Safeguarding Surveillance Data So You Don’t Fall Short of the Law

Posted on October 14, 2018 by Gary Watson - Also by this author

Many organizations require higher-resolution video to ensure compliance with insurance providers, maximize loss recovery and strengthen criminal cases in court, for example. Photo: AngelTrax
Many organizations require higher-resolution video to ensure compliance with insurance providers, maximize loss recovery and strengthen criminal cases in court, for example. Photo: AngelTrax

Video surveillance has evolved massively since CCTV was invented in 1942. The continuous growth in use of video surveillance, however, also means new challenges for data storage, and as the role of CCTV grows increasingly important, it’s critical to manage and protect in the correct way.

It’s especially imperative to consider data storage and security, ensuring it complies with local and international laws and regulations. For digital evidence, it’s important to be able to offer seamless scalability to accommodate rapid growth, along with a comprehensive suite of data security features that meet strict requirements for file integrity, privacy, chain of custody, and compliance.  

Key Data Storage Issues: Capacity, Retention, and Chain of Custody
In terms of capacity, video and digital images are exceptionally heavy users of storage space and the guidelines around managing evidentiary data are key to it being recognized as a valid source by the criminal justice system.

Many organizations require higher-resolution video to ensure compliance with insurance providers, maximize loss recovery, and strengthen criminal cases in court, for example. It is therefore essential that data is stored in a solution that is scalable and cost-effective, allowing them to add capacity as needed, since running out of storage space is not an option.

Storage solutions that incorporate policy-based rules for data retention can help police departments to significantly boost their storage efficiency by automatically keeping all surveillance videos only for their legally mandated retention period.  Similarly, a solution that can enable a digital chain of custody, including an audit trail, will help prove that any digital evidence is correct and has not been deleted or altered in any way and who accessed that information.

By implementing high quality storage solutions, the owner of the surveillance data — whether that’s local government or a business with its own CCTV — can be sure that it can be utilized as evidence. And when it comes to catching and prosecuting criminals, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

The Solution
The best solution to all these issues is implementing a storage solution that enables organizations to meet regulatory demands while ensuring data does not become corrupted or — worse yet — deleted before its time.

Surveillance videos require Chain of Custody and immutability tools to keep them admissible as evidence in legal proceedings. Using a storage solution that guarantees the integrity of archived data through the use of file serialization, file fingerprinting, audit trails, self-auditing, and self-healing capabilities is ideal for this situation. Because secure archive is designed to work transparently with existing applications, no APIs are needed to deliver these benefits for the physical security network.

To ensure optimum storage for high-value surveillance, solutions should encompass file integrity, data availability, secure time, file redundancy, data verification, and no-backup-needed options.

Gary Watson co-founded Nexsan in 1999 and is currently the company’s CTO, a role he’s served in for more than 12 years.

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