Security as a Service: What It Can Do for Your Business
Managing installed access control and video surveillance systems on a subscription basis is a highly promising path to generating more RMR.
The Need for a Cloud Solution
There are several notable market drivers behind the use of the SaaS approach to security. First, there are large, multinational companies in the security and life-safety markets that are moving us toward a more integrated SaaS solution, one that includes the RMR (recurring monthly revenue) component.
Many security professionals believe the development of additional sources of RMR can only serve to benefit the industry as a whole. This includes manufacturers that produce the equipment; distributors that make it available to professional installers; the security companies and systems integrators that install, monitor and manage it; those that offer cloud-based SaaS to security companies; and end users that rely on it for their safety and security.
Other market drivers include the need for faster system response; greater building intelligence for first responders, onsite security personnel, building owners, alarm technicians and other stakeholders; as well as the capacity for advanced data analysis.
“You can have analytics in a cloud based on a variety of needs. That’s another way you can use the cloud instead of a DVR/NVR onsite. There are companies that have a box that installs on the premise side that will go to the cloud where the analytics and storage is done for you. Then you can go in on your computer and access the behavioral side,” says Tom Cooney, senior vice president with ADS Security.
Retail stores, for example, can make additional money by targeting analytics for their vendors. This is accomplished using video combined with access control data. “Analytics is used to count how many people entered a store between certain hours, what part of the store they went to when they arrived, the volume of people in the store when a particular theft took place, what displays that people spent time looking at, the average amount of time they spent at these displays, and many more,” says Cooney.
All of this information and much more is made available to the central monitoring station early in the process to assure a more appropriate response in a more timely and deliberate manner.
“I think we’re on the edge of everything going to the cloud,” says Michael Perlow, vice president of sales and marketing with Idesco Corp. “If you need to do more with less, and if you need to do it remotely, then cloud-based SaaS is where you want to be. People are beginning to see t
hat the convergence of technology and manpower is really happening now.”
This pertains especially to facilities that continue to use real-time security personnel to monitor office buildings, industrial complexes and other kinds of commercial properties.
“Theoretically larger corporations are looking to manage or monitor multiple buildings, so on a weekend, why do clients have four guards in four different buildings manning four different lobbies if they can have a complex of four buildings monitored in real-time by one or two guards? One officer actually can monitor these entrances or buildings and provide remote access,” says Perlow.
And SaaS will provide the mechanism needed to make it happen. All of these features and benefits are reshaping the way many security professionals sell physical security to their clients.
Performance & Expansion Versus Legacy
Traditionally a corporation’s access control and CCTV data processing and storage takes place at the protected premises.
“Legacy wise, there may not be an outside connection with their security solutions. When they need help they call for service and we roll a truck,” says G4S’ Young. “On the management side, legacy wise (where there is an Internet connection), it doesn’t matter where the infrastructure sits, whether it’s on the cloud, on a client’s site or in a colocation center. The management aspect means our tier one agents have the ability to login and authenticate with the software and provide some kind of management service.”
Although the legacy approach works in many applications, cloud-based SaaS provides us with a more cost-effective, performance-enhanced, profitable product to sell.
“To have a cloud you’re buying a larger head-end with massive security, massive storage, massive computing power and superior analytics if you use it right,” says Idesco’s Perlow. “Everybody educated in SaaS technology is beginning to realize that every day you’re using the cloud for something. For example, a lot of people would say, ‘I’m not going to the cloud,’ until you point to their smartphone and ask them, ‘How many apps do you use every day?’ You’re using the cloud right now!”
The best part of all of this is that the relatively small monthly fee the end user pays represents a structured expense, allowing them to better plan their month-to- month expenditures. And, because it’s a monthly operating fee, they can account for it at the end of the year as a recurring operating expense, as opposed to a capital expenditure.
Another enormous advantage to SaaS is that there are no surprise expenses along the way for both the dealer/integrator and the client if something at the head-end breaks down. This is because the access/video equipment (in the cloud) is owned by someone else, which means someone else has to pay to fix it. A side benefit also is the fact that large, cloud-based platforms usually have built-in redundancies. This means that when a piece of hardware goes down, there’s another one operating in parallel to pick up the slack. This means there is no loss of data, no user downtime.
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