How Security Dealers Can Deliver
Generating RMR from physical access control as-a-Service
- By Bill Moran
- Oct 01, 2012
Physical Access Control Systems (PACS) have evolved considerably
over the past few years. Traditional systems that required heavy
upfront IT infrastructure investments have given way to cloudbased
systems. And, more recently, Web-based access control has
allowed extension to cloud-enabled security capabilities to users’ smartphones
and tablet devices.
Despite these technology developments, enterprise customers still seek
greater flexibility, scalability and affordability from their PACS—not only
when it comes to technology but also pricing and contract structures. As a result,
security dealers and integrators have welcomed the emergence of physical
access control “as-a-Service” to meet customer expectations.
Several converging factors are drawing security integrators and their enterprise
customers to physical access control as-a-Service. Organizations are increasingly
unwilling to make significant investments in expensive servers and
IT infrastructure up-front and then be on the hook for recurring costs associated
with managing this IT infrastructure. Security integrators, for their part,
view the “as-a-Service” model as a way to extend their access control offering
to new customers that could not previously budget for these services. It simultaneously
generates recurring monthly revenue (RMR) that comes along with
an ability to offer customers access control as a hosted or managed service.
Access control as-a-Service creates new revenue opportunities for security
dealers and integrators that can effectively communicate the cost, feature and
functionality benefits to existing and prospective customers.
Key Benefits of Access Control as-a-Service
Access control as-a-Service significantly lowers the entry barrier for security
and IT systems integrators to deliver cloud-based access control as a hosted or
managed service and delivers several key benefits to the integrator:
More flexibility and options for customers. Ultimately, organizations today
seek greater flexibility and options when it comes to securing their facilities,
people and assets. Customers do not want to be locked into purchasing
servers and IT infrastructure that will be outdated in six months. Nor do they
want to be locked into rigid contracts that do not allow for up-and-down scalability
based on growth or consolidation.
With an as-a-Service model, security integrators can offer access control
to customers as a hosted or managed service. With a hosted service, a customer
can manage the IT infrastructure itself and maintain its own facility
This is an attractive option for organizations seeking more hands-on control
and one that has baseline resources available in-house for these functions.
With a managed service, the integrator can host all of the servers and equipment—
eliminating the need for customers to make up-front capital outlays
to stand-up servers at their facilities or deal with changes to access privileges
and device management.
In addition to a greater array of options, access control as-a-Service also
delivers enhanced flexibility. Integrators can manage all aspects of building
access control for their customers as an online, monthly subscription service—
from a few doors at a single facility to hundreds or thousands of doors
across multiple customers and locations.
Ability to generate RMR quickly. Offering access control on a subscription
basis transforms the economic model for security integrators, for they
can lease access control appliances on a monthly basis and then sell access to
the appliance to their customers. The leasing model eliminates CapEx and unlocks
new recurring monthly revenue opportunities for security integrators
and resellers that benefit from a more predictable revenue stream via monthly
managed service fees. The monthly subscription model further allows integrators
and resellers to achieve profitability from the beginning of the venture
instead of having to purchase the head-end and manage the financing.
In addition to generating RMR more rapidly, the as-a-Service model opens
up access control to a new category of organizations that could not previously
afford upfront IT infrastructure expenses. For many organizations, the
cost of installing, licensing and provisioning a new rack-mounted server can
exceed the cost of fully transitioning to a managed service model for access
control—in some cases saving the enterprise customer more than 40 percent
on recurring annual system support and licensing costs.
Unlocks new features and capabilities. The affordability and flexibility
of the as-a-Service model places innovative features and functionality in the
hands of customers. Web-based access control, for example, exists on the front
end, so it can be quickly and easily integrated with door controllers, hardware,
readers, wireless locks, switches and wiring. As a result, cloud-enabled Webbased
access control can be implemented in a matter of hours and provides
security administrators the ability to move beyond legacy client/server-based
access control systems that limit user access to a small handful of authorized
PC and laptop workstations.
Access control as-a-Service also positions security dealers and integrators
to adapt to the increasingly mobile workforce. With cloud-enabled, Webbased
access control, security integrators can offer customers the flexibility to
securely manage access privileges from a broad range of devices (smartphone,
tablet or laptop), from any location (home, office or road) and Web browser
(Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer).
This article originally appeared in the October 2012 issue of Security Today.