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Video retention

Video retention refers to how long security camera footage is stored in a system, for example 30 or 365 days.


Video retention refers to the storage of security camera feeds. Video can be retained using local and/or cloud storage. Digital video recorders (DVRs), network video recorders (NVRs), and network-attached storage (NAS) devices are the three main kinds of local storage used for video retention. For cloud video retention, both public and private storage solutions are used.

Typically, video is retained for between one month and one year. However, the length of video retention chosen by a business is dependent on several regulatory and industry requirements. For example, a small retail business might be able to uncover most internal theft using 30 days of video retention, whereas it could take manufacturers six months or longer to discover the loss associated with a fraudulent manifest.

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Why is video retention important?

Video retention is very important because not all crimes are noticed immediately. Sometimes weeks, or even months, can go by before a crime is detected, and it is important to keep video records so that they can be reviewed at a later date. For this, many companies use a video management system (VMS).

In addition, especially with internal theft, when a theft event is uncovered, there are almost always several other incidents to be found. The longer is your video retention, the more individual theft events can be found, which could increase the amount of money you are able to recover.

Different types of business have different video retention needs, but as a general guideline footage recorded by security systems should be retained for a minimum of 30 days. Certain industries, for example cannabis or financial services, may be required to maintain more than a year of security footage on-site and/or in the cloud.

Furthermore, businesses may choose to retain, for example, 90 days of standard definition (SD) video but only 14 days of high-definition (HD) video. This gives them the long-term coverage needed for internal theft investigations as well as the time required to save and share major incidents with law enforcement, insurance companies, and any other stakeholders.

It isn’t only theft or shrinkage where video retention can help. Security camera systems can also record events related to liability. For example, if an employee or customer is injured, security footage can be pivotal to demonstrate who was at fault. Liability issues often do not surface for several months, making longer video retention a practical way to protect your business from unforeseen risks.

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Find suspicious cash handling within your business

Learn how easy it is to uncover suspicious cash handling in our self-guided tour.