Complete guide to cloud video surveillance management systems (2024)

June 2, 2023

Companies face a great deal of risks during the course of business. Whether it is employee theft, liability and injury risk, or the threat of violence, companies are looking for ways to eliminate risk exposure as well as the costs they represent. Video surveillance management systems are a way to collect and analyze evidence to gain new insights into common business occurrences.

When connected to the cloud, your video management software (VMS) provides new value through deeper video analytic capabilities and access to real-time video monitoring from anywhere, anytime.

See why Solink’s cloud video management system is the best way to protect your business.

Here is a basic definition of video management software.

Video management software definition: Video management software (VMS) helps businesses record, analyze, and store video footage automatically so that they can extract useful information from their cameras for security purposes as well as general business insights.

Video management software is also called a video management system or video surveillance management system. When connected to the cloud for easy access from anywhere and expanded features, it is usually called cloud video management software or a cloud video surveillance management system. Video management software is usually abbreviated VMS, while cloud versions are usually called cloud VMS.

Video management software vs. video management system

As mentioned above, video management software and video management system are synonyms. They are used interchangeably, and since both are abbreviated VMS, we’ll leave it to the reader to choose their preferred term.

Cloud video management software vs. video management software

Here is a simple definition of cloud video management software.

Cloud video management software definition: Cloud video management software (cloud VMS) brings the advantages of cloud computing to basic VMS systems for enhanced cloud video security capabilities.

Cloud VMS is generally considered more powerful than standard VMS. Instead of simply storing video for future review, cloud VMS can help find important video through the use of AI and integrations with other data sources. This saves the user time while giving new business insights to enhance security, loss prevention, and operations management.

See how Solink’s cloud VMS is enhancing operations management across industries.

How does cloud video management software work?

Video management software (VMS) is the central component connecting all of your other security (and non-security) software and hardware. The main input of your VMS is the video recorded by your commercial security cameras.

From there, there needs to be a physical system to store the recorded video for future use. Traditionally, a digital video recorder (DVR) or network video recorder (NVR) is used. DVRs are used with analog cameras and NVRs digital cameras. Until recently, these were the only two options.

Now, cloud video storage is another way to store your security footage. This is often augmented with network-attached storage (NAS) as a hybrid solution. The reason cloud with NAS is gaining popularity is that it offers all of the advantages of cloud video storage but at a lower cost.

Finally, there is the video analytics platform. This is what a modern cloud VMS system provides to the user. Instead of simply recording and storing video like a traditional VMS, cloud VMS analyzes the video, pairs it with other video sources, visualizes data, and proactively alerts you to potential problems.

17 essential cloud video management system features

The line between traditional video management systems and cloud VMS is often unclear. Some security cameras provide a limited browser app, while certain NVR-based systems also have an analytics dashboard.

However, none of these provide all of the features needed to be complete cloud video management systems.

Here are the 17 essential features of a cloud video management system:

  1. Consistently records video from security camera streams
  2. Cloud video storage
  3. Scalable
  4. Easy-to-use interface
  5. Flexible deployment
  6. Live video surveillance
  7. Remote video monitoring
  8. Technology agnostic
  9. End of the end of life cycle
  10. Motion search
  11. Customizable proactive alerts
  12. Annotated video with event-based search
  13. Heightened 360 camera compatibility
  14. Point of Sale integration
  15. Integrates with other key systems
  16. Multiple recorded streams
  17. Advanced video analytics and visualization

Consistently records video from security camera streams

This is the basic function of video management software. While advanced cloud VMS features add a lot of value to the basic system, it needs to be able to accomplish this key function.

An on-site NVR or DVR system will record video, but they are not as reliable. Solink performs automatic health checks on all of your hardware, including security cameras, to make sure they are working, and if they aren’t that you know about it so that issues can be quickly resolved.

The Siegel Group uses Solink to make sure that their security cameras are always online. Here’s what Ross Siegel, Chief Information Officer of The Siegel Group, has to say:

“From an IT perspective, Solink is providing accountability and efficiency as well. We’re constantly seeing notifications of cameras being offline now. Our conclusion is that, since moving to Solink, cameras aren’t going offline more often but we just know when it happens. Now we get the notification and can react to the cameras going offline. We’re able to address things more quickly.”


