Why is the management of capturing and storing squad car and body camera video so challenging? Because video files are huge—and they need lots and lots and lots of storage space. Deciding where to store this video becomes a daily challenge—like directing an always-on firehose toward a repository where you wish to store the water. Once stored, the video keeps coming. Without an appropriate strategy, the water from the firehose will flood your police department.
When we talk to municipalities for the first time about their squad car and body camera video archiving, we often note these five common issues.
1. The use of physical media to store data
Police departments often store video data on external hard drives and DVDs. Physical media is a risky way to store video records. Such external media can fail and does not give IT professionals an opportunity to manage and monitor its proper functioning. These storage devices can physically break or malfunction if someone drops them. People can steal or misplace them. And they may not actually store all the critical files you need.
2. Uncertainty related to data backup
It’s common to hear “no” in response to “Do you back up your video data?” It’s also common to hear about municipalities burning critical video data to DVD. Those are high risks. Hardware fails and people make mistakes. Relying on a single piece of hardware is data loss waiting to happen. Relying on people to manually back up video data, especially when that data is deemed critical, is data loss waiting to happen.
Instead, police departments need a real data backup and disaster recovery strategy involving onsite data backup (for quick recovery in case of a server failure) and unlimited offsite data backup where the video data is automatically archived, managed, and stored following records retention policies. This way, body camera and squad car video records are not lost and court cases are not put at risk.
3. Storage limits
Servers run out of storage. Physical media runs out of storage. Even cloud storage is charged in increments or blocks. These limitations force you to buy more storage over time, whether it’s more servers, more physical media, or more cloud storage. In fact, storage vendors know your storage needs will continue to grow. They know eventually you will hit your limit and need to increase your storage. This can throw your budget off and you either must pay up or delete data to make room for new data.
4. Single points of failure
A single point of failure means that your data is only stored in one place. If something happens to that data, it’s gone. Forever. How can that be acceptable when you must produce body camera and squad car video for police investigations and Open Records Requests?
Single points of failure can include a server with no data backup, an external hard drive with no backup, or even relying on a person to back up video data. If that person forgets to do that task, then that data is at risk.
5. Dependence on people for manual tasks
We hinted at people dependence in a few places above, but it’s worth mentioning as a standalone item. For example, tasking someone to buy physical media as needed, manually upload video to an external hard drive, or conduct non-automated data backup tasks introduces risk. People may get behind on buying physical media, all video may not get uploaded to the hard drive, or data backup tasks might get forgotten during a busy week. People make mistakes and forget.
Video archiving can help municipalities address storage issues by providing fixed cost unlimited storage that follows video records retention policies, addresses data loss issues by providing redundancy onsite and offsite, and avoids the risks of human error by automating, monitoring, and managing video data. If you need help addressing your squad car and body camera video issues, then reach out to us today.
Original Date: 5/12/2020