How long to keep surveillance tapes?

Discussion in 'Security Alarms' started by DavidB, Dec 21, 2007.

  1. DavidB

    DavidB Guest

    Do most commercial companies recycle their surveillance tapes or do
    they archive the tape or digital pictures indefinitely? What is a
    prudent amount of time to retain surveillance footage when there has
    been no known incident for which they would obviously be needed?
     
    DavidB, Dec 21, 2007
    #1
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  2. DavidB

    Bob La Londe Guest

    Most just cheaply keep only enough tape for one month (some only a week) and
    recycle them every period. A few keep 60 or 90 days of archives depending
    on certain insurance or other ratings, and most new systems are getting
    digital video with about 20-30 days of record time that continuously FIFO
    over writes the old data. Those with more storage requirements often find
    its cheaper to add an external SCSI drive or setup an an automatic FTP
    transfer to a remote storage site as opposed to buying a DVR with a terabyte
    or more of storage. 500-600 gig units are pretty affordable. Also, with
    the cheaper (except Pelco) Windows based units you can always add an IDE
    RAID controller and map a bunch of smaller commercially available hard
    drives together to act as a single huge drive. The problem is the stability
    of Windows, the customer stupidly wanting to use an existing computer, or
    wanting to use it for other stuff, and the inherent problem that with 4-8
    ide drives working as a single large drive your chance of a drive failure
    causing a problem increases exponentially.

    I prefer an embedded OS 500-600 gig DVR with a SCSI port for most, and for
    secure storage I prefer to use remote server space and FTP video archives.
    For those companies with multiple sites FTP can be great as each site can
    have a dedicated server for archiving video from other sites. Timing and
    bandwidth useage can be an issue, but many companies have dedicated
    bandwidth connections and if you do your FTP transfer at times when the
    interconnects are virtually idle it costs them nothing extra. At worst in
    the event of a catastrphic failure they might lose one day's recording.
    Even that can be mitigated to some degree, by programming a secondary FTP of
    the most recent video in the event of any alarm conditions from other
    systems.

    It can be complicated to manage and you have to get the IT personnel excited
    by it. If they don't fall in behind it they will come up with a million
    excuses why you can't do it.
    --
    Bob La Londe
    The guy who decides who we do business with.

    The Security Consultant
    PO Box 5720
    Yuma, Az 85366

    (928) 782-9765 ofc
    (928) 782-7873 fax

    Contractors License Numbers
    ROC103040 & ROC103047



    --
     
    Bob La Londe, Dec 21, 2007
    #2
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  3. DavidB

    Frank Olson Guest

    DavidB wrote:
    > Do most commercial companies recycle their surveillance tapes or do
    > they archive the tape or digital pictures indefinitely? What is a
    > prudent amount of time to retain surveillance footage when there has
    > been no known incident for which they would obviously be needed?



    I guess it depends on what's "on" the tapes. Generally, if you've
    recorded an incident or accident, I'd keep them indefinitely (just to be
    on the "safe side"). Convert them to MP4's and you won't have a problem
    with image degradation or an accidental erasure.
     
    Frank Olson, Dec 22, 2007
    #3
  4. DavidB

    Matt Ion Guest

    DavidB wrote:
    > Do most commercial companies recycle their surveillance tapes or do
    > they archive the tape or digital pictures indefinitely? What is a
    > prudent amount of time to retain surveillance footage when there has
    > been no known incident for which they would obviously be needed?


    Well, I can tell you Petro Canada officially specifies one month's worth
    of tapes be kept, so on the annual preventative maintenance rounds, we'd
    deliver 31 new tapes to them. Ideally, this means a tape is used a
    maximum of 12 times before it gets discarded, although I've gone back to
    some sites where they have two years' worth of unopened tapes and have
    been using the same old tapes for three years (and then they wonder why
    the playback is shyte... well, more shyte than usual).

    Most sites are now going to DVRs as the old VCRs die and replacements
    and parts get harder and harder to find. When I do install a DVR, I'll
    usually recommend they keep their existing tapes for at least a month
    (just in case, because they're supposed to have a month's worth of
    archived surveillance) and then just toss them out. Not the most
    environmentally friendly, I know - how they dispose of them is their own
    business.
     
    Matt Ion, Dec 22, 2007
    #4
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