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How Long Do Security Cameras Keep Footage? What To Know

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How long do security cameras keep footage? Having security cameras installed is an absolute must for many businesses and homes. This is because they safeguard the contents of their buildings, and make sure that no suspicious activity occurs.

Several factors can have a major impact on the exact length of time. In some cases, it just boils down to the preference of the facility owner. However, let’s assume they want to keep it for as long as possible. Then, the answer will be determined by these other factors. Let’s talk about those factors and how long you can access the footage.

Factors That Affect Security Footage Retention

Apart from owner preference, here are the main factors that have an impact on how long camera footage can be retained:

Storage Method

The reason the storage method matters are that the amount of available storage space is important. If you wish to retain footage for longer than the camera’s capability, you have options! You can invest in external storage that adds considerable time to your storage duration. Or, if your camera has a slot for a microSD (memory card), you can back it up. Then, you can review the footage by inserting the SD card into a laptop or desktop computer. Additionally, look to invest in an external hard drive and store the footage indefinitely. To make this work, you have to transfer the footage manually to the external hard drive. The recommended storage method, apart from the camera itself, is using Internet-based storage on the cloud. Using this approach, you can set it up so that unwanted footage is automatically deleted after a period you specify. You could also choose to review recordings before having them deleted manually. Most security cameras provide subscriptions for the cloud, and that makes it even easier.

Type of Camera

The camera type you have installed will largely determine how much security footage can be stored. This is because storage capability varies from camera to camera. Some cameras store videos for up to 180 days before they get deleted. While other cameras offer monthly and annual subscriptions to store your recordings for longer. Some security cameras store footage for a specific time window. From there, you’ll want to transfer the footage externally to prevent it from being overwritten.

Camera Brand

The manufacturer and design have a major influence on how long footage can be stored. Some brands provide seven days of storage for their base models. However, with a subscription, they can provide much longer time windows for storage. Some camera companies only permit access to the recorded video for a few hours. After which you’ll need a subscription to access the footage.

Legal Requirements

Within the United States, video surveillance is only allowed in areas where there is no other protection for privacy. These areas include most public spaces, offices, and general work areas. In these locations, legal requirements state that the camera must be visible to observers, so people know they’re being recorded. Legal requirements also state that the video recordings must be saved for a minimum of 30 days.

Company Policies

Some companies have specific policies in place that determine how long their security footage will be stored. Older videos are automatically deleted at the end of this time. Many commercial organizations retain their surveillance footage for up to 90 days. While many banks are required to retain their footage for as long as six months.

Camera Resolution

Security cameras with high resolution have a better capability for capturing high-quality images. Generally, the higher the video quality, the greater will be the bandwidth necessary to store images on the camera. However, this doesn’t mean it’s advisable to select a camera that has a lower resolution! This is because it’s very easy to make use of external storage options, even with a high-resolution camera.

the Ring Stick Up Camera outdoor security camera for home security

Benefits of a Security Camera

There are quite a few benefits provided by security cameras, whether they happen to be installed at a residence or a place of business. Some of these are obvious, and some you may not have thought about before. Here are some of the actual benefits enjoyed by individuals and businesses that have security cameras installed for protection:

  • Protection of employees and guests. With security cameras installed, any risk of possible harm to employees or visitors decreases. While the safety factor correspondingly increases for those same individuals.
  • Continuous monitoring. Security cameras are capable of recording all activity and all events taking place on the premises, even after normal working hours. This ensures that all critical footage is captured and that none is lost.
  • Prevent theft and robbery. Security cameras help officials prevent all kinds of crime such as assault and theft, as well as all kinds of other malicious behavior.
  • Incident resolution. Video footage captured by surveillance cameras greatly assists authorities when they investigate crimes.
  • Storage round the clock. With a high-quality camera, you won’t have to worry about how long footage is retained, because it will always be accessible on the cloud. That means you never have to worry about the footage being overwritten and lost.
  • Remote access. Surveillance teams will be able to keep tabs on any business facility, from any location whatsoever with a good security camera.

So, What Happens to the Old Security Footage?

Most security cameras will automatically overwrite older footage when it runs out of room in recording new footage. After the camera has reached its maximum capacity, the old video will automatically be deleted, and that always leaves you with the most recent video footage. Once the camera has deleted old footage, it cannot be retrieved. However, with many cameras, it is possible to extend the retention period of video footage by adjusting the settings on your device.

If you have stored your video footage on an external drive, you should have no problem retrieving that old footage. If you know that some footage has been overwritten or deleted, it may still be possible to recover it, for instance by using Windows File History.

Your best bet might be to use third-party software to recover deleted CCTV footage, or you can consult with a professional to retrieve footage that you believe was lost. Expert professionals are sometimes able to recover deleted video footage, even from encrypted storage.

A white security camera installed on a modern, cement beige wall outside.

Are Home Security Cameras Similar to Commercial Cameras for Deleting Footage?

To put it simply, no, they are not. To answer the question, “How long do security cameras keep footage?” depends on the type of camera. There is a significant difference between the way home security cameras and business security cameras handle video footage. Business security systems generally have a considerably greater number of storage configurations than home devices do! 

Home security cameras aren’t meant to handle a large volume of storage on the same scale that a small business requires. Generally, there is not the same kind of demand for security footage for a private residence as there is for a public business. For that reason, business security systems are designed with greater storage capacity in mind. Some systems are capable of automatically compressing footage to use less storage. Additionally, to be able to retain existing footage for a longer time.

Most business security cameras are also configured to store footage on a central server situated in the cloud so that it can be remotely accessed from any location around the globe. The kinds of storage options provided by business security cameras are far more efficient than a typical home security camera, and they have been tested thoroughly to ensure that they satisfy the requirements of business owners.

A man is installing an outdoor security camera at the side of a home.

Thinking of Installing a Security Camera? Let the Professionals at ONIT Home Take Care of You.

If you’re thinking of installing a security camera at your facility, contact the experts at ONIT Home. We have that has years of experience in making homes and places of business safer and more efficient. ONIT Home offers customizable smart security systems that can protect your building’s occupants, as well as all valuables and assets contained within. You can even obtain flexible financing that will make it easy on your budget to get set up, and then you can enjoy full-time security indefinitely. Call us today at 1-833-433-0331 to get started!

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