Solving the Massive Problem in Body-Worn Cameras Data
UPDATED: November 20, 2023
The world is getting "techy-er" to coin a phrase. Industries you wouldn't expect to require technology, online data, and IT services are beginning to lean more and more on technology. And this is good - if we consider our police force, more IT solutions means more time they can spend protecting and serving. This produces less hassle, paperwork, and and an overall easier experience. Of course, it's not just the digitized forms, coursework, or records that they have to concern themselves with, but tools that produce massive amounts of data daily.
How much storage do you need for body worn cameras?
I'll spoil the surprise for you. We're focusing on camera data, specifically body worn cameras (BWC) and the incredible amount of data downloaded from it on a daily basis. Your head is probably already churning to the connection here...there's a lot of private information that needs to be protected and stored.
Listen to this: Dashcams alone record 1.5 to 2.0 GB of data per hour. Add that to the person driving the car wearing a body worn camera that uses around the same amount of data, police officers are uploading anywhere from 224 GB per month and 11.648 Terabytes (TB, which is 1,000 GB) per year...and that is just per person/car. Dependent on any particular police force's size, you're looking at a lot of cheddar. Cheddar here, of course, being the money, time, and storage you're using on case-sensitive and important footage.
Like any other form of digital video, BWCs have a great impact on storage. The recordings are digital data that must be uploaded and stored in a highly-secured environment. From privacy to security, this technology comes with many IT concerns – but storage tops the list. If you have the storage, that's great, but what're you doing about securing it? And primarily, where are you storing it?
On premise storage vs. cloud sotrage for footage
When it comes to storage options, law enforcement agencies have a lot to consider. The department may choose to internally store the data or to contract with a on-premise or cloud-based storage.
Some internal approaches to storage can include (1) forming a team to manage the hardware and software needed to store digital data or (2) creating a system that involves copying the videos onto other physical mediums (e.g. DVDs or flash drives if you're still using them) and storing them in a secure location.
Storage for large amounts of data is costly, and the longer you store the data, the more expensive it is. In fact, data storage systems alone cost $30,000 with additional fees for storage, totaling near $2 million dollars annually for a single midsized police department.
However, internal storage can be even more of a hassle to deal with. From executing storage solutions to managing the physical location, storing data internally will put a financial burden on many agencies. It's an option, but it's a costly one.
Storing data in the cloud can reduce costs and provide a better safety net for your sensitive data. Encryption is key in cloud solutions – it protects access points and increases resiliency against data loss. Most cloud storage providers also conduct regular backups to ensure the data is available when it is needed. Some benefits of cloud storage are:
- Data is saved in a secure location
- More effective approach to access and backups (you need backups, and not the kind you could lose in a desk drawer)
- Offload the burden of managing a storage location
- Reduced costs from that averaged $2 million per annually spent on storage
Agencies will save money, time, and a large number of headaches by implementing the services of a cloud storage provider. When choosing the best fit for your storage needs on the cloud:
- Work with a vendor you can trust.
- Choose a system that has reliable and automatic backup procedures.
- Consult with legal advisers and enter into a legal contract that governs the vendor relationship.
how long does camera footage need to be stored?
Law enforcement agencies will need a tight security system in place that protects the data from being lost or mishandled. To properly safeguard the data, an agency can:
- Conduct backups – Whether done manually or automatically, having such protection is essential.
- Prevent tampering – Making sure that only those with permission are granted access to the data.
- Perform regular audits – Keeping record of who is accessing the data and why.
Most of the daily footage will play no part in investigations. This data is considered non-evidentiary and will not require long-term storage. The average time frame that non-evidentiary data is kept can be between 60 to 90 days. However, footage that involves some type of investigation (evidentiary) needs to be stored longer – and it comes with even more stringent, security regulations. Some evidentiary data may need to be stored for up to 20 years depending on the length of time it is needed for investigation.
Like I said, a lot of cheddar.
get the best data storage and Backup solutions
Body worn cameras are an effective tool for helping police departments do their jobs correctly while protecting their officers. We're passionate about keeping our men and women safe, not just their data.
Centre Technologies has the technology you need to store and protect your data. Our enterprise-level approach to storage, backup, and security paired with best-of-the-best technology are sure to ease your BWC concerns. Stress no more, Centre’s got you covered. Contact us today.
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