Cloud and Hybrid Adoption on the Rise

The physical security industry is experiencing a time of great transformation. Cloud connectivity is accelerating, and more organizations are choosing to blend on-premises and cloud-based solutions. This transformation is affecting all aspects of security, including access control. In the Genetec annual State of Physical Security Survey, it was access control that topped the list of new technologies end-users planned to focus on in 2024.

Unlocking New Possibilities
Access control is no longer a ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ system focused only on locking and unlocking doors. Leading-edge systems today can do so much more.

Consumers are looking for new solutions that make deployment and credentialing easier to manage, bring processing power to the edge, and have the option to interact with access control systems remotely via digital systems.

While many organizations still handle video and access control separately, there is also a strong push to break down these and other technology silos. Increasingly, end-users are moving away from maintaining multiple systems and prefer to have only one system to learn, monitor, and maintain. Unifying all aspects of their security system within one piece of software also improves situational awareness, streamlines workflows, and simplifies training and upkeep.

Modern access control software can be unified with many other systems, including building management systems such as HVAC. This unlocks the opportunity to use data from access control in powerful new ways. For example, heating and cooling systems can be programmed to switch to a more energy-efficient mode when the last person leaves the building.

Identification technology is also advancing rapidly. New solutions that manage credentials either through dedicated apps or digital wallets are replacing or supplementing traditional physical credentials. Unified solutions can take this a step further to link access control credentials to databases containing human resources (HR) and other data. Permissions can be dynamically updated based on data from these systems. If a person changes roles or responsibilities, their access permissions are automatically updated as well.

Movement Toward Cloud Solutions
In addition to these enhancements to access control technology, hybrid solutions are quickly gaining popularity. Companies that have already adopted cloud technologies for video management have experienced the benefits and are now considering doing the same for other systems, like access control.

A hybrid approach allows organizations to maintain control of certain servers on-prem while taking advantage of the flexibility and scalability of cloud solutions. Choosing cloud solutions also allows teams to pass some of the responsibility for monitoring and maintenance to cloud providers.

Other benefits include uptime guarantees, lower up-front infrastructure costs and maintenance expenses, and the ability to leverage the expertise of the cloud service provider’s team. Because the cloud provider is responsible for maintaining servers and keeping the software up to date, end-users do not have to use their staff to take care of these tasks.

Cybersecurity concerns are another reason why a growing number of organizations are considering cloud solutions. When cloud technology was new, some decision-makers feared that cloud solutions would be more vulnerable to cyber threats. However, industry-leading cloud providers invest resources to hire, and train dedicated teams to keep up with cybersecurity trends. They also monitor emerging threats and can make updates quickly, if needed.

How These Trends Impact Channel Partners
Within organizational departments, the old divisions between IT and security are breaking down. Once upon a time, security took responsibility for hardware while IT selected and managed software. With the proliferation of cloud services and connected devices in the physical security industry today, more companies are cross-training employees and creating new roles such as IT security specialists to bridge these specializations.

For systems integrators, they can support this convergence by supporting the needs of both teams, provide resources and tools to help both IT and security teams.

Furthermore, cloud solutions also fit well with the way many organizations today are managing their budgets. Companies are choosing to invest less in up-front capital expenses and moving toward recurring operational expenses, such as monthly or annual fees.

One of the major benefits for channel partners is that cloud solutions create more predictable and long-lasting revenue streams. Rather than one-time project work, cloud solutions provide a recurring revenue model. Channel partners can nurture relationships with clients and support them as their businesses grow and evolve.

A Look Toward the Future
Access control solutions will always be a core part of any business. There will continue to be a decentralization of access control management with rapid adoption of hybrid and cloud solutions.

Hybrid deployments empower end users to make informed choices about which information stays on-premises and what data is stored in the cloud. The flexibility inherent in these deployments not only accommodates current needs but also supports ongoing evolution while maintaining robust cybersecurity measures.

This article originally appeared in the May / June 2024 issue of Security Today.


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