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Guide to Upgrade Security Camera System for Small Businesses

The security camera system has been widely used for property or human surveillance and protection over decades, especially for businesses that rely on them to prevent or reduce severe loss and unexpected incidents, maintaining a sound business operation and steady growth.

However, technology changes quickly, even the regarded “state-of-the-art” camera system several decades ago basically is hard to catch up with the changes in technology. As a result, security camera system upgrade is commonplace and a necessity, especially for small and medium-sized businesses(SMBs) that probably started with home security camera systems using cheaper consumer-grade products.

In this post, we aim to give business owners some guidelines about upgrading security camera systems.

When Should SMBs Think of Upgrading Security Camera System?

In fact, it is difficult to point out a specific time to get a security camera system replaced or upgraded, after all, saving money is the key, and the majority with a fluke mind tend to put it off and won’t use the current system for a longer time. Nonetheless, responsibly saying that sometimes a little hesitation might bring a big loss. Some might confuse about when and how to know the proper time to plan a system upgrade, below we listed a few signs helping you gain the judgment.

1. Growing Businesses Call for Expansions

So to speak, business expansion is equivalent to camera system expansion in most cases. As it is not difficult to understand that business expansion always indicates that you need a larger space to accommodate more employees or office rooms. The newly constructed spaces like office rooms, parking lots, warehouses, etc definitely require a larger-sized camera system to reach full coverage. Let alone situations when moving to a new large building for work.

2. Current System Occurs Malfunction Constantly

Camera system constant malfunction, practically, may result in serious consequences for businesses. Try to imagine that if your security camera system can’t record intact video footage or even fails to capture any footage, it takes a higher risk for business owners to pay the piper when encountering crimes or conflicts as there is no valid visualized evidence. To avoid the such dilemma, it is imperative to check the current camera system and evaluate whether it is necessary to upgrade.

3. Outdated System Failed to Meet Your Needs

As mentioned earlier, security camera systems are changing dramatically due to the rapidly developed technology, thus if you are still using old surveillance systems employing the last decade’s technology, generally, they are outdated to serve your needs. While new security camera systems that adopt modern technology can provide numerous advanced features, such as motion detection, and remote monitoring to satisfy the ever-increasing demands of businesses. Moreover, traditional CCTV analog camera systems can only offer low-resolution blurry video footage, which barely suffices modern surveillance capability, and considering the future development of your businesses, it is worth utilizing a better security camera system.

Common Reasons for SMBs to Implement an Upgrade

Having known the crucial signs that tell you when the businesses should upgrade the security camera system, we also are aware that only with an updated system can the security level be maintained or improved to match modern technology and surveillance needs. Here we’ll tell you why businesses are supposed to implement an upgrade or walk through how security camera system upgrade benefits SMBs specifically.

• Achieve Better Surveillance Performance

The modern security camera system provides better surveillance performance as it serves higher resolution video footage, increased frame rate, and expanded surveillance coverage, allowing you to see more and record more.  

• Require enhanced Security

The security level can be largely enhanced thanks to the more secure transmission ensuring the stability and quality of real-time surveillance and massive recording. A new security camera system is able to dramatically reduce potential harm from the relentless cyber attacks.

• Obtain Greater Control and Convenience

The ways or tools for business owners or managers to review the video significantly changed with the remote access capability, video can be displayed on mobile devices like smartphones, and PCs as long as linked to the internet, which gives you greater control and convenience.

• Improve Business Productivity and Efficiency

An improved security camera system with more advanced features makes great use of deterring criminals or reducing the occurrence of affray that might severely impact a business’s productivity. Additionally, employees who stay in a safer workplace where under continuous monitoring tend to work more efficiently generally.

• Save Time and Money in the Long Term

The upgrade of the security camera system means high quality and reliability. Using an upgraded system with a one-time investment is more cost-efficient rather than constant troubleshooting, and in this way, you are able to save time and useless expenses in the long run.

