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Cloud Adoption is Essential for Law Enforcement

Cloud Adoption is essential for law enforcement to make criminal investigation smooth.Store and manage large amounts of data easily for better results.
by Maham Zaidi August 25,2021

In police work, nearly every modern criminal investigation result in the accumulation of a large amount of electronic data. Due to the proliferation of cell phones, surveillance systems, personal computers, and social media, criminal investigators frequently search for and recover valuable clues contained in digital media files. All those files become evidence that needs to be stored.  

Innovation across all platforms is accelerating, but so is the pace of new challenges. Ever-evolving criminality accelerated demand from cybercrime, and the increasing complexity and scale of digital evidence are placing additional demands on the modern police service. Adopting cloud is an essential step in accelerating innovation and building the capabilities that policing needs to respond to the challenges posed by criminality. Being in touch with the latest digital trends will help police leaders build modern services.   

 

Benefits of Cloud for Law Enforcements  

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Today, the cloud assists organizations in making data-driven decisions to prevent crime and protect the vulnerable to offer a seamless experience for the public, with more credible and richer intelligence, all while maintaining public trust. By leveraging technologies like machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), new tools and platforms can be—and are already being—developed, launched, and scaled to meet the needs of police and the communities and citizens they serve. 

According to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, 75% of police forces still manage some of their data and applications on-premise, while 71% store less than a quarter of their data in the cloud. More than a tenth (13%) do not store anything in the cloud at all.  

However, FOI requests also show 88% of forces are considering investing in SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS services within the next 12 months. As policing becomes increasingly digitized and public cloud platforms mature, the cloud is seen as an essential tool in driving innovation, efficiency, and productivity.  

Giving officers on the frontline the latest technology at their fingertips in addition to transforming the way crime is reported, and data is managed makes it easier to collaborate with agencies across the UK public sector and around the world to help tackle the challenges of borderless crime.  

Digital citizen engagement, end-to-end digital evidence collection, processing and presentation, and advanced analytics are a few examples of the creativity and ingenuity empowering policing through technology. 

Intelligent Policing:  

After all, many of the same advantages that apply to businesses and other Public Sector organizations apply to the police.  

Cloud allows organizations of all sizes to benefit from huge amounts of storage and computational power and harness the power of analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI). These benefits can be achieved without the need to invest in on-premise infrastructure. 

Police officers can be equipped with mobile devices that allow them to collect and access information in the field, meaning they spend less time at a desk and more time on the streets. 

Meanwhile, the use of AI allows for entirely new applications in the fields of image recognition and data analysis. Intelligent policing solutions allow for digital investigations, predictive policing initiatives and social media monitoring, while they also allow forces to cope with the increasing volume and variety of data. 

If this information is stored remotely, then forces can share information with each other without the need to physically retrieve data, such as CCTV footage, from another station. Travel wastes police time and increases the risk of data loss by using a USB stick. Cloud-based data storage lays the foundation for a national database that will make AI applications even more powerful – especially in data-intensive fields such as counterterrorism. 

Compliance:

Compliance is a big concern for all law enforcement agencies, but it's a mistake to assume cloud-based systems can't comply. In fact, the FBI's CJIS Division (Criminal Justice Information Services) has policies and recommendations that apply to both on-premise and cloud-based software and storage solutions. 

Agencies should ensure that case management is included in their compliance plan. Even if an agency's RMS system is CJIS compliant, it may not provide adequate functionality for complete case management, forcing some investigative work to be carried out with standalone software or home-grown solutions that may not be compliant for storing criminal justice information. This can present a real problem for an agency, especially when facing a security breach or an audit. 

In the end, compliance is a shared responsibility between the law enforcement agency and the cloud provider and each department's needs must be handled on an individual basis. Many providers can not only help achieve compliance, but they are also well-versed in dealing with government agencies. Some providers even specialize in law enforcement cloud solutions and provide tailored services, so an agency doesn't have to go it alone.  

Learn more about compliance 

Controlled Costs:  

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Starting up with cloud-based providers involves negotiating a contract and paying an ongoing subscription cost. With no equipment to install, it's less expensive upfront and faster to get started. Agencies also enjoy the benefit of paying only for what you need since scaling up as demand increases are always possible later. 
Conversely, on-premise installations can cost departments considerable time and money up-front. Besides the price of the equipment itself, there are significant expenses with on-premise solutions, including IT overhead. Keeping experienced staff on the payroll to support, update and maintain the solution comes at a price.  

Law enforcement is already struggling with managing terabytes of stored information – but now, with devices such as bodycams, they're dealing with petabytes. And the amount of data is projected to double every two years. With on-premise storage, the cost of building out a solution to handle this data can be daunting. The cloud can be more manageable since you pay for what you use and purchase more as needed. The possibility also exists that as cloud providers experience more competition, costs may decrease even further. 

Redundancy:  

On-premise data storage is sometimes at the mercy of luck if it is not backed up anywhere else – which is an all-too-common practice, especially with limited law enforcement budgets. Attacks and other natural disasters can potentially destroy data, and there is no way to get it back if no redundancy exists. 

With cloud storage, redundancies are typically inherent in the process, so the agency doesn't spend time planning or worrying about backing up data. It happens automatically. 

The big cloud providers maintain separate data centers for government customers located in separate data centers throughout the continental US. The data centers are highly secure, and the personnel employed there undergo background checks. Redundant copies of data are stored in these different data centers, which are located more than 500 miles apart, to ensure geographic redundancy in the event of a natural disaster or attack. 

