SJUK Exclusive Q&A: Ranjith Suresh, Cloudview

February 21, 2022


Ranjith Suresh, Director of Business Transformation at Cloudview explains how cloud increases security and creates social value.

How do you see cloud developing in 2022?

Cloud versus on-site storage is an ongoing debate among customers. This comes as no surprise in a market which has players who are still on legacy CCTV systems. Contrast this with how our individual lives have become so intertwined with the cloud. From mobile phones to accessing TV content, cloud has become the core of modern day living.

Cloud-based storage will become the dominant technology in the video surveillance industry. In fact, we can already see that this transition is gathering pace as organisations recognise the benefits. Several new, younger players have entered the VSaaS market and their presence has grown significantly over the past 18 months. Significant insights can be derived from the ever increasing amount of data that we collect from our endpoints. It is only a matter of time before the video surveillance security industry wakes up to such opportunities. I expect cloud deployments to accelerate in our industry vertical this year and beyond.

How can cloud-based solutions remain compliant with data regulations?

In my discussions on cloud-based video surveillance, I do come across hesitancy among customers; however, with deeper engagement with such prospects, I find it is a lack of understanding which makes them unsure. While ensuring the security of an organisation’s visual data is of paramount importance to security professionals, they also need to deal with complexity and ambiguity as organisations need to comply with an increasing range of evolving standards, rules and regulations.  We have seen how data protection and compliance has evolved over the past few years worldwide.

Cloud-based solutions must ensure that they are aware of these ever changing policies and processes landscape and that their solutions can support their customers specific compliance needs. From our perspective, the Cloudview platform has been architected and built from the ground up with military grade data security to ensure the protection and individual privacy of a customer’s visual data. Our customers can choose individual user permissions, camera functionality and data retention periods to suit their own corporate governance policies and ensure their GDPR obligations are met – and that their data is stored safely.

For further assurance, Cloudview is IS027001 certified and undergoes regular audits to ensure compliance with the highest GDPR standards.

What are the key issues with legacy surveillance systems?

We speak to a vast array of security professionals and the top problems they face with their legacy systems are as follows:

  • Inability in identifying inoperable cameras until after an event has occurred. When they try to access the footage for review, they find none was recorded. While it is a very time consuming and resource intensive activity to physically verify the status of every single camera and every single site, it is imperative that organisations are aware of the status of their video surveillance systems. Otherwise, the very purpose of deploying such a surveillance system is defeated!
  • Mismatch in data purging and footage review schedules leads to missing footage. In most video surveillance systems, events are overwritten in 30 days. In most cases, investigations take place after 30 days have expired and investigators realise they do not have relevant footage to review as it has been overwritten and is no longer available. A prime example of this scenario involves events of personal injury, where the average time between the event taking place and initiation of the legal action is 60 days.   
  • Difficulty in identifying incidents from hours of video footage is akin to finding a needle in a haystack! Looking for incidents becomes an archaeological dig, especially when the actual date and time of the event is unknown. This can be especially problematic when incidents are time critical. Cloudview allows the approved security personnel to access the platform from anywhere and access the relevant event without having to sift through hours of footage.  
  • Theft of NVR is a common occurrence, eliminating evidence in serious crimes. Criminals have become more forensically aware in recent years and will often steal the NVR/DVR during the crime to prevent them being identified later on. Additionally, as the recorded data is no longer secure and is now in the hands of an unknown, this becomes a data compliance issue for the organisation and the person responsible for the safekeeping of the data.
  • Direct physical access to the NVR server room needed to access the footage. If an event does occur and has been recorded, it must be retrieved by visiting the site. If this is not done in a timely manner, chances of the footage getting overwritten are high based on the standard storage timeframe. 
  • Several sites use cameras from different manufacturers, making the lives of security personnel even more difficult as they have to navigate different vendor-specific systems to locate and retrieve the relevant footage for investigation purposes. Cloudview aggregates footage from all connected cameras and provides a single console to access, review and retrieve security incidents.

How does upgrading legacy systems contribute to social value?

Social value is a concept based on a holistic approach and considers the wider economic, social and environmental effects of infrastructure investment projects. For Cloudview, social value also goes well beyond providing job opportunities, helping to grow new skills, impacting climate change leadership and providing equal opportunities. The number one priority for us is to contribute to the safety and security of people and their assets.

Job creation and skills upgrades are keenly sought social value metrics in any investment project. However, if we focus on housing associations and property developers, video surveillance infrastructure upgrade projects can lead to a bigger impact in social and environmental outcomes – more than what is apparent. An increase in mental wellbeing, a feeling of security and safety within communities and a development of trust in the organisations who provide these services are the intangible benefits that come as a result of the reduction in crime, anti-social behaviour and other such activities.

Going one step further, we can look at how legacy systems can afford people in power the opportunity to remove evidence to suit their own needs and protect their own position. A recent article highlighted how a hotel manager, after an incident at their premises led to the death of a guest, removed and disposed of incriminating footage in order to cover up their involvement.

It is in these such areas that Cloudview addresses to provide, not just video surveillance, but add social value to people and their communities. Post-security incident, the footage is available – with or without the NVR – on the cloud, accessible by authorised personnel. Extend the context to other scenarios such as the financial domain (ATM security being a case in point), Cloudview can provide footage in a timely manner, ensuring that security personnel can identify criminal activity and take proactive steps.

Which environments is your cloud-based solution being deployed in?

The Cloudview platform is suitable for practically any environment. From housing associations, construction companies and storage units to marinas, farms and education establishments, Cloudview takes the time to understand the challenges customers face in keeping their premises and their people safe. By doing so, we can design and deliver bespoke solutions that meet the unique requirements and challenges of each operator.

How does cloud-based surveillance assist with police responses and investigations?

It all comes down to time. Police investigations are often time sensitive and the quicker an organisation can check, obtain and provide the relevant visual evidence, the quicker an investigation can be completed.

As highlighted earlier, the Cloudview platform enables security personnel, with the appropriate authorisation level, access to the recorded footage from a remote location, find the relevant footage, download it and send it directly to the police so that they can make quick progress. Cloudview also has the ability to take separate recorded footage from different cameras and ‘stitch’ them together to create a single video file containing the timeline of actual events. This can all happen within minutes and provide police with a greater probability of success in law enforcement.

The intangible benefits link to the social value I highlighted earlier. If information can be provided to the police without delay then investigations have a greater chance of being concluded quickly and the perpetrators brought to justice.

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This article was originally published in the February edition of Security Journal UK. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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