How Long Does The Average Security Camera Store Footage?

The simple answer is: depending on the type of security camera used, by whom, and the storage options (SD card or cloud storage), footage can be stored for a period of 4 weeks to 3 months.

However, many factors play a role. We will explain them to you in detail.

How Much Footage Can A Security Camera Store?

In today’s world, surveillance is essential to ensure a safe environment. As a result, many individuals and businesses choose to install security cameras on their premises.

Read on to understand how much and how long security cameras can store footage because no two cameras are built the same. Let us dive into factors at play that determines the average storage time:

  1. Type of camera
  2. Camera resolution
  3. Camera brand
  4. Company Policies
  5. Legal requirements
  6. Storage method

Type of camera

The camera type on your premises largely determines how long security footage can be stored. This is because different security cameras have different recording and video storage capacities.

Eufy Homebase, for example, stores videos for 180 days before deleting them. Certain brands also offer subscriptions on a monthly and annual basis, allowing you to store recordings for a longer period.

Likewise, various security cameras have a specific window of time. You must transfer the videos to an external storage location so that they are not automatically overwritten or deleted.

Camera resolution

Higher-resolution security cameras capture better quality images.

The higher the video quality, the greater the bandwidth and the more storage space the camera takes up.

But that does not mean you should choose a camera with a lower resolution. Instead, you can simply opt for external storage options.

Camera brand

The company that makes the camera, the model, and its design are other important factors. For example, brands like Arlo only offer a 7-day free storage option for their base models. However, with a subscription, they can have longer storage options.

Nest Cam does not allow long-term access to the recorded video without a subscription. Customers who do not have a subscription can only access videos within 3 hours.

Company Policies

Certain facilities and companies have policies about how long they store security footage. The older videos are properly deleted at the end of the specified period.

Most commercial buildings store surveillance footage for 30 to 90 days. Banks are required to store footage for up to six months.

Legal requirements

In the U.S., video surveillance is permitted only in spaces where privacy is not expected to be protected. These include shared public spaces, general work areas, and offices. Even there, the law requires that the camera be visible.
By law, video recordings must be stored for at least 30 days. However, this requirement can be extended if there is an open investigation or in an area where criminal incidents are common.

Different storage methods

The amount of time a security system’s footage remains available in storage depends largely on how much storage space is available, among other factors.

So what can you do if you want to keep your security footage longer? Invest in external storage. We will give you a brief overview of the available options.

MicroSD Card

Most surveillance cameras have a slot where you can insert a MicroSD card (a memory card). In this way, the recordings can be stored directly on the card so that the user can access them at any time.

These SD cards can then be connected to a laptop or desktop computer (via a card reader or card reader slot), where the footage can be reviewed and either saved or discarded.

The cards can be formatted when full and used indefinitely. The only problem is that the cards can be damaged when connected to other devices (by computer viruses or other malicious programs).

Cloud Storage

Using an Internet-based or IP camera cloud storage is recommended because it does not require you to intervene and delete old video footage from security cameras manually.

Instead, you can set up a system where unwanted footage is automatically deleted after a reasonable period.

Alternatively, you can choose to review the recordings before deleting them manually.

Most security cameras offer subscriptions for cloud storage. The downside is that cloud databases are often vulnerable to hackers, who can delete all your footage.

External Hard Drives

You need to store all important footage in the cloud and on an external hard drive to keep your footage safe. This will ensure that you have a copy of the footage to fall back on.

Suppose your surveillance camera has limited storage space, and you do not want to invest in cloud surveillance. In that case, you can also manually save the footage to an external hard drive by transferring it to a computer.

Security Footage Storage Questions by Location

This section will try to answer the general questions about surveillance data storage that you may have.

What is the storage time of security footage in private households?

This time is not likely to be very long, as people who invest in a surveillance camera for their home usually do not choose to store the recorded footage for a long time. As a result, the storage capacity usually ranges from 1 week to a month.

What is the storage time of security footage at business facilities

Depending on their policies and availability of storage capacity, this can vary from 1 month to 3 months. It may also depend on whether they use full-time recording or motion-detecting systems.

What is the storage time of security footage at casinos

Nevada is the only US state where casinos can legally operate. Although they are required to install security cameras with separate surveillance rooms, the retention standards are not very strict.

The regulation states that the footage must be kept for at least 7 days. However, this period must be extended to 30 days if the recordings show any disturbance or even questioning by security personnel.

What is the storage time of security footage of police body cams?

For any general encounter, the recordings are kept for 6 months, and in case of disputes, they must be kept for at least 18 months.

What is the storage time of security footage of ATMs?

Banks operating ATMs must retain footage for at least 45 days as directed by the New York Financial Services Department.

In summary

Video surveillance can prove useful in disputes and unprecedented events. Therefore, it’s best to store footage for as long as possible. You never know what a stray camera may have recorded and how important it can be in preventing certain events.
Every camera works differently, and to understand the differences in storage capacity, and you can check with the manufacturers to learn more about the subject.