Cloud Video Storage
Cloud storage, as the name implies, is a method of storing surveillance footage in the cloud. Unlike traditional CCTV systems, modern surveillance systems that store footage in the cloud offer organizations a simple way to scale video storage to meet retention requirements. Without being restricted by limitations of on-premise recorders like NVRs and DVRs, cloud camera systems are quickly becoming a popular option among fast growing businesses.
Jump to each section to learn more:
• How Do Cloud Cameras & Cloud Video Storage Work?
• Main Features of Cloud Video Storage
• Benefits of Cloud Video Storage
• Challenges of Cloud Video Storage
• Cloud Video Storage vs. Local Video Storage
• Takeaways About Cloud Video Storage
How Do Cloud Cameras & Cloud Video Storage Work?
With cloud storage, video footage is retained in remote servers and accessible virtually anywhere with an internet connection. Unlike CCTV systems, cloud surveillance solutions don’t require technical configurations (i.e. opening ports and firewalls) to enable remote accessibility, thus eliminating a significant amount of the security threats associated with traditional NVR- and DVR-backed video security systems.
Therefore, cloud camera systems are a generally better option for organizations that require 24⁄7, remote access to footage.
Main Features of Cloud Video Storage
- Easy Remote Accessibility: With cloud storage, surveillance staff, business owners, and other authorized users can access footage remotely across any smart device or browser. Because all data is stored centrally in the cloud, it’s simple to streamline visibility across any number of locations.
- Flexible Storage: By storing video footage in the cloud, organizations can scale up data storage capacity to meet the demands of a growing business. The scalability of cloud storage enables teams to accommodate to video retention needs without disrupting existing infrastructure.
- Easy Maintenance: When comparing maintenance of local video recorders and cloud storage, cloud video security solutions are significantly easier to maintain. By simplifying system setup and removing the need for supporting hardware and equipment, IT & Security professionals are able to reduce the amount of management overhead required to ensure system operability.
Benefits of Cloud Video Storage
- Safeguarded Security Footage: Cloud storage security camera systems offer their own set of safeguards compared to on-premises solutions. Instead of firewalls—which can be vulnerable to hacks—cloud servers protect surveillance footage using safeguards such as single sign-on, password protection and two-step verification.
- Data Retrieval: With cloud storage, all live and historical camera feeds are centralized and accessible via the internet. This simplifies surveillance management for Security & IT professionals, and increases visibility across sites by bringing footage onto one screen.
- Scalable: Cloud camera storage allows for as much (or as little) capacity as needed. While providers will typically offer a certain amount of storage for a set monthly fee, the scale on offer is essentially limitless.
- Hardware Compatibility: Cloud storage is offered across a number of different security vendors, so organizations have more freedom in choosing cameras that best meet specific security needs. Whether they need fisheye cameras that capture a wide field of view, or high-res cameras that capture HD footage, cloud-based video security solutions have less hardware limitations.
Challenges of Cloud Video Storage
- Unpredictable Gaps In Coverage: To accommodate a cloud-based surveillance solution, organizations need a strong and reliable internet connection. In the event of network outages, cloud cameras fall completely offline and are no longer capable of recording footage. As a result, cloud cameras are often seen as an unreliable solution for businesses that require 24⁄7 monitoring.
- Doesn’t Meet Industry-Specific Requirements: Cloud-based camera solutions may not be an option for some businesses, as video retention laws prohibit certain industries from deploying a cloud-based solution that lacks local storage. Therefore, a fully cloud-based solution is often in direct violation of many compliance and security regulations.
- Learning Curve: Businesses that are accustomed to the process of retrieving footage from local recorders (i.e. NVRs, DVRs), have used these technologies for decades. Replacing legacy infrastructure with new systems require a significant amount of upfront investments in time and resources. Transitioning to a cloud camera system may require onboarding for the team at large.
- High Bandwidth Consumption: Because cloud cameras stream footage continuously, a significant amount of bandwidth is consumed. If there are many cameras deployed across a facility, it isn’t uncommon for the organization to experience significant lags or interruptions with internet performance.
- High Storage Fees: Organizations with sophisticated surveillance needs, and advanced hardware and camera systems that record high-resolution videos, can expect to pay more for cloud camera storage. The more space that’s needed to store footage, the greater the costs will be.
- Retention Laws: As more data is created, the length of time that organizations are required to retain it is growing too. Requirements outline everything from resolution, to camera location, to number of days the video must be retained for. Laws vary by state and differ based on sector, with highly-regulated industries like healthcare, insurance, and energy known to enforce strict specifications and harsh penalties for non-compliance.
Cloud Video Storage vs. Local Video Storage
- Cost: There are different costs associated with on-premise storage and cloud storage. Local video storage requires on-premise recorders (i.e. network video recorders, digital video recorders), so there are upfront costs associated with hardware. While cloud camera systems don’t require such equipment, there are costs that come with cloud storage. Fortunately, with different options that range in cost depending on the required amount of storage capacity, organizations can pay for what they need.
- Setup: NVR camera systems, which store footage locally, are typically bulky and hard to maintain because of the many components required to operate the system. With cloud camera systems–specifically ones that are compatible with wireless cloud cameras–there are typically only three components that make up the system: a cloud camera, wiring to power the device, and a wireless router that connects the camera to the internet. This simplified setup process makes cloud video systems significantly easier to scale.
- Storage Capacity: Due to the dependency on local recorders, CCTV solutions are limited to the number of available ports on a NVR or DVR. Most commonly, enterprise organizations utilize industrial PoE switches that support anywhere from 8 to 48 cameras. However, cloud cameras are deployable without the need for a recording device, making storage solely dependent on the amount of data capacity of their cloud subscription.
Takeaways About Cloud Video Storage
Cloud based security cameras are a highly scalable solution that can be applied across all types of enterprise-level businesses, providing the flexibility to accommodate a growing business. However, that’s not to say it’s without challenges, costs, and limitations.
To learn more about video storage solutions, check out our eBook below.