Tim Compston, Features Editor of Security News Desk and SecurityMiddleEast.com, considers what the future holds for the storage of video surveillance and other data.
With the inexorable rise of the cloud we talk to key security vendors about whether this a good option for video surveillance or other security-related data storage requirements. Despite all the hype is there still life left in locally-based storage solutions?
Asking Thomas Lausten, Vice President, EMEA at Milestone, where the storage of data from security systems should happen, his immediate response is, essentially, ‘wherever the user would like it to be stored’: “That is one of the beauties of open platform technology. What we are seeing now is that more and more cloud service providers are certifying their solutions with Milestone. We have always certified Microsoft Azure as cloud storage for us.” Expanding on his initial comments, Lausten adds that Milestone is certainly not in the business of telling anybody that they should either store their video footage in the cloud or locally: “We let it depend on their actual needs and the open platform technology allows them to choose the perfect platform.”
On the product development front, Lausten confirms that Milestone is paying special attention to tuning up storage performance: “We have multiple releases of our XProtect platform each year and one of the areas that is getting a special focus in an up and coming release is the performance in handling video data.”
To round off our discussion, Lausten flags up the fact that, due to legislation, it simply may not be possible to store video surveillance up in the cloud for certain jurisdictions while it is perfectly okay for other countries. Whatever the storage options available, Thomas Lausten agrees that the whole question of storage is far more important today than it was even a year ago.
Speaking to David Aindow, Product and Technology Director at Synectics, for another take on the storage issue he says that the majority of the company’s customers perceive their video data as ‘mission critical’: “They much prefer to store this data within their operational communications rooms or owned data centres rather than in the cloud.” Aindow adds that this is largely to ensure data security risks are as minimal as possible and the sheer volume of video data that is generated by enterprises such as casinos, CNI (Critical National Infrastructure) sites and public area surveillance systems.
That being said, Aindow tells me that Synectics does see a move to video data being more accessible: “At Synectics we are working with a number of customers to help them realise this. In this instance rather than all video being stored in the cloud, only video data of potential interest to third parties such as insurance providers or law enforcement agencies is migrated to the cloud as a bit-for-bit copy with full SHA2 Protection and relevant audit data.” In addition, according to Aindow, a secure link is then presented to the third parties with a time expiry to allow them to access the relevant footage.
The case for the cloud
Christian Morin, Vice President for Cloud Services at Genetec, is very much, as his job title suggests, an enthusiastic proponent of the cloud: “Genetec is all in with the cloud, we have a cloud first and hybrid cloud strategy.” Expanding on this theme, Morin explains that, essentially, everything that is new at Genetec is done in the cloud first: “We have a number of initiatives from a product development perspective that are baking right now that will be brand new cloud services to bring to the market.”
Morin of course is realistic and says that it is very important to emphasise that although Genetec is ‘cloud first’ the hybrid cloud component is very important too: “As much as we believe in the cloud – and the cloud is the future – it is not a transition that is going to happen overnight. There are still a number of scenarios where you cannot go fully to the cloud. So we have customers who are basically running everything in the cloud today but I would say that most of them still have a significant on-premises component to their system.”
Asked what the main reasons are for people heading into the cloud, where security solutions are concerned, Morin says that it covers a pretty broad spectrum: “One of which would be when we are talking about storage and video, for example, is if you are required to keep your video for a very long period of time. This could be because of compliance requirements." Given this, Morin feels that the cloud becomes a very compelling ‘value proposition’: “We actually have a number of customers who have adopted the cloud because it is much more cost effective not just from a storage perspective but also with regards to the total cost of ownership.”
The road ahead
To conclude, we are very much at a crossroads in the world of storage for security systems, including video surveillance, and only time will tell whether, as some hope, the cloud becomes the primary reservoir for video footage and other data.