Can Video Surveillance Be DIY?

Taking a DIY approach to any given task can be admirable – but also, misguided. Wouldn’t you agree that there’s a difference between putting your furniture together by yourself, and trying to install your own video surveillance system?

Whether you agree or not, the fact is that there’s a big difference between the two. Despite the fact that many IP camera systems will claim to be easy to install and maintain, it’s not necessarily that simple.

Video Surveillance In The Cannabis Industry

Despite the fact that medical marijuana laws and regulations differ from state to state, they all share one thing in common – all dispensary and grow facility’s management must have a fully functional video recording and surveillance system setup and installed.

The security system is used to monitor the dispensary, employees, and customers at all times. The correctly installed security system picks up all activity in these areas:

  • Offices
  • Inventory
  • Sales floor
  • Stock area
  • Parking lot
  • Grow facility
  • Employee activity

Now, you may feel this is yet another regulatory burden placed on your business, and that the best way to deal with it is to just install a couple IP cameras on your own and then move on to more pressing matters.

Unfortunately, doing so could put you at risk…

Key Issues With DIY Video Surveillance

The core problem with modern video surveillance is the fact that it’s connected to your local network. IP cameras are like any Internet of Things devices – they’re “smart”, meaning they rely on your network to function. This makes for a generally convenient user experience, allowing you to view streams through an app on your smartphone, control the devices remotely, etc. However, as with any network-enabled device, the more convenient they are, the less secure they are.

  1. Default Security (Or, Lack Thereof)
    Forescount researchers recently ran a white-hat experiment to test the security capabilities of IP cameras. They found that, under default configurations, these camera systems were extremely easy to penetrate, and even swap real footage for a fake stream – ever seen Ocean’s 11?

    Without the right skill set, it’s likely that you won’t know how to configure these devices to enhance their security. In setting up a surveillance system as simply as possible, you would leave your business vulnerable.

  2. Ongoing Maintenance
    Beyond the initial setup, you also have to consider the ongoing management of these devices. As with any technology, from time to time the manufacturers will identify a vulnerability in their firmware, for which they will release a patch.

    Be honest – how often do you update your software when prompted to? If you’re like most of us, probably not that often. Unfortunately, when it comes to IP cameras, this can also put you at serious risk of a breach.

  3. Limited Security Capabilities
    If you were going to buy an IP surveillance system right now, what would you look for? Color HD video streams? Cameras that can swivel and rotate?

    What about encryption? That’s another point of consideration. Even before installation and maintenance, you need to consider whether you know what to look for in a surveillance system’s security capabilities.

    Encryption of your video feeds is a great way to protect yourself – this is something a professional would know, but a layman may not.

As you can see, there’s plenty to consider when it comes to your cannabis business’ video surveillance. Are you confident you can handle it on your own?

Like this article? Check out the following blogs to learn more:

Are You Complying With The BCC Requirements For Video Surveillance?

The Journey To Legalize Recreational Cannabis In California

Cannabis & Computers: A Critical Relationship

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