Initial Considerations to Keep in Mind Before Upgrading

In most cases, a security camera system upgrade is not an easy job for most small and medium-sized businesses to guarantee effectiveness and cost-efficiency, you are supposed to be aware of some initial considerations before an actual installation.

Replacing or Upgrading?

An upgrade is not equal to a complete replacement of the system for the reason that there might still be some equipment of the existing system, such as analog cameras, can still be used and work with the new system compatibly. What’s more, if your old camera system adopts coaxial cabling, you can use media converters to realize signal conversion without costly re-cabling. However, what if the equipment is too old or out-of-date, especially when they served over 5 years, or the cabling is not suited for other network applications, you’d better consider replacing it.

Pay Close Attention to SMB’s Needs and Budget

The upgrade should be carried out based on the practical needs and budget of specific businesses. Figure out the size of your businesses, the demanded surveillance range, and the security and management level of the system, it can help save lots of work and money. Choosing equipment in accordance with a reasonable range budget can reduce disordered purchasing. Small businesses with a limited budget should focus on the basic needs and product quality, while those with a sufficient budget can consider enhancements in intelligence and security.

Evaluate from the Evolution of Security Camera Systems

Much about the change in camera system technology has been discussed, and it is important to know what choices are opted for you by now so as to have a rough idea of which to choose from. Let’s take a closer look into the evolution of the security camera systems, and you might have your own evaluation and decision.

• Old Analog CCTV Systems

The security camera system starts from the era of the CCTV(Closed Circuit Television) system in 1942, and up to now, analog CCTV camera systems still have been used yet. During such a long period, 3 key phrases are worth mentioning, namely the first video camera system, the VCR analog CCTV system, and the hybrid CCTV system.

In the beginning, the system only supports real-time viewing as the shortage of reliable recording technology. Later with the invention of VCR(Videocassette Recorders) in the 1970s, video can be stored with tape for a certain time. Then in the mid 90’s the DVR (digital video recording) was introduced, and it is able for people to build up hybrid CCTV systems to get video footage compressed and stored with a hard disk.

Old CCTV systems make of coaxial cable for video transmission, which mainly relies on the traditional analog camera to capture video at a low resolution compared to the cameras with new technologies.

• IP Surveillance System

In the 1960s, with the greatest technological advancement and the first IP camera was introduced. The security camera system experienced a tremendous change. IP surveillance combined with IP technology linking with the internet to give more advanced features like remote access and high definition. Consequently, IP surveillance system has been widely used to meet the ever-increasing demands, which source copper-based Ethernet cable to accomplish data transmission.

Key Factors to Look into for a Successful Upgrade

For a successful security camera system upgrade, here we highly recommend you to take the following critical factors under consideration, which largely determine the system usability and integrity, and actual surveillance performance as well.


The resolution, undoubtedly, is one of the most important factors to show the practice of a security camera system. In the past, we have no choice, but now, high resolution is the biggest advantage provided by camera systems using new technology.

Low image quality security camera system can hardly meet the need to capture HD images that contain more details, for a larger coverage surveillance need in particular. The clearer of the image quality is offered, the more useful the camera system is when encountering unexpected property loss or personal disputes.

Nowadays, you are able to build a security camera system displayed in far higher than 720p or 1080p, and this is the maximum resolution that can be served by most traditional old analog camera systems.

Video Storage

Video storage is the main factor to concern, you are supposed to think about choosing recording technology that can accommodate larger data. For businesses, a continuous video camera system with massive recording capability is essential for effective video playback. A limited video storage space, generally, is a major issue resulting in the security camera system upgrade because, with the expansion of businesses, more cameras are used, or high definition cameras that consumed more space are added.

DVR(Digital Video Recorder) and NVR(Network Video Recorder) are two commonly used recording equipment. NVR is a new technology that allows you to get larger recording space, more importantly, along with better image quality and other advanced functions.

Connection to LAN or Internet

Connection to LAN or Internet is the fundamental factor supposed to take into account in the security camera system upgrade. It typically determines the way data is transmitted throughout the system. We talked previously that analog camera systems connect to LAN over coaxial cable and IP security camera systems turn to Ethernet cable to get the connection. Routers and network switches are commonplace used to provide LAN or bridge to the Internet. The connection can be streamlined with great flexibility when using an IP surveillance system.


