When it comes to CCTV, IP cameras are a powerful and versatile option for reinforcing the security of your company. They let you see live audio/video feeds of important areas within your business’ premises from wherever you have Internet access. You also don’t have to worry about maintaining expensive local storage of valuable recordings, as these are stored in the cloud.
However, such advantages come with a trade-off. Because IP cameras are accessed through the internet, this opens them up to getting hacked. Once these devices have been compromised, cybercriminals take advantage to plan burglaries, steal trade secrets and personal information, and install ransomware for extortion.
The cybersecurity threat is very much real, as 32% of businesses reported being victims to cyberattacks in 2019 according to the latest Cyber Security Breaches Survey. 78% of businesses also rate cybersecurity as a high priority. The government is already working toward a new law to improve the security of Internet-of-Things (IoT) products, which include IP cameras.
Strengthening your business’ security surveillance is not just for your own benefit. It is also covered by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) since video footage from IP cameras can be used to identify people. If you don’t take the appropriate measures to secure your surveillance system and inform the people that your security cameras monitor, you may be fined for as much as €20 million or 4% of your business’ global annual turnover.
Ways to Safeguard Your IP Cameras
Knowing what is at stake regarding how well your IP cameras are secured, you can take the following steps to ensure that your surveillance system is as hack-proof as it can be.
1. Choose an IP camera with encryption
Securing your surveillance system starts even before you have it set up. You want to have an IP camera that has built-in encryption. This basically means information such as usernames and passwords are converted into codes when they are inputted and transmitted online.
The camera you choose should use SSL/TLS or a similar level of security to protect your login details. You can see this for yourself by seeing if the URL for the camera’s login page has “https” at the very beginning. You can also choose a cloud-managed IP camera from a trusted provider, as such devices have their cloud servers monitored regularly.
2. Download the latest update for your IP camera’s software
Security product manufacturers and cybercriminals are constantly trying to outpace each other, with the former patching up holes that the latter look to exploit. This is why it’s absolutely important that you keep your IP camera’s software updated to its latest version as soon as it is available.
The moment you install your camera, visit the manufacturer’s website to register it and download the most recent update. Look for an option on the site to get notifications on software updates as well.
3. Separate your systems
While it may be more convenient to just have every device within your business premises to connect to one network, doing so would make all of them more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Once one machine gets hacked, it would be very easy for cybercriminals to hack into the rest through the compromised machine.
Compartmentalise your different systems into different networks. By having your cameras separated from your office computers that store business documents, you add one more layer of security to your more important files. This also optimises bandwidth usage, as the devices aren’t all competing for bandwidth all at the same time.
4. Enforce a strong password system
If your IP camera comes with default log-in credentials, come up with a new username and password immediately. For your password, create one that is lengthy, unique, and hard to guess. Avoid using any personal information such as birthdays and names. Mix in numbers, lowercase and uppercase letters, and special characters.
For maximum safety, create a new password on a regular basis. Change your camera’s password at least every 90 days.
5. Turn on your IP camera’s security features
Although you may have bought an IP camera that has encryption, it may not be enabled by default. Go to the camera’s software settings and look for the option to encrypt data transmitted online. As mentioned earlier, you should be able to see if this feature is working properly if the URL for the camera’s log-in page starts with “https”.
Another security feature that you should turn on for your camera is two-factor or multi-factor authentication. An example of this in action would be whenever anybody tries to log in to your camera, they would have to input a code sent via text to a mobile number you provided. So when someone somehow gets a hold of your login credentials, they would still be unable to log in to your camera, as they would need to get another code that would only be sent to your mobile.
6. Only use secure connections outside business premises
It might run counter to the idea that IP cameras are great for allowing you to access them from wherever, but it’s better to be safe and avoid logging into your camera through public networks. These include Wi-Fi hotspots in cafés, restaurants, public transport terminals, and any other location where you can’t be sure the connection is secure.
You are better off using your phone’s mobile data if you want to check your camera while on the go, as 4G connections typically encrypt data. Remember the telltale sign of the URL: “https” denotes a secure connection.
7. Create cybersecurity protocols and train your employees
Human error caused 90% of data breaches in the UK in 2019, so even all the technical upgrades and features on your IP camera won’t be enough with lax human input.
It is, therefore, imperative that you design comprehensive cybersecurity protocols and train your workers on their importance, especially for those who have direct access to your surveillance system.
A Secure IP CCTV System for a Secure Businesses
Prevent the tragic irony of having an exposed surveillance system that makes your business an easy target. Safeguard your IP cameras through the application of cybersecurity best practices.
If you’re looking to install IP CCTVs in your place of business and minimise human error from lack of IT awareness and experience, get in touch with us here at Rainbow Networks today and one of our friendly team will talk you through the next steps.