Cloud video storage

Cloud video storage is one of the cornerstone technologies to enable cloud VMS. Having your security footage available on the cloud means that you can view in real time what is happening at all of your locations from anywhere. It also means that your video can be analyzed using the web tools available in your cloud video management system.

Solink goes one step further by giving you unlimited storage for save video clips. That means important videos are available for as long as your contract is open instead of the length of your standard video retention.


The goal of most businesses is to grow. Your cloud VMS should be able to scale with you. That means being able to not only view all of your locations under a single pane of glass but also having multiple groups so that you can easily see what you want to see in each location.

In this way, Solink is the hub of one or thousands of locations and can be seamlessly expanded to new locations as you grow.

Easy-to-use interface

Cloud video management systems are no longer considered just a part of your loss prevention system. More than just senior loss prevention professionals need access to the VMS. That means it needs to be easy to learn and easy to use.

When sales, operations, security, loss prevention, and other departments can find value in your cloud VMS, you don’t want to waste time training and retraining personnel. Furthermore, when more of your time is spent on the platform, you want it to be enjoyable so your job is as well.

Flexible deployment

Not every location is the same. They will have different layouts, security needs, business issues, etc. Being able to deploy a different number of security cameras as well as different types, offer different video retention lengths, integrate with different systems, and so on is critical for a cloud VMS.

No company wants half their sites on one system and the other half on a different system if they can avoid it.

Live video surveillance

Live video surveillance is a way to monitor your business remotely in real time. One major advantage of a cloud VMS over traditional video management software is that you are no longer tethered to a specific location.

CCTV security cameras only transmit data to a specific terminal. That means you need to be on site to view what is happening. The great innovation of cloud VMS is that you are now free to view the real-time situation at all of your locations from anywhere, at any time.

Remote video monitoring

Remote video monitoring refers to the ability to view your security feeds from anywhere, anytime. That means both live feeds and stored video, so you can run key loss prevention, security, and operations processes without needing to visit locations in person.

This is a major time saver. Loss prevention professionals can perform remote audits on a dozen stores in the time it would take to visit a single location. Cloud VMS gives you the time and tools required to focus on the stores that really need your attention.

Technology agnostic

Solink is a technology agnostic platform. That means that you can use almost any security camera, point of sale (POS) system, or other security hardware and connect it to the Solink platform. Part of this comes from using Open Network Video Interface Forum (ONVIF) standards to be compatible with most security cameras.

There is a reason Solink chooses to be technology agnostic.

Most businesses have a lot invested in their current hardware. That makes it hard to change service providers without incurring a massive upfront cost. Solink makes it easier and less expensive to sign up for cloud VMS by using your existing hardware. You can even keep using your analog cameras.

This leads to the next benefit.

End of the end of life cycle

The end of life (EoL) cycle refers to the eventual breakdown of hardware and its replacement with new equipment. NVRs and DVRs, cameras, and all the other security hardware used by businesses do not last forever.

Utilizing a video surveillance as a service (VSaaS) company as your cloud video management system provider eliminates the EoL cycle for some of your core systems, while extending the useful life of others.

Solink includes a fully warrantied and hands-off local storage appliance as part of its cloud VMS platform. You no longer need to worry about the breakdown of an expensive hardware component. Furthermore, our technology agnostic approach to security means that you can replace cameras only as they break down instead of all at once.

Above are all the underlying attributes of cloud video surveillance management systems that enable the following features.

Motion search gives your cloud VMS to search for activity automatically in camera footage so you don’t need to scan through hours of footage.

Motion search can help you spot shoplifters in minutes. Simply highlight the region of the camera view where something went missing and then click through the moments of activity until you find the shoplifting event.

You can use the same simple workflow to quickly find many other events. For example, collect evidence of a car accident in your parking lot, discover who blocked an emergency exit with refuse, or find where needed merchandise was misplaced in your warehouse.

Customizable proactive alerts

The best cloud VMS is not only there when you want to search for something. The ideal cloud video surveillance management system will actively tell you when something is amiss. That way you know when something is wrong, why, and how to resolve the issue before it gets out of control.

