The Ultimate Guide to Cloud Video Surveillance. Advantages of Cloud Based CCTV and How to Get it.

Cloud video surveillance set up


How does cloud video surveillance work?

At its core, cloud video surveillance operates on the principle of remote server storage for camera footage. Unlike conventional local storage solutions, such as DVRs and NVRs, which are not only cumbersome, but also costly to maintain, the cloud offers a streamlined alternative. By transitioning to cloud storage, businesses can reduce costs associated with hardware maintenance and upgrades, whilst opening up access to a whole host of features and advanced functionality.



Understanding DVRs and NVRs

Tailored to work with analogue cameras usually found in older surveillance setups, DVRs convert analogue video into a digital format for storage and playback. Maintenance and upkeep of DVRs is essential to ensure optimal performance and reliability. Maintenance usually includes regular software updates, as well as hard drive maintenance and troubleshooting of any issues.

In contrast NVRs (Network Video Recorders) are designed to work with IP cameras. Unlike DVRs, which handle analogue data, NVRs work with digital IP cameras. They record and archive footage directly from the camera through a network connection. Moreover, NVRs have enhanced resolution capabilities and advanced features compared to their DVR counterparts.

Read more about the differences between DVRs and NVRs in our blog.


Overcoming local storage limitations

Historically, surveillance systems relied on onsite recorders for storing footage. DVRs and NVRs require complicated setup and ongoing maintenance, this can be particularly daunting for multi-site organizations who require recorders at each location. 

Also, onsite recorders are more susceptible to physical threats, like theft and damage – posing a significant risk to data integrity. The cloud, by contrast, bypasses these constraints.



What are the advantages of cloud video surveillance?

1. Robust additional backup

Unlike an onsite recorder, in the cloud your footage is not vulnerable to theft or damage. By storing your footage in the cloud you have a concrete backup. In fact, in some states in the US certain organizations are required by law to have cloud storage backup for their CCTV security systems. Recording to the cloud doesn’t mean you have to lose your recorder completely, some cloud video surveillance providers have the functionality to let you record to the cloud alongside your local recorder.

Although it’s clear that cloud storage is a great backup you may be questioning whether recording to the cloud is secure?

In some ways cloud recording can be more secure than traditional local systems as it doesn’t require port-forwarding which can leave your system vulnerable to cyber attacks. Videoloft takes security very seriously and has a host of security protocols in place to make sure users’ footage is secure. Read more about Videoloft’s security protocols.


2. Access anywhere, anytime

You can access your footage from anywhere at any time as long as you have an internet connection either through wifi or your mobile network. This is beneficial because in cases where the footage is stored locally, physical access to the security system is required to see the footage. With cloud-based video surveillance, you can access your footage at anytime, from anywhere making this feature perfect for businesses with multiple sites.


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3. Centralized viewing platform

If you have CCTV security systems that are on different sites it can be challenging to view all your footage in one place with traditional NVRs or DVRs, and even if it is possible it can require port-forwarding which as the point above explains can cause security problems! It’s perfect for businesses with multiple sites or locations as it allows users to view all their cameras from one single login.


Connecting your CCTV system to the cloud means that you can view the footage from all your different sites in one centralized platform, which makes monitoring much easier!


4. Makes your CCTV system proactive

Historically CCTV systems are viewed as reactive security systems that just store footage. With cloud-based video surveillance you can actually add new features and make it more proactive, for example, with Videoloft you can receive real-time and customizable alerts when motion is detected.

You can even choose the zones you would like Videoloft to monitor for motion detection – even if you’re using an older, legacy analogue system! Best of all, you can enable rule based alerting which means that you’ll be alerted when a specific object appears. In a nutshell, making your security cameras cloud based means you can transform them into proactive security systems that alert you to important situations.


5. Easily share video surveillance footage

With a traditional NVR or DVR based security system, getting access to your footage can take some time – particularly if you’re not on site. By connecting your camera to the cloud you can easily share footage in just a couple of clicks, which can be really important in emergencies and when providing evidence of events. Videoloft allows you to add unlimited multiple users to your cameras, and you can also set their permission levels – from read only to admin.


