Industry Specialists Detail RMR Opportunities With Managed Access

When you’re doing the managed access, do you have to build in extra redundancy to protect that data? How do you handle that?

Robison: Yes, this is part of what he was talking about. People don’t realize the value they really get from managed-service providers like us, right from the automated reports. When you install a system for a customer, you can train them to do these things. You can train them to run a carding activity report every month, make sure you’re backing up your data onto a mapped network drive so it’s off the PC that you’re — you can tell them all this stuff. You can write it down for them, put it in a binder for them, and unfortunately for the most part they will not do this stuff.

My point is they don’t realize the value unless we do a good job in understanding what their needs are and conveying them what the value of our services are, which includes setting up all these automated reports, alerts to the customer, as well as having mirrored hard drives, redundant backup in offsite storage of the data, which is what your question was, and that’s absolutely correct. These are just some of the many values that we provide to the customer, that unless we do a good job of explaining it to them, they won’t understand their return on their investment.

Penson: Absolutely, and one of the things that we’ve just implemented recently is now we have our server location which is managing all of our clients, but with the Kantech application you actually have typically a four server-type application so you have your server, your redundant server, your gateway, and your Web station.

These are all mirrored drives, all the great capabilities that need to be in place. We’ve also taken that step to put our redundant server at another facility, outside our main server facility, as another redundancy for data security and information. So it’s always updating that redundant server that’s offsite, even in a second remote location. Now we have the client site, we have a remote location where the servers are, and now we have a third remote location where that redundant server is sitting in case of fire, or any type of critical hazard. That client can have 99% uptime which you can’t promise them with a traditional platform in their business.

Brown: One of the things that they don’t see obviously is how much money we put into our computers. Last year we put in $50,000 into our servers. When I first started with hattrix I had these six servers in a rack. Now I’m down to one server, it’s all virtual. It’s super redundant. Everything’s backed up.

One night I was doing a backup. I didn’t disconnect the gateway and I had a failure so I brought down customers’ sites. It was pretty severe. For about four hours the phone was ringing off the hook. We had a snapshot of the server so once I finally got my IT guy on the phone because it was after hours, he just restored it, and everything was back to normal. We did learn a good lesson about disconnecting our gateway before we upgrade.

Can you give me an example of how you prove the value of managed access control to clients?

Penson: I’ll tell you a funny story. My wife’s CFO in her company really monitors their expenses. They were a traditional client of ours, and when we converted them to a managed account, my wife said, “You’re going to make a lot of money doing this because if you can sell this to our CFO, a lot of people are going to buy this product.” One of our selling features was he was at home, just arrived home to his family. It’s a 40-minute commute to the office. Got a call f
rom the cleaning company that a door was left unlocked because someone had unlocked the door and didn’t relock it. He hopped on the phone and called my wife to put me on the phone. There was nothing I could do to get into his facility via any type of VPN access. So he had to get in the car, drive 40 minutes back to work, get in touch with the IT consultant, walk him through which server was the access server, what was the code to the IT room, what’s the login password and user credentials to get onto the server once he located it in the server room, lock the door. All of this takes time and time is money — to drive another 40 minutes back to his residence and continue having dinner with his family. Now he simply logs onto the app. In this case it was the Web station at the time, lock the door, done. If I showed it to you, you’d want to buy it. It’s powerful.

Sharp: I think it’s going to be a very good selling tool.

Robison: Definitely.

Penson: I throw an iPad on the table when I’m going to a meeting, and obviously people have Apple products to begin with, look at Apple as a company. They’re in the software as a service business. Imagine that. Do you know what iTunes is? Is it a software as a service company? Literally put the iPad on the desk of the IT person I’m meeting with, and the manager in charge of the project, and it sells itself. “Oh you mean you’d like to do this, click, click, click.” “Yeah that’s exactly.” “Is that easy enough for you? If you’d like it more complicated we can certainly make it more difficult for you. It doesn’t need to be though.”

About the Author


Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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