While the increased use of information systems has helped to improve efficiency in business operations, it has also created new problems for organizations and information technology (IT) experts (Baltzan, Detlor & Welsh, 2012). Drawing from a study by Ross (2012), the existence of all manner of information systems and networks with unrestricted connectivity complicates the work done by security professionals to ensure confidentiality, data integrity, and availability of services to users. This is further worsened by the increased sophistication of threats to information technology systems.
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Organizations, through information technology systems experts are thus compelled to make use of different strategies to manage information technology systems. This paper looks at how surveillance cameras may be utilized to help with the management of information technology systems. As noted by Vigne, Lowry, Dwyer and Markman (2011), surveillance systems can be integrated with other technologies to improve the management of information technology systems.
Surveillance Cameras and Information Technology Systems Management
Advancements in technology have led to the discovery of complex systems such as surveillance cameras and other satellite-based systems that can help to identify and locate those involved in criminal activities with ease (Reynolds, 2014). Video surveillance systems comprise of components that help to watch public as well as private places (Dufour, 2012).
Images that are captured using the cameras are later transmitted to an identified control center to be used in real-time. Surveillance cameras come in different forms and can be overt, semi-overt or covert (Vigne, Lowry, Dwyer & Markman, 2011). Overt cameras are those that are visible to the public. With overt cameras, it is possible for one to know what is being recorded by looking at the direction of the camera. Semi-covert cameras are designed in such a way that would be offenders can not easily determine the direction of the surveillance camera.
Semi-overt cameras are thus preferred for crime prevention purposes since people with a criminal intent cannot tell whether they are being recorded. As a consequence, criminals may be forced to refrain from being involved in criminal activities. Covert cameras on the other hand are completely concealed from the pubic for security reasons.
Specifically, covert cameras are used for observation purposes and because they are not visible to possible wrongdoers, they can not prevent individuals from taking part in criminal activities (Vigne, Lowry, Dwyer & Markman, 2011). Consequently, a powerful feature of covert cameras is that they can be used to help IT experts to capture records of criminals without their knowledge. The information gathered can later be used in a legal process to convict suspected offenders.
In general, surveillance systems are used to monitor activities and movement of people in order to address security challenges in private as well as public places. Certainly, the use of surveillance cameras presents those responsible for the management of information technology systems with data and information that would otherwise be difficult to come by. According to proponents, surveillance cameras are very helpful in curbing criminal activities and acts of terrorism. The data that is captured using surveillance cameras can be used to provide evidence in a court of law against a suspected offender.
There are, however, concerns among opponents that the use of surveillance cameras interferes with the privacy of individuals. This notwithstanding, surveillance cameras are used in different parts of the world for different purposes. In a study by Baltzan, Detlor and Welsh (2012), they argued that the monitoring of employee must be discussed openly to eliminate any form of suspicion and lack of collaboration. In general, resistance to the use of surveillance systems is encountered when the reason for monitoring is not properly communicated to employees. It is thus important to devise appropriate policies as far as monitoring employees is concerned.
How Surveillance Cameras Help IT Systems Management
Due to increased use of Internet Protocol (IP) Network Cameras and Network Video Recorder (NVR), current systems used for surveillance purposes have simplified the process of converting analog data to digital data for storage. As explained by Park, Leung, Wang and Shon (2012), IP surveillance software causes applications that are used to provide physical security and those designed to ensure logical security to converge.
Practically, a number of IP cameras operate on systems that use Linux making it possible for security professionals to provide additional security functions critical for the management of IT systems. Apparently, recent releases of IP cameras are designed with computer technologies that make it possible to identify, track and place objects in different categories.
The NVR can be altered into Video Management Solution (VMS) that makes use of a Personal Computer (PC) server platform. Ordinarily, this incorporates the use of PC servers and storage apparatus used to maximize the performance of surveillance systems. Improved designs of VMS present security professionals with powerful features such as video content analysis and facial recognition which help to simplify the management of IT systems.
Usually, the video records captured through VMS are securely stored in as ordinary files that can be accessed and used by IT professionals whenever necessary. Whenever a human object is detected in an area covered by an IP camera, the camera triggers an event that notifies a video server. The video server then sends instructions to a network video recorder to save the video record and proceed to analyze an on-screen image of the current video so as to identify and detect the movements of the object until it disappears from the screen.
The video server also generates data through an analysis process and passes it to a database server for storage. In general, the process of retrieving or recovering any video of interest is similar to the process of recovering files that used in digital forensics. The videos that are retrieved are later used by criminal investigators to pin down culprits. For example, in the event that criminal investigators come across surveillance cameras while investigating a crime, they must retrieve video files from the surveillance camera’s storage system for use during investigation.
Conventional forensic techniques can then be utilized to disclose the details about a particular crime that serve a very important purpose in legal processes. According to Park, Leung, Wang and Shon (2012), forensic video analysis is regarded as the scientific examination, comparison, and examination of video records in a legal process. During the analysis process, a person or something of interest in the video may be highlighted in order to gather evidence about a crime. It may involve the analysis of an individual’s behavior in the video being examined.
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To ensure that surveillance cameras are used efficiently to provide crucial evidence about criminal activities to be used in legal processes, the evidence video management (EVM) methodology should be used (Park, Leung, Wang & Shon, 2012). It is a methodology that is used to securely backup archives of videos that contain evidence. EVM is used to gather data for forensic purposes from IP Cameras to NVR and is used throughout the video process right from the recording stage. In addition, EVM presents IT experts with alternative storage methods to help guard against deletion of videos that contain vital evidence. In some unavoidable circumstances, it may become necessary to overwrite or delete videos in order to create space for new videos to be stored.
While computer operating systems present IT experts with numerous tools for reinforcing security, it may not be possible to ascertain the identity of culprits. Furthermore, experienced IT professionals can easily evade security configurations and commit criminal activities without being detected. As earlier explained, the data records captured using surveillance systems can be subjected to forensic analysis in order to generate evidence for use in legal processes. While electronic control systems can help to detect misuse of electronic systems, they must be backed with surveillance cameras to provide additional information about the identity of culprits.
As the requirements of security become sophisticated, it is imperative for those responsible for the management of information technology systems to integrate surveillance cameras with electronic access control systems in order to create a reliable security system. The use of surveillance systems compliments electronic access control systems by making it possible for IT experts to capture images of those involved in criminal activities.
Despite the fact that concerns have been raised by opponents of surveillance systems who are convinced that the use of surveillance cameras is an infringement of the privacy of individuals, proponents are interested in having security systems that would enable IT professionals to access as much information as possible so as to conduct successful investigations that can eventually lead to arrests and compel individuals to refrain from taking part in criminal activities. To clear this conflict, it is necessary to formulate guidelines that must be followed when using surveillance cameras alongside electronic control systems for the management of information technology systems.
Baltzan, P., Detlor, B. & Welsh, C. (2012). Business Driven Information Systems. Ontario, CA: McGraw-Hill Ryerson.
Dufour, J. (2012). Intelligent Video Surveillance Systems. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Park, J. J., Leung, V. C.M., Wang, C. & Shon, T. (2012). Future Information Technology, Application, and Service. New York, NY: Springer.
Reynolds, G. (2014). Ethics in Information Technology. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
Ross, R. (2012). Managing Security and Privacy Risk in Healthcare Applications.
Vigne, N. G., Lowry, S. S., Dwyer, A. M. & Markman, J. A. (2011). Using Public Surveillance Systems for Crime Control and Prevention: A Practical Guide for Law Enforcement and Their Municipal Partners.