IP Cameras, NVRs, and Remote Access
By Christian M Gillman
IP cameras and NVRs are becoming quite popular at a rapid rate, and because of the fact that they are directly networked pieces of equipment it is a good idea to know how remote access works and how to keep it secure from interlopers. So read on as we go over installation ideas and security tips to help secure and safeguard your IP surveillance system.
Secure Your Network
Before you even install your IP surveillance system, you will want to make sure that your network is secured. Depending on the sophistication of your network this may be rather involved; however if you are a basic home or small business user this will mainly mean to secure your router. We won't go over this in detail as it is different on many routers, but the main thing you will want to make sure of is that you have a good username and decently complicated password to prevent unwanted access.
If you can't figure out how to secure your router I would suggest finding a surveillance installer or IT professional to help you with it and the rest of your IP surveillance installation. The network securing step is the easiest of steps and if you have trouble with that then you will want some help.
When connecting your IP cameras you can either directly connect them to your NVR or you can have them connected to the router and then have them detected by the NVR. There are ups and downs to each of these scenarios and it will depend on your application as to which way you go. We will discuss both of these connection methods and how to keep them secure.
Connect Directly To Your NVR
If you are connecting your IP cameras directly to your NVR and then having the NVR connect to your network, the process is somewhat simpler. In this scenario you would effectively be making your IP cameras their own separate network that use the NVR as a intermediary that would connect them to your main network. This provides for a much more secure way of doing things as it would allow for only one access point to which your cameras could be viewed remotely.
In this scenario you would only need to secure your NVR with an appropriate password and username to keep away wandering eyes. Additionally on the networking side of things you would only need to assign a single IP address and port to your NVR for remote access.
When it comes to installing this type of surveillance configuration you will need to determine if your NVR is capable of connecting all your IP cameras directly. If your NVR is capable, you will need to secure its username and password as well as its own internal IP address and port forwarding. To setup remote access you will need to access your router where the IP address is stored, and then you will configure your port forwarding to that IP address for remote viewing.
If any of these terms are unfamiliar to you it is a wise choice at this point to consult with a surveillance or IT professional.
Connecting Directly To Your Network
If you decide to directly connect your IP cameras to your network because of an inability to connect directly to your NVR for whatever reason, then things will be a bit trickier to setup and you will want to take note.
The biggest time consuming effort beyond installation will be the networking side of things. Since each camera will be directly assigned to your network they will each need their own individual IP address and a port forwarded to each of them. This can be quite a pain and will take a knowledgeable and patient hand to help set it up. Additionally you will need to give your NVR its own IP address and port as well. When this is all setup you will have the ability to access all your IP cameras individually or on the NVR remotely. This of course will require that you retain all the various ports for each device.
The biggest downside to this approach will be the security side of things. In this type of configuration each IP camera as well as the NVR will have to have a username and password assigned to it. Whether you use the same ID and password for each will be up to you, but it is imperative that you go through and assign each one a new password and ID and DO NOT use the default information.
Username & Password Tips
When creating your ID and passwords for your IP surveillance equipment there is a quick checklist that I would suggest adhering to help keep them secure.
1. Make your password at least 8 characters long
2. Use number, letters, and symbols (if possible) in combination for a stronger password
3. Avoid repetitive passwords and simplistic words
4. Make your password somewhat distant from anything that relates to you specifically
5. NEVER use the default password and username assigned to your equipment
In the end an IP surveillance system can be a bit of a chore to setup, but its benefits of quick remote access, HD resolutions, and so much more make it quite a worthwhile effort.
Christian M Gillman has worked in the surveillance industry for over 7 years. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter, learn more about surveillance, and find great products at http://www.cu1.com
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