Reduce costs and grow your bottom line
Even though the security industry has been talking about the concept
of “The Cloud” for a number of years, the industry has been slow
to capitalize on the capabilities and power of the platform on a
widespread basis. Their concerns are not without foundation. On
one hand, the cloud promises potential savings for video surveillance
systems in terms of hardware, storage and additional costs. On the other,
there has been and continues to be a degree of reticence on the part of end users,
and to some extent dealers and integrators, to shift to something new, usually due
to cyber security concerns. These concerns are only exacerbated by the continual
stream of high-profile data breaches we’ve seen in the last few years.
Despite the hesitation that exists, a growing number of customers have realized
that these concerns can be mitigated, and have taken the plunge, embracing
the cloud for video surveillance, access control and other security applications.
For these end users, the benefits far outweigh the potential risks. Others have
started to explore new “Private Cloud” models that avoid the risks of the public
These end users have found the lack of required on-site physical hardware and
the flexibility of a “pay as you go” subscription pricing model, which enables organizations
to fund systems from operational rather than capital expenditure budgets,
to be easier and more cost effective.
Private Cloud solutions, such as the one pioneered by Quantum Secure, built in
conjunction with major cloud vendors such as Amazon and Microsoft, combine
the cost effectiveness of typical cloud models with the security and control of having
services hosted on your own servers. Even for users who are averse to storing
data in public cloud services, there are still a number of applications where the
Private Cloud can be used.
Physical identity and access management (PIAM) solutions are just one example
of the power of the cloud to drive efficiency and effectiveness in security
and operational areas while still improving your data security. Below are three
main areas where cloud-based security applications can deliver significant benefits
to end users.
Cloud-based PIAM solutions provide end users with an enterprise-level visitor
management system configured as individual Private Cloud offerings, each connected
to a single customer. These services use cloud service providers like Amazon and Microsoft to build robust infrastructure to ensure minimal downtime and
deliver the highest levels of reliability and availability.
Further efficiencies end users can realize from cloud-based systems come
from streamlined visitor management procedures, including pre-registration and
check-in. For example, prior to their scheduled arrival, visitors can be emailed
a custom link they can easily and securely access from outside an organization’s
network to pre-register for their visit. This allows the organization to prepare visitors’
credentials, complete with the appropriate level of access permissions and
information about an individual within the organization who will be responsible
and accountable for each specific visitor. To further strengthen the effectiveness of
credentials, background information or required non-disclosure agreements can
also be included. Upon arrival, visitors’ can quickly use their mobile device to
complete check-in and pick-up their credentials by showing their ID. Streamlining
the check-in process helps to eliminate the significant bottlenecks and other delays
often associated with busy lobbies.
Staff can use their smartphones or tablets to review visitor information and check
them in and out or to check-in a group of visitors together, as opposed to one at a
time. Additionally, the reporting process for visitors, visits and host activities is simplified,
and the cloud is a key reason end users can reap all of these benefits.
One of the strengths of PIAM systems is the ability to collect, organize and perform
analysis on data from a variety of systems, including access control, video
surveillance, human resources, and more. This analysis is designed to improve security
by identifying potential threats before they can occur, allowing organizations
to proactively mitigate or avoid risks.
While traditional security systems generate alarms that alert security staff of
incidents in progress, predictive analysis identifies statistical trends that show a
correlation between elements and/or events that may indicate that an event is likely
to occur. Predictive analysis is being used in PIAM systems to identify emerging
insider threats and to monitor badge usage to identify stolen or shared badges.
This process can also identify and forecast which policies are effectively enforced
and which are ineffective within the current systems.
Naturally, the effectiveness of predictive analysis lies in the ability to collect
and manage a wide range for the longest possible time. Cloud-based PIAM allows
organizations to collect a larger pool of data from multiple sites, without having
to worry about the storage available on local systems.
Furthermore, you don’t need to plan for and manage expansion from one to
multiple servers because the cloud-model allows organizations to expand as needed.
And, because the data can be gathered from virtually anywhere in the world,
cloud-based predictive analysis is able to provide organizations with actionable
intelligence on an enterprise-wide scale rather than on a site-by-site basis.
For example, if an identity is found to have assimilated vast amounts of access
levels (with many sparingly used or not used at all), and it is also found that this
individual is trying to gain access to certain restricted doors to which they do not
have authorized access, PIAM software can correlate these events as a potential
insider threat and automatically alert cyber security to look for possible anomalous
behavior from that identity in the IT network, applications and directory/files
access. If combined threats are found, security can immediately and automatically
respond by de-activating that person’s ID badge, de-activating his or her access to
all digital files, and beginning an investigation. For a lesser infraction, an email
alert can be sent automatically to a specified group of managers.
To be successful, today’s businesses must adopt a customer-centric security model to
improve experiences for both their staff and their customers. Predictive analysis, in addition to identifying potential threats,
can also be used to foresee employees’
and customers’ actions.
Data analysis has been increasingly
adopted across multiple industries to
create this customer-centric model. For
example, using predictive analysis, retailers
can analyze customer purchase
behavior and make popular items easier
to find, financial institutions are able
to develop new products aimed at customer
retention, and sports teams can
adjust ticket prices and predict which
season ticket holders are most at risk
of defections. Even healthcare organizations
are using big data analytics to
reduce the time patients spend waiting
for their doctor.
On the staffing side, if it is noted
that an employee is assigned parking in
a remote lot that requires her to walk
around the building exterior at night, for
example, she could be provided with access
rights to a door closer to the parking
lot which will help keep her safer.
Cloud-based systems allow companies
to identify patterns that suggest
common employee needs and desires
on a larger scale across the enterprise.
If employees are largely ignoring a
particular policy, the organization can
investigate to determine the reason.
It may be discovered that adhering to
that particular policy actually hinders
employees’ ability to work efficiently.
This information allows the company
to revisit its policies to make it easier
for personnel to comply.
While the cloud continues to gain
traction within video surveillance and
other storage-related applications, organizations
that may be hesitant to adopt
those models can still take advantage of
the cloud to improve their security and
overall operations. Using state of the art
secure Private Cloud-based PIAM solutions
offer the ability to identify both
potential threats and opportunities in
advance, allowing organizations to address
For organizations with multiple
sites, cloud-based solutions ensure
that software is deployed and updated
uniformly across the entire enterprise
and that data is collected and analyzed
from systems at every site, with authorized
users capable of accessing the
system from anywhere in the world.
With no required up-front investment
in hardware, cloud-based PIAM solutions
deliver significant savings immediately,
with the potential to provide
even greater savings from streamlined
visitor management and other
processes. When you add to that the
potential benefit to a company’s bottom
line from improved customers’
and employees’ experiences, it’s easy
to see exactly why cloud-based PIAM
solutions have already been deployed
by a number of leading organizations
This article originally appeared in the March 2016 issue of Security Today.