Remote working is the new global norm, so surveillance and security don’t have to be only monitored and managed from a control room. If your organisation is considering adopting a remote access approach, here are some useful questions to ask your provider.

Can I migrate my current surveillance management solution to the cloud to benefit from remote access?

Yes, you can. The nature of cloud-based surveillance solutions means they automatically support remote access, so remote access could be easily achieved.

But you certainly don’t have to migrate the entire existing on-prem solution to the cloud to benefit. Instead, your provider should be able to offer a web-client solution. This solution allows authorised users to access features of your surveillance solution within a browser from any connected device.

Is it only video footage that can be accessed remotely?

The idea of most surveillance solutions with built-in remote capabilities is that they give access to many essential features. This includes viewing live or recorded video footage, receiving alarm notifications and reporting functionality.

Reporting access is particularly useful for surveillance managers who may wish to access system or incident data while not in the office or working in a satellite office.

Similarly, remote access benefits system maintenance, as technicians can complete necessary tasks from any location.

Users can remotely access key system functionality, which is also beneficial for organisations looking for a quick, perhaps temporary, way to scale up resources. For instance, during a major event, a council could add web clients to give temporary users the tools they need to join the control room team. Then, the new operators would only need the necessary computer assets and internet access instead of requiring a significant infrastructure change.

What if I only want to offer remote access to recorded footage to share information with external stakeholders?

This is a good point to raise with your provider, as it may mean that a web client is not your best option. If, for instance, you are only looking at remote access solutions to share evidential footage quickly, securely, and conveniently with external stakeholders. In such scenarios, you may want to consider a dedicated cloud-based evidence locker. This type of solution provides secure, permissions-based, and time-sensitive access.

Web-client remote access solutions are also more suited for remote workers and field based-teams who would benefit from complete system access.

How do I control who can access my surveillance system remotely?

It is crucial to ensure you can set permissions centrally via your surveillance solution. User login details are cross-referenced with these permissions to ensure the right people have access to the correct information (and nothing more). Permissions can usually be set on an individual basis or group basis. For example, person x can view live footage from specific cameras but can’t access reports. Or, on a group basis, the field-based security team can view live and recorded footage from all cameras.

In terms of security, your provider can guide you through the user authentication measures. The solution should ensure that any actions – logins, cameras viewed, reports generated etc. – are logged for full transparency.

What measures are in place to prevent image latency when remote viewing?

Organisations need to be aware that remote access surveillance shouldn’t mean you have to compromise on real-time viewing.

Solutions utilising a WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communications) application specifically designed for video will help mitigate the risk of latency. It’s also worth talking to your provider about bandwidth capabilities – most should offer low bandwidth settings to optimise usage.