How to choose a managed access control system

End-users can pick from three options

The SaaS provider's secure, centralized data center takes care of the software and hardware upgrades, providing back-ups, archives, redundancy and disaster recovery. The end-user accesses the application by using any Web browser to log into his/her account. Web-based solutions eliminate dedicated security servers and software, thus freeing up the user's IT department to focus on their core business and reducing costs through sharing technology across tens of thousands of users.

Although multi-tenant SaaS provides end-users with ultimate flexibility when managing their access control system, it also allows the end-user to outsource administration, monitoring, and programming functions to their security dealer. Many systems integrators provide a "concierge" service in which they manage their customers' access control system on a continuous or on-demand basis.

Many smart organizations have implemented managed access to help improve efficiency and reduce costs. Just like online banking and Web-based applications such as and Google Apps, Security as a Service is an option that is here to stay. Many more security integrators will begin to offer flexible service menus, enabling their clients to choose exactly the services they need. This is a welcome shift from the old rigid model where integrators install and customers operate dedicated security infrastructure.

In this new paradigm, both end-users and integrators can shift their focus from building and operating technology to the more important task of determining how to best apply security technology to manage risk at the lowest possible cost. This is the ultimate benefit of Managed Access.

John Szczygiel is executive vice president of Brivo Systems LLC.