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    There are an estimated 5.2 million CCTV cameras watching over the UK. Today, video surveillance has never been more important. Its use is helping businesses and homeowners across the country to keep their buildings fully secure.

    But, when 80% of CCTV footage seized by police is practically useless in criminal trials, it's worth asking: how do you know whether your cameras are doing the most to keep you safe?

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    The risks of using old CCTV cameras are no secret. A slow, outdated legacy system can increase the chance of crime on your property. It can open up your home to serious threats and liability. 

    Here are five dangers of using old CCTV cameras and outdated surveillance tech.

    Old CCTV Cameras (1)

    Reduced CCTV Quality & Accuracy

    Using outdated cameras will lead to a decrease in the quality of your CCTV footage. Not to mention, worsened accuracy within the system. With older camera systems, breakdowns become more common over time. Depending on the age of your cameras, certain parts might also be discontinued or no longer available for support from the supplier. This can make repairs and everyday maintenance a huge headache.

    Old cameras are unlikely to have a resolution worthy of modern standards either. Without full HD camera recording, the CCTV is essentially redundant, as your cameras cannot do the task they were installed to perform. Most modern CCTV systems can record footage in 4K ultra-HD, with daylight and night vision recording also available. As a bare minimum, your CCTV security cameras should be able to record in full HD 1080p standard.

    A poor-quality recording of a crime usually means you won't be able to identify the offender. This is essentially as useful as no recording at all. To be able to identify a person beyond all reasonable doubt, your cameras must register 250px/m.

    Ultra HD CCTV Footage vs High Definition CCTV Video Footage

    Storage and Recorder Reaching Capacity

    Older CCTV setups use on-site storage to store footage. Typically, these are CCTV DVRs (Digital Video Recorders) and NVRs (Network Video Recorders). This type of hardware is extremely limiting, as the capacity will be stuck to the amount of data they can store and the cameras they can record. Having a newer cloud-based solution gives you the ability to expand and upgrade as you see fit, without having to replace hardware.

    Not only are NVRs/DVRs typically expensive to repair or replace, but they also provide a single point of failure for your whole security system. If the hard drive were to reach full capacity, archived footage would instantly be erased. With newer CCTV storage, you can bookmark these events, so they never get overwritten.

    The extent of your CCTV storage and recording hardware will be dependent on the number of security cameras you use, the resolution you choose to store the footage and the compression technology you are using to do this. 

    We generally advise most customers to switch to cloud-based storage. With this tech, users are virtually unlimited in terms of capacity. Plus, remote upgrades and bolt-ons allow users to expand the storage in their system when it suits them. For instance, if your business grows into new locations you can add new IP cameras and keep the whole camera system linked through a centralised monitoring platform. Simply, easily and without extra hassle.

    HubSpot Video

    Loss of Essential Footage

    An outdated CCTV system will be more vulnerable to a loss of crucial footage. As security devices grow older, the chance of corruption naturally increases. This risk is often heightened by a lack of automatic patches and software updates. 

    Plus, a legacy surveillance package is easier for someone to tamper with and destroy footage if they wish. Due to the system running off on-site hardware, anyone with access to the CCTV setup will be able to tamper with this equipment. They may even erase evidence of their crimes before you find it.

    Footage can even be damaged by mistake. It’s quite common for operators to store a hard drive under a desk or by a door, forever at risk of being kicked or knocked over. With repeated physical damage over a long time, there is a hugely increased chance of data corruption and storage damage. 

    Modern cloud technology has helped us to overcome these challenges. Cloud-based CCTV will store your security camera footage in a data centre where it can’t be interfered with and is not liable to damage (ie. in the event of a fire on your property). Cloud technology only requires a network connection to save your footage accordingly in the off-site centre.

    Verkada CCTV Cloud Security Camera

    Exclusion From New Technology Opportunities

    With automatic firmware updates, modern security devices are always upgrading and improving. For many cloud CCTV systems, the day they are installed is the worst version of the technology that will ever exist. It will only improve with the latest features and algorithm updates, making the technology more secure, proactive and effective.