6. Get new features for legacy CCTV systems

By connecting your cameras to the cloud you can upgrades even basic CCTV systems into intelligent ones with a host of new features such as video analytics.


7. Notifications when your security system fails

In the past, most people didn’t realise their security system wasn’t working until they needed the footage for something and realised that it hadn’t been recording. But some cloud based video surveillance providers have live camera health monitoring features, which means you can both check if your cameras are working and be alerted if your camera goes down.


8. Scalable and flexible

By choosing a cloud service provider you’ll be able to change your cloud plan as required, rather than guessing how much storage you will need with a recorder. It’s also possible to connect your existing IP and analogue cameras to the cloud, mean you can choose professional security camera brands that suit your situation at the time.



Adoption strategies: how can you get a cloud based CCTV system? 

There are two ways to adopt cloud-based CCTV:


1.) You could use a company that lets you buy their cameras, software and cloud storage, altogether

You could buy specialist cloud cameras from a cloud video surveillance company – where you buy their cloud camera, and the cloud storage together.  While this simplicity may initially sound appealing, this option comes with a lot of disadvantages.

For example, if you already own cameras you would likely need to buy new ones from the chosen cloud video surveillance provider.

Even if you are okay with the ‘rip and replace’ cost of buying new specialist cloud cameras, once their cameras are installed you are tied to that specific provider (at least for the life of the product) and they may charge you a premium. Being tied into a specific provider will also hinder your ability to add or diminish other features as your requirements change.

This results in not only a very expensive cloud storage solution, but one that lacks flexibility.



2.) You can connect security cameras from established brands via the Videoloft Cloud Adapter

For this option, you can connect professional IP cameras from brands like TVT, Dahua, Hikvision, Uniview, Axis, Reolink and more (find out which brands we are compatible with) with a cloud video surveillance provider like Videoloft.

You’ll need a Cloud Adapter which acts as the bridging device between your CCTV cameras and the cloud. If you would like to keep your local recorder as another backup you can do that too.

All you’ll need then is a Videoloft account and a cloud storage plan. We are affordable, especially compared to our competitors.

One great element of choosing a cloud video recording service is that you can upgrade existing (even legacy) systems to have new functionality, transforming it into a cloud video management system. For example, you may have an old IP cam that doesn’t have many features, by adding Videoloft you instantly upgrade it with new intelligent features such as motion detection and even analytics.

It takes minutes to set up and once complete all your camera’s will record to one easily accessible and secure place!


Cloud CCTV options

Direct to cloud – In this set up, a security camera can stream footage directly to the cloud. This means that you don’t require a local recorder on site which is perfect if you’re struggling for space. However, it does have some drawbacks, for instance, in the event of an internet connection failure the cameras lose the ability to upload footage to the cloud which could mean footage is loss. If you’re considering this option, then make sure your cloud storage provider has a fail-safe in place if this was to happen. For instance, with Videoloft the cloud bridge (Cloud Adapter) does include some onboard storage, which means in the event of an internet failure your footage can be stored on the bridge untl the connection is restore.


Hybrid cloud CCTV – This option combines the benefits of local storage with cloud backup. Footage is sent to both the recorder and the cloud giving you the best of both worlds. It also means that in the event of an internet outage, the locally stored footage remains accessible, ensuring continuous surveillance coverage.


Embracing the future of surveillance

The world is changing, and more and more organizations are adopting cloud storage due to it’s unmatched accessibility and functionality. Whether safeguarding your home, or fortifying enterprise environments, the adoption of cloud based solutions heralds a new era of improved security standards.



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Do you want simple, secure & affordable cloud video surveillance?

Based across North America and the UK, the Videoloft team are experts in securely storing video in the cloud.
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Get started with Videoloft

Do you want simple, secure & affordable cloud video surveillance?