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For How Long Should I Keep Security Footage?

With the advent of cloud-based footage storage solutions and higher-capacity hard drives, there’s no real limit as to how long you can keep security footage. However, storing everything can quickly become hard to manage, so here are some tips to help you decide which footage to keep and for how long to keep it.

 

The 30-day Myth

A common recommendation is to keep footage for 30 days. One reason why this advice is so widespread is historical; when CCTV systems used VHS tapes, the standard practice was to rotate through a series of tapes over a period of 30 days. 


In some cases, holding on to footage for 30 days may be enough, but since most surveillance systems allow you to customize this, there’s no reason to follow this outdated standard.

 

How to Determine a Retention Period

The appropriate retention period will depend on a number of factors. Some businesses may have a specific government or police-mandated retention period. Malls and similar places tend to have guidelines on CCTV footage retention, as do banks. But, in most cases, it’s up to you, the business owner, to decide. The way to do this is to understand your priorities, which may be any of the following:

  • Theft prevention. If shoplifting or theft from the sales floor is a worry, you’ll need to keep enough footage that you can determine what happened if inventory goes missing. Most of the time, this is a few days to a week. 
  • Liability issues. If incidents on your premises are a concern (for instance, if there’s a chance that someone might slip and fall or you’re worried about spurious injury claims), you may want to hold on to the footage for longer. Liability issues may also be a concern for repair businesses and operations where customers might come back to complain about improper work. In these cases, keeping footage for a few months is a good idea, and footage of any reported incidents should be kept for a year to be on the safe side.
  • Productivity and internal losses. If you’re worried about maintaining productivity or curtailing internal losses, either due to mishandling or theft, the duration for which footage should be stored will depend on the specific problem. 

 

In addition, it’s a good idea to hold on to any footage of an incident, such as an accident or altercation.

 

Security Equipment and Services in Alberta

Whatever your security needs, rest assured that Guardian Security Solutions can help. Footage retention also depends on a host of technical considerations, so don’t hesitate to reach out for more information. Contact us today to find out how we can help you design the right CCTV and storage solution for your business.

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