November 10, 2022 by Megan Estey

2022 Trends for Managing Digital Evidence in the Cloud

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Industries: 9-1-1 & Law Enforcement

Topics: Command Center Software Records and Evidence

Motorola Solutions partnered with the Center for Digital Government (CDG) to dive deeper into how agencies are approaching digital evidence management in 2022. In our last blog, we summarized a few highlights from the survey report. In this blog, we explore how agencies are approaching digital evidence management in the cloud.

Considerations for cloud-based digital evidence management

Over half of the survey respondents stated that their agencies are already using a cloud-based digital evidence management system or are planning to implement one within the next three years. Multiple factors undoubtedly contributed to these agencies deciding to move to the cloud, but here are a few of the most common drivers based on the survey results:  

  • Data Security: The single greatest issue driving cloud migration among survey respondents was the security of on-site digital evidence storage, with 58% of respondents citing it as a concern. (Unsurprisingly, those who work in IT were 40% more likely to be concerned with the security of digital evidence storage.) Cyber criminals often use ransomware to target digital evidence, and losing digital evidence can open agencies up to legal action and even result in losing a case. Cloud solutions are more secure, resilient, and require less maintenance by the customer than on-premises solutions.
  • Storage Cost: The cost of on-premises digital evidence storage was the second-most common element encouraging a shift to the cloud, with 40% of respondents selecting cost as a motivating factor. As the sources and volume of digital evidence continues to increase, agencies are challenged to retain this data for as long as policy dictates. Digital evidence management in the cloud makes it easier to only pay for the storage you need, and add storage without requiring additional hardware on-premises. 
  • System Scalability: The third most popular reason for cloud migration, selected by 36% of respondents, was the concern of running out of available digital evidence storage. Scalability is one of the greatest cloud advantages. When agencies need to add or remove users and increase or decrease storage, cloud solutions give agencies the ability to meet demand quickly and without any additional on-site work.

Trends based on agency size

We also set out to understand cloud adoption based on agency size. Mid-sized agencies ‒ with 101-500 full-time sworn officers ‒ lead the charge, with 43% already having transitioned to the cloud. One reason medium-sized agencies may have higher cloud adoption is they are uniquely positioned to have the resources to move to the cloud, without an overwhelming amount of data to migrate from their on-premises servers. 

The largest agencies often have so much data on-premises, it can take months or even years to fully migrate all their data to the cloud. Despite this challenge, a robust 36% of large agencies reported they already store digital evidence in the cloud, as on-premises systems likely became untenable for large agencies sooner due to a higher volume of calls for service and more officers and vehicles capturing evidence.

Check back as we dive deeper into the survey results

Over the next few weeks, we’ll continue breaking down insights from the report, so check back as we explore new approaches to digital evidence management in more detail.

Download New Strategies to Meet Demands for Digital Evidence Collection, Storage & Management to read the full report. 

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