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Best Practices for Storing Security Footage

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By: Jimmy Hinshaw, Patrick Murphy

June 5, 2024


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Today businesses rely heavily on security cameras to safeguard their inventory, premises, and, most importantly, the safety of their customers and employees. Whether it's monitoring for theft, ensuring compliance, or enhancing overall security measures, the footage captured by these cameras is invaluable.

The increased quality of images provided by high-resolution cameras creates another issueā€”storing the enormous amount of data that cameras generate with their crisp, sharp images. The effectiveness of security cameras hinges not only on their quality but also on how well the footage is stored and managed. There are best practices businesses can follow for storing security footage to ensure that they can leverage their surveillance systems to their fullest potential.

Prioritize Storage of Essential Video

When it comes to storing security footage, businesses have several options to consider, including on-premises storage, cloud-based solutions, or a combination of both. Each option has its pros and cons, and the choice depends on factors such as budget, scalability, and security requirements. Cloud-based solutions offer the advantage of accessibility from anywhere with an internet connection, while on-premises storage provides greater control over data and potentially lower long-term costs.

"Sending all your security footage to the cloud doesn't always make sense because of the cost involved and the bandwidth required to upload massive amounts of data," said Jimmy Hinshaw, Sales Director at Bailiwick. "The goal should be to use technology to identify footage that might be necessary to review at some point," said Hinshaw. Using technology such as AI to identify relevant footage, such as when multiple people enter a store, will help to streamline the amount of video that's needed to be stored for possible use later.

"The reality is that nobody has the time to sit and watch 16 cameras of video at hundreds of locations," said Hinshaw. "The right technology will help companies store only relevant video that might be used at a later date."

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Redundancy and Access Control

No storage solution is immune to failures or data breaches. Therefore, it's crucial for businesses to implement redundancy measures to ensure the integrity and availability of their security footage. This can involve setting up mirrored servers, regular backups, or utilizing Redundant Array of Independent Disks configurations to safeguard against hardware failures.

Additionally, access to security footage should be tightly controlled to prevent unauthorized viewing or tampering. Implementing robust access controls, such as user authentication, role-based access permissions, and encryption, helps ensure that only authorized personnel can access the footage. Audit trails should also be maintained to track who accesses the footage and when.

Retention and Maintenance

Establishing clear retention policies is essential for managing storage space effectively and complying with legal requirements. Retention periods should be determined based on regulatory guidelines, industry standards, and the specific needs of the business. It's important to balance the need to retain footage for investigative purposes with the cost of storage and privacy considerations.

Surveillance systems require regular maintenance and monitoring to ensure optimal performance. This includes conducting routine checks of cameras and storage devices, updating firmware and software as needed, and monitoring storage capacity to prevent overflows. Regular testing of backup systems and disaster recovery plans is also critical to ensure continuity in the event of a system failure or data breach.


By following these best practices for storing security footage, businesses can help protect their employees, customers, and assets. Additionally, businesses can ensure the safety of their premises and mitigate risks associated with data breaches or loss. Investing in robust storage solutions and implementing sound security measures will provide peace of mind and contribute to the overall success and resilience of the business.

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