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How long does CCTV footage last

Video footage is only helpful if it can be accessed when you need it. Storage space and the type of video surveillance system you have will have a huge impact on how long CCTV footage is stored. Recorded footage might be useful in prosecuting intruders, so you want to know that important footage will be accessible when you need it.

In this guide, we are looking at how long security camera footage is stored for and how you can access this months and even years after the date. Read on to learn more about security cameras and how you can set up your home or business surveillance system to be as effective as possible.

Why video storage matters

Why video storage matters

A home CCTV system is only effective if you can access the footage captured. While CCTV cameras might be visual deterrent, you always want to ensure you can use the footage saved if needed. The quality of the footage will have a huge impact on the storage space required, so the lower quality the footage, the more you will be able to store. However, low quality footage might not be helpful in identifying intruders. So, we have to strike a balance between quality and storage space.

Security footage also needs to be saved in a place remote from the cameras and digital video recorder unit. There isn't much sense in capturing footage of intruders if they can also walk away with the full video surveillance systems and the recording footage. This is why it's important to either choose one with a secure storage capacity, or upload the footage directly to cloud storage. Cloud storage capacity will allow you to access your footage from anywhere in the world.

Where is CCTV footage stored?

CCTV systems will either storage the footage on a separate storage device, or it will upload the footage to cloud storage. How long footage lasts will all depend on your storage capacity. Remember that choosing cloud storage will require internet connectivity to function correctly. If the internet connection is lost, many will have the capacity to use a small amount of local storage, but this can lead gaps in your captured footage.

Modern security cameras will keep their surveillance footage for a specific amount of time and then automatically erase old security footage to make space for the new footage. This will all depend on your quality for the security camera footage and the size of your storage options. Some smart IP cameras will only start recording with the motion detection tools, which can reduce the storage capacity required. In this case, you will only see old footage that includes movement and everything in between will not be recorded.

CCTV footage

How long do businesses keep CCTV footage?

There isn't a legal requirement for businesses to keep CCTV footage for a specific amount of time, but the authorities typically recommend that businesses hold on to 31 days of footage at a time. You might not realise a crime has been committed until much later, and then you'll be grateful for still holding on to older footage. Obviously, this will require you to have more storage.

Old analogue systems would require someone to switch out physical tapes and then store these for a specific amount of time before recording over them with new surveillance footage. Modern systems will either use cloud storage or an SD card to capture footage from security cameras. Storing security camera footage can get expensive, so you need to make sure you regularly check to ensure you aren't holding on to footage for too long. Data storage can get very expensive, and you don't want to waste money being overly cautious.

Related Article: Where can i point CCTV Cameras

How long do residential CCTV cameras hold onto footage?

This all depends on the type of security cameras you have in your home and how they store surveillance footage. Most home CCTV camera systems use IP cameras, which stands for internet protocol. This means they are connected to the internet and automatically upload their surveillance footage to the cloud. They may also have an SD card inside to store video footage in the short term if your internet is disconnected.

Some home security cameras keep footage using network video recorders, also known as NVRs. A network video recorder is an external device used to store footage. Footage saved on an NVR is encrypted at the camera, which makes it more secure and less likely to be tampered with.

If you want to save money on home CCTV footage storage, you can also choose a system that will use motion detectors to manage when video recordings begin. This is a highly cost effective way to store surveillance footage, as it means you aren't recording all of the time. This will increase the CCTV camera storage capacity and make it possible to record at higher video resolution.

What happens with old security camera footage?

You can decide how many hours of CCTV footage should be kept and for how long. Most CCTV footage is deleted automatically, as this is the only way to make space for new recordings. If you don't have a system for storing relevant footage and deleting the rest, your system could run out of storage, and this could prevent future recordings from being saved. You might need to invest in multiple storage devices on an external recorder to give yourself enough storage space that means you don't have to delete storage as often.

Can deleted CCTV from security cameras be recovered?

The oldest footage is likely to be lost forever once it is deleted. Several factors will determine whether you can restore deleted footage. Some systems will keep deleted footage in a bin facility for up to three months before it is permanently deleted. This will give you time to restore the oldest footage before it is lost forever. Beyond this time, you might need to consult with a data recovery expert to determine if the lost footage can be found.

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