Cloud Storage vs Local Storage: Making the Right Choice for Parking Lot Security Footage

Which is better for video storage—the cloud or local storage? Learn the pros of cons of each here.

Last Updated:
January 4, 2024
| ~
min Read
Nikki Siegel
Marketing Writer

With the holiday season wrapping up, it’s finally time for those boxes and boxes of decorations to go back where they belong.

Storing our decorations always brings me back to the first holiday season I was fully in charge of decorating my own house—and fully in charge of storing those decorations once the season came to a close. I carefully packed my holiday cheer into a hodge podge of boxes, then proceeded to shove those boxes into whatever storage spaces I could find.

Predictably, this caused several problems 11 months later when I scrambled to find every stowed ornament and strand of lights. I’m not proud to report that several items had to be repurchased because I simply couldn’t find them in time.

It didn’t take much convincing after that for me to invest in a set of easily identifiable red and green bins, saving me time, money, and unnecessary stress every year since.

Storage can make or break the best systems. Sometimes this impact only equals the cost of a few new strands of lights and an extra helping of frustration. Sometimes the impact costs a lot more—as can easily be the case when it comes to parking lot security cameras.

Professional security cameras can use local storage, cloud storage, or a combination of the two. It’s important to understand the advantages and considerations of each storage solution as the storage you choose impacts the accessibility, security, reliability, cost, and scalability of your system. 

Security Camera Storage Defined

Local Storage

When you have your security cameras connected to local storage only, it means all the footage captured goes directly—and only—to a connected storage device. These storage devices could be anything from SD cards to hard drives to extensive server farms. Sometimes these storage devices are embedded directly in the cameras and sometimes they are located elsewhere on the property, connected to the camera by long strings of wiring.

The amount of footage stored is directly dependent on the size of storage hardware. Some cameras will continue recording footage over the oldest files, while others simply stop recording until their storage space is cleared.

Local storage is often only accessible when directly accessing the storage device, making monitoring your remote security camera quite the challenge. Fortunately, this typically means the storage is inaccessible by hackers. Unfortunately, if a wrong-doer at your property also takes your camera storage (such as an SD card) or if a flood or fire occurs, you are out of luck and out of recorded footage.

Cloud Storage

When your security footage is connected to the cloud as its means of storage, the camera sends footage directly to the cloud via internet connection. The footage is then safely stored in cyber space, out of reach of floods, fires, and people looking to cause trouble. Cloud storage has virtually unlimited capacity, so is easily scalable based on your needs.

Accessing your footage from the cloud can be done anywhere you have a connection to the internet, which drastically simplifies monitoring and reviewing footage.

Hybrid Storage

While many cameras either use local storage or cloud storage, some cameras use both. This means that the camera automatically stores footage locally but also backs up footage on the cloud either continually or as footage is requested.

Hybrid storage offers the best of both worlds, as footage will continue to record even if the internet connection is disrupted but you do not have to be onsite to view your recordings.

Parking Lot Storage Considerations

Securing parking lots comes with a unique set of challenges. The lack of infrastructure inherent with parking lots make self-contained mobile security units often the best choice for professional outdoor security cameras.

Whether you choose to use mobile security units or a traditional wired system, there are several factors to consider when deciding whether local storage, cloud storage, or hybrid storage will work best for you and your security system.

Accessibility and Flexibility

Security cameras have several jobs, including alerting intruders that they are being recorded, allowing business owners to monitor their property, and storing evidence of break-ins or problems should they occur.

With local storage, you often have to be physically onsite in order to access the footage, significantly hampering your ease of access. Storage connected to the cloud, however, will allow you to access live footage and past footage wherever you have access to the internet. This allows you to monitor threats and problems from virtually anywhere, keeping your business secure and your employees safe.

Cloud storage solutions are convenient storage options of parking lot camera footage and allows you to set up and access your camera just about anywhere—particularly if connected via cellular channels as is the case with LVT Units.

Data Security

If local storage is not connected to the internet, it is completely safe from cyberattacks. Unfortunately, it is also exposed to direct tampering, theft, drive corruption, flood, or fire. (SD cards in particular tend to have a limited lifespan.)

Cloud storage is safe from physical threats as cloud providers tend to back up information with multiple physical server locations. If any server locations go down, the backups save and protect data from losses. However, the connection to the internet can lead to potential vulnerabilities to cyberattacks. This is why LVT built its cloud native platform with security and privacy as its No. 1 consideration. This secure platform protects your data while still allowing you the benefits of remote accessibility.


Local storage is limited to the space available on your storage device. If you want more space, you need to purchase additional storage devices and figure out how to best connect and store those. (This is a particularly difficult task when it comes to limited parking lot resources.) This can lead to some problems if you decide to expand your operation and have additional storage needs. You can go in and physically download your footage to store elsewhere, but that is a time-consuming, high-maintenance process.

The cloud, on the other hand, allows for unlimited and easily scalable storage without the hassle of trying to figure out and maintain additional storage devices.

The LVT Unit’s hybrid solution allows you to keep approximately thirty days’ worth of footage on each unit while also sending any footage to the cloud with a simple request through the LVT Platform for safekeeping. If you expand by adding more LVT Units to your lineup, the units automatically come with their own storage capacity and easily link to your setup in the cloud.


Local storage tends to come with bigger upfront investment, but do not require any type of monthly subscription. To keep your system in good shape, however, you to also need to factor in the maintenance and replacement needs that come with wear and tear.

Any time you need additional local storage, you need to pay for the accompanying hardware and a way to put that storage into place. (This can be particularly costly when it comes to parking lots and trying to connect and store the storage device when the camera is not surrounded by pre-existing infrastructure.)

Cloud storage is subscription-based, so comes with lower upfront costs but requires either monthly or yearly dues to keep your storage in the cloud. Cloud storage is easily scalable by simply upgrading your subscription to a higher storage plan (which in turn would increase monthly costs, but often not by a significant margin).

An important factor to consider with cloud storage and cost is how you are connecting your cameras to the cloud: Wi-Fi comes with its own costs and isn’t easy to put in place in remote locations such as parking lots. Cellular connection, on the other hand, can connect from just about anywhere and does not require the higher costs associated with Wi-Fi. (LVT’s cellular data cost measures have saved customers nearly 90% of similar data usage plans.)

LVT also takes care of all IT services, eliminating your need for hiring independent IT contractors for the sake of camera maintenance.

The LVT Difference

LVT mobile security units allow you to secure your parking lot and safely store your footage both locally and in the cloud, giving you easy access and peace of mind. The units allow a scalable solution for your business without compromising quality or storage—all while keeping costs reasonable.

If you are interested in trying an LVT Unit for your business’s parking lot, contact a representative today for a free demonstration.

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