Cloud Storage Vs. Local Storage for Surveillance: Which is Best

August 16, 2023By Ben Bonadies

In an increasingly unpredictable world, the quest for safety and security has never been more urgent. To this end, a growing number of businesses, government entities, and private homeowners are turning to surveillance technologies as a crucial element of their risk mitigation strategies.  

Our digital age has significantly broadened the concept of video surveillance beyond just mounting CCTV cameras. It has morphed into a complex data management process, encompassing the creation, transmission, storage, and analysis of data. In transforming raw video into actionable intelligence, we can prevent crime, respond swiftly to incidents, and even predict trends. Amidst these multifaceted operations, one significant challenge stands out: data storage. 

The sheer volume and unending flow of data produced by state-of-the-art high-definition surveillance cameras test the limits of traditional storage methods. The imperative, then, is for an innovative solution that can handle and store this wave of data without sacrificing either its accessibility or integrity. This urgent requirement for sturdy, flexible, and secure storage has sparked a major debate within the video surveillance industry: cloud storage or local storage —which one to choose? 

Before we jump into this comparison, it's essential to understand the nuances of each storage method, including their specific strengths. In the ever-fluid tech world, deciding between cloud and local storage isn't a binary choice. It requires a thoughtful weighing of several factors such as the scope of surveillance, budgetary constraints, the need for data access, and the storage capacity required. 

Local storage 

Local storage, often known as on-premises storage, is the method of storing data on devices physically located within the user's environment. In the realm of video surveillance, local storage typically encompasses hardware such as hard disk drives and solid-state drives, or even sprawling server farms situated in dedicated data centers. To put it simply, local storage is the practice of recording and storing surveillance footage directly onto devices connected to your CCTV systems, like a network of cameras wired to an on-site Network Video Recorder, storing data on a hard drive. 

For a significant period, everything from small-scale retail outlets to large corporate offices, city surveillance systems to traffic monitoring mechanisms, relied heavily on the familiarity and perceived security of on-site Network Video Recorders and Digital Video Recorders. 

Envision a typical on-premises storage arrangement: surveillance cameras record video footage and transmit it securely to the Network Video Recorder. This recorder is akin to a specialized computer equipped with one or multiple hard drives, designed to store, manage, and provide access to the video data, enabling real-time viewing, playback, and prolonged storage. All the components of this system—cameras, network, storage devices—are present within the user's premises, which is why we call it “local” storage. It provides immediate access to your video data if you have physical access to the recording device. 

The strengths of local storage lie in its full user control over data, and quick access to video footage even without an internet connection, making it an attractive option for areas with inconsistent internet service. The sense of security with local storage is high, as the data remains within the premises, reducing exposure to external breaches. 

However, it is not without its drawbacks. The continuous improvements in video surveillance cameras have led to higher resolution footage, translating to larger file sizes. These larger files require more storage capacity, potentially overwhelming local storage devices, and necessitating frequent data deletions or costly hardware expansions. 

Additionally, in an era where compliance and regulatory demands are increasingly stringent, local storage may not meet the call for longer periods of data retention in a cost-effective manner. And let's not forget the inherent risk of physical damage —fires, floods, hardware malfunctions —that could result in total data loss. 

Maintenance costs, too, can't be ignored. From the initial investment in hardware to the ongoing expenses of maintenance, energy consumption, and future upgrades, local storage can quickly become a costly affair, particularly for smaller businesses. 

Cloud storage  

The essence of cloud storage is the remote preservation of data on servers that can be reached via the internet. Regardless of where these servers might physically be located worldwide, the data stashed in their digital vaults is readily accessible from any device with an internet connection, anytime and from anywhere.  

In the world of video surveillance, the utilization of cloud storage has been gathering momentum, largely attributable to its scalability and adaptability. In contrast to local storage solutions, cloud-based surveillance systems transmit their data over the internet, tucking it safely away on servers run by a cloud service provider. 

The blueprint of a cloud-driven surveillance system marks a considerable departure from the traditional local storage model. Cameras carry on capturing footage, but rather than dispatching this data to a recorder stationed on the premises, it's sent via the internet to the data centers maintained by the cloud service provider. The footage is preserved here and can be accessed or retrieved through an online portal. The upshot? Instead of a physical recorder sitting in your premises, you're leveraging the far-reaching infrastructure of the cloud service provider. 

The benefits of cloud storage are vast. A noteworthy advantage is its seemingly infinite storage capacity. As we've highlighted, the ongoing evolution of surveillance camera technology has birthed larger files, placing a significant burden on local storage capabilities. This is where cloud storage comes into its own. The storage capacity is adjustable, scalable to change based on the user's requirements. This flexibility effectively removes the worry of depleting storage space and the financial hit of purchasing new hardware. 

What's more, cloud storage inherently offers secure storage offsite. This mitigates the risk of data loss that could arise from physical damage to storage devices or theft. To assure the security of the data stored on their servers, cloud service providers pour resources into stringent security protocols. This strategy, bolstered by redundancy safeguards where data is duplicated and stored across multiple locations, ensures that your data is not just safe, but readily available whenever you need it. 

In with the new: Wasabi Surveillance Cloud  

There is solution that capitalizes on the power of cloud storage while tackling its potential roadblocks: Wasabi's Surveillance Cloud. This innovative service provides an enticing proposition for managing and storing surveillance data, blending the ease and scalability of cloud storage with a transparent pricing structure that leaves no room for ambiguity. 

Wasabi's Surveillance Cloud package cleverly integrates your onsite Video Management System (VMS) with its high-caliber cloud storage. This system's brilliance is rooted in its simplicity, scalability, and security—advantages that caters to the pressing demands of any business that values its sensitive data. 

Wasabi prides itself on its user-friendly design. The entire software can be up and running quickly, operating in the backdrop of your established system. No need to restructure your existing setup or grapple with complex new systems to harness the power of Wasabi's cloud storage. 

One of the perennial issues with local storage—the conundrum of limited capacity—is addressed by Wasabi's Surveillance Cloud. Your local storage is seamlessly linked to the cloud, effectively paving the way for boundless storage. This opens the possibility of storing higher-resolution footage and retaining data for extended periods without the nagging worry of exhausting storage space. 

Additionally, Wasabi's cloud storage introduces an immutability feature, a security measure that ensures your stored data remains untouched or undeleted. This added layer of protection safeguards against external threats like ransomware attacks or inadvertent deletions. And for those concerned about regulatory compliance, Wasabi's offerings are crafted to align with industry standards, contributing an extra dose of assurance to its wide-ranging benefits. 

As the surveillance sector evolves and grows, so must our tools and strategies. Wasabi's Surveillance Cloud serves as a shining testament to a service that channels the might of the cloud and adapts it to the distinct demands of the surveillance realm. From its clear-cut pricing model to scalability, robust security, and compliance, it checks all the boxes, offering a strong argument for the transition toward cloud storage for surveillance data. 

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