The advantages of moving to a cloud-based commercial video surveillance solution are clear. Retailers can save time and money by reducing management and maintenance costs while gaining greater flexibility, a higher level of security, and the ability to easily monitor multiple sites from any device.

As it turns out, though, not all video-surveillance-as-a-service (VSaaS) solutions are created equal. As with any purchasing decision, it’s important to consider a number of factors when it comes time to actually select a VSaaS vendor. Here are a few key tips to take into account to help find the solution that is best for your retail operation.

Choose Open Instead of Closed

These days, the word “cloud” is used as a catch-all term to describe everything from online data storage to productivity and collaboration tools. In its most basic definition, cloud computing refers to the on-demand availability of computing resources without direct management by the user. This can be achieved in a number of different ways, and one of the most significant differentiators among cloud providers is whether their offering is “open”, meaning accessible to multiple products and companies, or “closed”, meaning private and exclusive to one customer.

When it comes to a retail video surveillance systems, that distinction can make a big difference. Private cloud solutions are built on proprietary platforms and generally do not interoperate with other cloud-based products and services. Open, or public, clouds, on the other hand, are built on widely used platforms from technology giants like Amazon or Google, and are designed to be compatible with thousands of other products that utilize the same platform. In addition to opening the door to easy integrations, going with a VSaaS solution that uses a public cloud will help save valuable IT costs by eliminating the need for an in-house team to manage and maintain servers and other equipment. And because public clouds are operated by large, proven technology providers, they generally offer greater security and more timely and accessible customer support.

Look For a Solution That Doesn’t Force You to Purchase New Cameras

You’ve probably already invested in a suite of cameras and expensive security equipment for your retail operation, and the last thing you want to do is choose a cloud solution that forces you to purchase an entirely new hardware stack. Unfortunately, many VSaaS products do exactly that by requiring retailers to use one specific brand of equipment. It’s no coincidence that the required cameras are often sold by the same company offering the VSaaS product, ultimately leaving you with a hefty bill that cuts into the cost savings you were looking for by switching to the cloud in the first place.

Instead, look for vendors who support a wide variety of camera brands and models as part of an open, interoperable VSaaS solution. This approach saves significant money on switching costs without disrupting your day-to-day operations by tearing out and re-installing new equipment across multiple locations.

Find a VSaaS Provider That Plays Well With Others

As you well know, retail security is a complicated, multifaceted topic that spans multiple different functions. Video surveillance is just one part of a complete solution, and it’s critical that any VSaaS solution you choose is able to easily integrate with every piece of your security plan.

The most common way for technology products to work together is via an Application Program Interface (API), which essentially allows two or more computer programs to talk to each other. The best VSaaS solutions will include robust APIs that integrate with critical security functions such as access control, forensic search, analytics, and other key components of a complete security set-up. It’s important to kick the tires on your vendor’s approach to APIs and integrations, as many solutions will only work with products from specific partner companies, creating headaches and incurring extra expense for you at the end of the day.

Security is the Name of the Game

It may seem like simple common sense to point out that your retail video surveillance system should itself be highly secure, but you can never be too careful when you’re looking to safeguard your retail business. All vendors will claim to be compliant and secure, of course, but it’s incumbent upon you as the buyer to dig deeper before you purchase.

Thankfully, there’s a simple and straightforward way to verify that the VSaaS solution you’re considering is up-to-snuff when it comes to securing data and ensuring privacy: look for companies that have achieved SOC 2, Type 2 compliance. Evaluating against a stringent set of criteria developed by the American Institute of CPAS (AICPA), the SOC 2, Type 2 process audits how a cloud-based service provider handles sensitive information, covering both the suitability of a company’s controls and its operating effectiveness. By choosing an SOC 2, Type 2 compliant vendor, you can rest assured that your valuable, sensitive information will be safe and secure.

In conclusion, VSaaS for retail is a game-changer for the retail industry. With its many benefits, including scalability, flexibility, and security, it’s no wonder that more and more retailers are adopting cloud-based video surveillance solutions. As we move into the future, it’s clear that VSaaS for retail will continue to evolve and improve, providing even more value to retailers.

If you’re interested in learning more about retail video surveillance systems, check out our Arcules Retail Cloud Surveillance Solutions. Our VSaaS solution has helped other retailers achieve their goals, and you can schedule a free consultation with our Customer Success Manager or read our customer success stories.