The evolution of data connectivity

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1 Leveraging the Benefits of IP and the Cloud in the Security Sector The CCTV and alarm industry has relied on analogue or Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) communications to provide data connectivity to monitoring centres for more than 30 years. Internet Protocol (IP) CCTV cameras however now account for the majority of all new installations. While IP CCTV cameras offer many benefits, if not correctly configured they can be an easy target for hackers and actually expose sites to greater risk. This white paper reviews the benefits of IP CCTV and addresses how security risks can be minimised. The paper also analyses how cloud computing can be successfully utilised in the security sector to deliver a powerful, robust and low cost solution for CCTV monitoring. The evolution of data connectivity For more than 30 years the CCTV and alarm industry has relied on analogue or Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) communications to provide data connectivity to monitoring centres. Internet Protocol (IP) networks using broadband technologies however are now widely recognised as the future of data connectivity, with 75 per cent of all new CCTV installations in Europe and the USA employing IP cameras. In this section, we compare ISDN and IP, 1 and explain why IP is fast becoming the communication network of choice. ISDN Used since the 1980s, ISDN is a set of communication standards for the simultaneous transmission of voice, video, data and other network services over the traditional circuits of the public switches telephone network. Although ISDN is very simple to secure and has dedicated connectivity for CCTV and access, it has always had limitations for video communications. A new ISDN line is required for each new location and multiple channels are required to support the high bandwidth needed for quality video signals. In addition to limited efficiency and scalability, stability issues, including different delays between channels and line drops, are also common. ISDN can be expensive to run because an ISDN call is made every time an event occurs, such as a door opening. A poorly designed monitoring system, where sensors are commonly needlessly triggered, can therefore lead to high costs with some providers charging for both the duration of the call and a connection charge. IP IP is a method by which information is sent as data between two devices connected on the internet. Many businesses are now migrating from ISDN to IP, which is a method by which information is sent as data between two devices connected on the internet. IP offers advantages including reduced operating costs, better communication capabilities, sharper images and a simpler, more efficient and productive integrated communications platform. IP CCTV cameras offer H.264 megapixel for ultra sharp picture quality. They can be easily installed and reinstalled with no need for a dedicated connection to every camera a single cable can run cameras. Copyright 2013, On Direct Business Services Limited. 1

2 As well as picture quality and installation benefits, IP CCTV cameras offer far superior functionality. As well as picture quality and installation benefits, IP CCTV cameras offer far superior functionality. For example, the cameras and alarm system can be configured, monitored and recorded remotely to significantly reduce costly and often unnecessary engineer visits. With more users adopting IP CCTV cameras, the cost of equipment has also fallen due to economies of scale. Risks of IP Unlike traditional CCTV cameras, IP cameras require a correctly configured network. IP is an open communication. If not configured correctly, it can leave IP CCTV cameras open to the internet and vulnerable to hacking, where criminals are able to remotely observe security measures via the internet. It is not uncommon to see IP deployed with low cost routers, which means once the site is commissioned, it is exposed to real vulnerabilities. Therefore, it essential to consider exactly what IP access is required at specific sites. Crucially, as more CCTV systems are switched from ISDN to IP, routers and firewalls also need to be configured correctly. Unlike traditional CCTV cameras, IP cameras require a correctly configured network, which involves setting the IP address, router, port forwarding and dynamic domain name server. The complexity of these routers and IP means this element is commonly outsourced to a data connectivity expert. IP security requirements To establish and maintain a secure site using IP CCTV cameras, the following should be considered: Sending access control information/cctv alerts This will provide a remote indication that a person is either on site or trying to gain access. Someone may have walked across the path of an infrared detector for example. The CCTV alert typically comprises a date stamp, number of photos as well as additional information to allow offsite monitoring staff to determine how to address the situation. Specifying who has access This can range from keypad entry for physical access to the site (with the ID and time stamp sent to a remote monitoring site) to limiting what devices can be plugged into the local area network. The monitoring system needs to track activity and prevent access where necessary. Specifying who has remote access The remote sites (IPs) and their applications (ports) with access to the site must be specified. For example, a branch manager could be given access to the CCTV pictures from only his branch, on only his home PC. This will help prevent remote unauthorised access, such as someone simply plugging a laptop into the network. Universal threat management products can additionally be used to isolate unauthorised devices. For maximum protection and the highest level of security, secure remote access can be facilitated using advanced firewall and token access systems, which force the engineer to use one-time passwords. Copyright 2013, On Direct Business Services Limited. 2

