security cameras that connected directly to video monitors, which security personnel monitored in real-time. Any incident response was entirely dependent on the chance of an event unfolding within the view of a camera while it was being monitored. After initial review, the video data recorded was archived and left untouched—this wasn’t just commonplace. It was the standard.

High-megapixel cameras today present a significant challenge to security professionals because of the volume of storage that is often required to keep up with them.

With the transition from analog to digital systems around the turn of the century, the introduction of ultra-high megapixel cameras, video analytics, smart learning, Internet of Things (IoT) and more robust video data storage infrastructure design—this traditional model egregiously misses the mark. The security systems of tomorrow take advantage of the best technologies of today, such as security cameras, intelligent video analytics, access control technology, purpose-built servers and storage systems, and top-tier Video Management Software (VMS). They are also built to grow so that emerging technologies—which are being developed as we speak—can easily integrate into the system infrastructure, and end-users don’t need to overhaul their hardware every time security technology evolves. Designing a system that’s up to the task is no small thing. But that doesn’t mean leaders in the security industry aren’t already doing all this. Let’s explore what industry leaders are doing today to engineer the security systems of tomorrow.

It all comes down to storage system scalability

Though it isn’t the most glamorous component of an end-to-end security system, storage infrastructure is and always will be the beating heart of the security industry. Customers are looking to invest in technology that enables them to expand their capabilities to support future needs—bandwidth consumption is the key facet of a security system that any evolution in technology will be contingent on. In other words, if your storage hardware isn’t up to the task, it doesn’t matter how much you invest in edge devices and software. Without a strong engine, your car simply won’t start.

Global video data infrastructure provider, BCD, has been building this video data storage infrastructure from the start. A truly international company, BCD’s global footprint includes more than 170,000 systems recording over three million cameras in 91 countries. Since its inception in 1999, BCD has established itself as the most trusted source for security integrators to find innovative, purpose-built IP video storage solutions designed for security integrators. BCD’s number one goal since the beginning has been to create custom-engineered IP video storage solutions, including holistic end-to-end network infrastructure, robust cyber protection and design support. This task begins with hardware. Working alongside leading technology partners, BCD takes best-in-class IT appliances and purpose-builds them to address issues and concerns in the video surveillance space.

The need for purpose-built systems

These standards apply to all security systems, specifically those making use of video surveillance technology, as video workloads are significantly different than those in a traditional IT space. Especially when you start working with live applications requiring the processing of hot data, in real-time, alongside the operation of analytics software and other edge devices—plugging in an expensive hard drive doesn’t cut it. A robust, efficient, and reliable system needs to be purpose-built, in order to address the individual needs of each security environment, whether that be high camera counts, robust data security, operational flexibility and/or scalability, data availability, long retention periods, or all of the above. Each of these components presents unique challenges that require extra care. Below is a breakdown of each of the challenges posed by each of the facets of a high-performing security system.

Security cameras

The fact is, cameras today are completely different from those you may be used to seeing in movies like Mission Impossible or James Bond, where all an intruder has to do to gain access to a secured facility is to disable either a camera or the security guard reviewing the camera footage. High-megapixel cameras today present a significant challenge to security professionals because of the volume of storage that is often required to keep up with them. Any bandwidth constraints can drastically impact video clarity and transferring speeds, which essentially makes any security system obsolete. If a system’s CPU capacity is limited in any way, these systems are vulnerable to dropped frames or lost data. On top of this, many end-users need to retain this high-quality video anywhere from 30 to 60 days, if not longer. The financial industry requires its security systems to retain video data for 180 days, for example. This challenge, on top of strict compliance requirements that are imposed on most facilities, combines to create a daunting issue for security customers. This is a huge part of why purpose-built, scalable and reliable storage infrastructure acts as the backbone of the modern security system. Building a future-proof solution begins, first, with understanding storage as its best possible foundation.

Top-of-the-line security systems must ensure their data is secure from third party exploitation.

Video analytics

When a system’s storage infrastructure is custom-engineered it can also mean partnering with manufacturers whose warranty agreements and cybersecurity standards meet industry standards. o keep up with complex workflows, including processing hot data on the front end and storing high-quality, dropped-frames-free data on the back end—software like video analytics really shine. Whether these analytics are tasked with facial recognition, license plate recognition, object tracking, etc.—if a system is outfitted with high-megapixel cameras and robust, high-performing storage infrastructure, integrators can consider whichever analytics technology best fits their deployment.

Access control

Access control, as a concept, extends far beyond what we traditionally understand, i.e. door readers, central controllers, ID-based entry, even intrusion protection systems such as biometric recognition systems and alarm systems. Access control concerns who or what can view or use a facility’s resources—thus, physical access control and IT, computer network access control both apply.

Integrating physical security technology relies principally on the efficiency and integration of other devices, including video cameras, video analytics, Video Management Software (VMS), servers and storage, and so on. None of these devices or software can truly keep assets safe without robust and reliable data protection. For this reason, top-of-the-line security systems must ensure their data is secure from third-party exploitation. This can mean anything from tracking failed hard drives, to ensuring sensitive information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands; it can also mean partnering with manufacturers whose warranty agreements and cybersecurity standards meet industry standards.



Lastly, all of these technologies finally come together under a VMS system. Balancing performance, quality and affordability begins and ends here, as the scalability of video recording servers, the quality of a video delivery workstation, and the reliability of industrial servers and switches for IP surveillance systems all converge in the VMS. User-friendly platforms, which rely on edge device integration and global administration, all rely on powerful and versatile VMSs. If the system is a car and data storage is the engine, the VMS hovers somewhere in between the steering wheel, temperature control, and the gearshift. Wherever the VMS goes, the security system goes.

Building a proper security system, just like buying a car, has more to do with the quality of the parts than anything else. Especially when it comes to sustainability and longevity, what matters most is building your system using components that are designed to evolve as technology evolves. Purpose-built solutions should be the bedrock of each component of your security system, be that your servers and storage infrastructure, security cameras, video analytics, access control, or VMS technologies. If any one of these facets falters—the entire system is put at risk. In the end, the logic is as simple as that: If each part that makes up the whole is built to last, then you can rest assured your security system, from end to end, is going to do its job.


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