Protection from Cyber Attacks:  

Cyberattacks are on the rise. Doxxing (hacking and broadcasting agency personnel information) and ransomware is a real threat to the security and productivity of a department. Ransomware attackers encrypt the victim's sensitive data and hold it hostage, refusing to unfreeze it unless the victim pays a specific sum of money (often a few hundred dollars in Bitcoin). A surprising number of police departments have fallen victim to these attacks, and quite a few have lost years of data, thereby compromising important cases. As you might imagine, older systems in use at many law enforcement agencies make the best targets for these cyber-attacks. 

Cloud-based solutions, on the other hand, are maintained by providers that have invested tremendous amounts of capital in security and have the best expertise devoted to thwarting potential attacks. The cloud cannot completely protect your data, but it can lessen the probability of attack, and the redundancies inherent in cloud computing provide the best recourse in the event an attack occurs. 

Scalability:  

Cloud scalability helps law enforcement agencies to stay nimble and competitive. Scalability is one of the driving reasons to migrate to the cloud. Whether traffic or workload demands increase suddenly or grow gradually over time, a scalable cloud solution enables organizations to respond appropriately and cost-effectively to increase storage and performance. 

IT administrators can easily customize storage space to the exact needs of an organization which saves precious time for the officers and for IT. Instead of spending hours and days to set up hardware, teams can focus on other tasks. Scalability increases speed and flexibility for the police since agencies are no longer tied down by obsolete equipment - they can update systems and increase power and storage with ease. Thanks to cloud scalability, organizations can avoid the upfront costs of purchasing expensive equipment that could become outdated within a few years. With scalable cloud computing, you can reduce disaster recovery costs by eliminating the need for building and maintaining secondary data centers. 

All Superhero Developers Need Sidekicks - Microsoft Azure Cloud 

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Microsoft Azure, formerly known as Windows Azure, is Microsoft's public cloud computing platform. It provides a range of cloud services, including compute, analytics, storage, and networking. Users can pick and choose from these services to develop and scale new applications or run existing applications in the public cloud. 

The Azure platform aims to help organizations manage challenges and meet their organizational goals. It offers tools that support all industries – including police departments, law enforcement agencies, criminal justice -- and is compatible with open-source technologies. This provides users with the flexibility to use their preferred tools and technologies. In addition, Azure offers 4 different forms of cloud computing: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), software as a service (SaaS) and serverless. 

Because Microsoft Azure consists of numerous service offerings, its use cases are extremely diverse. Running virtual machines or containers in the cloud is one of the most popular uses for Microsoft Azure. These compute resources can host infrastructure components, such as domain name system (DNS) servers; Windows Server services -- such as Internet Information Services (IIS); or third-party applications. Microsoft also supports the use of third-party operating systems, such as Linux.  

In addition, the platform is frequently used for backup and disaster recovery. Many organizations use Azure storage as an archive to meet their long-term Data retention requirements. 

VIDIZMO uses Microsoft Azure Cloud for its application, content, and database deployment in a single-availability scenario.  

VIDIZMO application instance is deployed in Microsoft Azure Cloud and utilizes Azure Media Services for advanced content processing such as encoding, streaming, dynamic packaging etc. Natively, VIDIZMO uses Microsoft Azure as its primary content provider for SaaS deployment models. Optionally, VIDIZMO can also be deployed to use Wowza Streaming Server or its own VIDIZMO Streaming Server. 

Recognized in IDC MarketScape*, VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS) streamlines the process of securing, managing, searching, analyzing, and sharing ever-increasing digital evidence.

With support for all major CDN providers, on-demand content uploaded for viewing is stored on the Origin server deployed in Microsoft Azure Cloud, while Edge servers deployed within the end user's proximity allow content to be pulled and delivered to the user without any buffering challenges. Where the deployment involves multiple locations, geo-redundant storage can also be configured to reroute content to a completely different data center in any one of the locations. Also providing unparalleled high availability giving maximum availability, and accelerated database recovery with end-to-end BI on mobile devices helping with self-service BI on any device will help connect all your data and give visual data exploration. They also offer highly scalable cloud services.  

Learn More About SQL Server 

VIDIZMO Database is deployed in Microsoft SQL Server allowing law enforcement to become lead performers with intelligent database capabilities, become to most secure platforms with fewest vulnerabilities for nine years; built-in security and compliance and always date encrypted enclaves.   

The customer's Identity Provider integrates with the Web component of VIDIZMO. VIDIZMO supports industry-standard implementations of SSO that work with widely used Corporate Authentication services such as the Directory and Federation Services, Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions, as well as 3rd Party Login services using industry-standard protocols such as OpenID Connect, SAML etc. Note that using these options only enables federated login (Authentication) with your VIDIZMO Portal, while Authorization is still handled in VIDIZMO Application. 

Conclusion 

Being listed on the Azure Marketplace means that VIDIZMO has been certified by Microsoft to be sold on their storefront. By certifying VIDIZMO, Microsoft pretty much guarantees that not only is VIDIZMO compatible with and optimized for Azure services, but it's also free of any viruses or malware that may harm your computer system or your data.   

Getting your hands on the fully packed VIDIZMO digital evidence management system couldn't get any easier. Through Azure Marketplace, you can secure your sensitive store and data in a matter of minutes. Ensure complete security and compliance for your sensitive data and evidence by deploying DEMS in the Azure Government Cloud or the AWS GovCloud (US). 

VIDIZMO's Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS) simplifies the process of ingesting, storing, managing, and sharing a torrent of digital evidence by offering a robust platform that conforms to compliance requirements like CJIS, DoD, FedRAMP, FIPS etc.  

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Posted by Maham Zaidi

Maham Zaidi is Technology Content Strategist at VIDIZMO which is a Gartner recognized enterprise video content management system, to stream live/on-demand media to both internal and external audiences, on-premise, Azure or AWS cloud. VIDIZMO solutions are used by enterprises, government, local, state government, healthcare, law enforcement agencies, justice, public safety, manufacturing, financial & banking industry.

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