ISJ Exclusive: Bridging the gap


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The world of digital evidence is quickly growing and changing, writes Blake Lewkowitz, Director, Enterprise Marketing, Axon.

Law enforcement, attorneys, private security and other investigators encounter more forms of digital evidence each day – and traditional models of managing all of that data can create challenges and slow down investigations.

While many digital evidence sources, such as CCTV cameras, body worn cameras and doorbell cameras, offer their own playback and storage solutions, it can become unmanageable for officers looking to collect and view all the evidence for a single investigation or incident. Fortunately, cloud-based digital evidence management systems like Axon Evidence provide a single point of truth, where countless types of evidence can be securely stored and managed.

In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of migrating all of your digital evidence into the cloud and the best way to migrate that data. Recent innovations make this process simple, straightforward and more secure than ever before.

What is a digital evidence management system?

Digital evidence management systems (DEMS) provide a secure solution for security leaders who need a place to store, manage, organise, investigate and share their digital evidence. DEMS are often cloud-based, but they can be on-premises as well. The important thing is that they serve as a single source of information and solution for keeping all digital evidence.

They differ from traditional storage solutions like Dropbox or Google Drive because they are designed specifically for handling digital evidence from capture to courtroom. Specific features and organisational techniques enable officers, attorneys or other users to work with the evidence in an efficient and centralized way.

Benefits of a cloud-based DEMS

There are major benefits to keeping your digital evidence in a single location on the cloud:

Secure: Cloud storage inside DEMS is remarkably secure. For instance, Axon Evidence ensures that all information is fully encrypted in transit and at rest. We take security seriously and have invested significantly in advanced strategies that keep your evidence secure.

Reduced physical storage: Many private security companies have a closet (or three) filled with servers or dusty hard drives, CDs and DVDs. This physical storage takes up a lot of space, is difficult to organise and can take hours or days to search through.

Water damage or fire can destroy these archives very quickly as well. Cloud-based evidence storage saves you physical space, provides excellent redundancy and enables every officer with access to search for evidence with a single click.

Data from Axon 2023 Digital Evidence Trends Report

Single point of truth: Keeping evidence on your desktop, on a physical drive, in Dropbox in your email inbox and on several proprietary systems can be a major pain. It also makes it difficult to track any changes that have been made to evidence, creating multiple versions of evidence and challenges around chain of custody. Bringing everything into the cloud gets everything in one place and you know you’re working with the best evidence.

Maintain chain of custody: Digital evidence can be altered just as easily as physical evidence. This could happen by accident or on purpose, but for justice to occur, we need to protect truth and ensure the chain of custody is maintained. Axon Evidence creates an audit trail of every single action around digital evidence. If someone views it, adds tags, redacts information or creates sub-clips you will be able to clearly see who did something and when.

Quickly search and organise evidence: When digital evidence is scattered across different locations, it can cause delays or even cause evidence to be forgotten or missed. Physical storage solutions like external drives and DVDs must be meticulously catalogued and sifted through to find what you need. With an effective DEMS, you can search and organise all your evidence quickly and efficiently.

Unlimited storage options available: Storing digital evidence, whether on physical drives, online storage services, DVDs or anything else, carries a cost. As digital evidence files grow both in size and quantity, agencies can benefit from the unlimited storage plans available with Axon Evidence. Store all your digital evidence in a single location, all while maintaining a consistent and predictable budget.

Easily share evidence: Often, private security companies need to share digital evidence with other law enforcement agencies, attorneys and even the media. Effective DEMS solutions allow you to grant access to external partners or share content with a secure link. Because Axon offers a DEMS solution for prosecutors and public defenders, private security companies with Axon Evidence can also seamlessly share evidence with frequent collaborators in the courts.

How do I migrate digital evidence from physical archives?

There are clearly several benefits to storing all of your digital evidence in a secure, cloud-based DEMS. If you want to clear some storage space and migrate the evidence stored in that closet filled with hard drives and DVDs, what is the best way to migrate that digital evidence?

In order to move large amounts of data, you’ll want fast upload speeds, large file size limits and the ability to maintain your existing folder structure. No one wants to re-organise thousands of files they have already organised on an existing drive.

Axon recently released the perfect solution for this – Upload XT Version 2. This solution is an incredible leap forward from the original version of Upload XT. The maximum file size has grown from 400 GB to 1.5 terabytes, allowing you to upload large video files or existing drives as a zip file. Upload speeds are also incredibly fast, up to ten times faster than the previous version!

Upload XT Version 2 allows you to migrate large amounts of data into Axon Evidence, all while maintaining your existing folder structure. The speed, large file size limit and folder structure makes it incredibly simple for agencies to migrate data from their physical drives or disparate digital storage systems into a single, secure location.

Some companies may choose to have their data migrated as a service and Axon can certainly support this as well. For many, however, Upload XT Version 2 gives you the power to easily migrate digital evidence into the cloud.

How can cloud-based help my security team?

If you’re looking for a better way to securely manage your digital evidence that will free up physical space on premise and provide operational efficiencies to your team, Axon’s can be a force multiplier to your current operations.

With, private security teams no longer need to worry about the integrity of their evidence, can quickly and efficiently find digital evidence regarding certain instances, can report on trends based on locations and clients and are able to seamlessly share evidence, when necessary, with local law enforcement. bridges the gap between private and public safety, allowing private security companies to focus on actual duties – protecting communities, patrolling locations and adding value to contracted clients.

Next steps

If you’re looking to increase your operational efficiency and more effectively manage and store your digital evidence, Axon can provide the necessary tools and process to move to a cloud-based DEMS platform. Visit to learn more about Axon’s integrated ecosystem of technology.

This article was originally published in the March 2023 edition of International Security Journal. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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