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Video Surveillance as a Service: What is it and How Does it Work?

The latest cloud security trend

A relatively new concept in the surveillance industry, video surveillance as a service - VSaaS - has recently gained popularity among various businesses thanks to its ease and flexibility. This cutting-edge cloud-monitoring solution allows facilities to store, manage, and remotely access large amounts of video surveillance data with minimal effort instead of relying on local hardware storage. If you're considering VSaaS for your next project, here are some valuable tips as well as a few pros & cons that can help you make an informed decision about which solution best meets your business’s unique security needs.

What is VSaaS?

VSaaS is a hosted, cloud-based surveillance service that remotely manages video surveillance systems for a more innovative, scalable security solution. VSaaS has several advantages over traditional on-premise Video Management Systems (VMSs), including secure remote monitoring capabilities, real-time updates, a significantly smaller footprint, and complete control of surveillance data on a unified platform.

With VSaaS, organizations can future-proof their surveillance systems without worrying about unforeseen maintenance expenses or costly system updates. Powered by the latest artificial intelligence technology, VSaaS's video analytics and machine-learning algorithms provide valuable insights and actionable feedback for your business. In addition, fewer hardware and software requirements, less energy, and complete system scalability make VSaaS a much more affordable option than traditional on-premise VMSs.

How does VSaaS Work in the Real World?

Due to its customizable and adaptable features, Video surveillance-as-a-service has quickly become one of the most popular and cost-effective ways to invest in security. With VSaaS, IP cameras or analog cameras connected to an encoder can either use the cloud, local storage or a powerful combination of both to transmit real-time video footage. The encrypted video footage is then streamed to a secure VSaaS provider's data center for centralized storage. Since this innovative service is managed in the cloud, users can access their cameras from anywhere through any computer or mobile device and monitor live video feed whenever they want.

Many commercial hosted Video Management Systems use an on-site appliance that allows users to connect and record various existing 3rd-party cameras. These open VSaaS providers offer the flexibility to choose from several hardware providers or simply use existing surveillance hardware to tailor a security solution that fits both budgets and need. However, some VSaaS providers only offer closed video access via proprietary hardware, which means any existing video surveillance hardware would need to be replaced to transition to this service model. Often, these closed VSaaS providers will offer to replace the entire system at a lower cost to offset the cost of financing a separate system. While the low up-front cost of these plans may seem tempting, they can be deceptively binding and offer little to no versatility when it comes to hardware options that best suit your needs. In many cases, any money saved on these services initially is lost tenfold in the long run.

VSaaS Benefits

  • Easy to deploy (plug-and-play)
  • No on-site server or storage
  • Lower costs than on-premise VMS
  • Global business management without the need for an engineering team
  • More efficient than traditional VMS
  • Remote monitoring from any location at any time through a web browser or mobile app
  • Automatic, remote updates keep software current without any action by the user.
  • Unlimited video storage capacity
  • Increased cyber-resilience against evolving external threats
  • More computing power for enhanced analytics and real-time insights

VSaaS Drawbacks

  • Some VSaaS providers have a more simplified user interface than top-tier on-premise VMSs, limiting the system’s configuration capabilities.
  • Depending on the VSaaS provider, some systems may have limited integration with other local security applications such as intrusion or access control systems.
  • Some VSaaS providers may use proprietary hardware that is not compatible with existing video surveillance infrastructures.
  • If an internet outage occurs or there is insufficient bandwidth, video recording may fail, and live monitoring may not be available when businesses need it.
  • Subscription pricing can vary greatly depending on desired features or add-ons (i.e., more storage, video analytics, third-party integration, etc.).

Hardware Requirements

Ensure that the VSaaS provider's hardware is compatible with your existing or planned camera system. Since each VSaaS provider offers different features, not all VSaaS plans are alike.

Technical Support

Solid support is essential to any surveillance and security system’s success, and unforeseen maintenance and support costs can be detrimental to a business. So be sure to choose a VSaaS plan that includes remote support without charging per-call.


A good VSaaS should be easy to use and include helpful features such as push notifications, two/three-factor authentication for maximum security, and accessible documentation for easy risk management.


VSaaS providers offer a wide range of subscription plans at different tiers to meet your unique business needs; however, each program has its associated costs to consider. So make sure to factor in the initial costs of the system and the financial commitment of each subscription when deciding which VSaaS is best for your business and budget!