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Leveraging the cloud for storing digital evidence
Public safety and law enforcement agencies are experiencing exponential growth in the amount of digital information and evidence that requires tamper-proof storage with a verifiable chain of custody. The expanding use of digital forensics, dashboard and body-worn cameras (bodycams) are adding significantly to the storage burden. According to IDC research, by the end of 2021, there will be roughly $1.2 billion in IT costs for in-car and bodycam programs alone. In the same report, San Diego’s estimated storage costs for a 1,450-camera initiative was $3.5 million!
Building secure and scalable storage systems capable of managing petabytes (PB) of data require considerable IT resources and staff with the expertise for dealing with ever-evolving security threats and countermeasures. This is difficult if not impossible for small to medium-sized law enforcement agencies. With this rising tsunami of data, even large metropolitan and state police departments are turning to the proven cost-savings of the cloud.
Multi-Tier Cloud Storage 1.0 Solutions Are Not the Answer
Unfortunately, the current generation of cloud storage providers cannot adequately address the problem. At large volumes or with heavy access needs, active storage services such as AWS S3 is expensive. That’s why it’s common practice to archive video in cheaper, slower cold storage services like Amazon Glacier. Unfortunately, taking hours if not days to access video vital to an investigation is not an option. And the fees associated with retrieving data from these lower-priced storage tiers have the potential of costing you even more money in the long run.
Wasabi Hot Storage means Rapid Retrieval of All your Data at the Same Low Transparent Price
Wasabi hot cloud storage is up to 6x faster than AWS S3, making the evidence you need not only seconds away, but also significantly less expensive (try 80%) to store compared to AWS S3 (and there are no additional fees to access your data). Wasabi is fully Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS) compliant. And with our optional immutable bucket feature, digital evidence cannot be changed or tampered with in any way, guaranteeing chain of custody.
Save 80% versus AWS S3 storage…and even more, compared with digital evidence systems vendors who bundle and markup S3 storage.
Access evidence when you need it with performance that’s up to 6x faster than AWS S3.
Ensure chain of custody with durable, CJIS-compliant hot cloud storage and optional immutable buckets.
Spend less time managing storage infrastructure or deciphering complicated monthly cloud provider bills, and more on your strategic mission.
Technology analyst Eric Kavanagh hosts a panel of experts to discuss the challenges and solutions for managing evidence in the digital age.
The use of dashboard cameras and bodycams in law enforcement have exploded in recent years. Cameras help to build transparency and trust between officers and the public they serve. But these devices generate a massive amount of footage that is too costly for most law enforcement agencies to store, forcing many to delete footage that could have been critically important in the future.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML)
Digital forensics and data analytics continue to shrink the window between crime and capture. Recent advances in video facial recognition, for example, have helped solve time-sensitive cases from child exploitation to the Boston Marathon bombings. Other AI algorithms are being used to detect and respond faster to traffic accidents or predicting crime levels to help with resource allocation. The common denominator is the massive amount of data necessary to train the machines.
Backup and Recovery
No one wants to be on the receiving end of a ransomware attack—especially law enforcement. Secure data backup to Wasabi can protect you from data loss in the event of theft or natural disaster. And Wasabi’s incredible performance will have your applications and data restored before the bad guys have time to write their ransom note.
Active Data is readily visible to the operating system or application that creates or uses it and is immediately accessible to users.
Active Archive is stored data that is online and instantly available. It does not need to be restored and rehydrated from an offline or remote source.
Inactive Archive is stored data that is infrequently used or accessed. It is traditionally archived to tape and stored offsite.
Upfront licensing costs for on-premises storage may seem comparable to cloud storage prices, but long-term, your operational costs—IT personnel, maintenance fees, and training add up. Not to mention the additional cost for ensuring up-to-date security and regulatory compliance.
With public cloud “storage-as-a-service,” data is hosted and processed off-premises by a third-party provider such as Wasabi, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platform. The provider is responsible for maintaining the hardware, software, virtual and physical security necessary to ensure the agreed-upon level of service.
A breach of case data or other public safety information could spell disaster for an investigation or jeopardize the integrity of police operations. But cloud computing and storage solutions can equip IT with better controls to manage and monitor permissions, access, use and data administration, while also providing the highest level of protection from security threats.