    Outdated CCTV is unlikely to support modern software updates and new technology will not be compatible. This limits your freedom to upgrade to the latest and greatest security tech.

    Video Analytics & AI 

    Video analytic software is designed to analyse video footage in real-time, assessing the content for specific triggers. This AI technology can identify a person wearing suspicious clothing, vehicles exceeding the speed limit, or even unusual behaviours such as a person walking in the wrong direction to the crowd flow. You can learn more about CCTV video analytics in our recent blog.

    Quick Search & Exporting

    Modern CCTV systems usually come equipped with a SmartSearch feature. This allows you to find incidents much quicker by searching for a person or vehicle by appearance, using the motion search feature or one of the many analytics packages available to us today. Then, once you’ve found your incident, you can download that footage with one click to your desktop or USB. Or, securely share the footage using a link generated for them to view the incident on the web.

    Night or Low Light Footage

    Using infrared light, security cameras can provide night vision footage, enabling you to have a clear overview of your premises, no matter the time. Using cameras with extra high exposure you are able to get colour images with little to no light.

    Infrared Camera Footage

    Heat Mapping Software

    Heatmaps can help identify ‘hot spots’ within an area of your premises. This is a useful tool to identify criminals scouting out areas to infiltrate. Or instead, use this to monitor customer conversion rate within your business.

    Access Control Integration 

    Pair CCTV with an access control system to visually verify access events. Ensure that the access card/fob that was used to grant entry was used by the correct person by accessing the video feed linked to that door.

    Verkada Command Platform

    Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks

    An older CCTV setup may have been discontinued by the manufacturer, or the company may no longer even exist. Some of the market leaders in security technology today are less than a decade old, such as Verkada and AVA, who are frontrunners when it comes to cloud based security solutions.

    If your system is outdated or the supplier no longer exists, you will receive few to no software updates. This will leave your CCTV super vulnerable to cyber attacks. Cybercrime is rising year upon year. Businesses have taken huge hits since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic where a lot of operations moved online. The most recent data from the UK Gov revealed that a third of companies were suffering a cyber attack every week.

    A cyber attack can open up huge liability claims for your business - even if it isn’t directly your fault. Business owners are required under UK law to ensure all data recording is compliant with GDPR best practice. The collection, storage and holding of data should be entirely controlled and a designated person should be assigned to carry this out. 

    Ignoring these duties could result in huge sanctions for your business, including fines of up to £500,000 or criminal charges.

    CCTV Cybersecurity and Hacking


    It's never worth looking for a cheap, second-hand CCTV camera for sale. Newer CCTV kits are simple to install (with the right provider) and easy to use. Although modern software works using a complex range of algorithms and programmes, it can easily be installed to meet your needs.

    While a new CCTV installation might seem expensive, the cost is nothing compared to the losses you are most likely already incurring due to your outdated system. Plus, smart security cameras can do the work of a physical person (more effectively and accurately). It can often remove the need of expensive physical on-site security staff to monitor your CCTV footage, saving you the expense of employing dedicated personnel to do this job. 

    CCTV no longer needs to simply be a means to record a crime, upgrading your system to support newer technologies can allow you to take back control over your business security, giving you the power to prevent or stop an incident before it becomes serious.

    Final Thoughts 

    At the modern rate of innovation, now is the time to invest in a new CCTV system to support your business long into the future. Whilst we have highlighted the importance of upgrading, it should also be noted that an off-shelf system paired with DIY installation is just as dangerous as outdated cameras.

    Always ensure to have an expert install your CCTV to reap the full benefits of your security cameras. At the Chris Lewis Group we have over 25 years experience in the design and installation of home CCTV, business CCTV, indoor, outdoor security cameras and a great deal more. We can provide a solution to meet your existing business needs and offer ongoing support with our maintenance and upgrade services.

    Contact us today to discuss your requirements.

    Complete the contact form below and we will get back to you very shortly

    Luke Lewis-Rippington
    I run our sales, technical design and marketing initiatives for the business. I work closely with manufacturers and trade associations to keep abreast with the latest technology and regulations making sure our clients are getting the very best and latest systems available.