A necessary investment in intelligence can enjoy great convenience and better accuracy. Security camera systems formerly have been used to provide real-time viewing and local recording, whereas, modern security camera systems can do more by supplying improved intelligence. Business owners can also join in the real-time monitoring to get responses timely with the features like remote access, motion detection, instant push message alerts, and so on. Some high-end systems integrated with data analysis can inclusively satisfy wider applications in various fields.


For a growing business, chasing of higher security is the ultimate goal to ensure a stable business operation and development. In fact, the technology is rapidly developed, and so the cyber threats and attacks. Cybersecurity is a hot topic for businesses, as the damage is serious or fatal. Therefore, it is advisable to find solutions to improve the security level of the security camera system in the upgrading process.


Security camera system upgrade involves compatibility issues much or less as you might use equipment complied with different protocols or from different bands, especially in the mix of old technology and new technology. You not only need to confirm whether all the cameras can work together without problems, but also must consider the compatibility between cameras and other required components like NVR.

Solutions for Effective Security Camera System Upgrade

Let’s get back to the point to get the answers on how to upgrade the security camera system. We conclude with some solutions aiming at helping you implement the upgrade effectively.

Improve Placement

Rather than hurry to replace the old equipment and add some new ones, think about how to improve the placement of current cameras or other devices that still function well.

The majority tend to regard security camera system as the “set it and forget it” protection mechanism, hence when discounted surveillance performance is caused by physical elements due to a wrong placement, or blind spots that were neglected in the initial design or generated because of changes on the workspace structure, and they might choose put up with them because the system has been installed and settled down. Sometimes a little improvement on the placement can solve many issues and even increase the security level.

Upgrade Equipment

Upgrade equipment is the indispensable step in security system upgrade. You should know what equipment is planned to replace or upgrade. A security camera system basically includes security cameras, recording devices, network devices, and cables.

• Upgrade Cameras

First, you should upgrade cameras because of the development of camera technology. Determining which cameras to choose from is not that easy as literally security cameras consist of different types and come with more advanced features. Below are three principles that help choose the best-suited cameras.

1. Migrate to IP Surveillance

If budget allows, there is no need to hesitate to migrate to IP surveillance as its price are cheaper these days. IP surveillance depends on IP cameras, or digital network cameras, to capture video, which is a superior alternative as it takes advantage of the IP(Internet Protocol) network to achieve more secure transmission of encrypted data along with high performance and great convenience.

Typically, IP surveillance brings benefits to meet modern requirements on security camera systems as shown below:

√ High-definition video recording

√ Remote monitoring

√ Motion detection and tracking

√ Flexible and easy installation

√ No quality degradation with distance

2. Choose Full HD or Megapixel Cameras

Above we emphasized the importance of resolution, selecting HD and megapixel cameras to fulfill the upgrade is an irresistible trend to meet modern technology and demanding surveillance requirements.

HD cameras refer to standardized 720p(1MP) or 1080p(2MP) cameras, and now 1080p is the most cost-effective choice to meet business security and surveillance needs. Unlike HD cameras with a maximum of 1080p, megapixel cameras can reach up to 16MP, specially designed for mission-critical businesses who can be regardless of budget. However, if you decide to employ high-resolution cameras, one thing to note is that the higher resolution requires more bandwidth.

3. Mix Camera Types

Security cameras are categorized into quite a few types depending on the shape, design, functions, and so on. Bullet cameras, dome cameras, turret cameras, and PTZ cameras are applied most universally. Since they can serve different surveillance needs, you’d better mix different types of cameras to get optimal performance. For example, you can install PTZ cameras in parking lots or some other places that call for a larger scale coverage, and use dome cameras in workplaces as they are well suit ceiling mounting.

