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Data loss and IT system failure are scary possibilities a company faces when dealing with methods of data storage. Evidence, files, and all other recorded data can be lost without chance of recovery when effective backup systems are not in place. Fault tolerance, or the idea that if one component of a system fails another is able to replace it, is built up effectively as data is stored in more places. Many video recorder systems lack RAID protection, which can unfortunately lead to loss of recorded data. This can be detrimental to many industries requiring adequate surveillance, such as financial institutions.

How Does RAID Work?

RAID is a widely used IT term meaning “Redundant Array of Independent Disks.” The concept of RAID is that the same data is stored in multiple different locations. RAID uses multiple hard disks that appear to an operating system as a single logical hard disk. Through the use of multiple disks, input/output operations remain stable, and overall performance improves. The data is transferred between multiple disks through a process called data striping, which involves the distribution of varying stripes, or data blocks, across storage spaces.

Why Do You Need It?

RAID helps ensure business continuity. If a technical issue affects a financial institution's ability to record or save new images and they do not have a RAID, then they would have no choice but to shut down operations until the problem is resolved. Staying open without adequate video coverage leaves the institution too vulnerable. In the case of a technical failure, previously recorded images could also be at risk. If this data is lost, it could affect future fraud investigations and audits. RAID protects these images and allows the institutions to stay open.

There are many levels of RAID protection that offer varying advantages and disadvantages depending on the industry seeking data protection. RAID 1 and RAID 5 are among the most commonly implemented.

RAID 1

This level duplicates data so that there are always two identical drives, often referred to as data mirroring. While a highly effective technique, it also requires exactly double the space to support. This can quickly become bulky and expensive, especially when storing video surveillance data.

RAID 5

The most common and practical choice for many IT applications, this level involves a greatly reduced data risk. It implements three or more drives that all function with parity distribution. Able to withstand a drive failure while also providing the highest efficiency in drive capacity, it is widely considered to be the leading choice in combating data loss.

Additionally, it’s not just enough to have a RAID, it must have enough memory to meet the needs of the institution it is in. If the RAID has too little memory, then either the quality of the images will be poor or the retention period will be short. Beware that other security companies will sell RAIDS with minimum amounts of memory in order to keep costs low, but a RAID without enough memory is just as risky as not having one at all.


Contact ISG at 866.393.4474 for a consultation to make sure your digital storage system is providing the protection you need.