Should I Choose Local or Cloud Storage for My Security Camera?

What is the difference between cloud storage and on-premises storage?

Local storage

Local storage, as the name implies, keeps your security camera footage on your camera rather than sending it over the internet. This means that the camera does not require internet access or monthly fees to function. Furthermore, your recordings are less vulnerable to data breaches or being viewed without your permission.

The majority of security cameras that store locally recorded video do so in one of three ways:

You can swap memory cards between devices with removable storage (like a microSD card). This is a convenient way to transfer files to your computer or watch video footage on a larger screen. The amount of storage a product supports varies by camera model, but expect to buy cards with capacities ranging from 32 to 256 GB. On brands like Reolink, Wyze, and YI, microSD cards are the most popular type of local storage.

External storage, usually on an NVR or base station, is the traditional method for storing footage from multiple cameras in one location. The cameras connect to the NVR via video cables or Wi-Fi, which processes and stores video on a hard drive. Because you’re usually paying for multiple cameras and an NVR, this is the most expensive type of local storage.

A multi-camera system like Amcrest, Lorex, or Swann is your best option.

A popular way to supplement cloud storage plans is to use built-in storage that cannot be expanded. Watching videos usually requires a mobile app and Wi-Fi. Camcorders usually have limited internal storage capacity (GB). Brands like Google Nest and Eufy have built-in storage.

Cloud storage

Your videos are saved on a secure remote server behind usernames, passwords, and encryption. It’s completely reliant on the internet, so you won’t be able to record videos if your camera goes down. Even so, it’s a great way to protect your videos from anyone who steals or breaks your camera. Security companies also use cloud storage to add features to your cameras, such as person and vehicle detection.

There are two types of cloud storage:

Event recording saves short video clips based on motion detection from a camera. These clips are usually no more than a few minutes long. Because it uses less internet bandwidth and allows battery-powered cameras to go longer without recharging, this is the most common type of cloud storage. For event-based cloud storage, Arlo, Ring, and Wyze are excellent choices.

A security camera’s continuous recording saves everything it sees. This is ideal for capturing events that last longer than a few minutes, but it necessitates a wired power supply and a lot of internet bandwidth. In order to detect suspicious activity, event recording is commonly used with continuous recording cameras. Arlo and Google Nest both have excellent continuous video recording plans.

Costs of local storage versus cloud storage

Local storage is the clear winner for saving money because it is a one-time cost with no monthly fees. Cloud storage, on the other hand, offers a lot of benefits and a little more security—as long as you follow online security best practices like using a strong password and two-factor authentication. Here’s a quick rundown of the costs associated with storing security camera footage.

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