The Business Case for Hosted Video Storage

Oct. 2, 2012
Why the cloud is becoming a preferred surveillance environment for SMBs

Security professionals today have witnessed an astronomical explosion of data. The increasing volume and detail of information — “big data” — captured by enterprises is serving as a tremendous opportunity for security integrators, channel companies and manufacturers to offer the new storage solutions. This competitive platform is enabling productivity growth and will surely drive innovation for many years to come.

Evidence suggests that no industry, company or organization is immune to the explosion in data growth. For some, a critical data loss could be fatal to their very existence. Organizations with limited or inadequate IT support can be particularly vulnerable — if data recovery efforts are insufficient, the damage is already done to corporate reputation, intellectual property, employee productivity and perhaps most of all, your customer data.

The extraordinary growth of video surveillance data in particular has created an imperative need to store, manage and secure that data for a variety of reasons, whether for a short time or, due to company and/or legal compliance requirements, several years.

With this growth of video data, the viability of traditional DVRs and NVRs with local storage is breaking down. Determining what capacity to buy can be challenging since an organization’s storage needs depend on estimates for a highly variable number of criteria.

While many expect to see improvements in compression standards, the growth in the number of cameras, resolution and retention times will continue to drive the need for more scalable and highly reliable storage solutions.

Decentralized Data Storage
As things move forward for video surveillance, hosted cloud-driven software, platform and infrastructure services are expected to drive much of the growth, resulting in substantial cost savings and organizational value. It may lead to a complete transition from internal to external storage platforms.

With advantages in processing and storing much greater data quantities, external storage platforms compare favorably to DVRs, NVRs and other internal storage platforms, and may soon overtake them as the dominant storage platform.

Today’s network storage devices include features such as high-capacity storage that is expandable per device; RAID protection against hard drive failures and loss of data; device-to-device replication; remote access; certified support for universal plug-and-play camera recognition and management; small to large camera count support; and even cloud backup options. Network storage solutions for video surveillance installations can also back up files in the cloud using a cloud storage service provider.

By incorporating desktop or rackmount network storage devices with integrated video surveillance management software, cost-conscious organizations, small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), distributed enterprises and remote offices can implement desired surveillance solutions. Often cloud-based or hosted, these solutions eliminate the need for DVRs, reducing security vulnerabilities and onsite infrastructure costs for small camera deployments.

Two emerging network options for storing, managing and securing video surveillance data include: Integrated Video Management Systems, which blend smart network storage with video management software and IP cameras for an integrated, low-cost video surveillance solution; and Hosted Video Surveillance Solutions, which leverage cloud storage and a browser-based video management system interface to enable a cost-effective security solution.

Integrated Video Management Systems
A high-performance integrated video management system uses smart network storage with embedded or PC-based third-party video management software and IP cameras for a low-cost integrated, efficient video surveillance solution.

With dependable storage capacity, security and compatibility, integrated video management systems deliver flexibility for SMBs and others with limited IT and surveillance support.

Convenient mobile device applications enable surveillance administrators to access video feeds anywhere.

Many models of network storage devices support embedded and PC-based third-party VMS applications, ensuring efficient video recording. The VMS may support up to 24 cameras per site, and hundreds of camera models.

Some network-attached storage devices also include management software that enables users to manage video surveillance while simultaneously storing the video.

Hosted Video Surveillance Solutions
A hosted video surveillance solution taps the power of cloud storage for organizations that need to manage and secure increasing amounts of video data. A cost-effective solution, the hosted approach combines browser-based video management system interfaces with the reliability and accessibility of network storage.

With a hosted system, a business can take advantage of proven cloud storage technology to deliver cost savings without compromising performance, capacity or security. Using a cloud storage service provider in tandem with a network storage device and integrated video management software enables users to record and store high definition (HD) video locally while also providing economical access to standard resolution video data stored securely in the cloud.

Users can remotely access HD files as well as data in the cloud anywhere there is a network connection.

Substantially reducing the need for upfront capital investments, this hybrid model appeals to SMBs and larger entities with remote and branch offices like retail stores and bank branches, using a scalable architecture with smaller monthly operating expenses.
As a hosted service, it can provide attractive recurring revenue opportunities for the servicing integrator, as well as an enriched opportunity to entrench customer loyalty.

Network storage product lines can provide support for small to medium-sized camera counts per site, enabling users to record and store HD video locally while placing low-res versions of the video in the cloud. The solution provides flexible recording and retention policies, and provides remote viewing capability through smart phones and other web-based devices.

End-users can augment their hosted solutions with low-cost local network attached storage (NAS) to prevent the loss of critical recording and an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) to protect against power outages. When Internet connectivity is restored, the NAS can automatically stream the stored video to the cloud for off-site archiving.

Hosted video solutions cost a fraction of standard DVR/NVR deployment costs. Robust yet simple video monitoring and smart storage solutions are embedded into many leading storage options, eliminating the need for separate PCs/servers, operating systems and VMS applications. Additionally, end-users get a full-featured network storage device that can simultaneously handle other data storage activities.

Hosted Video Installation Models
Scalable HVSS solutions are ideal for businesses with less than 250 users and for distributed enterprises seeking affordable, versatile and reliable video storage and management capabilities.

The Small Business Model: Hosted video is ideal for small businesses looking for a storage system that can meet their entry cost requirements, yet can expand in capacity and performance as business and surveillance needs grow. Businesses such as law firms, accounting offices, home offices, restaurants and retail chains with small IP camera counts can use NAS combined with IP cameras at the front door, back door, cash drawer and the dining area/waiting room, to be a sufficient and secure solution. This entry-level solution can be implemented for less than $1,500.

Distributed Enterprise/Remote Office Model: Distributed enterprises or remote offices with multiple entryways require more than a few IP cameras to canvas the premises. These companies need larger capacity network storage devices with additional features to support larger camera counts, combined with a cloud service provider that enables the user to store HD files locally while storing standard definition files in the cloud. In this case, network storage devices would be cost-effective, with a price in the range of $1,000 for a 4TB network storage device.

Today’s network storage products make it easy to archive, protect and share physical security video and audio files from anywhere (with an Internet connection). The hosted units deliver the innovation and convenience of optimized video surveillance installations at a fraction of the cost of traditional DVR/NVR installations.

Mike Nikzad is the chief operating officer of the Iomega Corporation, an EMC Company (