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Why Dealers Should Check In On Outdated IP Security Cameras Before It’s Too Late

Network updates can render older IP cameras useless. Regular check-ins with clients can catch these instances before an incident occurs.

In the ever-changing landscape of modern information technology, there’s a possibility that many older generation IP-based security products are being “left behind” for reasons that are not complicated and can be easily corrected. Without proper supervision, clients often discover — unfortunately, but typically, after an incident — that devices such as cameras or alarm systems may have been disconnected from the network and have not been functioning as intended. For example, corporate clients may have thousands of cameras on one or multiple properties running over their network. These devices may not have been viewed or inspected regularly, potentially resulting in systems failing without authorized knowledge. Imagine a client losing hundreds of cameras during a normal network upgrade — and not being aware that the devices have been inadvertently disconnected and are no longer in service — only for the malfunction to be discovered when the cameras are eventually inspected or sensitive images are needed for investigative purposes.

Network Upgrade Issues Can Snowball

These service interruptions are often the result of miscommunication between IT and security personnel, whether it’s for scheduled network upgrades or updating user-access privileges, for example. In the majority of cases that have come to our attention, we discover a routine switch upgrade or software upgrade has taken place within the network and the IP-based security device did not come back online after the IT work was completed.The good news is that the IT department is continuously seeking ways to provide safe and secure network access for all parts of your customer’s business, of which security remains a priority.

Another scenario that often goes undetected can occur when the IP camera, which may have been installed and put on the network five years ago, no longer works following an IT upgrade.

Chances are it won’t merely be one product that’s negatively impacted, and what started as a simple service ticket being issued for a five-year-old device not working may result in the replacement of hundreds of cameras no longer compatible with the newly deployed IT hardware.

In simple terms, the IP cameras developed years ago were very rudimentary in terms of firmware and did not have the auto-configuration software options that today’s devices contain. This may impact the ability for the device to restore without manual intervention, often requiring a technician to be dispatched to reprogram the device manually. If the camera is mounted on a pole or building, requiring a lift to access the camera, the situation creates a greater expense and longer response time to restore service.

Chances are it won’t merely be one product that’s negatively impacted, and what started as a simple service ticket being issued for a five-year-old device not working may result in the replacement of hundreds of cameras no longer compatible with the newly deployed IT hardware. It’s a fact: older IP devices are becoming incapable of working with new switch gear being deployed to keep up with demand.

Are Device Replacements Scheduled or Malicious?

Another issue we’ve seen is the substitution of an existing IP security device at the edge of the network. Cameras are often replaced for normal day-to-day service issues, but what if a camera is being substituted for malicious reasons? Would the IT department know if the device was replaced, and what is the response protocol for such an action? In some cases when looking for unauthorized servers, laptops or other storage devices, a foreign MAC (media access control) address would be detected through network supervision software, typically deployed to detect unauthorized or unrecognized hardware from operating within the customer’s network.

Related-3 Easy Steps to Keeping Hackers Away From Your Cameras

Security devices may not be monitored as they are considered low risk and often relegated to a dedicated subnet, creating some isolation from the main network. This does not preclude the opportunity for systems to be compromised; aside from replacing a device, consider that the programming may be altered. What was a single camera streaming video to a network server, could now be a different camera with an onboard storage SD card, which is now multistreaming the video content. These scenarios are playing out across corporate networks worldwide, creating new challenges for security integration and IT professionals alike. A new generation of software is entering the landscape to bridge the gap of supervision between IP security deployments and the networks they operate within. These new applications will create an extremely robust offering capable of supervising all security-based IP edge products. Clients can create supervision rules that will notify security and IT personnel upon any change in functionality or presence. All of these changes mean today’s integrators should be poised to enter the managed services marketplace. Such newly layered applications can provide the real-time monitoring of the entire security enterprise, giving customers instant notification of component failure and reporting. Keep in mind this will not resolve the issue of older security IP devices getting “left behind.” As companies upgrade network hardware, integrators need to maintain a regular dialog with the customer’s IT department and stay ahead of upgrade schedules to ensure maximum uptime.

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