The importance of securing surveillance footage

CCTV Handbook 2022 Surveillance, Infrastructure

David Odayar, Westcon Southern Africa.

We collect video surveillance footage for a specific purpose, such as monitoring a secure area to ensure there is no theft or to ensure the safety of individuals. The footage itself can be used in criminal investigations, as evidence in court, or for internal disciplinary hearings. This means that the footage cannot have been tampered with and must be pure, raw footage recounting the events under scrutiny.

Additionally, as a business, you should ascribe to a zero-trust approach to all aspects of your security in your organisation. The first step here is having complete visibility of all your devices – and video surveillance footage is just as important here.

Where do security solutions start?

Where you implement and secure video surveillance cameras depends on how and where they are installed. To secure them effectively, you need to understand where all the endpoints and touchpoints for your setup land.

For example, some organisations run these natively, within a closed system, where the data is eventually uploaded to an on-premises data centre. Others plug the system directly into the cloud so that they can perform video analytics. With the rate at which attacks are occurring and the ability of cybercriminals to target these cameras, it’s important to protect all locations.

What does this mean? It means investing in on-premises and cloud firewalls, plugging holes in your network, whether the LAN, Wi-Fi, WAN, data centre, SD-WAN connection, or the interconnectivity to your cloud. In short, your security needs to extend from the edge to the data centre and everywhere in between. That can even start with just changing the passwords on your cameras and upgrading your firmware as good general housekeeping. You also need to select the right security vendors for the different layers of security, for example, selecting both Check Point and Palo Alto for their specialist services as opposed to one or the other.

How difficult is it to secure ‘everything’?

It is generally impossible to have a 100% unbreachable network because the attack surface proliferates. One way to handle it is to use tools, like IoT management solutions, to manage all endpoints in your environment and ensure that they are covered under your security umbrella and that you are rolling out security patches across devices as they are released. A good tip is to opt for scalable security solutions.

There is no single solution for security, therefore, zero trust is a must, but so is access control. Businesses must limit access to sensitive data and resources both internally and externally, which can be done through your security management systems. In addition, physical measures like locking the areas where the footage is collected, access cards, biometric systems and multi-factor authentication should also be used.

Other best practices include complexity elimination by reducing the use of unnecessary or unused software that can result in policy mistakes and regular scanning of digital assets and data centres. Another is network segmentation with tools like Check Point and/or Palo Alto firewalls and micro-segmentation to divide the network into smaller units that are easier to manage.

An IoT management platform is an excellent place to start. It offers a single view of the entire environment, and then because these cameras are still endpoints on your network, firewalls are essential to ensure threat extraction and emulation.

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