Here are just two ways Solink provides proactive security and loss prevention.

Threshold Notifications allows you to set limits on the metrics important to you: speed of service, hourly revenue, average transaction discount, or anything else you can track. Then, you receive a proactive notification by email or SMS any time your core metrics are outside of your comfort zone.

Solink Video Alarms turns your security cameras into an alarm system. In fact, video alarms not only replace traditional panel alarms but outperform them. In a recent head-to-head comparison, Solink Video Alarms Monitoring Service beat the competition by reducing false alarms and improving response times to true threats.

Read more about the Solink Video Alarms versus panel alarm comparison.

An ipad with a picture of a photo on it.

Motion detection is just one of the ways you can find needed footage faster. We discuss it a little more below, but Solink is an integrated cloud VMS that connects to your point of sale (POS), access control, and other systems to to pair video with every event.

Heightened 360 camera compatibility

There are many types of security cameras for business. 360 security cameras are sometimes called fisheye cameras because of the distorted image they record. Since 360 security cameras provide a complete 360° by 180° view, when flattened out, the video is distorted and it’s hard to make out what you are looking at.

Solink’s cloud VMS eliminates this issue by using modern gaming technology to stretch out this view to give you an immersive look at what is happening at your site.

Here’s a 360 security camera at work within the Solink app:

View all angles of your restaurant with a 360 degree camera

Integrates with other key systems

In addition to the POS, Solink integrates with many of your other key systems so you always have paired video to every event.

Here’s one example.

Point of Sale integration

The point of sale (POS) is perhaps the most important system in many businesses. However, point of sale employee theft is a common occurrence. It’s not always easy to track down theft events because high-risk transactions (voids, cash returns, no-sale till opens, high discounts, etc.) have both legitimate and illegitimate uses.

With a traditional VMS, the first task in differentiating between theft events and proper transactions is searching through hours of footage to match the timestamps of the security camera to that on the POS. Solink now pairs all of these automatically and gives you the ability to filter transactions using multiple terms to narrow down the search to only those transactions that might be fraudulent.

Then it is possible to review video of the transactions with the receipt temporarily overlaid, all without a text inserter box.

Access control systems are an important part of security. However, there is always the risk that a fob is stolen or employees share codes. Integrating access control with your cloud VMS improves the security of your business. Solink now integrates with Brivo for more effective access control.


Multiple recorded streams

Recording in both high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) has some surprising benefits. First, when you are searching real-time video remotely, HD can cause buffering issues. HD also takes up more storage space.

Your cloud VMS should record in both SD and HD so you can quickly search through SD video until you find something of importance. Then, you can switch to the HD stream for needed details.

Similarly, when considering video retention, sometimes it makes more sense to record a shorter period of HD video with a much longer SD retention period than both for the same length of time. This is the best tradeoff between the cost of retention and usefulness of HD versus SD video.

Advanced video analytics and visualization

The amount of data that cloud video surveillance management systems can collect is often daunting. If you don’t know what to do with the data or it isn’t well structured to identify key business insights, then what’s the point of collecting the data in the first place?

Solink’s Dashboard comes with customizable widgets that can be set up to track the metrics you care about, shown the way you understand, and to benchmark them in the way you want, whether that is week over week, month over month, against goals, the average of your other locations, or any other standard.

Video surveillance management systems have been around for a long time. However, the traditional systems based on an NVR or DVR do not have nearly the business value of a cloud VMS.

Solink offers a cloud video management software solution tailored to your business. By integrating with all of your other systems including access control and the POS, Solink pairs your data with matching video to unlock new business insights.

You can now monitor all of your locations in real time remotely, on your laptop or mobile device.

Find out what Solink can do for your business, sign up for a demo today.

Want to learn more?
Take a virtual tour.

Tim Ware headshot

Timothy Ware |

Solink stands at the forefront of security solutions, excelling in loss prevention and asset protection for businesses. Our content is rich in industry expertise and crafted to provide actionable insights and innovative strategies. We empower businesses to enhance their security systems, optimize operations, and protect their assets more effectively. Discover how our advanced cloud video management system can transform your security approach.