3 Firewalls While a single firewall at the network gateway was deemed sufficient five years ago, the continuous development of malicious and sophisticated threats means a seamless solution of integrated firewalls is now required to protect the gateway, applications and remote users. This is even more critical when combining IP CCTV cameras with wireless and 3G data connections. Data connectivity IP CCTV cameras communicate over the internet, so the choice of broadband is an important consideration for ensuring a reliable and consistent flow of information. In most installations, fixed line broadband is preferred. However, the resilient router configurations and high bandwidth of leased lines or Ethernet in the first mile (EFM) is a distinct advantage, offering enhanced speed and functionality for high risk environments. Similarly, virtual private networks (VPNs) are commonly used by organisations demanding maximum security. In some scenarios, such as temporary or mobile sites, the use of 3G becomes the preferred or only option for data connectivity. For continuous protection, dual path signalling can also be installed to provide automatic switchover to a second broadband line or 3G connection, so problems can still be diagnosed when the primary path is down. IP SECURITY REQUIREMENTS Leveraging the benefits of remote site control Remotely monitored, detector activated IP CCTV systems will in most cases stop criminal acts before they occur. 3 Remotely monitored, detector activated IP CCTV systems will in most cases stop criminal acts before they occur. 2 They offer major flexibility, reliability and cost benefits when compared to traditional alternatives such as manned guarding and continually recorded CCTV. With the correct network configuration and access control measures in place, remote site control using IP CCTV cameras presents a strong business case: Significantly reduced costs Centralised monitoring of remote sites can dramatically reduce site security costs by replacing onsite guards with smart systems. These will provide the same or higher levels of security through the monitoring centre, and with less false alarms. IP CCTV cameras also allow remote access for diagnostics, reducing problem resolution times and the associated costs of sending an engineer to site. Full remote IP tracing can additionally eliminate the need to send an engineer to site to address application problems and enable the faulty camera to be isolated from the system. In cases where engineers do need to be sent to site, IP tracing provides the information required to ensure the engineer is equipped and able to rectify the fault. Copyright 2013, On Direct Business Services Limited. 3

4 Fast, appropriate decision making Remotely monitored, detector activated IP CCTV cameras provide visual confirmation for the cause of a particular activation. This not only reduces the associated costs of false alarms but also enables fast and appropriate action in cases where security has been breached. All of this is only possible using IP as the connection medium with servers to correlate and apply analysis. Safer engineer access Remote monitoring and diagnostics mean that in most instances, the IP CCTV camera can be managed from the security of a remote monitoring centre. If an engineer does need to go to site however, periodic monitoring can be initiated for safety. The impact of the cloud on the security sector What is cloud computing? Cloud computing delivers hardware and software as a service over a network, such as the internet, rather than through independently run PCs and servers. Cloud computing offers the flexibility of being able to scale systems up or down as required and access data from anywhere with an internet connection. It can also reduce the maintenance and expenditure associated with traditional IT systems. As well as the significant switch to IP CCTV cameras, cloud computing is putting the IT industry in the midst of an important transformative period. Cloud services are expected to grow by as much as 41 per cent over the next four years, and by the end of the decade, 80 per cent of the IT industry s growth will be driven by cloud services. 4 Moving your processing power to a central remote data centre hosted in the cloud offers economies of scale and makes it easier to recover data lost as a result of environmental disasters. Data hosted in the cloud is securely available from anywhere you need to deploy a monitoring team. In contrast, hosting your own applications demands local servers, backup processes and data integrity checking, as well as redundant power, a resilient local LAN, local spares and much more. As cloud computing becomes increasingly common, the way we view data and information security is changing. Businesses of all sizes are moving or carefully considering moving away from the traditional concrete bunker backup approach in favour of the cloud. Importantly, the cloud backup model can streamline operations and reduce costs, while delivering secure, reliable, predictable and high performance data protection. 5 However, despite the fact that cloud computing provides a cost-effective solution for data backup, this is not the case with CCTV videos because the files are so large for evidentiary quality. They also comprise complete video sessions as opposed to updates on existing data sets, which makes the backup significantly more demanding. Similarly, cloud computing is very effective for business processing which is switched on and off, such as monthly payroll. In this instance, a lot of processing power, including RAM and bandwidth, is required but only once a month. Rather than having to provide, setup, initiate, manage and pay for a new server every time usage spikes, the ability to rent this power on demand for a short period of time is very cost-effective. In the security sector however, the main applications are for 24/7 CCTV monitoring, which makes the financial model more questionable. To overcome these limitations, applications should be stored in the cloud using a data centre, while large video files should be stored in a local monitoring centre. This configuration will ensure all the benefits of cloud computing are still achieved, including greater security and lower costs. Copyright 2013, On Direct Business Services Limited. 4

