Lessons From The Field: A Hot Take on Hybrid Cloud Storage for Video Surveillance Data

August 21, 2023By Jaslyn Scribner

Change is inevitable, but still met with tremendous resistance—the surveillance industry is no exception to this notion. With a career that spans physical security hardware, cybersecurity software, and cloud data storage, I often engage with organizations on the brink of a digital transformation. What’s their most valuable asset? Data. With over 150M+ terabytes of video data being generated each day, it’s evident that a traditional “on-prem only” mindset is exceeding capacity! There’s an immediate demand for innovative solutions that help organizations scale their storage capabilities and make this inevitable transition to the cloud.

So, which factors are driving the market toward cloud storage adoption?

  1. On-prem overflow & failure. Hi-res cameras with higher frame rates generate larger files sizes, and consequently, require more storage. Additionally, many organizations want to retain video beyond the typical 30-day standard but need to conserve capacity for incoming video and other pertinent data. Beyond scalable capacity, organizations want (and need) to eliminate the possibility of data loss by implementing a disaster recovery strategy in the event of on prem failure.

  2. Compliance regulations. Some industries legally require an offsite copy of data. Healthcare, for example, requires 2-3 copies of data redundancy to ensure HIPPA compliance. Similarly, Cannabis has an offsite retention policy up to 120 days (variable by state) with an additional requirement to instantly access video during an audit.

  3. Lack of resources. As data storage demands grow, IT and Security Directors are burdened with the physical and financial investment of increased power, heating, cooling, installation, and overall maintenance of additional hardware.

By leveraging a hybrid cloud storage architecture, organizations can maintain an on-prem infrastructure while scaling their storage capabilities to the cloud. This frees up local capacity (minimizing their on-prem footprint) while increasing their storage capacity for video data and ensuring a robust disaster recovery strategy.

So, how is Wasabi helping organizations combat these challenges and serve as the proverbial GPS through this uncharted territory?

Saved by the bell | Scale existing on-prem storage capacity

WHO: With a prioritization to ensure student safety, education institutions monitor and retain data from every corner of the grounds. One particular 450-acre university was adding new cameras to its expanding campus, but their existing on-premises server was unable to support the new storage demand.

WHAT: At first, the university was hesitant due to the myths around cost, complexity, and security, as well as an inherent resistance to change. However, faced with a flood of data from their fleet of new cameras, they knew that undergoing an expensive hardware upgrade was too daunting, and an all-in-cloud solution would lock them into one vendor’s hardware and software, and require them to rip and replace their existing system altogether. They were looking for something that would yield the best of both on-premise and cloud storage technologies.

WHY: The university quickly embraced Wasabi Surveillance Cloud, a product that integrates with their Video Management System (VMS) to extend their on-premises storage to the cloud; this provided the university with the capacity they needed without having to purchase and manage new hardware.

THE LESSON: Organizations looking to instantly increase their storage capacity—without drastically changing their storage array—can utilize Wasabi Surveillance Cloud to seamlessly expand their storage capabilities.

High standards | compliance with industry regulations

WHO: Cannabis is an industry that is riddled with regulations, not the least of which having to do with storing and accessing surveillance video data. Failure to comply with these policies can mean loss of license. Needless to say, the stakes are incredibly high for IT and Security teams in this field.

WHAT: This dispensary knew it needed a 90-day offsite storage repository in keeping with the state’s compliance regulations with the ability to instantly access that data if/when audited.

WHY: This surveillance operation knew it needed to store its footage in the cloud from the get-go, the only question was where to store it. The regulations around retention in this industry stipulate that, in the event of an audit, surveillance footage must be made available to investigators immediately. This means that data stored in “cold” archival tiers—which can take hours to days to retrieve data—won’t cut it.

This dispensary chose Wasabi for its performance capabilities; offsite storage at nearline speeds is of the utmost importance for this industry when the business hangs in the balance.

The IT & Security team uses Wasabi Surveillance Cloud to offload its on-premise surveillance data to the cloud after a certain number of days. The software automatically tiers local data off to Wasabi and sets its designated retention period all in one simple to use interface. Since there are no changes to the file system or reboot required, WSC ensures a smooth transition to the cloud without compromising current operations.

THE LESSON: Don’t settle for inaccessible cold storage when your business depends on it.

Prepare for takeoff | Scale with lack of resources

WHO: A local airport tucked away in the southwestern desert of the US was faced with the challenge of limited on-premises storage capacity amidst growing surveillance data.

WHAT: The airport was hesitant to take on the considerable expense of procuring and managing an in-house data center. Resources were not the only limit to acquiring storage hardware, but square footage as well. The airport’s small footprint makes physical space a valuable commodity, and it did not have the area to devote to racks of storage devices.

WHY: Wasabi was a clear choice for this customer because it allowed them to leverage their existing Network Video Recorder (NVR) and integrate Wasabi’s software to expand their storage without taking on any additional burden to their premises. The IT team rightly saw it as unnecessary to claim valuable real estate for something that could easily be offloaded.

Wasabi’s cloud storage provides a secure, affordable offsite storage location for their surveillance data that requires no upfront purchase or maintenance from the internal IT team, making data storage simple and effective.

THE LESSON: Leverage technologies that have confirmed interoperability with your existing technologies to ensure a smooth, scalable transition. 

Hybrid cloud storage points the way forward for surveillance

Understanding the widespread hesitation to embrace change, not all customers are ready to go “all in” on cloud. In fact, pure cloud solutions can limit the customer’s ability to leverage the best of breed technologies by locking them into one manufacturer’s hardware and software making it challenging to rip and replace if the customer chooses to invest in other technology products / solutions down the road.

A hybrid cloud storage architecture allows the customer to transition to the cloud while reducing capital costs and operational expenses and maximizing their data security and storage capabilities.

The greater lesson? Don’t let your hesitancy to embrace innovative technologies hinder your ability to scale effectively and keep up with the ever-evolving technology landscape.

Jaslyn Scribner is Wasabi’s Global Technology Alliance Manager who specializes in surveillance data storage and serves as an in-house subject matter expert for this industry. Connect with her on LinkedIn, or start a free trial of Wasabi Surveillance Cloud.

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VIDEO SURVEILLANCEWhy More Organizations Are Choosing Cloud Storage for their Video Surveillance Data

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