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It’s become clear that video surveillance and physical security systems are essentially a requirement for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to protect their people and property in this day and age. But once an organization has made the decision to implement these kinds of solutions, the next step involves determining how to best manage and store the systems and the abundance of data that they generate.

This decision may seem overwhelming to SMBs given the options available and the knowledge required to make an educated choice. That’s why we’re breaking down how to navigate what’s out there so that SMBs can select a solution that’s right for them and their business.

The choice is often narrowed down to three of the most commonly used options for surveillance on the market today:


Most SMBs are likely familiar with traditional, on-premise surveillance solutions. These require the organization to use proprietary architecture to run the solution within its own data center. All security operations and monitoring therefore take place in house, allowing SMBs to be in control of all decision-making and data handling. On-prem solutions may be a good fit for customized configuration that is unique to the organization’s needs.

But you may not want to run with an on-prem solution if you’re wary of a significant cost investment. This route is typically expensive to install and maintain, with a number of costs associated with up-front investment in equipment, as well as IT support and training. On-prem solutions can also be cumbersome to update without specific expertise, so if your SMB doesn’t possess a robust IT team, it may be challenging to maintain the solution as your business evolves.


Most SMBs have also probably heard about the cloud but are lacking a full perspective on how it works and what it means for their organization. We’ve discussed the details here, but in general, the cloud refers to the delivery of hosted services over the internet, shifting the storage and management responsibility to an integrator.

The cloud is an optimal surveillance solution for SMBs looking to experience scalability and flexibility when it comes to streamlining video and business operations, as well as identifying the most prominent risks facing the organization. If your SMB is looking for a way to centralize surveillance and data management, the cloud would be an excellent choice. Cloud solutions also provide automatic updates and a long-term relationship with the integrator for continued support, which can be helpful for SMBs that need extra assistance.

However, the cloud may not be the best option for SMBs that don’t have the bandwidth required for streaming footage. The cost of streaming 24/7 can certainly add up, and if your business demands extensive viewing, an on-prem solution may make more sense. Additionally, while the security of data transmitted to the cloud can be ensured through practices such as encryption, if your SMB has strict compliance regulations, shifting to this method may create apprehension.


Hybrid cloud models seemingly provide the best of both worlds, allowing for a mix of on-premise, private, and/or third-party public cloud services. For simplicity’s sake, Forrester Research defines hybrid cloud as “one or more public clouds connected to something in my data center. That thing could be a private cloud, that thing could just be a traditional data center infrastructure.“

Workloads and data are then able to move freely between the various pieces, creating an advantage for SMBs that are looking for a balance between the two aforementioned options — and a solution that is tailored to their needs. For example, if demand increases and exceeds the limits of an SMB’s on-prem solution, the cloud solution can take over. And if your SMB is looking for a cost-efficient option, hybrid cloud models are ideal for savings and scalability.

But a hybrid cloud solution may not be the right fit for your SMB if you require extremely high speeds and data transfer, as it can create integration/capability issues. Hybrid cloud models also still necessitate cloud expertise and management through an IT team, which may not be readily available at your SMB.

Decision Time

In the end, selecting a video surveillance option for your SMB comes down to the individual requirements that your business feels are most important for success. Though many SMBs are transitioning away from on-prem solutions, they still offer valuable features that can accomplish the goals of your business. At the same time, incorporating the cloud into your organization can turn video and sensor data into valuable information that provides business insights, comprehensive security, and increased efficiencies.

Is Cloud Right for Your SMB?

It is important that SMBs fully analyze the various offerings and what they provide. When considering the best option for your SMB’s physical security system, consider the following: 

  1. Do you possess a robust IT team that’s capable of handling storage and data management?
  2. Do you see your company growing in the future, and therefore might benefit from a scalable system?
  3. Does the as-a-service model make more sense for your business compared to the capital expenses associated with an on-premise system?
  4. Do you want 24/7 access to your video surveillance systems — across multiple locations — from anywhere and at any time?

Depending on your resource availability and needs, a cloud or hybrid solution may be ideal. The cloud enables SMBs to turn their video and sensor data into valuable information that provides business insights, comprehensive security, and increased efficiencies — all in a cost-effective and streamlined fashion. Learn more here about the possibilities and feel free to contact Arcules to assist in your search for a surveillance and security solution.