Benefits of cloud-based object storage:
Scalability – object storage doesn’t face the same file count and capacity limits of file-based network-attached storage (NAS) systems.
Interoperability — Object storage has better interoperability with various protocols with the flexibility needed to move data across a global namespace.
Backup – Backing up to the cloud protects from data loss due to local failures or natural disasters.
Pay-as-you-go pricing – Enables you to avoid substantial capital expenditures for storage acquisition as well as costly maintenance, training, and hardware and software upgrades.
Searchability – More effective and efficient use of metadata.
Digital evidence is required in all phases of an investigation. Computer and Internet files, images, email, and other seized digital evidence must be preserved and analyzed. Dashboard cameras and bodycam programs are adding terabytes (TB) of additional data that state and local governments need to manage. Large law enforcement agencies are dealing with upwards of 4 petabytes (PB) of data a year…and that figure is doubling every two years!
Wasabi’s mission is to provide inexpensive and insanely fast cloud storage-as-a-service. Our universal single-tier hot cloud storage is 80% less expensive than AWS S3 so you can afford to store substantially more data. With performance that’s up to 6x faster than AWS S3 you can retrieve your data quickly—often as fast as if you were storing it locally. And our pay-as-you-go pricing model, with no hidden fees, provides public safety agencies with the transparency and cost predictability they need to scale their storage while meeting their budgetary obligations.
Compatible with existing Digital Evidence Systems and Applications
Wasabi fully supports the AWS S3 and Identity Access Management (IAM) APIs so Wasabi operates just like S3 in any existing implementations that leverage those APIs. Wasabi works closely with a growing list of Technology Solution Alliance Partners to jointly develop, certify, and market integrated storage solutions and services. Check out our list of companies and products that have been certified interoperable with Wasabi’s hot cloud storage.
Safe, Secure, and Tamper-proof
Wasabi provides eleven nines (99.999999999%) of object durability, protecting data against disk failures and media errors. Data is encrypted at rest and in motion with integrity checks every 90 days. Optional data immutability is available on a per-storage-bucket basis to protect against accidental or malicious deletions or modifications.
Criminal Justice Information Security (CJIS) Compliant
The CJIS Security Policy requires law enforcement agencies to ensure that digital information, electronic records, and personally identifiable information are not deleted improperly, corrupted, tampered with, or disclosed to unauthorized individuals. That data must be protected in transit and at rest, throughout its lifecycle, regardless of whether it’s kept on-premises, in a hosted facility, or in the cloud. And those security requirements apply to every individual with access to, or who administers, criminal justice services and information—including contractors, private entities, non-criminal justice agency representatives, and cloud service providers, such as Wasabi.
Wasabi complies with all Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Security Policy regulations, so law enforcement and other organizations that deal with CJI have peace of mind knowing that all their stored data is fully secure and protected.
Active data: You have the option of storing your data exclusively on U.S. soil.
Video Surveillance and Bodycam Storage
Adding to an already growing data storage problem is the expanding use of body-worn cameras or bodycams. Citing improved transparency and community relations, police officials also acknowledge the significant challenges associated with storing all this video footage. In fact, a recent Police Executive Research Forum report showed that storage costs can reach up to $2 million for a mid-sized department annually. (San Diego is spending $3.5 million.)
To understand the true costs associated with a bodycam program, public safety organizations must examine the total cost of ownership (TCO)—a financial assessment that accounts for all direct and indirect costs of acquiring and operating a solution or system. That includes all the hardware, software, updates, maintenance, training, data storage, and data retrieval.
Many bodycam vendors sell the actual cameras at low cost, making their money on the backend selling expensive data storage. Cloud storage such as AWS S3 is the storage of choice for many digital evidence system providers. But consider this: AWS S3 is 5 times more expensive than our Wasabi hot cloud storage, and that’s before the vendor’s markup!
What appears to be the least expensive bodycam solution upfront could cost you significantly more money in the long run.
NOW YOU CAN. Wasabi is here to guide you through your migration to the enterprise cloud and to work with you to determine which cloud storage strategy is right for your organization.