Leveraging hybrid cloud to boost public safety

Designing, operating, and maintaining a security camera network can be a complex undertaking for councils to manage, writes George Moawad.

George Moawad

Local government is at the coal face of delivering services to communities. One of those critical services is ensuring the safety of people as they go about their day-to-day business in local shopping strips, at parks and when engaging in sports and recreation activities.

For many councils, this involves the installation of security camera networks that can capture events that require further attention or support investigations by law enforcement agencies.

Designing, operating, and maintaining a security camera network is complex. And local governments are rarely equipped with the technical resources and sufficient systems capacity to manage such an endeavour.

This is why it is critical they choose platforms that give them the insights and information they need in a timely manner while remaining simple to operate and not being overly taxing on limited budgets and technical resources.

Operations needs v data protection

Finding a way to balance operational needs with obligations to protect citizen data is challenging. The private sector initially embraced cloud infrastructure to minimise the capital outlay associated with new systems.

But local government is subject to different operational, regulatory, and financial constraints. For example, citizen data such as video footage needs to be retained either on-site or onshore which either limits cloud options or removes them completely. And the tools needed to analyse and provide real-time, actionable information may be too costly or complex to install and operate on site. 

One of the challenges many organisations face with hybrid solutions is that data becomes dispersed across services and a loss of system-wide visibility results. It’s a tried-and-true business maxim that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. And you can’t measure what you can’t see.

Avoiding fractured systems

When systems are spread across on-prem and cloud services, they can become fractured making it difficult to get a holistic view of what is really going on. The problem is not with hybrid cloud systems specifically. The problem comes when they are not designed, deployed, and operated with that unified view in mind from the outset.

Local governments have adopted hybrid cloud infrastructure with their physical security systems to reduce costs, improve data security and streamline operations.

Use-cases, such as the transition from analogue camera networks to digital, require an investment in new backend systems. By choosing a cloud-based system, a new network can be established with a significantly lower capital outlay. Once the network is established, it can be transitioned to an on-prem instance, providing the cloud system has an on-prem equivalent.

With many local governments operating across multiple sites, operating an entire physical security system from a central data centre can be challenging. But by leveraging public infrastructure that is secured to a government-endorsed level, local councils can take leverage hybrid cloud solutions to ensure they have the flexibility to meet all their needs. 

Common user experience

As well as choosing the hybrid cloud infrastructure, local governments need to ensure the systems they operate on that infrastructure offer a common user experience, so security teams don’t need to learn how to use different systems. 

As well as boosting agility and reducing costs, it enables local government departments and agencies to keep infrastructure on-premise for added storage, processing power, and bandwidth optimisation.

Local government is constantly facing pressure to deliver increased agility within tightening budgets and obligations to ensure citizens are kept safe and when crimes do occur offenders can be apprehended and prosecuted quickly.

Hybrid cloud infrastructure enables councils to quickly deploy physical security systems, flexibly manage system resources and manage costs.

Coupled with platforms that are designed to work across hybrid infrastructure, they give local governments the ability to balance competing priorities while enhancing public safety and assisting law enforcement. 

* George Moawad is Country Manager, Australia & New Zealand at Genetec

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