How to store your CCTV footage is an often neglected afterthought when purchasing security equipment. This is why it’s best to seek the advice of a professional security company before making an investment.
They’ll recommend the best recording equipment for your CCTV, advising on such solutions as video compression, video encoding and hybrid systems so your cameras record and maintain as much footage as possible.
On-site vs Off-site CCTV Storage
There are two main ways to save video data – either with a digital video recorder or an IP cloud-based system where images are stored online. Deciding on the most suitable system depends on your personal requirements and budget.
Conventional CCTV systems will use a local DVR that can store footage on an internal or external hard disk. They are easier to operate, will incur lower costs and data can’t be accessed by outside sources.
Most cameras come with a microSD card slot that can store up to 128GB of video. When all the memory has been used up, most CCTV systems will record over the previous footage. To keep recordings for a longer period of time, you can simply replace the memory card or copy videos to a PC via a card adapter.
One issue with on-site recording is that of security. If your digital video recorder is stolen, your footage will be too. Likewise, any accidental damage may also see hours of important video simply wiped out.
Remote storage works via an IP internet connection. This means recorded video will be saved off-site in a similar way that Microsoft OneDrive works with email storage.
No matter what happens to your camera or recording equipment, data will still be accessible via a secured online account. Specialised cloud-based storage providers will charge a monthly/yearly fee for the ongoing storage of your CCTV recordings.
There are possible drawbacks with remote video storage. If your internet connection goes down then your CCTV will be ineffective during this period, whilst there’s also the risk of your IP network being hacked.
Consider your legal responsibilities as a CCTV owner. As well as respecting individual privacy, any footage obtained has to be stored and used in the correct manner. This is especially the case if the CCTV is recording members of the general public.
Government guidelines note that CCTV owners must:
- Not store any information or images for longer than is necessary to protect your property (which means you should delete the information once it is no longer required).
- Make sure that the information recorded is used only for the purpose for which your system was installed (for example it will not be appropriate to share any recordings on social media sites).
- Keep the recordings secure and keep access to them to a minimum (remember that you are responsible for what happens with the information).
If you don’t comply with the above laws, criminal proceedings can be made against you by the Information Commissioner’s Office or individuals who feel their privacy has been violated. The ICO Code of Practice can be found here.
Of course, investing in CCTV systems that pose additional security problems defeats their intended purpose. This is a concern if your on-site recorder is stolen or cloud-based network is hacked into. To minimise these security risks, it’s recommended to seek a professional supplier and installer certified by the NSI and SafeContractor.
If you’d like more information about storing CCTV footage, get in touch for a chat.
If you’re considering using CCTV, you may also be interested in how CCTV analytics software can boost your business’s security.