The Cloud Keeps Evolving in 2017
The expected and surprising ways the Cloud will change in coming years
- By Christian Morin
- Feb 01, 2017
Earlier in 2016, when Gartner analysts stated that by
2020, 80 percent of all software will be offered on
a subscription basis—this did not come as surprise
to us at Genetec. Now, in early 2017, much has
changed since we introduced Stratocast in 2013,
our video surveillance-as-a-service (VSaaS). Four years ago, we
had already begun to unlock new possibilities of the cloud, and
what is coming in 2017 excites us.
The Cloud for City and Community Safety
and Crime Prevention
One important highlight from 2016 was seeing our VSaaS becoming
an integral component to community safety programs, like
the highly successful Project Green Light in Detroit. This publicprivate
community partnership combines 1080p high-resolution
video surveillance with high-speed network real-time federated
video feeds to the Detroit Police Department. The program was created for gas stations and smaller businesses including restaurants,
liquor stores and convenience stores across the city to
promote neighborhood safety and support local businesses by
deterring, identifying and solving crimes. Since its introduction
in early 2016, the program has helped reduce crime by up to 50
percent at the original eight locations with the ‘green light’ on top
of their signs. Many more businesses are now enrolled across the
city with great enthusiasm by both the city and business owners.
Cloud Storage and Computing:
All the Way or Hybrid On-Premises/Cloud Mix
By providing flexible cloud-only or hybrid-cloud storage options
for our unified flagship security platform, Security Center, our
end-users quickly understood the cost and resource benefits the
cloud could offer. It began making more sense, and not only cost
benefits, but end users will start to benefit from some incredible
new applications and functionalities.
In 2017, the security industry will continue to embrace the
cloud and what it offers, finding effective ways to connect more
applications and devices to the network, while providing secure
access to share vital information. The cloud is the facilitator of
how we process, store and manage all physical security data. Now
that some of the misconceptions about the cloud are cleared up,
we will see more organizations than ever before investing in software-
as-a-service (SaaS) and hybrid-cloud deployment models
for video surveillance, access control and additional value-added
applications that will enhance these systems.
We know about the benefits and features of the cloud, but in
2017, what we find exciting is that in the security industry will
start to realize even more interesting ways to benefit from what a
cloud-supported infrastructure can offer. The first vector will be
the way the cloud will enable collaboration within an enterprise,
and across multiple boundaries to manage multiple locations and
offer a truly federated way to serve, protect, manage and share
security operations via the cloud.
The second vector will focus on how companies can leverage
the cloud to work with big data analytics, to distill business intelligence
through machine learning. Security professionals will be
able to correlate both security data and non-security related data
(like social media activity based on location and topics), find patterns
and gain insights. The cloud will additionally allow us to
look at other types of security data that is not being leveraged for
analytics, such as access control logs.
Confidence of Moving to the Cloud in 2017
Now that companies trust the cloud, and have moved a significant
number of workloads to the cloud, the next logical step will
be to establish and work with their security systems in the cloud.
Companies are recognizing that there are significant benefits
to getting their IT through the cloud. Just in the way end-users
switched from proprietary analog systems to open-architecture
IP systems, once the technology was successfully implemented
and early adopters validated its benefits, the cloud has continued
to permeate the security industry, and will increase over the coming
Another way to look at the advent of cloud technology is similar
to the electrical utilities in the early 1900s. Back at the turn of
the 20th century, every company had its own electricity manufacturing
plant that powered their industrial facilities. Obviously, the
model of ‘make-your-own-electricity’ no longer exists. It’s far too
expensive. Electrical companies have been outsourced as public
and private utilities, and some are supported by organizations
that invest in technologies to generate and supply reliable power.
The same way electricity distribution grids have been a huge
success, outsourcing of non-core competency is happening in
computing and storage. As hesitation subsides, organizations will
plug into a network and find storage and computing capacity immediately
available, which should be predictable, well managed,
secure, accessible and reliable.
Is the Cloud Safer than an On-Premises Server?
In a word, Yes. Naturally, the cloud must be hosted by a reputable
service entity. Working in the cloud is all about trust. Cloud
service providers need to establish a proven and trusted reputation
and performance record with their customers. To do this,
they must implement cybersecurity best practices, and provide
100 percent transparency. Just think of the risks of a data breach
and the threat of exposing all your customers and clients to datatheft,
loss or even distributed denial of service (DDOS). It’s definitely
a way to kill your business. Cloud providers take security
very serious, because they know their customers trust them to
keep information safe and away from cyber criminals.
Service providers have great capabilities to aggregate their
cloud services to many customers and provide better service and
solutions by having exclusive personnel trained to take care of
being sure data in the cloud is secure. This is all in place of having
an over-worked in-house IT staff, limited resources, or most
likely never enough budget to implement the latest cybersecurity,
keep hardware updated and cooled, and backups in case of catastrophic
actions or ransomware attacks.
From a scale perspective, most businesses, enterprise customers,
cities & communities don’t have the budgets or flexibility to
justify the cost of what a cloud hosted system or storage can offer.
Simply having your servers or computing boxes on the physical
properly will not assure they are more secure that in the cloud.
A strong cybersecurity posture can be much better managed by
cloud service providers’ vs doing it yourself. Whom you trust your
cloud services also matters greatly. With larger, reputable companies
like Amazon or Microsoft, we can feel more secure with, as
opposed to Bob’s cloud garage, running a data center from his
basement. Making the due diligence steps to assure that safety
and cybersecurity by the cloud provider however is still much easier
and cost effective than managing, protecting and maintaining
an on-premises server for the majority of end-users.
Location, Location, Location:
Geography of Hosting
From a Geography perspective, in 2017,
we will definitely see many data sovereignty
issues resolved. Naturally, all companies
are concerned with where their information
is kept with regards to exactly
which governments could have access to
that data. British cloud customers want
their data hosted in the UK, closer to their
place of business. French, German, and
Scandinavian end-users wish to have their
data hosted in their same respective countries.
We understand that. With concerns
of privacy and geographic data residency
issues being more and more prevalent, the
major cloud service providers are addressing
these issues in 2017. Cloud suppliers
like Microsoft Azure are aggressively expanding
their cloud service and storage
centers around the globe.
Selling the Cloud:
Integrators are Recognizing
the RMR Upside
Helping educate industry integrators to
adopt the new business model of adopting
the cloud will continue in 2017. New sales
models for the cloud gives integrators a
foundation to establish a new predictable
recurring monthly revenue (RMR) income
stream that has the potential to surpass
one-off sales over a longer period of time.
2017 will continue driving the imminent
shift towards software-as-a-service
(SaaS), cloud services and extensible applications.
Savvy end-users will also seek
out integrators who understand cloud
services that can broker multiple types of
cloud-based solutions from different providers,
and unify them all within a single
platform. Integrators, who can shift their
business model and become specialists in
cloud technologies, will be able to generate
highly-profitable recurring monthly
revenues, with steady, predictable payment
streams for a healthy business outlook.
Ultimately, the cloud is here to stay, and
although the market percentage is still
small in relation to the entire security industry,
the significant opportunity is there
for integrators who augment their business
to offer cloud-based services, and
for end-users and communities to benefit
from enhanced services
and lower cost of operations,
over a long
period of time.
This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of Security Today.