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3 reasons why you should be using the cloud for body cam video storage

There are many misconceptions about cloud security for law enforcement; yet, the cloud is secure and ready to serve

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3 reasons why you should be using the cloud for body cam video storage

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By PoliceOne BrandFocus Staff

Police departments are collecting massive amounts of video data –mostly from cops’ body cameras. A recent Office of Justice Programs report found resource issues surrounding body-worn cameras adoption were considerable, specifically data storage and management due to the enormous amount of video data that must be stored properly and securely.

The cloud is a secure option to store body camera video.  (Image Microsoft)
The cloud is a secure option to store body camera video. (Image Microsoft)

One of the most-effective and reliable options to store digital data is through cloud storage, said Richard Zak, director of public safety and justice solutions for Microsoft Corp. The company recently collaborated with VIEVU on a body camera cloud solution for law enforcement. Zak said the work is an example of how VIEVU’s body cameras and Microsoft’s cloud solutions can work together to help deliver secure solutions for law enforcement.

Here are several reasons he gave about why the cloud is secure enough for law enforcement.

You are already using the cloud.

There’s no doubt the cloud has become ubiquitous. Almost 90 percent of U.S. broadband users polled have at least heard of "cloud storage," according to a 2014 study from nScreenMedia. Yet, even though most online consumers use cloud-based sites and apps, survey data showed that they're confused about cloud computing and its value in helping organize digital services.

Every day, people use the cloud to access goods and stored information. From backing up a smartphone to online retail shopping, cloud computing is used thousands of times a day to process and store information. Police often use it when entering data into national criminal databases or sharing information with offsite agencies.

“People are using the cloud every day, even without knowing it, Zak said. “They are already an active cloud user in their personal lives.”

The cloud is easy to use and manage.

In comparison to staffing a team to build and manage the hardware and software needed to store digital data—as well as the physical location that houses it—the cloud is much easier for a police department to oversee. 

A cloud provider can manage digital evidence, Zak said. This can be done through services where the cloud is delivered to them as the platform behind the service, like the VIEVU solution, which is built on Microsoft’s Azure Government cloud. When people sign up for the program, they manage their video evidence with VIEVU and Microsoft helps manage the network infrastructure behind it.

This is done in a secure way. Microsoft’s Azure Government cloud and VIEVU meet the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) security requirements, a policy that law enforcement must meet in order to access the FBI’s data in the cloud. The company does not mine data, guarantees confidentiality, allows agencies to control and own all their data, and is aligned to the standards published by the International Chiefs of Police (IACP).

“We sign the CJIS security addendum with the agency and contractually commit to supporting CJIS and agencies’ compliance, the same way the agency signs one with the FBI,” he said.

The cloud is cheaper than storing video evidence onsite.

Onsite storage is a cost that is incurred year after year. From labor to physical location, managing storage solutions onsite puts a financial burden on agencies, Zak said. This can range from spending thousands on servers and staff to keeping the lights on. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, an average kWh cost in-house server (accounting for both direct IT power and cooling) costs about $731.94 per year in electricity while an IT director costs over a $100,000 per year.

Zak said many law enforcement customers are surprised when they add up the costs of their infrastructure—the hardware, the staff and the physical infrastructure. It’s then they realize the cloud is a competitive way to reduce costs.

“Microsoft runs these services through the cloud on a massive scale, so it lowers the cost of delivery below any agency’s ability to deliver it themselves,” he said.

By leveraging Microsoft as the cloud platform behind a body-worn camera like those offered by VIEVU, an agency can get a modern, body-worn camera with a cost-effective, secured infrastructure behind it. The collaboration offers a more secure alternative to onsite storage, while still offering the reliability and accessibility to an agency’s body camera evidence cache.

For more information, visit VIEVU’s website.

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