Unlocking the Door to Cloud-Based Access Control

Advancements in the computing landscape are driving the adoption of more and more cloud-hosted offerings in security. Integrators seeking to grow their business into new markets or by offering new solutions can turn to access control as a solution (ACaaS) as their catalyst.

Cloud-hosted platforms mean no onsite software is required. Users access their data and other functionality via a mobile or Web app, and in most cases, pay a fee to use this service.More Service Business Follows ACaaS

Besides the mentioned benefits of the cloud like easy installation, reduced upfront expenses and little to no maintenance, cloud-based access control also ushers in a whole new range of potential services for integrators to offer.

First and foremost, just by saving the time needed to install and properly set up servers, integrators are able to focus on providing more guidance in terms of hardware selection, risk identification and system design. And in a highly compe
titive market, taking the time to guide an end user to their ideal system and ensuring they are happy with the end result could become a differentiating quality that brings additional references and business.

More than that, managing access control-specific services like issuing credentials, adding new cardholders, all the way to more elaborate tasks like printing and delivering cardholder badges or monitoring and handling access control alarms, become great potential value-add opportunities. Depending on the end user’s capabilities, level of comfort with the system or available resources, integrators can tailor their offering on a per-customer basis and offer varying degrees of complementary services. To the customer, the integrator then becomes a one-stop shop for IP security technology that is hassle-free, cost-efficient and effective.

In similar respects to VSaaS, integrators can also propose an access control hardware leasing program in cases where the end user really wants to forgo all equipment investment. Without necessarily being limited to these examples, temporary installations that still require a few doors to be secured, like a blood drive clinic or a short-term event with backstage areas, could benefit from this type of service. Integrators can also choose to bundle the cost of the hardware into the monthly fee, offering a financing option, and ultimately making it easier for the customer to manage cash flow and risk when adopting a new IP security solution.

Considering the Platform Risks

Regardless of all the benefits, when proposing a hosted security system, integrators still might be met with uncertainty and apprehension. Privacy issues and security risks may be of concern to some end users. But this is where choosing to offer a cloud-based solution with advanced security features comes into play. Encrypted communications, data protection capabilities, and strong user authentication and password protection are key features for any cloud-based system.

In the case of a breach, the end user relies on full audit trails to verify who had access to the system and see what changes were made. Properly investigating the cloud platform’s inherent security functionalities and policies, and checking out their certifications can also help confirm the reliability and security of your cloud-based deployments, and put the minds of your customers at ease.

Looking at the Cloud’s Forecast

As the demand for extending mobility into the field continues to rise, and more and more end users, as well as integrators, consider the benefits of hosted security systems, VSaaS and ACaaS will gain tremendous traction in the industry. At that point, it will be interesting to see what other types of systems come into the cloud, and how information from all these systems will be managed.

A unified cloud-based platform might be beneficial to those end users who seek to merge information and functionality, but for now integrators wanting to explore new potential revenue streams or spread into untapped markets can rely on fully-hosted VSaaS or ACaaS to get the job done.

Christian Morin is Director of the Stratocast Product Group at Genetec (genetec.com).

The Outlook for Access in the Cloud

A November 2012 report by IMS research, titled “The North American and European Markets for Access Control as a Service (ACaaS) – 2012 Edition,” indicated the following market outlook:

  • Hosted access control was estimated to be the second-largest market opportunity for ACaaS for North America and Europe in 2011, and was also estimated to be the fastest growing market from 2011 through 2016.
  • Small contract sizes were estimated to be the largest market in 2011 and are forecast to remain the largest market in 2016, representing about 59% of the contract size market.
  • Small and medium-sized businesses are forecast to remain the largest end-user customer type through the forecast period. Enterprise and government is anticipated to see strong growth and is predicated to represent about 13% of the market in 2016.

Pricing Models — According to the IMS report, the current state of the ACaaS industry does not have a set standard for pricing. Some providers may charge their dealers monthly for the number of connections or doors or the provider may charge the dealer quarterly or perpetual annual subscriptions. The dealers may charge a markup to the end user and only charge by the number of doors or the dealer may charge by users, transactions, sites or a combination of all three. The billing model for ACaaS remains customized and on a per-project basis.

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