Facility Security, Security Hardware and Technology

10 Ways Security Professionals Should Utilize Video Cameras

In today’s environment, security professionals should consider installing or reviewing security cameras in their facilities for a variety of reasons. The topic of video cameras was discussed during the recent session “Review of Untapped Innovative Opportunities and Possibilities Around Healthcare Physical Security” as part of the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety’s (IAHSS) 54th Annual Conference and Exhibition 2022 in Reno, Nevada. The slideshow of the presentation can be viewed here.

While security cameras can be found in hospitals and medical facilities, they can also be found in a variety of other environments, including retail, warehouses, banks, sports arenas, schools, construction sites, and traffic lights.

According to speaker Katarina Kemper, a healthcare public safety and security consultant, security professionals should consider three factors and their costs when installing security cameras:

  1. Camera locations—inside or outside; access points, hallways, or other areas;
  2. Camera type—fixed or a pan-tilt-zoom; network or analog cameras; and
  3. Video retention—digital video recorders and data compression methods.

Also, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a report regarding cameras and how to set up a complex closed-circuit television (CCTV) system.

There are 10 ways security professionals should utilize security cameras:

1. Asset Security

Company assets can include not only the merchandise in retail stores and restaurants but also physical spaces and products in all types of facilities. According to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), asset security can include people, systems, and processes and recommends that security professionals pay particular attention to these critical assets.

2. Employee Monitoring

Kemper suggests that employers use cameras to ensure employees accurately clock in or out and advocates for their use in all areas so that if employees claim they were injured at work, the claim can be verified based on the date and time they say the injury occurred. Additionally, cameras can be used to monitor employees to ensure they are doing their jobs and capture footage of internal thefts.

3. Suspicious Activities

Suspicious activities, such as vehicles parked in odd locations, abandoned bags, open windows or doors that should be closed, or out-of-the-ordinary situations, can be picked up by security cameras so security professionals can be dispatched to the appropriate locations to investigate those situations.

4. Suspicious or Missing People

Security professionals can utilize security cameras to investigate missing person claims and reports that a missing person has been located. They should also be sure to report serious child-abduction cases to law enforcement, who can then issue an AMBER Alert. Highly sophisticated software can detect suspicious people, such as those constantly looking over their shoulders, moving too quickly, or standing in one place for too long. Security professionals should immediately investigate these types of situations.

5. Public Health Risks

Security cameras can be upgraded with a thermal imaging component to measure the temperature of individuals entering a facility, though, according to the DHS, these cameras cannot detect temperature through glass. These types of cameras were popular during COVID upticks and could become popular again if another COVID wave happens or there is another pandemic or contagious illness. These cameras can also be valuable when doing contact tracing to determine whether multiple people have been infected with COVID or other infectious diseases.

6. Information Security

Security professionals should remember that the protection of their security cameras does not just extend to their physical safety; default passwords can easily be found online and should immediately be changed to passwords that are not easy to guess, such as those that contain lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters. The Total Security Advisor article “How Government Organizations Can Protect Their Physical Security Systems from Cyber-Risk” advises security professionals to ensure their security cameras have an updated network design and are adequately maintained, ensure employees are properly trained on their operation, and protect against using vulnerable devices.

7. Disasters

Exterior security cameras can be used to monitor weather conditions such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding to determine whether it is safe to leave the facility. They can also monitor for hazardous conditions like fires and explosions at energy and manufacturing facilities, as well as monitor disasters caused by malicious people within a facility, such as fights, hostage situations, robberies, and active shooter situations.

8. Vandalism

To prevent property damage, security professionals should keep in mind the history of vandalism at their properties and install cameras in areas where vandalism has occurred in the past. These cameras should be placed in out-of-reach areas where they cannot be tampered with. It’s important to have a clear image of those committing vandalism so it can be provided to law enforcement and the individuals can be prosecuted.

9. Parking Lots

It is important that parking lots have noticeable security cameras to make people feel safe and to deter criminal activities and prevent vehicles from driving into parking lots outside operating hours. In paid parking lots, these cameras can also catch people who try to park without paying. Additionally, security professionals should ensure that security cameras have night vision for clear images during the night and should be able to respond in real time to any incidents.

10. Elopement

Kemper noted that security professionals at healthcare facilities should ensure that patients do not leave the facilities where they are currently residing or being treated. This can be an issue especially with patients with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Internal cameras can monitor patients in hallways and common areas, and external cameras can easily determine if patients are on hospital grounds or recently left those grounds. These cameras should also be designed to easily confirm identity.

Overall, security professionals should work with information technology, risk management, facilities management, and executives to ensure security cameras are effective in monitoring asset security, employees, suspicious activities, suspicious and missing people, public health risks, information security, disasters, parking lots, and elopement.