School security will always be challenging, but Verkada’s plug-and-play camera system provides a simple solution for school districts and campuses of any size.
Simple to Scale and Budget Friendly
As a hybrid cloud solution, Verkada’s surveillance system inherently does not require constant investments in traditional security hardware — such as local servers and NVRs — thus greatly reducing costs over the long run and simplifying scaling to multiple locations.
Traditionally, NVRs are purchased for the installations of 8-16 cameras per location, making scaling above that threshold costly and cumbersome. With Verkada’s solution, adding one or one thousand cameras to any campus is as simple as purchasing and plugging them in. The cameras require no hidden, costly upgrades or maintenance to the existing infrastructure and, once plugged in for centralized management, each camera auto-provisions into the appropriate account. Verkada also provides a 10-year warranty for all of its cameras.
Added camera units won’t deplete a district’s bandwidth either, which is a concern for public schools with limited internet resources. Unlike other IP camera solutions, Verkada’s hybrid cloud system enables cameras to have an almost negligible footprint, each one taking up less than 20 kbit/s in steady state. With 100 cameras installed, that’s still less than 2 mb/s — easily manageable, even over LTE.
Unlike other systems, which depend on frequent intervention from the IT department, Verkada’s intuitive software platform requires no training and is incredibly easy to navigate. This empowers school admins to take control of physical safety on campus. IT and school administrators alike are able to gain onsite and remote access to the system via the app, which is accessible from any internet-enabled device, without the need to go through additional installation of plugins or thick clients.
“We plugged in the Verkada camera — five minutes later, I had an app on my phone and was managing the camera.”
– Jim Carrillo, Director of Technology, Morgan Hill Unified (School District)
Without the hefty overhead costs of NVRs, training, or complicated setup, any administration could easily pilot the Verkada video surveillance solution in a few locations and then scale up as needed. With costs allocated on a per-camera basis, budgeting for a pilot or full implementation is simple and straightforward.
Native Enterprise-Level Controls
Command, Verkada’s simple and secure web application makes life easier for IT professionals and school administrators.
An IT director can manage unlimited users and set permissions for each user at the district, school or university campus, building site and camera level. Verkada’s Command can be accessed remotely, making it easy to address almost any situation from virtually anywhere.
Command also features an interactive map view of all the school’s sites and cameras on the network, along with the ability to edit camera metadata and network settings. This is helpful if a camera ever needs to be relocated or repositioned within the system (which is as simple as unplugging and moving the device in under 10 min).
Another feature that administrators benefit from with the Command software is the ability to quickly find and archive footage with time/date-based activity search. With 3 easy ways to share recorded videos — direct link, SMS, or MP4 — the time to resolve conflict by bringing in the appropriate authorities, is shortened significantly.
Modern & Intelligent Security Software
“Rapid response” is not a term traditionally associated with CCTV/NVR surveillance systems. The role surveillance footage plays is most often a retroactive one — trying to determine what happened after an incident occurred. Many administrators are familiar with the frustration of being hours into reviewing footage, only to find out that the applicable camera went offline. Others have experienced the pain of relevant footage taking so long to surface that it’s no longer actionable or has already been overwritten by newer footage.
Verkada repositions the role of school surveillance — supporting rapid response, both retroactively and proactively. Retroactively, Verkada’s security system helps find the right information quickly and easily. Verkada’s software specifically logs when activity occurs, making it easier to review footage over long periods of time. Additionally, using motion search, administrators can specify where in the frame they are looking for activity, and the system will automatically surface all instances of video clips matching those parameters.
Proactively, Verkada’s system can send notifications when a camera is offline, tampered with, or when a user-customized scenario is triggered (e.g., opening/closing of the entrance gate after 8:00 p.m.), significantly reducing the effort required for access control. Each notification includes basic information as to which alert was triggered and sends live feed of the camera, if applicable.
Built for Active Coordination
Verkada’s cloud-supported security software enables three types of external sharing: archiving of MP4 clips, live camera feed in real time to authorized users via SMS and an embeddable live video feature that can be used to share content more publicly.
If an incident occurs, school IT staff can deliver live camera footage and location information directly to administrators and local law enforcement via SMS.
Since shared streams are proxied and multiplexed in the cloud, they can be viewed by an unlimited amount of users without greatly impacting camera uplink usage.
An expiration date can be set for all access to video feeds and footage. This makes it easier to share content with law enforcement, legal professionals and other stakeholders during an event, without having to worry about extended access.
School security is an investment that the department of education has emphasized in the recent past, as demonstrated through the approved grants across the nation, aiming to improve school safety. Verkada is equally committed to keeping schools safe and sound by maintaining compliance with the highest security standards.
All software and firmware updates for Verkada cameras are automatic to reduce management and maintenance overhead.
The Verkada surveillance system also closes many of the gaps found in traditional campus security networks. Each individual Verkada camera is PoE, with RSA and AES data encryption, and HTTPS/SSL encryption when in transit, for end-to-end encryption. Each camera is associated with a unique RSA key pair, and the cameras are issued the public key, which they use to encrypt video. The private key is encrypted with AWS KMS before being stored on our servers. Cameras make only secure HTTPS outbound connections (via Port 443), and the likelihood of human error creating a security gap is low because there are no open ports, port forwarding, or related hassles.
Interested in learning more? Request a personalized demo and get under the hood of the Command software.
For a concrete example of Verkada’s simple scalable solution in work, check out the Morgan Hill Unified public school security system case study.