Axis VSaaS Myths - Issues and Inaccuracies

Author: John Honovich, Published on Mar 27, 2011

A March 2011 Axis 'op-ed' piece on Hosted Video published in SDI Magazine promised "Myths busted and truth revealed!" Despite the grand pretenses, Axis manufactured a dangerous new myth and significantly misinformed the community. In this note, we examine a number of issues and inaccuracies in the article.

The article attempts to prove that hosted video is safe and ready for real world use. In the opening, Axis challenges, "Think it's unsafe or not for you? Think again."

Their strongest, but absolutely incorrect, claim about online video safety is that "certain compliance regulations must be met by hosting providers to offer video-as-a-service, including SAS 70 , RSA Encryption and ISO 27001-compliance." Not only are these not required but, in practice, today's crop of hosted video surveillance providers rarely meet these 3 elements.

The best characterization of today's VSaaS market is the wild wild west where no regulation exists and numerous small companies experiment with novel solutions. This is great for innovation but terrible for information security. Any security user who is concerned about the security of their off-site stored video should be extremely careful about using VSaaS.

We contacted Cygnus, the publisher of the article, about our concerns. They responded that "The article was updated as soon as we learned of this misunderstanding, and SD&I is running a note in their May issue to alert readers of the online update." The online version was changed to state those specific regulations 'should be met' rather than 'must' be met.

Furthermore, they objected to our referring to this as an inaccuracy:

"What you refer to as an “inaccuracy” is a subtle language difference between an imperative and a subjunctive phrasing. Having noted that the phrasing could be read both ways after the article was printed, we changed the phrasing in the online archive to clarify the meaning – to clarify that these suggestions were opinions, not requirements. Of course, verb modality changes like this sometimes are not spotted before printing, but we make every effort to correct mistakes or clarify opinions -- as we have done here."

Even the correction is problematic. Saying that they should be met and not informing the reader that they are rarely met is very misleading. It also significantly undermines Axis's case for hosted video being secure. Maybe the providers should be meeting these regulations but since most do not, this more strongly shows that hosted video is insecure - the opposite of Axis's claim.

The article has a number of other misleading elements, primarily conflating Axis's own hosted video offering with the general market including claims about NAS support, cameras only connecting to the service, eliminating complex setup, etc. While these are all strengths of the Axis solution, many rival providers do not offer these features. The article incorrectly implies that these are common or standard hosted video elements.

In disproving the myth that hosted video is too costly, Axis makes an extremely weak case that, "an IP-based hosted video solution in some cases can turn out to be a lower capital expenditure than installing an analog solution for small camera count systems." We've debunked this previously with Axis never responding or disproving our analysis.

Op-Ed or Advertorial

Our other key concern is the article is being presented as an op-ed piece rather than a promotion. Only at the very end of the article is Axis's name even cited. Nowhere in the article is it mentioned that Axis even has a hosted video solution. Despite this, the article has an infomerical tone (e.g., myths busted, truths revealed, think again, etc.). We asked the publisher about the positioning of the article:

"This column is an op-ed piece. The byline [name of the author] at the beginning and the author statement at the end are sufficient and standard credit. The author statement historically appears at the end of any article, whether that is an online article, a magazine column, or a piece from the op-ed page of any major newspaper.

Certainly, we are not trying to hide the fact that Fredrik Nilsson (one of the most recognizable figures in this industry) works for Axis Communications and that Axis Communications sells video surveillance solutions. In fact, we asked Mr. Nilsson to author this column largely because of his very active thought leadership role in the industry. "

While we suspect most integrators do not know who Fredrik Nilsson (or any manufacturer employee) is by name, this approach is common in the physical/ electronic security industry. Nonetheless, we do not believe this is right nor in the best interests of the community of integrators or end users. Indeed, in other technology segments, magazines clearly disclose potential conflicts up front. See a good example of how Network World handled a submission of March Networks with an up front disclaimer. Additionally, even in our own industry, Info4Security does a better job alerting readers to potential conflicts (see the HDcctv's 'contribution' as an example).

Axis has every right to passionately advocate for their position. However it's dangerous to claim that an obvious promotion for a company's own solution is 'thought leadership.' Creating a new myth and misinforming the community under the guise of such 'leadership' is simply wrong.

