How Security Dealers Can Deliver

Generating RMR from physical access control as-a-Service

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 Customers do not want to be locked into purchasing servers and IT infrastructure that will be outdated in six months.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 access privileges.

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.

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