Enhancing School Safety

Cloud-based access control and data-driven video

Facing rising school safety threats amid shrinking resources, school administrators are turning to leading-edge security options. Cloud-based access control and open platform, data-driven video management systems offer crucial flexibility, combining key functions in a single pane of glass.

This integration of door management, camera data, and data analytics boosts situational awareness and improves response strategies. Cloud solutions offer a vital, future-proof security foundation as video, access control, and IT technologies converge and continue to evolve.

School districts today face heightened concerns surrounding student and staff safety while continuously dealing with reduced budgets and staff — requiring everyone to do more with less. To foster more secure learning environments amid these constraints, many schools are adopting scalable, cloud-based VMS and access control solutions as part of their security measures.

With rising school violence, vandalism, and crime, school administrators are seeking innovative technologies that deter incidents and enable more rapid responses. However, deploying on-premises-only and non-integrated security systems often proves burdensome, requiring extensive upfront hardware costs and IT resources for deployment and maintenance. Closed, proprietary security management platforms restrict a school's ability to scale incrementally as needs evolve. Expanding the capabilities of stand-alone, on-premises video security or access control systems involves organizational disruptions and additional capital costs from rip-and-replace upgrades.

Additionally, disparate, siloed security systems lack a unified, single pane of glass and the ability to share critical data. This fragmentation creates blind spots for school administrators while hampering real-time coordination during incidents. Responders must know how to use and consult multiple interfaces to make sense of events, delaying critical decision making.

New Cloud Strategies
In recent years, the United States has made substantial investments to enhance the data infrastructure at the national, state and local levels. Today, most U.S. cities benefit from exceptional bandwidth supported by a robust fiber network foundation. This modern infrastructure, combined with the progress in video compression and the support of high-capacity 5G wireless networks, has paved the way for cloud-based security systems to become feasible, versatile and more cost-effective for educational districts.

Schools are also gaining significant benefits from adopting a hybrid on-premises and cloud video management software model. This approach offers crucial advantages such as cost-effective remote storage for videos recorded on-site, the convenience of sharing videos both within and outside the institution, and access to sophisticated cloud-based video analytics.

Integrated cloud-based solutions mitigate the pitfalls of proprietary, siloed systems with their flexibility, scalability and streamlined workflows. Features like mobile access control and AI-powered analytics enhance situational awareness while easing strained budgets through predictable operational expenses spending models. By moving video security and access control to the cloud, administrators gain tailored capabilities supporting their specific priorities.

Cloud-based access control centralizes the management of users and doors across locations through a unified interface. Schools can specify access plans so doors automatically lock/unlock based on schedules, with mobile credentials enabling touchless entry via smartphones. Cloud systems also facilitate frictionless visitor management experiences with faster check-in protocols. With integrated security cameras and mobile video notifications, school staff can visually verify access control alarms and events for proactive situational awareness.

The top benefits of integrated cloud video management software and cloud access control include:

  • An easy-to-use, central dashboard that controls all doors and cameras, linking access events with video data so school staff and security officers can instantly pinpoint alarm causes.
  • Integrated systems enable instant notifications and mobile access to associated cameras during events, allowing on-premises and remote visual verification and real-time assessment by officials and first responders.
  • Affordable scalability grows the system with the school’s needs, with the latest features and security protections continually updated automatically via the cloud.
  • Detailed emergency data is no longer siloed across separate interfaces and can integrate directly with alarms and video.
  • An incremental transition to cloud solutions maintains existing investments while immediately gaining cloud benefits by phasing in new capabilities as needed.
  • Cloud-based systems continuously evolve their capabilities and self-manage software updates, including cybersecurity and archived data protections.
  • The easy, as-needed availability of cloud-based video and data analytic solutions helps generate actionable insights from recorded video data for future planning and procedural adjustments.

The innovative feature sets and scalability intrinsic to cloud video and access control provide school administrators with meaningful visibility, actionable data and initiative-taking protection. Cloud systems offer a ready-made foundation to address immediate safety requirements and the flexibility to accommodate unpredictable future needs.

The subscription-based pricing model of cloud solutions also aligns with budget realities through predictable spending. Hybrid on-premises/cloud system designs also support gradual transitions, with schools immediately benefiting from advanced capabilities while migrating legacy systems when ready.

The Future of Education Security
One of the best ways to mitigate risk in an educational environment is to deploy policies, procedures and technologies that keep unauthorized visitors from gaining access to a campus in the first place. Video technology, access control and a wide range of integrated cloud security technologies are combined to create an efficient and effective first line of defense and save valuable time during an emergency.

Having a successful security strategy in place means making sure that all security system components — cameras, remote and mobile monitoring applications, access control systems, networks, intercoms, emergency exits, perimeter sensors, lighting and all other safety aids — work in concert with each other as an integrated system for the safety and security of all involved. Cloud-based systems are becoming an essential pillar of school safety strategies.

This article originally appeared in the March / April 2024 issue of Campus Security Today.


  • California School District Modernizes Surveillance System

    i-PRO Co., Ltd. (formerly Panasonic Security), a provider of professional security solutions for surveillance and public safety, recently announced that the Murietta Valley Unified School District (MVUSD) in Riverside County, CA, has undertaken a project to modernize its first-generation surveillance system to new high-resolution i-PRO network cameras, and the i-PRO Video Insight video management system (VMS). Read Now

  • RAD Makes History with First Robotic Dog Deployed to Taylor Police Department

    Robotic Assistance Devices, Inc. (RAD), a subsidiary of Artificial Intelligence Technology Solutions, Inc., recently announced that it has delivered a RADDOG LE to the Taylor, Michigan Police Department. The delivery of RADDOG LE to the Taylor Police Department marks a historic moment in the integration of technology within law enforcement. This milestone underscores RAD’s commitment to revolutionizing the landscape of security and public safety through cutting-edge AI-powered, robotic solutions. Read Now

  • Passing the Test

    The discussion about secured access and access control for higher education and K-12 is continuously expanding and evolving. That is a good thing. The more knowledge we gain and the more solutions that become available, linked and interoperable, the better and higher the level of security and safety. Read Now

  • Driving a Major Shift

    One of the driving forces for change has been the high demand for unified solutions. Users are asking their vendors for a way to manage all their security systems through a single interface, from a single pane. This has led to a flurry of software development to seamlessly integrate access control systems with video surveillance, intrusion detection, visitor management, health monitoring, analytics with artificial intelligence (AI), and more. Read Now