Managed Access Control (Part 1 of 3)

Targeting Viable Markets

As with any other new product or service offering, the dealer needs to first approach the existing customer base. Focus on those systems that need an upgrade to the operating system, system server hardware or ACS software (or all three).

In many cases, the customer has chosen to run on legacy hardware and software due to the high costs and potential operational disruptions associated with a major software/hardware upgrade. Providing a MAC solution eliminates the need for software and computer hardware upgrades on the customer’s premises and the transition from a site-managed system to the dealer’s MAC center can take place in less than a few hours.

Also, the dealer should look to those systems that require an unusual level of customer support or systems that are poorly managed. Many times these problems are associated with frequent turnover of key system operators or administrators at the customer’s site. MAC reduces the impact from the loss of a critical employee.

In the case of poorly managed systems, the dealer can easily identify and point out risks associated with improper backup procedures, weak policies for changing access levels and issuing credentials, and the lack of physical securit
y measures to protect the system host and workstations.

Smaller access control applications (five to 20 doors) are good candidates for MAC. Multi-tenant office buildings usually have a very small facilities management staff spending little, if any, time actually at the building. MAC provides the tenant with a point-of-contact available 24/7 to handle credential updates, access requests and rapid removal of access privileges from terminated employees.

Removing the computer and software application from the initial system cost creates a very competitive solution and it can be easily demonstrated that the relatively low monthly service fee for MAC is less than the actual cost to have an employee perform system management functions. The small business owner can directly “write off,” as an expense, the monthly service fee as opposed to amortizing the capital investment of software and computer hardware.

However, with the ability to handle many large, unique customer applications of 20-400 readers through a single, properly configured MAC center, the dealer should also consider the advantages MAC offers to users of large implementations of ACS.

Although hospitals traditionally opted for a site-managed system, changes in that environment are making MAC a potential solution. In health care, departments not in direct patient contact have seen severe budget and staffing cuts. These cuts have included the IT department, which now has less personnel to focus on the more mission-critical functions such as the electronic medical records initiatives mandated by the federal government resulting in less time to support the security management system.

Education provides another example of doing more with less. As funding for public school systems becomes harder to obtain, positions not directly providing student instruction are being eliminated. While schools are looking for ways to better control access to buildings, this is a great time to offer a solution requiring less capital budget dollars and no additional workload on already overtasked administrative personnel. 

Assessing the Big Picture

To sum up, MAC provides the ability for dealers to manage their customer’s ACS from the dealer’s facility, while removing the administration and hardware from the customer’s site. The dealer creates a valuable service that reduces operating costs and increases security for the customer. The dealer benefits by offering the service to the customer in many ways.

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