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The 5 Challenges of Digital Surveillance Storage Systems and How to Overcome Them

December 14, 2023

Digital surveillance systems are everywhere in today’s society. By the end of 2021, it was estimated that one billion surveillance cameras were operational globally.

Unsurprisingly, the most heavily surveilled country is estimated to be China, who was projected to have 626 million surveillance cameras in operation by 2020, accounting for more than half off the rest of the world’s surveillance cameras combined.

According to a report published by Safety.com, the average American is captured by a surveillance camera upwards of 238 times every week. Broken down by day, that’s an average of being captured 34 times every 24 hours.

digital surveillance storage systemsOrganizations need digital video surveillance for many reasons. They need to protect their physical property, their people, assets, and adhere to regulatory compliance mandates which necessitate searchable evidence 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Security policies and best practices dictate that retention times for video surveillance now need to be longer and, in some cases, demand high-definition resolution.

Those requirements mean that a ton of data is produced that needs to be maintained and remain accessible. This poses several challenges that a robust digital surveillance storage system must meet.

In this article, we detail the challenges that modern-day digital surveillance requirements present, and you can overcome them with cost-effective, reliable digital surveillance storage systems.
The Challenges Digital Surveillance Storage Systems Must Meet

The demands of regulatory compliant, high-quality, and robust digital surveillance systems are intense. The following, is a brief list of the challenges modern digital surveillance storage systems must meet:

Challenge #1 – An Exponentially Growing Amount of Data

At a minimum, a camera with a 1080P resolution and an H.264 compression will produce an average of 35 GB per day. That’s almost 13 TB from one camera a year.

Companies must maintain all that high-resolution data for a variety of reasons including regulatory compliance, internal security protocols, and more. High-definition digital video data increases storage capacity needs by up to 20x. Where multiple streams and megapixel cameras are needed, this only exacerbates an organization’s storage needs.

The challenge is finding and implementing a high-density digital surveillance storage system that can handle that amount of data reliably and cost effectively.

Challenge #2 – Reducing Your Digital Surveillance Storage System Costs

Cost reduction is an annually recurring objective for every organization. With growing data storage needs, particularly from digital surveillance systems, this can be an incredibly difficult aim to reach.

Logically, more data means greater digital surveillance storage systems and infrastructures to store, maintain, and manage that data. That comes at a greater cost when the objective is to optimize and ideally reduce the size of your investment.

Challenge #3 – Better Reliability

Reliability for digital surveillance storage systems is extremely important. Whether it’s for safety or regulatory compliance, passing moments cannot be missed because of storage system failures, leading to inaccessibility and crucial data being lost.

Challenge #4 – Longer Retention Requirements for Digital Surveillance Videos

Government and various industry regulations require organizations to maintain digital video surveillance for longer periods. Therefore, not only is the video data growing exponentially because of high-resolution and multi-cam requirements, but so too is the length of time it needs to be retained and remain accessible.

Challenge #5 – Evidentiary Video Data

The need for evidentiary data, like body cams, has also grown at an incredible rate recently. If a police department has 200 officers and they each activate their body cams for only one hour each shift, the average amount of video data that will need to be stored and retained will reach 33TB per year.

Finding the appropriate digital surveillance storage system for this amount of data is one thing. Storing it securely in a way that is compliant is another. The U.S. Federal Rules of Evidence (e.g., CFR 28, 29) and Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS) have a wide range of requirements for the protection of evidentiary data to ensure its admissibility in court. This data must be stored in a way that not just secure and reliable, but also immutable.

How to Overcome the Challenges of Digital Surveillance Storage Systems

Organizations must overcome a range of challenges in finding the right digital surveillance storage systems that meet their needs and requirements. Those challenges include:

• An exponentially growing amount of data
• Reducing the costs and operational expenses of your digital surveillance storage systems
• Improved reliability
• Longer retention requirements
• Storing evidentiary video data in a way that is secure, reliable, and immutable

Traditional storage arrays are simply unable to meet the rigours, demands, capacity, and performance requirements that today’s IP-based digital surveillance systems require.

The way to overcome these challenges is to find providers that can deliver cost-effective, high-density, reliable, and immutable storage systems. Vendors that can also provide energy-saving features is also important, as that too will go a long way to minimizing the resources you invest in digital surveillance storage systems.

For a detailed overview on the challenges that digital surveillance storage systems must overcome and the types of solutions that are readily available to meet those demands while reducing costs, download the white paper Rising to the Challenges of Digital Video Surveillance.

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