As an IP camera dealer, you work with clients who come to you for help in protecting their organizations. While you might recommend a networked video surveillance system integrated with other systems to provide a complete solution for your client, you would be remiss if you do not also advise them about surge protection. Every device that runs on power is susceptible to power surges and spikes, but networked devices like IP cameras are at an even greater risk as they are connected to other vulnerable devices as well. Surge events can damage or destroy expensive cameras, cause costly or hazardous downtime and increase risk by disabling your clients’ security measures.
This checklist will help your clients understand the need to deploy proper surge protection for their new or upgraded IP surveillance systems:
- Does your client understand that damaging electrical surges are common, and can originate from anywhere on their system? Many electrical surges are caused by lightning strikes, but this is in fact not the most common cause of a surge event. Power spikes that are internally generated by a power supply, HVAC, or other major source of electrical energy, cause most of damaging surge events.
- Does your client understand how surge protection operates, including the capabilities and lifespan of their surge protectors? Surge protectors divert damaging surges away from your devices and dissipate them harmlessly into the ground. Surge protectors vary in protective capacity and lifespan—for IP cameras, a modular surge protector that is more efficiently replaced may be a more cost-effective choice.
- Is adequate surge protection installed at the service entrance to the facility? Surge protection at a facility entrance is critical, as it can stop damaging surges generated outdoors from entering a facility entirely.
- Is adequate surge protection installed at network switches and at the head-end of an IP camera system? Network switches and the head-end of an IP system are further locations where surges can be stopped in their tracks and prevented from damaging equipment.
- Are you running Power over Ethernet (PoE) cameras, or do your cameras require individual power connectivity? PoE cameras are much more likely to send a surge along a network to damage other devices and systems. Individually connected cameras will require surge protection to keep the cameras safe, but are much less likely to distribute a surge.
- Have you identified all cameras outside of or attached to the facility, which are often the source of surge damage? Every camera installed outside a facility is a risk for conducting a surge into a building and cascading that damage to other devices and systems.
- Have you identified all cables that leave or enter the facility, which can conduct surges from the outside of a building to the inside? Much like external cameras, external cables that bring power into a facility can also bring damaging surges.
- If your client has a limited budget, do you have a priority order for essential cameras that cannot go down in the event of the surge—for example, cameras overseeing an ATM or safe? With a limited budget, your client will have to prioritize which cameras are essential to protect. Maintaining proper surge protection on cameras in higher risk areas or chokepoints can help ensure that they remain in service even if other areas of a facility are impacted.
- Is a maintenance and inspection program in place that will identify disabled surge protectors in a timely fashion and to provide for replacement when necessary? Surge protectors are often designed to sacrifice themselves in order to save the more expensive, more essential equipment they protect. A consistent program to identify damaged and destroyed surge protectors ensures that they are replaced when they are no longer functional.
Surge events that can damage expensive and essential IP cameras are a major consideration when deploying a networked surveillance system. Using this checklist to determine the surge protection necessary for every installation can help you help your client to protect their essential security equipment.