• Replace Your VCR or DVR

Both VCR and DVR are devices for video decoding and storage. VCR is the ancient type that is seldom seen now, and DVR is used for analog cameras in most cases, although some hybrid types can support IP cameras, but their capability can do limited things. It is a fair solution to just replace it with an NVR. NVRs are widely used for their advantages in video processing and extra features such as motion detection, and WiFi camera compliance. Furthermore, NVRs support VGA and HDMI output to fit modern displays.

• Change Networking Devices

Networking devices like routers and network switches might be considered a change. Actually, most small businesses preferred to use consumer-grade routers to serve networks, as the growth of your businesses, you should choose commercial-grade products. Since more cameras might need, you can buy a new network switch equipped with more ports. In general, network switches can offer from 5 ports to a maximum of 48 ports.

A combination of NVR and network switch, the so-called PoE NVR opts for businesses who plan to take NVR as a recording tool. In this way, a single device can suffice the need for video storage and network. But you should be aware of the increased risk of high investment in replacement in the future, and this option can only serve small systems as the PoE NVRs commonly provide several Ethernet ports to connect to cameras.

• Replace Old Cable

As we know, security camera systems mainly utilize two types of cables for connection, namely traditional coaxial cable, and Ethernet cable. You should plan the cable upgrade according to the equipment that is ready to employ. Analog camera systems use coaxial cabling, and IP camera systems source Ethernet cabling. In addition, if you decide to stick with the analog camera system, you have run Ethernet cabling for over 5 years, but you still need to consider whether the old cable can last for a long use life.

Focus More on Software

With new technology, the security camera system can do more than basic surveillance needs by means of software integration. There are many software available, including video management, motion alarm, facial analysis, and so on. In the upgrade progress, you should spend some time doing some research and consulting with professionals according to your business requirements.

Stick with Regular Maintenance

We want to recap that the security camera system is not simply “put it and forget it”. A scheduled or periodical maintenance can help find out accumulative issues and avoid severe consequences like complete replacement.

Tips for Advanced Security Camera System Upgrade

Reading this, you might have a rough idea of how to implement a security camera system, and we want to get you covered with some tips that help achieve an advanced security camera system.

Utilize PoE Technology

IP surveillance system takes advantage of PoE(Power over Ethernet) technology to gain an easier and more flexible installation. PoE cameras mean IP cameras with PoE capability. PoE has become prevalent for networking or cabling as it enables twisted pair Ethernet cables to carry power, that being said, power and network can be delivered over a single cable, saving extra power outlet present around the PoE cameras or other PoE-enabled network devices. The placement of cameras is more flexible by overcoming the difficulty to mount in places, like the ceilings, where is hard to reach a power outlet.

To use PoE technology for IP camera systems, you can refer to our previous post: Comprehensive Guide-How to Install IP Camera Using PoE.

Build a Separated Network

If possible, build a separate network for the security camera system to get enhanced security and management. A separated network can reduce damage to business-critical data, and it is more explicit to confirm the responsibility when the business encounters cyber attacks or system failures. You are able to use dual LANs NVRs or managed network switches with a VLAN function to get this job done.

Employ Cloud-based Surveillance

In recent years, more and more small and medium-sized businesses attempt to employ cloud-based surveillance solutions to get ultra reliability, security, and convenience. Cloud-based surveillance, as its name implies, video monitoring and storage is accomplished in the cloud. This solution can eliminate physical damage to the video data and it allows worldwide video access and collaboration management more than the on-site video surveillance counterpart.

Care about Surge Protection

Surges is a big threat to the reliability of the security camera system, especially for outdoor applications. If your system might experience lightning days frequently, we highly adore surge protection by using surge protectors for IP cameras and network devices. And surge protectors are useful to absorb surges to a sustainable range.

Final Thoughts

Security camera system upgrade is definitely a time and money-consuming task, to get the upgrade finished smoothly and correctly, consider and make a plan based on the current needs and future development. And don’t be afraid of investment. Last but not least, when there are doubts, don’t hesitate to turn to professionals for assistance. FASTCABLING accumulates over 10 years of IP surveillance system experience, and the support team is ready and waiting for your contact.

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