How Many Hours Of CCTV Footage Do I Need?

Installing a Closed-Circuit television (CCTV) system for your home or business is a strategic move for enhancing security. One crucial aspect of CCTV systems is determining how much footage you need, how long it can be kept, and the storage requirements involved. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the considerations of CCTV footage duration, storage methods, and the technical aspects of storage space. Additionally, we’ll explore the management of old footage, the possibility of recovering deleted CCTV, and essential tips on backing up your CCTV system.

How long can CCTV footage be kept?

Several factors, including legal requirements, the nature of the surveillance, and the purpose of the CCTV system, influence the retention period for CCTV footage. Here are common considerations for determining the duration of CCTV footage retention.

  • Legal Requirements: Different jurisdictions have varying regulations regarding the retention of CCTV footage. Familiarise yourself with local laws to ensure compliance.
  • Type of Location: High-security areas or critical infrastructure may require longer retention than residential properties.
  • Nature of Surveillance: Some situations may necessitate longer retention, especially when incidents are less likely to be immediately discovered.
  • Purpose of the CCTV System: People in Auckland usually install CCTV for protection and security. The intended purpose of the CCTV Installation in Auckland influences the retention period of the footage. For instance, business surveillance may have different requirements than monitoring public spaces.
  • Industry Standards: Specific industries, such as banking or healthcare, may have specific standards or guidelines for CCTV footage retention

Where is CCTV Footage Stored?

The storage of CCTV footage is a critical aspect of surveillance systems, impacting accessibility, security, and overall functionality. CCTV footage can be stored in various locations, depending on the chosen setup. One standard method is on-site storage, where the footage is saved locally on a digital video recorder (DVR) or network video recorder (NVR) within the premises. 

This approach provides quick access to the footage but may be susceptible to tampering or damage. Another option is cloud storage, where the footage is uploaded to secure online servers. Cloud storage offers the advantage of remote accessibility and an additional layer of security against on-site threats. 

Some systems may also utilise external hard drives for offline storage, providing a cost-effective solution with certain limitations in terms of accessibility. Hybrid systems combine on-site storage with cloud backup, offering redundancy and enhanced security.

How Many GBs do I Need for CCTV?

Determining the appropriate storage capacity for a CCTV system involves considering several factors to ensure optimal performance. The storage requirements are influenced by factors such as the resolution of the cameras, frame rate, compression methods, retention period, the number of cameras, and the use of motion detection. 

Higher-resolution cameras produce larger file sizes, and higher frame rates result in more data to store. Compression algorithms help reduce file sizes but may impact image quality. The longer you wish to retain footage, the more storage you’ll need. Calculating the necessary gigabytes (GB) involves finding the right balance based on these factors to meet operational and budgetary considerations. 300-500 GB per camera would be a good storage rate.

What Happens To Old Security Footage?

Effectively managing old security footage is essential for maintaining the efficiency of a CCTV system. Automatic overwriting is a common practice where the system is configured to overwrite old footage when the storage capacity is reached. It ensures a continuous recording without manual intervention. 

Implementing scheduled deletion policies is another approach, removing footage no longer needed for reference based on legal requirements, the nature of surveillance, or organisational policies. Additionally, identifying and archiving important footage, especially for legal or investigative purposes, is crucial. Regular audits of stored footage help identify and delete recordings that are no longer relevant, contributing to efficient use of storage space.

Can I Recover Deleted CCTV Footage?

The possibility of recovering deleted CCTV footage depends on various factors and the storage method employed. Specialised software may be used for on-site storage to attempt recovery, but success depends on overwriting and file system integrity. Cloud storage services often have policies regarding data recovery, with some allowing retrieval within a specific timeframe. 

External hard drives may be subject to data recovery tools, but success depends on how much the drive has been used since the deletion. Regular backups offer a reliable method for recovering deleted footage, providing a restored version from a previous time.

How do I back up my CCTV Footage?

A robust backup strategy is crucial for preserving CCTV footage and ensuring data integrity. Regularly scheduled backups, whether automated daily, weekly, or tailored to organisational needs, help maintain a consistent backup routine. Off-site backups, stored separately from the primary location, protect against theft, fire, or natural disasters that could impact on-site storage. 

Cloud backup services offer a secure off-site solution with the added benefit of accessibility from anywhere. Encryption measures should be implemented to safeguard sensitive backup data from unauthorised access. Periodic testing of backup restorations ensures that the restoration process is effective, proactively identifying and addressing potential issues. Implementing versioning in the backup system allows for the retention of multiple file versions, offering flexibility in data recovery and ensuring comprehensive protection for CCTV footage.


Effectively managing CCTV footage involves understanding the duration of retention, where and how the footage is stored, and the necessary steps for backup and recovery. The considerations outlined in this comprehensive guide provide a foundation for creating a robust CCTV management strategy. Whether you’re dealing with legal requirements, storage capacity calculations, or implementing backup procedures, a well-planned approach ensures the security and accessibility of your CCTV footage in various situations. Stay informed, adhere to best practices, and regularly review and update your CCTV management policies to adapt to changing needs and technologies.

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