3 reports cite this report:

New Surveillance Products Directory Fall 2011 on Sep 21, 2011
This report provides a summary of key announcements and news being made related to or around the ASIS 2011 show.For each product or change, where...
EMC's Entry to the VSaaS Market on Aug 14, 2011
Over the last 2 years, interest in VSaaS has risen significantly yet most of the providers have been startups and small companies. Now, EMC, a ...
2011 Mid Year Video Surveillance Review on Jun 11, 2011
The first half of 2011 featured a number of important shifts within the video surveillance industry. In this report, we provide an overview of the...
Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Genetec Takes Aim At 'Untrustworthy' 'Foreign Government-Owned Vendors' on Sep 24, 2018
Genetec is taking aim at 'untrustworthy' 'foreign government-owned vendors'. This is not a new theme for Genetec as nearly 2 years ago, Genetec...
Directory Of 110+ Video Management Software (VMS) Suppliers on Aug 30, 2018
This directory provides a list of Video Management Software providers to help you see and research what options are available. Listing...
Directory of Video Surveillance Startups on Jul 18, 2018
This directory provides a list of video surveillance startups to help you see and research what companies are new or not yet broadly known entity...
UK VSaaS Startup Ocucon on Jul 03, 2018
Decreasing exposure to fraudulent slip-and-fall insurance claims and lawsuits is one of the oldest selling points of video surveillance for retail....
Camio Wins 24,000 Camera AI VSaaS Customer on Jun 29, 2018
Silicon Valley Artificial Intelligent VSaaS startup Camio has announced it has won a 24,000 camera deal, a sizeable system for a small...
Hikvision Covers Up Racial Profiling And AI Error on Jun 25, 2018
Faced with global scrutiny, led by the US government-funded Voice of America (VOA), Hikvision has covered up evidence showing their racial...
Hikvision Corrects False Cybersecurity Announcement on Jun 18, 2018
Hikvision has corrected a false cybersecurity announcement that claimed a British government-sponsored program endorsed the cybersecurity of...
The Dumb Ones: PSA's Bozeman On Cybersecurity on Jun 15, 2018
The smart ones are the hundred people who flew to Denver and spent $500+ on a 1.5-day conference featuring (now US government banned) Dahua as a...
Dahua's Terrible Cybersecurity, Buys Credibility From PSA And SIA on Jun 04, 2018
Dahua has a terrible cybersecurity track record. But American organizations, like the Security Industry Association (SIA) and the PSA Security...
Amazon's "Dangerous New Face Recognition Technology" Says ACLU on May 23, 2018
The ACLU has caused a stir, with a new report Amazon Teams Up With Law Enforcement to Deploy Dangerous New Face Recognition Technology,...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Ladders For Installers Guide on Sep 25, 2018
Ladders are one of the most important pieces of worksite equipment for the surveillance technician. Too often, however, even highly experienced...
Favorite Access Control Reader Manufacturer 2018 on Sep 25, 2018
Favorite reader votes are in, and it is not close. A global access giant ran away with the votes in a one-sided contest. But for many, the...
Genetec Takes Aim At 'Untrustworthy' 'Foreign Government-Owned Vendors' on Sep 24, 2018
Genetec is taking aim at 'untrustworthy' 'foreign government-owned vendors'. This is not a new theme for Genetec as nearly 2 years ago, Genetec...
4MP Camera Shootout - Axis, Dahua, DW, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Sep 24, 2018
4MP usage continues to climb, especially for low cost fixed lens models. To see who was best, we bought and tested seven 4MP models from Axis,...
Alexa Guard Expands Amazon's Security Offerings, Boosts ADT's Stock on Sep 21, 2018
Amazon is expanding their security offerings yet again, this time with Alexa Guard that delivers security audio analytics and a virtual "Fake...
UTC, Owner of Lenel, Acquires S2 on Sep 20, 2018
UTC now owns two of the biggest access control providers, one of integrator's most hated access control platforms, Lenel, and one of their...
BluePoint Aims To Bring Life-Safety Mind-Set To Police Pull Stations on Sep 20, 2018
Fire alarm pull stations are commonplace but police ones are not. A self-funded startup, BluePoint Alert Solutions is aiming to make police pull...
SIA Plays Dumb On OEMs And Hikua Ban on Sep 20, 2018
OEMs widely pretend to be 'manufacturers', deceiving their customers and putting them at risk for cybersecurity attacks and, soon, violation of US...
Axis Vs. Hikvision IR PTZ Shootout on Sep 20, 2018
Hikvision has their high-end dual-sensor DarkfighterX. Axis has their high-end concealed IR Q6125-LE. Which is better? We bought both and tested...
Avigilon Announces AI-Powered H5 Camera Development on Sep 19, 2018
Avigilon will be showcasing "next-generation AI" at next week's ASIS GSX. In an atypical move, the company is not actually releasing these...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact