Internet protocol (IP) security cameras are increasingly vital tools for small businesses, and for good reason – these devices make it easy to monitor otherwise vulnerable locations on a remote basis. They are also becoming more common in residential settings, with homeowners expressing great appreciation for the peace of mind they deliver.
If you currently use an IP security camera or are thinking of investing in one, you’re certainly in good company. Unfortunately, however, the very solution you’ve selected to ramp up security at your home or place of business could actually place you at greater risk.
Hackers regularly go after security cameras, as evidenced by alarming headlines detailing recent incidents. In January 2019, for example, a California family’s Nest camera was hacked to play fake messages about North Korea launching missiles. This greatly frightened the family’s young son, who hid under the rug. In future cases, however, the consequences could potentially extend further to include serious damage to businesses or even life-threatening danger for families.
The more you understand about the power and danger of IP cameras, the better. Through proper camera selection and use of security protocol, you can make the most of these helpful tools without falling victim to hacking incidents.
How Security IP Cameras Work
IP cameras largely resemble conventional digital cameras. The key difference? IP cameras allow for home or business monitoring through the use of internet-linked software. While webcams require computer intervention to transmit videos online, IP cameras streamline this process. Footage can be viewed remotely via computers or dedicated mobile apps.
Depending on the model and the user’s preferences, IP cameras can be connected to wired networks via Ethernet cable or operated wirelessly with a Wi-Fi router. Cameras may be configured to provide live footage or to only run at certain times and under specific conditions.
Key Steps for Securing Your Camera
There’s no need to miss out on the convenience and peace of mind that today’s IP cameras supply. With a few additional security measures, you can make the most of this valuable technology without placing your information or property at risk. Top options for securing your camera are outlined below:
Keep Camera Firmware Up to Date
If you’re like most small business owners, you focus primarily on updates for computers and mobile devices, while neglecting the equipment that may ultimately prove the most vulnerable. Thankfully, the firmware included on most modern IP security cameras can be updated easily.
Keep an eye on the manufacturer’s website to get a better sense of detected vulnerabilities and accompanying firmware updates. In all likelihood, you can update firmware via the admin console.
Stick with a Local Network
Avoid the temptation to connect your IP cameras to the internet. No matter how extensive your encryption or other security protocols, videos linked to the internet can ultimately be accessed. Instead, consider opting for a local network assigned with a non-routable internal IP address. This approach provides the greatest control while minimizing the risk of outside interference.
Encrypt All Data
If you prefer to access videos via the internet, encryption is non-negotiable. A notice from the Federal Trade Commission recommends enabling encryption on your camera and checking whether the login page includes “https.” Without this indicator, your data can easily be accessed by unauthorized individuals. However, you should keep in mind that the “https” designation does not automatically promise additional protection. This is especially true if the mobile app used to view footage fail to match the website’s level of security.
Make the Most of Password Protection
Password protection is generally provided on today’s security IP cameras, but many business owners fail to enable this essential feature. Authentication options may not prove as robust as you’d like, but they still provide a valuable layer of protection.
As with any password, it’s important to choose a string of random letters and numbers. Do not include personally identifiable information or anything that can easily be guessed. Furthermore, plan to update your password on an annual basis (at a minimum). You should also consider investing in a camera that offers two-factor authentication.
Create Multiple Levels of Access
If you intend to make your security program and the footage it produces available to multiple parties, consider limiting access for select individuals. Many cameras offer separate settings for administrators and other authorized users. Some cameras also provide timing restrictions for certain users to ensure that they can only access footage when you deem it necessary.
NerdsToGo: Your Go-To Resource for Small Business IT Support in League City and Nearby TX
If you’re interested in installing a security system but aren’t quite sure how to get started, don’t hesitate to ask the team at NerdsToGo for help. We are pleased to provide business security camera installation in League City, TX, as well as a variety of other valuable small business network design services.
The experts at NerdsToGo can recommend the best cameras and set them up so you can focus on other important matters. Our certified Nerds also provide targeted recommendations for Wi-Fi network security software and hardware. Contact us today to learn more about our approach to cybersecurity for businesses!