11 Reasons Cloud Video Surveillance is Moving to the Cloud

Report by Dean Drako, CEO of Eagle Eye Networks


This report provides a detailed comparison of VSaaS vs. Internet-connected traditional security camera systems.

VSaaS, or Video Surveillance as a Service, refers to hosted cloud-based video surveillance. The service typically includes video recording, storage, remote viewing, management alerts, cyber security and more. 93 percent of businesses have now adopted cloud solutions. Cloud technology advances and greater bandwidth availability are making VSaaS – also called cloud video surveillance – is increasingly attractive.

This white paper will clarify the fundamentals of a true cloud system, using guidelines set by the US Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology.

It provides an 11 point comparison of key differences between “VSaaS” cloud-based video management system (VMS), and an internet-connected traditional DVR, NVR, or VMS. This checklist can help you assess which system type will best fit your company’s and/or your customers’ needs.

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1. Cloud Adoption and Economics of Scale

More than 9 in 10 businesses are currently using cloud technology, including email, phone, backup, applications, and increasingly, video surveillance. A survey of 930 respondents using cloud infrastructure showed that 88 percent achieved savings. 60 percent were able to reduce IT support, often redeploying IT personnel to other projects. Almost half (49 percent) were able to grow their business from cloud use.

Cloud technology offers businesses substantial economies of scale. Let’s take a look at the various cost savings, all contributing to the lower total cost of ownership.


Lower Upfront Capital Expenditures

A well-established cloud savings benefit is the reduced upfront capital costs, offering companies the opportunity to invest precious capital into other business areas, whether it is cash on hand or borrowed money.

Fully Utilized Hardware

Because multiple companies share server infrastructure, the hardware is more fully utilized, and the cost for supporting workloads goes down.

Lower Power Costs

Better hardware utilization means no idle servers. When you run your own data center, you will rarely fully-utilize your servers. Idle servers waste energy. So the better hardware utilization of the shared infrastructure also means more efficient power use, and the energy costs are lower.

Reduced IT Staffing Cost

The expenses associated with experienced IT personnel, including salary, benefits and other employment costs, is typically greater than the cost of hardware and software. The cloud provider’s IT staff supports a shared infrastructure, so the total IT personnel cost is lower than if you did the work in-house. Thus you can reduce your own IT expenses, or redeploy employees to areas generating greater income.

Reliability & Redundancy

To achieve a highly redundant and reliable system, you must purchase additional hardware to protect against failures. Having spare hardware lying idle is an expensive way to maximize uptime. Typical cloud systems have several data center locations.

2. Fundamental Elements of a “True Cloud” System (VSaaS)

Cloud technology is still new enough to video surveillance that there is some confusion. A true cloud video surveillance system – or VSaaS – with its associated benefits, is very different from a traditional DVR, NVR, or video management software (VMS) solution connected to the internet for remote access or remote storage.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has created The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing which can help clarify some of the differences. NIST defines a cloud system as having five “essential characteristics,” as summarized below.

On-Demand Self-Service

A user can automatically set and adjust capabilities without requiring human interaction with each service provider.

Broad Network Access

The capabilities are available over the network and accessed through standard mechanisms that promote use by thin or thick clients, such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and workstations.

Resource Pooling

The service provider’s computing resources are pooled to serve multiple consumers, with different physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned and reassigned according to consumer demand. Examples of resources include storage, processing, memory, and network bandwidth.

Rapid Elasticity

Capabilities can be elastically provisioned and released, in some cases automatically, to scale rapidly outward and inward commensurate with demand.

Measured Service

Cloud systems automatically control and optimize resource use by leveraging a metering capability appropriate to the type of service. Resource usage can be monitored, controlled, and reported, providing transparency.

To deliver these five “true cloud” essential characteristics the compute resources are executed in a shared cloud infrastructure – it can be a public or a private cloud. Let’s look at how this works for VSaaS (cloud video surveillance) in contrast with a traditional DVR, NVR or VMS that is connected to the internet.

Internet Connected Traditional DVR/NVR/VMS

With a traditional system, the video processing and recording and management occur on a computer installed at your site.

This video may be later accessed via an internet connection for viewing or archival storage.

Cloud Based VMS/VSaaS

With a true cloud solution, the video processing and management is performed by the cloud. The system may have an onsite device to communicate with the cameras and the cloud, but the device is simple and acts as a communications conduit.

Secure remote video access and cloud storage are architected into the system.

3. Eleven Points of Comparison: VSaaS/Cloud vs. Traditional

In the point-by-point comparisons below, we use the features associated with more advanced cloud surveillance systems, emphasizing areas on where there are the greatest differences between systems.

These comparisons can serve as a foundation checklist when you are comparing systems and assessing which best meets your needs. You can use the list to compare:

  • Cloud systems vs. internet-connected traditional systems.
  • Levels of robustness between cloud systems. Even with VSaaS offerings, there can be a range of the features and functionality.


Efficiencies and Total Cost of Ownership

3.1 System Installation

Internet Connected Traditional DVR/NVR/VMS

Deploying a traditional system is a long, complex process. You must install the operating system software, configure your routers, set up storage servers, configure your cameras, and install the application software.

Cloud Based VMS/VSaaS

A cloud-based system has an on-demand deployment. You plug in the on-premise bridge appliance and can auto-configure your cameras. (Additional information on camera management and support can be found in section 3.6.)

3.2 System Support

Internet Connected Traditional DVR/NVR/VMS

It is a manually intensive process to support and maintain the on-site hardware and software, firmware and configuration updates.