Key IT Concerns for Security Deployments

By: John Honovich, Published on Dec 14, 2009

A US integrator has published a list and explanation of key IT concerns [link no longer available] to consider when deploying security systems. While we think many of them make good sense, a few of them may be 'over-kill' or inapplicable to common security systems.

The key points on his list include:

  • Database Selection and Management
  • Bandwidth and Switch Utilization
  • Redundancy and Backup
  • Integration
  • Ports and Security
  • Compliance with Legal Requirements
The main two points we question are (A) database and (B) Redundancy/backup.
 
For most video surveillance systems, IT should not select or attempt to use 'common' RDMS systems set up for general IT applications. This is simply because the upside is minimal and the cost of integrating and maintaining this can be significant. It is generally 'good enough' to allow the RDMS be embedded into the VMS and transparent to all involved.
 
The integrator is critical of integrator's approach to redundancy/backup: "Most physical security people don’t think much about backup or redundancy – they just assume that things will work until they don’t." While many people may assume this, the relative low importance of redundancy/backup also reflects a historical price premium that video surveillance systems could not justify. As few as 5 years ago, a DVR with RAID was almost double the cost of a DVR without RAID, making storage redundancy a pricey option that few could afford. This is compounded in the reality that per bit, video surveillance data is much less valuable than financial or customer records.
 
One area, not mentioned, that we do believe is under-utilized is power backup and line-conditioning. While incurring modest up-front cost increases, minimizing power failures and voltage swings can extend the average life of surveillance equipment.
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