Is Your Business’ Security Camera Footage Easy to Access?

Security Cameras & Access Control

If you are already protecting your small business with security cameras, you may be surprised to know that some systems make it difficult to access footage. This seems counterintuitive since the main reason to use camera systems is to be able to refer back to footage as needed.

But, how does security camera footage get saved, anyway? There are several systems on the market, but here is an overview on how surveillance footage is stored, and what you should look for in an easy-to-use system.

How Often Are Security Cameras Checked?

There are a few different instances where security cameras need to be checked. If a business doesn't have someone watching CCTV all the time, cameras are typically only checked after something bad happens.

However, your managed security provider should check your system regularly to ensure it’s updated and working properly. If you partner with a security service, ask them about what proactive steps they regularly take to check firmware updates, patch security flaws and check functionality of devices.

You should also get notified right away if there are issues with your system. This is why managed security services can reduce the risk of a camera malfunctioning, which could leave you without crucial evidence after an incident.

How Long Do Businesses Keep Surveillance Videos?

How long your business should store footage depends on a few factors. These factors may include:

  • Industry/likelihood of theft, fraud, or vandalism incidents
  • Compliance requirements for certain types of businesses like cannabis or firearm dealers
  • What kinds of cameras you will use and if they feature cloud storage
  • Your budget and preferences for video storage

Security cameras can retain footage for time periods as short as 30 days, or as long as 1-2 years. Keep in mind, not all security cameras are made the same or for the same purpose. For example, a security camera pointed at a dumpster will need far less monitoring and footage retention as one pointed at a store register. In this way, the length of time you retain footage for can make or break your leverage if an incident or crime occurs.  

How Does Cloud Storage Work for Security Cameras?

Regardless of whether you use cloud or local storage for footage, you’ll need a software interface. This can be a web interface or installed locally, allowing you to retrieve footage as needed.

Although cloud storage can get pricey quickly as footage adds up, there are some ways around this. There are many different methods of file compression, and you could also upload only “events” which are instances of movement or any important action. This can reduce the amount of data you need to upload, which can offset the cost of cloud storage.

Cost and Bandwidth Considerations

Uploading footage to the cloud will come with a monthly or yearly fee in addition to the licensing required to use the device itself. The more data you upload, the more you run the risk of racking up costs and eating up bandwidth from hundreds of gigabytes of storage taken up every day.

This is why it’s important that your managed security provider is well versed in how to reduce the amount of footage you upload by prioritizing only important image capture.

Local and Hybrid Cloud Storage

A popular solution for security camera storage is referred to as "hybrid storage". This involves when footage is stored locally but accessed through the cloud. This will allow you to upload footage. However, as mentioned there are drawbacks to uploading all of your footage, including the amount of bandwidth it will take up.

This could get in the way of your other business applications that rely on bandwidth, so make sure to ask your managed security provider about this detail. 

Where Some Systems Fall Short with Stored Footage

Unfortunately, even though footage retrieval is arguably the most important function of security systems, some make it tricky to find and archive footage. When events happen, they are over in a matter of a few minutes or seconds. Especially if a camera is recording 24/7, it can be incredibly difficult to find and archive footage of a specific event.

Instead of spending your valuable time combing through hours of footage, it’s advisable to opt for motion-activated cameras with intuitive retrieval software. Smart motion detection technology along with easy-to-use interfaces will only capture important action rather than static frames. This will simplify footage retrieval, allowing you to quickly find and archive it in case of an incident.

What To Look for in a Business Security Camera System

When deciding on the security camera system that’s right for you, make sure it comes with software that’s designed specifically for business owners. This will allow you to quickly retrieve recordings of specific events and store them for your desired amount of time. They should also be able to capture crisp footage of whatever environments you’ll place them in, accounting for elements such as:

  • Glare
  • Low or bright lighting
  • Weather conditions such as wind, rain, or snow.
  • Vandalism/tampering considerations

A managed security provider will advise you based on these details, keeping your needs in mind as they make recommendations. Other elements that will determine the right system for you include the size of your business, typical foot traffic, sensitive transactions, and how many vantage points you will need.  

Myths About Security Camera Systems for Businesses

There are many security system options on the market. There are also many misconceptions about security cameras. For example, "wireless" security cameras aren't entirely wireless, as they still need to be connected to a power source with a wire. In addition, wired security cameras can be just as easy to install as wireless ones.

To read more facts about business security devices, read our blog: 5 Myths About Business Security Camera Systems.

How to Choose a Video Surveillance System for Your Business

Setting up your business with the right surveillance system starts with partnering with a great security company to assist you. To speak to an expert in business security solutions, click the button below to get started.

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About Jada Sterling, Digital Content Manager

Jada Sterling is Usherwood's Content Manager. She is responsible for developing content that furthers the mission of Usherwood Office Technology by helping clients and prospective clients better understand how technology can help grow their business.