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How Much Storage Do I Need for Security Cameras?

May 7, 2024

Mammoth Takeaways

  • Businesses typically store footage for 30 to 90 days, influenced by policy and legal needs.
  • Efficiently managing surveillance video storage may involve using motion detection to record only when there's activity, adjusting the bitrate to balance video quality and storage use, and regularly deleting unneeded footage.

In today's high-stakes business security landscape, where property crime led to an astonishing $500 billion in losses and damages across the U.S. in 2022 alone, the question of optimal surveillance storage isn't just routine—it's essential.

Every organization, driven to tighten its security defenses, faces this inevitable question: how much storage is necessary to safeguard its assets?

It’s a dilemma that underscores the importance of managing surveillance footage effectively.

But where do you start? And how do you ensure that your surveillance system is not just operational but is optimized for efficiency and effectiveness?

Stick around as we're about to unpack the critical factors that dictate your surveillance storage needs, steering you toward a solution that fits just right.

Understanding Video Storage Needs

When it comes to video surveillance, the storage requirement isn't a one-size-fits-all scenario.

Avigilon NVR (Network Video Recorder)

Several factors come into play, influencing how much space you'll need to store your footage. These factors include the number of cameras, resolution, frame rate, compression technology, and the duration you intend to store the footage.

Camera Count and Resolution

The more cameras you have, the more storage you'll need.

Additionally, higher-resolution cameras produce larger files.

For instance, 4K footage consumes significantly more space than 1080p.

Frame Rate

Frame rate, measured in frames per second (fps), also impacts file size. A higher frame rate means smoother video but requires more storage space.

Compression and Technology

Modern security cameras use compression technologies like H.264 or H.265, which significantly reduce file size without compromising video quality. The choice of technology can drastically affect storage requirements.

Retention Period

How long you keep the footage is another critical factor. Businesses often retain video for 30 to 90 days, depending on their policy and legal requirements.

Calculating Your Storage Needs

To get a ballpark figure of your storage requirements, follow these steps:

  1. Determine the recording resolution and frame rate for each camera.
  2. Understand the compression ratio of your cameras.
    • H.265 compression, for example, can reduce file sizes by up to 50% compared to H.264.
  1. Decide on the number of hours each camera will record per day.
    • Will you record continuously when motion is detected or during specific hours?
  1. Calculate the daily storage requirement for one camera and multiply it by the number of cameras.
  2. Multiply the daily total by the number of days you plan to retain the footage.

While this approach gives you an estimate, it's always a good idea to add a buffer (about 20-30%) to accommodate unexpected increases in recording.

You can also use this calculator to determine your storage needs.

Calculate Your Security Camera Storage Needs

Source: How Much Storage for Security Cameras - Mammoth Security

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Best Practices for Managing Storage

To ensure you're making the most of your storage capacity, consider these strategies:

Motion Detection: Use motion detection recording to save space by recording only when there's activity.

Bitrate Adjustment: Adjust the bitrate according to your storage capacity and the importance of video quality.

Footage Deletion: Regularly review and delete unneeded footage, especially if storage space is at a premium.

Cloud Storage: Consider cloud storage solutions for scalability and ease of access.

Mammoth Security

enthusiastic Mammoth Security technician

In the realm of security, being prepared means having not just the right tools, but also the right resources to handle whatever comes your way.

And that’s where Mammoth Security comes in.

By following the guidelines here and reaching out to the experts on our team, you can ensure that your video surveillance system is powerful and practical—one that will keep your premises secure.

Reach out if you have any questions or would like to schedule a free, zero-obligation site survey and assessment with a friendly member of our team.




To calculate your security camera storage needs, start by determining the recording resolution and frame rate for each camera, and understand the compression ratio.
Factor in the number of hours each camera will record daily, decide on the video retention period, and then multiply the storage requirement by the number of cameras and days you plan to keep the footage.
Always add a 20-30% buffer to cover unexpected increases in recording.

Camera resolution significantly impacts video storage requirements because higher resolution cameras, like 4K, produce larger files than 1080p cameras. As resolution increases, so does the file size, requiring more storage space to accommodate the detailed footage.

Yes, modern compression technologies, such as H.264 and H.265, can significantly reduce surveillance video file sizes without compromising video quality. For instance, H.265 compression can reduce file sizes by up to 50%.

Frame rates, measured in frames per second (fps), directly impact surveillance system storage because higher frame rates produce more video data, thereby requiring more space. Adjusting frame rates can help manage storage needs while maintaining video quality.

Businesses often retain surveillance footage for 30 to 90 days, depending on their policy and legal requirements. This duration influences the total storage capacity needed for the security system.

When determining video surveillance storage needs, consider the number of cameras, their resolution, frame rate, the compression technology used, and the duration you intend to store the footage. Each factor plays a crucial role in calculating the required storage capacity.

It's important to add a buffer, about 20-30%, when calculating storage requirements for security cameras to accommodate unexpected increases in recording. This ensures that your system has enough space to handle any unforeseen needs without running out of storage.

Continuous recording consumes more storage because it records non-stop, whereas motion detection recording saves space by activating only when there's movement. This selective recording approach helps manage storage more efficiently.

Bitrate adjustment plays a crucial role in managing video storage by allowing you to tailor the video quality and file size to your storage capacity. Lowering the bitrate can reduce file sizes, helping to conserve storage space while balancing video quality.



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