Managing Editor, IFSEC Insider

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James Moore is the Managing Editor of IFSEC Insider, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry.James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Insider, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
April 15, 2021


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IFSEC Interviews

“There is real demand for scalability in surveillance storage”: Seagate’s Jermaine Campbell on trends and Fortus partnership

We sit down with Jermaine Campbell, Surveillance Segment Lead – EMEA at Seagate Technology, to discuss trends in storage requirements for surveillance cameras, where scalable and flexible options are in high demand. We also find out more about the company’s partnership with major UK distributor, Fortus.


IFSEC Global: Hi Jermaine, how’s the past 12 months been for Seagate?

Jermaine Campbell (JC): It’s been a challenge, but we certainly feel like we’re coming out of the other side now. Like the majority of businesses, quarter two of last year was difficult because of all the restrictions, but we had a really strong recovery from September onwards as people started adapting to the ‘new normal’. And, by the time we got to the end of the year, we were back at pre-COVID levels here in the UK.

We’ve had strong, incremental growth right across Europe over the past two or three years, so the business is looking healthy with plenty of demand for storage solutions.


IG: And we understand you’ve a long-standing partnership with Fortus – how did this come to be?

JC: When looking for advice and access to the latest industry advancements in CCTV storage systems, it helps to work with the right distributor. With its authorised Hikvision partnership and customer-centric approach, this is where Fortus is best placed to support our product to market.

As the second largest security distributor within the UK & Ireland, operating a nine-branch network (via its acquisition of Enterprise Security Distribution Ltd), we really believe Fortus can offer customers unrivalled support and expertise for our devices. Its Hikvision NVR/DVR range is the perfect complement to our industry leading hard drives, which include our Skyhawk recovery service as standard.

Fortus puts an emphasis on being ‘people orientated’. Its team of in-country experts have the technical knowledge of our product lines and can recommend and pre-configure a complete smart storage system. We believes this leaves the installer free to do what they do best.

We’re proud of our relationship with Fortus and see it only developing further. Find out more about how Seagate and Fortus can support you by completing this contact form, and a business development manager will be in touch.


IG: What are the requirements you’re seeing in the security industry at the moment? With the increase in analytics and AI-based solutions, this must put pressure on storage capabilities?

JC: There was a growing interest in AI and analytics applications in video surveillance to deal with COVID last year – mask detection, occupancy counting, that kind of thing. We had a lot of enquiries asking whether Seagate devices could cope with the different levels of the data throughput required for this. Fortunately, most of our applications didn’t require additional upgrades or storage, as we’ve always been a pioneer in bringing AI-based surveillance storage to the market via SkyHawk AI.

With AI, you get sequential streams and all the other ‘meta data’ that needs to be managed all at the same time, which involves a huge amount of workload for the device. SkyHawk surveillance drives therefore have a unique algorithm that can manage the sequential streaming of cameras – this involves lots of technical adaptions to the drives, enabling them to perform to a higher level than standard devices.

As far as future trends go, there is certainly the need for higher capacity and more flexible storage as the requirement for surveillance storage is scaling and existing infrastructure is growing. This goes hand-in-hand with the demand for storage array networks (SANs), which provide a higher level of encryption for critical and highly sensitive data.


IG: How does Seagate support security professionals looking after surveillance systems in particular?

JC: Historically, the storage of surveillance data on tapes didn’t require a great deal of support, but with the digitisation of surveillance and the move to IP there is a much greater demand for training and extra value to be provided around how that data is managed and stored securely.

At Seagate, we have three primary methods of support for installers and end-users of our devices – the first being our rescue data recovery service. This is free of charge for all products that are 2 terabytes or above, where users receive three years warranty on the data on their hard drives. If, for any reason, the devices are damaged or stolen, the Seagate team is able to repair and recover that data securely via our in-house data recovery lab.

We also have SkyHawk Health Management, which we’ve configured with several key vendors to enable a continual health check of over 200 different storage drive parameters. The important thing here is that the system doesn’t just tell you when a drive has failed, but it tells you before the drive is about to fail and offers recommendations on how to prevent it from happening – predictive maintenance, if you will! This prevents engineers having to come back on site and manually recover drives, which we believe costs the market an average of $50-70 a time.

Finally, we have our SkyHawk app. Currently available in the UK (though it will soon be coming to other countries), the app provides lots of support for installers, such as calculation and compatibility guides for DVRs, and works hand-in-hand with our installer partner programme. The programme helps installers get up to speed on all the latest trends and technical information with focused training modules, and Seagate will in-turn provide rewards like extra marketing support and drives.


IG: As an increasing concern across vertical sectors and throughout the supply chain – how do you support your customers with cyber security concerns?

Seagate-SurveillanceData-21JC: It’s a good question and a very important consideration, especially for those customers with highly sensitive data. Our portfolio is extending towards an enterprise range of products and services to support this.

For example, we’ve recently launched Seagate Systems solutions which can have anywhere between 12 to 106 drives in a storage array utilising 18 and 20TB hard drives. These also ensure data can be encrypted, so only those with the encryption key would be able to access and read the data within the system.

It’s inevitably a little more difficult with single devices, so these enterprise solutions are a really vital option for those with highly sensitive data storage requirements.


IG: Finally, what are your thoughts on cloud storage?

JC: As a company, we’re really excited by this market development. The Enterprise solutions mentioned here include the option for company’s to build their own private, on-premise cloud solution – particularly useful for those that want to keep control and ownership of their data in-house. These offer multiple petabytes of storage, as well as the benefits of our encryption services.

We’re also working on the launch of our own Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) cloud platform. Our Lyve Cloud platform will operate with stringent security standards, extremely flexible availability on demand and a simple pricing structure, so organisations are able to easily predict their long-term costs. It’s something we’re looking forward to launching – it will be coming to EMEA customers next calendar year. For now, you can find out more on our Lyve Cloud hub.


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