What to consider when selecting a video surveillance system for your cannabis business

What to consider when selecting a video surveillance system for your cannabis business

In the last decade more than 30 states have approved measures to allow cannabis to be grown, processed and sold for medical or recreational use. Each state has its own set of regulations with many requiring a video surveillance solution on-site to monitor and secure the business. Choose an intelligent solution for cannabis businesses that can help meet your current needs, whether for regulatory or security, while allowing your surveillance system to scale with your business. Here are some things to consider when selecting the right solution to meet your needs:

Know your state regulatory requirements
Each state has its own regulations governing the type of video surveillance systems required at cannabis businesses, which vary for retail, manufacturing and growing facilities. Minimum video resolution, camera placement, and minimum video retention are common requirements. Before selecting a video surveillance system, confirm that it satisfies regulatory requirements for your region. This helps you avoid significant fines if your business is audited and found lacking. 
Meet storage requirements by optimizing your camera settings

Decide what you want to monitor
Are you using video surveillance for evidence only after an incident or do you want to be proactive using your video system to identify risks, fraud, and improve employee training? Traditional video surveillance was expected to be sufficient if it captured an incident on camera to identify a perpetrator or corroborated a sequence of events. But a modern system can do more now to identify trends, send alerts, and search for events using parameters other than date and time. These tools allow you to find out when employees are accessing restricted areas, get alerts if the back door is left open or the safe is accessed, and create reports to monitor recurring tasks like cleaning, retail opening procedures or plant supplement and pruning schedules.
Gain new insight into your business’s operations with Alerts and Reports

Consider how you want to manage your business
Even if you're on-site at your dispensary or grow facility every day, you can't be everywhere at once, nor somewhere all the time. Your video surveillance system can help keep an eye on your buildings, products and employees when you're away — but if you don't have remote access to the video you don't know what is going on. Make sure you select a system that not only lets you access video remotely, but also manage users, settings and alerts from another site or even from home. To get even more from your video system, look for one that allows you to export video and save clips to the cloud so you can save and share video without having to be on site.
Learn how remote monitoring helps you manage your business

Build protection from "inside the house"
The threat of burglary and robbery is a worry for all businesses but internal threats should also be considered. Surveys reveal that 75 percent of employees have stolen from an employer at least once and internal theft costs US business $50 billion annually. Video surveillance can help curb or detect internal theft allowing businesses to review cash transactions at retail locations as well as monitor product inventory in manufacturing and production facilities. You might want to consider a cloud-managed system combined with sensors that can create video alerts when a door is left propped open or employees access restricted spaces. A regular audit of these alerts can identify opportunities for additional employee training, or identify inappropriate employee behavior or theft.

Ensure your video is there when you need it
A video surveillance systems is only as good as the video it records and if a camera is down or the view is obscured, you can miss out on crucial footage. Similarly, when a hard drive is full, new video will record over the oldest footage, but if the storage space is undersized, you could be losing video after only a few days and not realize it. Make sure your video surveillance system has health monitoring to notify you and send you an alert when a hard drive is almost full or needs to be replaced, or when cameras or recorders go offline. Health monitoring will protect your video system without increasing IT overhead and ensure that your video is there when you need it.
Ensure your recorders are working properly with health monitoring

Do you have enough bandwidth?
Although most businesses have access to high speed internet, some manufacturing facilities are located in rural regions and outdoor grow facilities may only have the option of satellite or cellular internet access. Look at where your business is located and consider the cost of the internet connection necessary for your video system. A direct cloud recording option will stream all of your video to the cloud for storage but this can restrict video resolution and require significant internet bandwidth. Without an on-site recorder, if your internet goes down you lose your video. A cloud-managed system will record to a local hard drive while offering remote access to video when needed and send alerts and notifications over a cellular internet connection to keep you connected without the cost of continuous streaming.
Learn how OpenEye helped a rural business access cameras remotely
Questions to ask before upgrading to cloud managed video

Think about the future
If you're selecting a video surveillance system for your business for the first time you might only be thinking about what you need for right now — but what if you expand to a larger space or add a second location? Can you easily add multiple sites without having to log in and out of each recorder? Make sure you select a system that will grow with your business and allow you to add additional camera as you need them, whether a thermal sensing camera to monitor the fence line at a grow site or a 360 camera in your retail space. You want your investment to meet both current business needs and those of tomorrow.

From grow operations to retail, an intelligent video surveillance solution can make it easy to meet requirements for regulatory compliance while reducing risk by monitoring and securing each business location. Make sure video is there when you need it most while also providing opportunities for you to grow and improve your business. Choose a platform that supports your current needs and will adapt and grow with you, whether through everchanging requirements or new technology.

OpenEye is developing the future of surveillance in Liberty Lake, Washington