5 UTILIZING THE CLOUD Checklist for your cloud supplier While cloud computing is secure and offers many benefits, the safety and reliability of the service you receive will ultimately depend on your cloud supplier. 6 The following checklist should be used when evaluating cloud suppliers: 1. Are the data centre locations in a European economic area? This is particularly important to meet principle seven of the Data Protection Act Are there multiple data centres, which are maintained in multiple locations? This will ensure there is no single point of failure and if one data centre fails, the primary system is still automatically backed up in the other. 3. Does the data security meet ISO/IEC 27001:2005 standards to ensure your information assets are adequately protected? 4. Does the service comply with the relevant regulations required for your industry? 5. How and what level of technical support is provided? Are the support hours 24/7? Is there a time zone difference? Is phone and/or support provided? Are the staff technically qualified? 6. Does the service operate to ITILv3, the latest and most widely adopted approach for IT Service Management in the world? 8 7. What does the service level agreement cover? You should look at the: Service description Service availability Support hours Problem management Issue response time Reporting Supplier duties and responsibilities Customer duties and responsibilities Fees and expenses Money back guarantees Maintaining data connectivity Crucially, both IP CCTV cameras and cloud computing depend on a secure and reliable network or internet connection, which demands very careful selection of your data connectivity and hosting provider. With alarm receiving centres (ARCs) proactively monitoring the premises, it makes sense to have the network proactively monitored too. This ensures ARCs are alerted Copyright 2013, On Direct Business Services Limited. 5

6 Both IP CCTV cameras and cloud computing depend on a secure and reliable network or internet connection. when an outage occurs, and fault logging and resolution are managed 24/7. In doing so, ARCs can be frequently saved from long investigations where the CCTV cameras are assumed to be at fault and connectivity can be quickly re-established. Importantly, network management services, including remote network configuration, monitoring and diagnostics, provide expert help where and when it is needed and remove the need for engineers to visit site. About Cloud Direct Cloud Direct is a world-class provider of affordable enterprise-class IT solutions. By combining cloud-based technologies with award-winning extra-mile service, we ll help you transform your operations. You can then look forward to increasing productivity, assured business continuity and having the time to focus on business and growth. Cloud Direct is a UK-based market leader in managed internet communications services, which deliver remote internet management via the cloud. Its managed data connectivity solutions are aimed at providing secure, robust and high performance networks to support cloud-based applications, including those for CCTV monitoring. Solutions include broadband; leased lines (fibre and EFM); multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) and IP security (IPSEC) VPNs; Managed Wi-Fi as well as 3G connectivity for failover and security applications. Committed to assuring business continuity and enhancing business productivity, Cloud Direct s data connectivity experts work closely with security integrators and engineers to install a managed IP service for CCTV and alarm traffic. Remote monitoring tools allow service issues and configuration changes to be diagnosed and addressed quickly, removing the need for engineers to visit site. By using multiple independent internet service providers and automated switchover equipment, Coms Direct ensures continuous data network connectivity is maintained at all times. Cloud Direct also advises on the best internet solution for security applications. Its portal-based service currently manages over 1,500 sites worldwide and is backed by an expert 24/7 helpdesk dedicated to keeping business critical systems online. To find out more about what Cloud Direct can do for your business, call our solutions team on or visit On Direct Business Services Limited, The Tramshed, Walcot Street, Bath BA1 5BB 1. IP Video Market Why the market has already tipped to IP. 2. British Security Industry Association A user guide to a detector activated remotely monitored CCTV system. 3. British Security Industry Association A user guide to a detector activated remotely monitored CCTV system. 4. IDC Worldwide and Regional Public IT Cloud Services Forecast. Cited on com 5. Cloud Computing Journal Top industry analysts address growing cloud backup market. 6. IT Governance A summary of the Data Protection Act 1998 can be found at 8. ITIL Copyright 2013, On Direct Business Services Limited. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. The Tramshed, Walcot Street, Bath, BA1 5BB Company Number: , VAT Number: Sales: Service:

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