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 number and complexity of the technologies involved in physical security is rapidly growing with each passing day. In the area of video surveillance and access control there’s a tremendous push for integrated solutions that are capable of joining the two together with intrusion, life safety, building management, heating and cooling, and others. The newest of these involves the use of a cloud-based security solution called SaaS (security as a service).
SaaS encompasses all of the above, including the two management approaches to physical security commonly known as ACaaS (access control as a service) and VSaaS (video surveillance as a service). In the near future this will include IDaaS (intrusion detection as a service) – not to be confused with data security in the IT (information technology) world.
All of this involves data processing and retention in a data processing center of immense magnitude that resides on the cloud. SaaS in this setting is intended to enhance the quality and quantity of timely, accurate information that ultimately reaches end-user security personnel, service technicians and most importantly, first responders. It’s important – imperative, in fact – that all stakeholders have ready access to as much building intelligence as possible during a situation because many times these individuals will unknowingly place their lives on the line when they respond to a call for help.
SaaS in the cloud can be viable in myriad situations. “We see it being used in all kinds of settings. In terms of security, it’s being used in everything from corporate settings with lobbies and entrances to service stations, convenience stores, retail stores, manufacturing operations and warehouses, to name only a few,” says Dean Drako, president and CEO of Eagle Eye Networks. “We have some [security dealers] that also deploy it in remote locations where they don’t have a contingency of personnel but they need to know what’s going on.”
According to Drako, there are many reasons why SaaS lends itself so well to so many kinds of commercial applications, and the biggest one of all is a need for an effective enterprise solution that will work globally. “One reason is that it supports deployment in multiple locations in an enterprise setting. Some will migrate to the cloud sooner than others because they have a problem managing all those locations from a single office. Several examples of this include large, chain-type commercial businesses such as retail stores and restaurants,” says Drako.
In this article, we’ll look at how cloud technology, in conjunction with VSaaS and ACaaS (jointly as SaaS), is capable of providing a superior means of protection for a lot less money than would ordinarily be possible using traditional, non-cloud methods. We’ll also look at how this unique platform provides security dealers and systems integrators with another valuable and much needed revenue stream. We’ll also explore the attributes, benefits and challenges associated with the adoption of these technologies, giving you an idea as to what it will take to implement the technology on your end.
SaaS: Defining the Acronym
To alleviate any confusion, the traditional use of the acronym SaaS, also known in the IT world as ‘software as a service,’ involves a recurring fee an end user pays in order to have the ongoing use of a specific software, such as an accounting package like Sedona, while receiving routine updates and ongoing factory support. This SaaS model has long been used in the computer business world where this method enables software manufacturers to profitably allow ongoing development of a software as well as user support by sharing the cost among many stakeholders.
“With the evolution of technology we see things moving toward SaaS, or software as a service, which reflects the traditional terminology. That infrastructure and software itself all fit into a hosted environment,” says Joe Young, director of cloud monitoring services with G4S Secure Integration. “It’s all shifting to a subscription-based program and that includes the latest software and support where the end user pays a certain dollar figure per reader, so much per camera, as well as other end points in use.”
Software is an integral part of a SaaS platform. In the physical security world, however, SaaS involves the application of an off-premises physical security-related, software-driven platform to which end users subscribe.
But it’s not just software in this case. It’s data retention, real-time scalability and much more. This subscription fee is commonly paid through a professional security dealer or systems integrator. It’s engineered primarily to run in a data processing center on the cloud.
(Note that for the remainder of this story, we’ll use the SaaS acronym as it pertains to ‘security as a service.’)
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