Examining Trends in Cloud-Based Access Control With Brivo’s Kelly Bond
Bond also discusses opportunities for women in the industry, gives advice and more in this month’s edition of SECURE Perspectives.
SECURE Perspectives is a monthly column by the Security Industry Association (SIA) profiling women in the security industry. This column is part of SIA’s Women in Security Forum, an initiative to support the participation of women in the security field through programs, professional development and networking events.
For this edition of SECURE Perspectives, SIA spoke with Kelly Bond, vice president of dealer development at Brivo.
SIA: How did you get into the security industry?
Kelly Bond: My entrance into the industry was somewhat by accident. In the late 90s, a friend made an introduction to one of the partners of an industry lender (SLP Capital) who was looking for someone to help their dealers (borrowers) grow their recurring monthly revenue (RMR) businesses. I had been in sales roles for a while and was open to learning something new, and the partners were willing to teach me the security industry. Almost 24 years later, I’m still here.
How does your organization serve the industry?
Brivo is a software-as-a-service-based security management systems provider for organizations that need to protect buildings and perimeter entry points. Our innovative physical access control and video solutions empower organizations by giving administrators real-time visibility of security events and video in local or remote facilities — any time, anywhere. Because of our open API, security capabilities are endless. We were the first physical security company to leverage Cloud computing and the Internet of Things. Our Cloud-based access control platform protects over 20 million users in over 40 countries.
What is your current role?
In my role as vice president of dealer development for Brivo, my primary focus is to provide flexible financial solutions that our partners can offer their customers, while also helping our partners increase their RMR. I oversee the various payment programs we offer: Brivo Complete, our subscription program, and the Brivo financing program. My goal is to create greater opportunities for our partners to close more business and add greater value to their companies.
What types of job functions do women fill in your company?
I am so proud to say that we have women in a variety of roles and levels in marketing, engineering, cybersecurity, project management, training, HR, sales, accounting and customer support, and on our executive leadership team.
Is there diversity of roles in your company, or do women gravitate toward certain job functions?
I believe we have a pretty good mix of women in all areas of our business. We are constantly striving to be even more diverse. Based on some industry reports, Brivo is way ahead of the curve in the diversity of our workforce.
With more and more data that shows diversity makes a better workforce, what opportunities do you see for women in the security industry? What impediments do you see for achieving this, and what could remedy some of these impediments?
I truly believe the opportunities for women in our industry are endless; however, I think the industry as a whole can do a much better job of working to attract more women. Our industry is still often viewed as a “good ole boy’s network.” Look around at trade shows and at the top 100 lists. The attendees are mostly men. The business owners are mostly men. I must say, however, it has gotten a lot better than it was when I entered the industry.
For a woman interested in technology, the security industry might not be at the top of the list, but with the support of groups like SIA’s Women In Security Forum and the ASIS Women In Security Council, women have access to more opportunities for mentoring, networking and workforce development.
As an industry, we need to make continuous strides to attract not only more women, but also a younger generation of people joining the workforce. We need to focus on working directly with universities and trade schools to introduce security industry opportunities to their students. There are many companies that offer apprentice programs as well as internships, which allow a student to really learn the business. In today’s climate, the applicant pool has grown quite large. The industry needs to do the marketing work to attract these applicants.
What do you see as important trends in the industry?
My answer today is likely different than it may have been six months ago … First is the ability to open a door without having to pull out your credential.
Next, I believe providing meaningful, curated data is more important than ever as the country strives to get back to work. Data has always been important; however, now it’s not just a benefit; it is a need.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning, used to create more data and automation, are becoming important tools and quickly growing in the ranks. I’ve seen a lot more companies sharing how they are using these tools to complement their existing services.
Brivo intersects access control and video within the Brivo platform to provide data that you would not have access to without including both sources. The convergence of these two integrated technologies provides the desired door information with the correlated video information on a single platform.
More specifically, what trends are you seeing in your company’s space of providing Cloud-based access control and security platforms?
The biggest trend is that there are more and more companies coming into this space. There have been multiple new competitors popping up over the past few years with “new” Cloud offerings, and almost every existing company now offers some Cloud option. This completely validates what Brivo has always believed and preached. We see it as a giant “I told you so.”
What are the top challenges your company has faced in the last year?
One of our top challenges is really an industry challenge — it’s the concept of “touchless” entry. Some companies market themselves as touchless because you don’t have to physically touch a reader or your credential to unlock a door. Access control has always had the ability to be touchless. The problem, however, is not touching the reader — it’s that you still have to touch the door to open it. Integrators hold the key to making the rest of the solution touchless by adding hands-free/automatic door controls.
Brivo has focused on “fluid” access. If your phone is your credential, you can use Bluetooth technology, leave your phone in your pocket and be within range of the reader to unlock the door, or you can use “Hey, Siri” on Apple devices.
What are the biggest opportunities your company — and the industry — are seeing?
Moving Cloud-based access control fully into the enterprise space is the opportunity that we’re focusing on now. We have a platform that is fully ready for enterprise applications. Enterprise buyers are becoming more and more familiar with the benefits of Cloud. The Brivo platform, along with the data we provide, is a perfect solution for these customers.
Brivo provides security for over 200 Fortune 500 companies. These relationships were a driver in our investment in Data Explorer, which quickly identifies patterns, anomalies and trends. We know that much larger customers have a greater need for this data.
What do you hope the SIA Women in Security Forum can achieve for the security industry?
I am very hopeful that the Women in Security Forum, and organizations like it, will serve to create interest for new entrants into our industry and provide a sense of belonging to those who are already members. I am also optimistic that the forum will bring to light the great need for gender diversity in our space. I was truly amazed at how quickly our membership grew, not only with women, but with a large number of very supportive men who clearly understand the need for this.
What is your best advice for women in the industry?
First, if you are new to the space, find a mentor! Find someone who will support you in your endeavors and who you can lean on for advice and guidance.
Second, get involved. Look for groups of people who share your professional interests — and don’t be afraid to start your own group within your organization. Align yourself with people that fuel you!
And finally, find an opportunity to volunteer. There are some great associations in our industry that are always looking for volunteers. Identify a need that you’re passionate about, and take the opportunity to give back. An added bonus: volunteering is a great way to meet like-minded new people.
Who or what was the strongest influence in your career?
There is not a single answer for this question. At different times in my career, different people have been an influence. I have been unbelievably blessed by having amazing bosses, coworkers and industry peers who have become close friends. Each of them has taught me things that have shaped my career, and I am thankful for each and every one of them.
How do you define success?
I believe success means different things to each person that you ask. On a very broad level, setting goals and accomplishing them is the general definition of success. At different stages of my life/career, success has been measured differently. Today, my job is centered on helping others be successful. If I can help one of our partners generate more revenue for their business, no matter the amount, then I count that as a success.
It has also always been very important to me to be successful in the eyes of my children. I’ve worked to instill in them a desire to be respected and well regarded because of their actions and work ethics. I have two adult kids who have been fully supporting themselves for years — I consider that a huge success! I have one more, a middle schooler who I am still molding and shaping.
My oldest and I have “The Get S–t [stuff] Done Gene.” We believe you were either born with it or you work really hard to get it, and having it can help you find lots of successes along your path.
What would you say to new upcoming women in the industry?
Be firm in your convictions. Make sure you know your stuff, and always, in every way, carry yourself like a professional!
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