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The evolution of long-term video retention solutions in physical security

The evolution of long-term video retention solutions in physical security
This article provides an in-depth examination of the latest trends, emerging challenges, and technological innovations in video data storage.
Systems integrators (SI) often face the critical challenge of finding innovative yet cost-effective strategies to manage long-term video retention for their clients. These needs are often dictated by strict regulatory requirements or internal corporate policies.
 
This article provides an in-depth examination of the latest trends, emerging challenges, and technological innovations in video data storage, offering key insights tailored for SIs tasked with navigating this complex landscape.

The shift to cloud-based solutions 

One of the most significant shifts observed in the industry is the growing reliance on cloud storage solutions. These platforms offer scalable and flexible storage options that can adapt to increasing data volumes without necessitating substantial upfront investments in physical infrastructure.
 
Cloud services can also provide specialized configurations that ensure compliance with various industry standards, making them an ideal choice for sectors such as banking and casino operations where long-term data retention is crucial due to regulatory demands.
 
“For organizations that need to retain video footage long-term due to industry regulations or internal policies, such as casinos and banks, managing both compliance and costs effectively requires a strategic approach to video data storage,” said Steve Prodger, CRO of Arcules. “Cloud storage is a cost-effective solution for long-term retention needs. Many cloud providers offer scalable storage options ideal for growing data requirements. Specialized cloud services may also offer compliance-specific configurations, ensuring data retention meets industry standards. Cloud storage eliminates the need for large upfront investments in physical storage infrastructure.”
 
Additionally, the integration of hybrid storage models is becoming increasingly popular. This approach allows for critical data to be stored on-premises for quick access and compliance with specific regulatory requirements, while less sensitive data can be moved to the cloud. Such flexibility not only helps in managing costs but also ensures data availability and security.

Automation and data lifecycle management

Another trend transforming the physical security space is the implementation of automated data lifecycle management policies. By using automation tools, companies can transition aging video data to lower-cost storage tiers or even archive it to the cloud based on predefined criteria. This method significantly optimizes storage utilization, reducing ongoing expenses while maintaining easy access to important data when needed.
 
“One way that clients can manage long-term retention requirements is by implementing data lifecycle management policies that can further alleviate storage costs,” said Eran Wachman, VP of Product Management at Intellicene. “This can be done through a variety of automation tools that will transition aging video data to lower-cost storage tiers or archive it to the cloud based on predefined criteria. This way, clients can optimize storage utilization and minimize ongoing expenses.”
 
The use of tiered storage strategies is also a critical component of effective long-term data retention. Frequently accessed data is kept on high-performance storage tiers, while archival footage is moved to more cost-efficient storage solutions. This not only helps in reducing costs but also in maintaining compliance with regulatory standards without compromising data integrity or accessibility.

Cybersecurity: a growing concern

With the increasing adoption of cloud and hybrid storage solutions, cybersecurity remains a paramount concern. Integrators must ensure that the storage solutions they implement are not only efficient and cost-effective but also inherently secure.
 
“For clients with long-term video retention requirements due to industry regulations or internal policies, I recommend only working with security companies that are looking into the future and aren't looking to upsell you for necessary features and create solutions that are built inherently secure and not that were made secure only by a new AI feature,” said Robert Wall, VP of Technology and Innovation at Edge360. “I would also recommend implementing a tiered storage approach and automated data lifecycle management.”
 
“This strategy involves storing frequently accessed video data on high-performance storage tiers for immediate access, while less frequently accessed or archival footage can be moved to lower-cost storage tiers,” Wall added.  
 
This process of migrating aging video data based on predefined policies can and should be automated. By doing so, organizations can optimize storage utilization, reduce costs, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements without sacrificing data accessibility or integrity.
 
The importance of choosing security solutions that are built with robust security features from the ground up cannot be overstated. This approach avoids the pitfalls of systems that are only made secure through add-ons or updates, which can be less reliable and more vulnerable to attacks.

Innovations in NVRs and adaptive streaming

Further innovation in the field of long-term video retention is evident in the tailored solutions provided for specific regional needs and scenarios. For instance, in regions like the Middle East, the requirements for year-long storage are particularly stringent due to the compliance demands of financial regulatory authorities.
This has led to the development of specialized modular cameras and compact Network Video Recorders (NVRs) that are designed to operate effectively even in low bandwidth environments—common in remote or highly trafficked areas like shopping malls.
 
“For these types of customers, it’s crucial that storage costs don’t escalate,” said Jamie Barnfield, Senior Sales Director at IDIS Europe. “NVRs remain the most cost-effective and flexible storage method. Specialist modular cameras and compact NVRs designed for ATMs also need to be able to operate in low bandwidth environments since ATMs can be in remote locations, or in busy malls sharing bandwidth with other users.”
 
Adaptive streaming technology plays a crucial role in this context, as it adjusts the quality of video footage according to network conditions and storage capabilities. This ensures that both bandwidth and storage are utilized efficiently, without compromising the quality and availability of critical video data. Such smart retention policies, which automatically manage the lifecycle of data, deleting footage that is no longer legally required or relevant, also contribute significantly to cost management.
 
Moreover, the integration of high-definition cameras, such as 12MP fisheye models, provides extensive domain awareness with fewer devices, effectively reducing the amount of data generated and consequently the storage required. This is particularly useful in settings such as banks and retail stores where comprehensive coverage is essential.
 
“Not every application needs multi-heads or UHD cameras,” Barnfield said. “12MP fisheyes can be exceptionally effective for ensuring complete domain awareness of a store or bank branch, replacing 3-4 fixed lens models, and therefore reducing storage. When it comes to adopting AI-powered video analytics for business intelligence, integrators should look out for solutions that allow them to use their existing security cameras.”
 
“For instance, AI box devices can support top of head analysis for heap mapping and queue management, with only the potential need for one or two additional dome or bullets for accurate people counting at entrances.”
 
For SIs, understanding and implementing these advanced solutions—such as AI-powered video analytics and adaptive streaming technologies—can offer significant advantages. These technologies not only meet rigorous compliance requirements but also optimize operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness, making them an essential part of modern physical security strategies.

Recommendations for SIs 

For SIs, the evolving landscape of video retention presents both challenges and opportunities. To stay ahead, integrators should focus on:
 
Educating clients about the benefits of cloud and hybrid storage solutions: Ensuring clients understand the cost-efficiency, scalability, and compliance benefits of these models is crucial.
 
Implementing robust data lifecycle management and automation: By automating the migration of data to appropriate storage tiers, integrators can help clients save costs and manage data more effectively.
 
Prioritizing cybersecurity: Integrators must ensure that all solutions implemented are secure by design, protecting clients' data from emerging threats.
 
In short, as the demand for efficient long-term video retention solutions grows, SIs must leverage these innovative storage and management strategies to provide their clients with secure, compliant, and cost-effective solutions.
 
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