CLOUD-BASED SOLUTION

Cloud-based Solution

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 cloud offerings.

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.

VISITOR MANAGEMENT

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.

PREDICTIVE ANALYSIS

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.

CUSTOMER-CENTRIC SECURITY

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 them proactively.

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 worldwide.

This article originally appeared in the March 2016 issue of Security Today.

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