Web-based, cloud-enabled access control systems become even more valuable and cost effective when an enterprise can leverage its existing virtualized environment. There are currently Web-based access control solutions that are purpose built to deploy in a virtual platform like VMware, eliminating the need to maintain a separate, stand-alone server or dedicated network appliance.
For customers that have already virtualized all or part of their IT infrastructure, security installers that can deliver cloud-enabled access control have a great opportunity. As an organization’s annual service contract of its client/server-based access control system comes up for renewal, security integrators can position themselves with feature-rich, cost-effective alternatives that leverage the organization’s existing virtual infrastructure.
Access as a managed service
As enterprises increasingly seek greater pricing and scaling flexibility, forward-thinking security integrators and resellers are actively shifting their business strategy around the “as-a-service” model.
The ability to deliver access control as a managed service offers new recurring monthly revenue (RMR) opportunities for security integrators and resellers, as they can benefit from a more predictable revenue stream via monthly managed service fees and a competitive advantage that results from offering customers multiple options. Additionally, access control manufacturers that view the channel as a truly strategic component of the value chain offer Web-based access control physical and virtual network appliances, ready-made for a hosted-managed service offering, as a service to the reseller. This approach means that resellers can achieve profitability for the head-end on day one, instead of having to purchase the head-end and manage the financing. This should not be confused with Software as a Service (SaaS), a structure in which the manufacturer owns the account. With “PACS Appliance as a Service,” the channel owns the appliance that is operating in the cloud.
For customers, this model delivers several key advantages:
Flexibility and scalability: The flexibility of the managed service model means that, if the customer chooses, the integrator can host all of the servers and equipment. By doing so, enterprise customers are not required to make up-front capital outlays to stand up servers at their facilities. That said, if a customer wants to manage the IT infrastructure itself, this option and others can be easily tailored as well.
Eliminates day-to-day operational administration: In a managed service model, the reseller and customer execute a service license agreement covering all aspects of the operation to include the day-to-day operational administration. There are myriad tasks that fall into this bucket such as adding doors, changing roles and policies, creating new tokens and replacing old ones. All of these tasks can be translated to a fixed operational expense for the customer.
Accessibility on the fly: For a Web-based managed service deployment for access control, customers can indeed refrain from interaction with the system software. That said, under certain circumstances whereby they need immediate utilization to view the system software it’s as simple as device of choice (iPhone, etc.), login (ID and password) and review—just like secured access to a bank account.
Eliminates costly upgrades and maintenance: In addition to eliminating up-front physical equipment costs for organizations, the managed service model also rids the customer of significant and recurring costs associated with management the IT infrastructure. In fact, for many organizations the cost of installing, licensing and provisioning a new rack-mounted server can exceed the cost of fully transitioning to managed service model for Web-based access control, in some cases saving the enterprise customer upwards of 40 percent on recurring annual system support and licensing costs.
It goes without saying that organizations evaluating options for access control systems hold security in the highest regard. For this reason, security integrators must be prepared to address misconceptions that still exist around whether cloud and Web-based services are as secure as traditional access control systems.