After spending all the time and your hard earned money on a security camera system, the last thing you want to have happen is loose valuable footage when you need it the most. There are several ways that footage can be lost, it can be stolen with the recorder itself in the act of a crime, it can have too small of a hard drive that it writes over itself, it can be lost in an act of vandalism, or many other ways. There are several different things that can be done to safeguard your recorded footage. You can put the unit in a secure place, you can have a remote unit co-recording the system, you can have the files dumped into another storage device, or there is software available to login to the recorder to get the footage. I am going to discuss the benefits and drawbacks to all of them.
When you are trying to figure out your security system, you want to make sure that you have ample storage for your footage. There are several thoughts as to how to calculate the amount of storage you are going to need. The answer is not always an easy one, that is because it depends on the resolution your unit is recording in, the amount of frames per second (fps) that it is being recorded in, and whether you are recording based on motion or 24 hours. There is a pretty good rule of thumb that I use to figure this out. When you have 16 cameras recording at D1 resolution 30 fps and on motion based recording with normal motion (about 8 hours/day), a 1TB hard drive will typically last you approximately 1 month. There are several calculators out there on the internet, the one that I find works the best is at http://www.securitycameraking.com/calc.html. You input the resolution, number of cameras, fps, hours per day, and desired days. The calculator will then tell you how much storage you will need. Having enough storage is only part of the solution, you will also need to secure any footage that you record and you should secure your unit as well.
There are several different options to secure your DVR or NVR. The simplest of them is to buy a lockbox specifically designed to protect your unit from walking away or being torn up by a perpetrator. I personally suggest to all of the clients that I do installations for, to purchase a DVR lockbox for their unit. I feel that this adds an additional layer to your security system. When a perpetrator breaks in to your location, they are not only going to want to take or damage your belongings, they will also want to eliminate any record of them being there. If you just leave your unit unprotected, you invited them to easily eradicate any of their existence and any chance of catching them. There are several things I like about a lock box, most importantly is that if you install it correctly, not only are you protecting your unit but also the connections to the cameras as well. Well built DVR lock boxes will be made out of at least 16 gauge metal and have a lock, hence the name, on the front to prevent access. Most quality lock boxes have a built in cooling fan which will help to keep your unit at a safe operating temperature. Some units will appear that you can just unscrew a couple of screws and access the inside, which can NOT be done. This can actually play to your benefit, because an inexperienced criminal may spend more time trying to get into the unit and essentially have less time to actually commit their intended crime. These units however are not always the only protection you may need, if for some reason you have a disaster created by a criminal, these boxes will not protect the unit against fire or water from destroying the unit. For an additional layer of protection you will want to think about an additional backup of the footage, which can be done in several ways. Some of my clients like to skip the lockbox idea, and have large safes that they will run their unit inside of. This eliminates a wide array of issues, but is unfeasible for most.
One of the safest ways of backing up your recorded footage is to use an offsite recording plan. This can be done in a couple of ways. If you are using a Techvision DVR as your recorder, you can use the PSS software (Pro Surveillance System) or even more sophisticated is using a Techvision NVR to record the DVR. When using the PSS software from Techvision you can do a couple of different backup methods, you can have the program constantly running doing a local record option. This will take the video streams coming into the computer program and save the information into computers hard drive. You can make this very basic or complex. If you want a basic setup, you can just have a computer that is running the PSS software always on and always logged into your unit doing what is considered a ‘local record’. This is the simplest method of co-recording that is available. With the PSS software you can get very complex, if you want to create a customized recording schedule that option is available. You want to first make sure that you have your unit accessible in PSS, so go to the Config Manager, then select Device Manager, and add your unit. Once this is done you will click on the Config Manage, and select the Record Plan Config. This is where you will setup the recording plan and can be very detailed as to exactly what days and times of what channels you want to record. You can also select the length of time that the file will be broken into by selecting the Pack Time. It will allow you to have the files broken up into either 15, 30, 45, or 60 minute segments. You will then want to click on the Config button at the bottom of the screen and select Option. Here is where you will select the PSS software to Auto Start Record Plan. I would also suggest selecting the Auto Run PSS When System Boots Up and Auto Login PSS. This will make sure that no matter what, the software will always run so that whenever the computer is on, PSS will be running the record plan. In order for this to run properly you will need to have the computer running at all times, or it will not be able to login to your unit to retrieve the footage. This way of backup is one of the most real time solutions, there are alternatives to having a computer dedicated to this form of backup. There is also a backup scheduler that can be used on a server or computer, which will do similar things as the PSS software. It can be found at: http://support.techprosecurity.com/entries/20005488-backup-scheduler.
The next option that I am going to talk about is setting up your unit to dump files into an FTP server. This will take the files from your unit and send them to a dedicated FTP site, not as real time of a solution, but will help for a backup scenario. When you are in your Techvision DVR or NVR, you will go to the Main Menu and select Settings. Once you are in the settings of the unit, select Network, at the bottom of this page in the Network Settings, you will be able to scroll through different options. You will double click on the FTP section. This will take you into the settings for the FTP option of the unit. In here you will need to put in the whether to upload the recorded footage or just snapshots. You will have to input the IP address to the FTP site and proper authentication. The last part you will have to configure is the channels, time periods, and what type of recorded footage to send.
One of the coolest that I have found is to use a Techvision NVR (network video recorder) at a remote location, and having it login to your Techvision DVR and simultaneously record your video footage. Yes the NVR is always recording, but with one simple network cable connected to it, you can literally place the unit anywhere and have it backup your files. You can also have it connected to a monitor and view the system as if you were at your location. This is a really cool feature if you are a business owner and want to be able to just flip your TV on and see what is taking place.
Having your files recorded at an offsite location is a security measure that every company should have. It is great if your site is ever hit with vandalism, such as fire or a stolen unit. You will at least have some of the images as to who or what caused the damage. You will only have so much of the footage, but some is always better than none. With a setup that is co-recording in real time you will potentially have more information, than if you are using an FTP type of backup.
With any good security system it is always good to have a backup plan. Whether you decide to go with a lockbox, a remote solution, or both, you always want to protect your investment. I personally suggest to my clients that they at least do one of them if not both, that way they know that if something ever happens they have a chance of prosecuting the person/s responsible.
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This post was written by Techpro Security Products