The way the security industry does business is evolving, which is why we’ve been looking at the potential for Access Control as a Service (ACaaS) with even greater scrutiny over the last three or four years.
How does ACaaS work?
To the uninitiated, think of the popular concept of Software as a Service (SaaS), where customers pay to use software for a fixed period (with all the upgrades and maintenance included) - but then replace the software element with access control systems and you get the idea.
This business model has transformed the way many software providers do business – rather than just selling software as a product, providers offer a host of services that mean the customer gets full support and upgrades at a regular and predictable cost. Moreover, the benefit to the provider is a regular and predictable income business model, which in turn funds continuous development and service provision to the market.
We’ve seen this model in other security areas too – Video as a Service (VaaS) for surveillance has been trialled, but the drawback is the amount of bandwidth needed on any IP connection to make this work smoothly and efficiently. This is not the case with Access Control. The amount of data (and therefore the bandwidth required) is relatively low, making installation and operation far more viable for a broader range of customers.
We’re reaching a crossroad when it comes to how security systems are deployed. Whilst some operators are considering/turning to the benefits of cloud-hosting, others are vehemently maintaining on-premise facilities. It’s important to mention that there’s no right or wrong approach – the benefits and drawbacks vary according to the operational needs.
ACaaS, however, is very well suited to any of these options. If operators want ultimate physical control of these functions, they can continue to host/store systems and data on-premise. Equally, a large corporation can centrally host a server (or cluster of servers) to meet its needs across a whole country or even worldwide.
However, increasingly, companies are opting to use an externally hosted service for their IT systems. In the case of security systems, it’s becoming a lot more common to outsource to big and trusted providers such as Chubb, or G4S, which have the specialist infrastructure in place to offer full peace of mind to customers.
Flexibility (in finding the best solution)
Our very own GARDiS software has been developed to meet all these approaches – a cloud-friendly system that can be hosted wherever the organisation chooses. It’s the perfect way to future-proof operations.
If a business were to migrate its IT systems from an on-premise to a secure remote server it would be perfectly possible and straightforward to manage. There’s no reason why physical security systems should hold up this process!
Offering open and flexible solutions is something that TDSi prides itself on – we want customers to be assured by our solutions and use them as they see fit.
When it comes to providing ACaaS, it’s essential that the infrastructure is in place and that the uptime is 100%. A relationship of trust is essential, perhaps even greater than the one between a provider and end-user in a product-orientated relationship.
If somebody is buying their security as a service, they are putting it squarely in the hands of the service provider and that is an enormous responsibility!
It’s a really big step for the industry. There are many important advantages and benefits to all involved, but it takes careful planning and excellent execution to ensure this approach delivers its full potential and minimises any potential risk to ensure it’s worthwhile.