For effective campus security, education IT can’t overlook file data management. Schools are managing major digital transformations to better support student education, including campus safety. Security is even more top-of-mind during the holiday season—crimes like theft and burglary tend to spike when the campus empties out for holiday breaks. It’s a good time for schools to think about a security upgrade.

As schools enhance their security systems, they are adding an increasing number of high-resolution IP surveillance cameras and smart devices to improve safety for students and staff on campus. This creates an IT challenge: Security footage generates a massive amount of file data. Depending on the size of the campus, there might be hundreds or thousands of cameras, each producing enormous volumes of content, all day long, that needs to be managed and securely retained for increasingly long retention periods. Gone are the days that video surveillance data is deleted at the end of the day, now it is kept for future investigations and for analytics of foot and vehicle traffic patterns and anomalies on days of interest.

Forward-thinking campus security officers are partnering with their IT leaders to rethink the way they manage file data, in order to keep up with the fast pace of modern security systems. Below are five considerations for education when evaluating a file data platform to support today’s video surveillance and security system demands.

1. Without high availability and reliable access to file data, schools risk losing important video frames.

Video surveillance footage can be one of the most critical pieces of evidence used to solve crimes. It’s imperative that there are no interruptions in data flow, which can result in the loss of video frames. If the storage system is ever down, it means the district loses video recording — which could have big consequences if a security incident isn’t recorded.

The right file data platform should ensure that city and state agencies and public sector organizations never lose access, or a frame. And, built-in data protection to automatically create duplicate copies of data in a secondary location ensures this footage is protected from a system or datacenter disaster. Data availability and performance should be high on the priority list when a school plans out its file data system for video surveillance.

2. Schools need real-time file data analytics to get actionable information on usage trends.

Today’s video surveillance and security deployments can engage hundreds or thousands of devices, installed across expansive geographies. These devices generate millions of small and large files. Education IT teams need real-time analytics, which not only give administrators actionable insights to identify storage usage and capacity trends, it also provides information on how the storage, video surveillance management software, and cameras are working together ensuring optimal use of video surveillance system licensing and ensuring the full solution will scale to meet the rapidly growing requirements.

3. Efficient scalability enables schools to grow into their file data storage needs.

As education organizations continuously upgrade and expand their safety and security systems, they can benefit from a simple, modular storage solution that can grow incrementally, or expansively, to meet their needs.

For instance, the Weber School District (WSD) is a public school district located in Weber County, Utah. WSD overhauled its surveillance system with a new file platform that could significantly increase the amount of data being stored. With its old system, it could only store about 12 days’ worth of video footage (roughly 120TB). After upgrading to a new file data platform, WSD can now scale to 750TB, which will be key as the district adds more cameras and keeps video data for longer periods of time.

4. Efficient file data management is more cost-effective.

School budgets can’t always keep up with the rapidly growing data demand; so efficiency is the key to managing costs.

An efficient file data system provides simple linear scalability to grow both performance and capacity to dozens of petabytes, optimized management of both large and small files, and built-in data protection, which enables administrators to manage the entire infrastructure more proactively, all driving lower overall total cost of ownership (TCO) than piecing together multiple disparate legacy technologies for each part of the solution.

5. Educational environments require platform flexibility.

Most schools use applications, sensors and cameras run on a variety of different operating systems such as Windows, Mac and Linux. That’s why it’s important for education IT teams to choose a data system that can be used with, and share data across, multiple different operating systems. This ensures all users can share a single data set, and inefficiencies in processes and requiring storage for redundant copies of data, is not necessary to meet different user data demands.

As IT teams in education implement increasingly sophisticated campus security systems, legacy data platforms will no longer be enough to meet their growing data needs. By knowing what to look for when evaluating a new file data system, educational organizations will be better equipped to keep their campuses secure at all times.

This article appeared in the Education IT Reporter earlier this year.

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