Surveillance Storage Options

Businesses and individuals recognize the importance of security cameras for their homes and enterprises, but nobody likes sitting in front of a monitor watching their security footage every day.  This is why video recording is a tremendously helpful feature and owning a device to store recordings is convenient.

What are the storage options available today?

SD Card and Other Onboard Memory Options

SD means Secure Digital and this type of storage option has been used for many years.  This is the same kind of storage that is seen on DSLR, smartphones, and other devices.  SD cards are solid state storage, meaning it does not have moving parts that could wear out.

There are many IP camera manufacturers that are integrating SD and microSD storage for their cameras because this type of storage is inexpensive and very reliable.  Small surveillance systems with only a few cameras that use SD storage eliminate the need to have an NAS or NVR, which lessens the installation costs as well.  Even for a large system that make use of NAS or NVRs, an SD card may be used on cameras that monitor important areas. This redundant video coverage can be of use in critical places like the storefront and front door.  Even if wireless cameras suffer from interference or if there is a problem with the network, the security camera can still continue to monitor and store surveillance videos and photos that can be used later.

SD cards of up to 64 gigabytes are now available that have the option to automatically overwrite older footage when it is full.  Even so, two weeks of full-time recording on an SD card can still be stored.

Disadvantages.  One of the biggest drawbacks of storing video footage or surveillance images on an SD card is that it is stored inside the camera itself.  In the event that the intruder steals or smashes the camera, chances are the footage will also be lost.

Network Attached Storage or Network Video Recorder (NVR)

Network Attached Storage is a type of storage that is connected to the local area network using a standard Ethernet connection.

NAS storage has its own IP address and may be used to store different file types, not just the images and video footage from cameras.  Like SD cards, NAS is very reliable and reasonable primarily because they also use standard storage for LANs.

On the other hand, a Network Video Recorder or NVR is used only for security camera’s recordings, but functions similarly to how NAS functions.  The difference is that NVR uses embedded software to record videos, while NAS can use the software provided by different manufacturers.

When opting for NAS storage for security cameras, be sure to consider how strenuous video recording can be at times.  A network storage drive is different from a desktop computer’s hard drive that spins only when something is being written and read to it.  NAS often just keep spinning even when it is not reading or writing.  NAS continuously write onto the hard drive when used for recording, which could be overworking it.  Be sure when purchasing a NAS that it is specifically designed for use with video surveillance.  Moreover, ensure the hard drives are properly sized for video recordings.  Your camera’s manufacturer can assist in figuring out the required size based on your needs of the frame rate, resolution, and time duration.

One advantage that NAS has over SD cards is the ability to record feeds from different cameras and have a bigger storage capacity, allowing storage of longer footage periods.

Disadvantages.  Like SD cards, NAS are typically located inside your premises, which means that there is a possibility that thieves or a rogue employee can find it and destroy the video recordings.  There is also the risk of NAS being disconnected from the network, which means there would be no video footage.

Cloud Storage

If you have used Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive or ADrive, then you’ve used cloud storage.  According to, cloud storage is used to store data on a remote server that can be accessed via the Internet.  It is located offsite and managed by the service providers.

With the advent of IP and networked cameras, businesses now have the option to store their video footage directly to the cloud.  This is important because it allows your video footage to be kept safe, and away from intruders on your premises.  Because the storage is not located on site, they cannot physically destroy it.  Also, in the event of fire or flood, ­­­­ the video footage will be safe.

Another advantage of storing to the cloud is the ability to view stored video footage and real-time live viewing using only a Web browser or a mobile app.  Cloud storage is typically very inexpensive with a monthly subscription.  You enjoy low entry costs and your footages are safe.  Plus, setting up cloud storage with networked cameras is fast and easy.

Disadvantages.  There is a small chance a slow Internet connection may be experienced, especially when Internet is being used to review the footage. Downloading these videos is necessary to review or stream them.  Additionally, a subscription fee maybe charged for ongoing cloud storage.  Lastly, consider video footage and images stored on a cloud usually does not give the user complete legal or physical control.

What to Choose

To choose the perfect storage figure out your needs.  If you do not have confidential places to monitor and don’t mind the monthly subscription, then go for the cloud storage options.  This allows access to the recording minutes and storage needed for your security cameras without the hassle of having to maintain your own network or check your SD cards. Plus, it takes out the physical reach of your security footage.

If you have a small system, then can consider a local PC or SD card storage.  Not only are these very simple and inexpensive, but it will also save you time and cost when setting up.  If you have a larger set up, then a NAS or NVR storage option may be the ideal option.