Don’t Fall for These 5 Cloud-Based Physical Security Myths
Although more organizations are investing in cloud-based security solutions, there still is some hesitation among decision makers.
One of the fastest-growing sectors for security technology is in the cloud, where campuses can do away with on-site servers and hardware in favor of a more flexible model.
Even though more organizations are now investing in cloud-based security solutions, there is still hesitation among decision-makers who have yet to make the switch. Today, we’ll address the top concerns people have with cloud security technology, and discuss why organizations should consider cloud-based technology when speaking with a physical security provider.
Myth 1: The cloud is not as customizable as on-prem software.
Traditionally, on-premise security systems run on software installed on a specified workstation somewhere on the property, which can then be customized by an IT professional. This type of system is beneficial for industries where there are strict requirements or specific security needs, such as in a government facility. While early cloud-based software was less robust when it came to customization, the technology has quickly advanced to allow for greater flexibility.
Cloud software with an open API is the best option for businesses looking to create a more customized security tech stack, as it can be used in many different ways. An open ecosystem allows organizations to take advantage of integrations to create exactly what’s needed using the latest and greatest technology available.
One of the benefits of this over on-premise software is that campuses are no longer tied down to only what’s installed locally. Cloud-to-cloud integrations offer greater choice of security options like video surveillance and access control systems, building management tools, and identity or visitor platforms. However, it’s worth mentioning that not all cloud-based systems offer the same level of flexibility and interoperability, so it’s important to check with an integrator or installer if there are specific systems or apps that must be compatible.
Myth 2: The cloud isn’t optimized for larger organizations.
Early cloud security adopters were frequently smaller businesses and startups that wanted to avoid the cost burden of a cumbersome install meant for enterprise organizations. However, when comparing the benefits of staying with an existing system or migrating to a cloud-based solution, organizations with multiple locations stand to benefit from a more remotely accessible system.
Having all the data and controls for all offices available on a single interface puts less strain on administrative and IT teams, and makes it much easier to accommodate flexible schedules or remote employees. Plus, the cloud enables an “always-on” approach to security.
Options like automated SMS and email alerts, remote unlocking capabilities, and the ability to check activity logs or audit the system from any web-connected device can improve response times and strengthen overall security posture without the need to be onsite at all hours.
Myth 3: I have to replace my entire infrastructure to move to the cloud.
Security is a big investment, and the cost and hassle of replacing the entire system is often a deterrent for updating to more advanced and modern technology. However, many cloud-based security systems can actually be added to existing systems in a hybrid solution. This type of deployment allows organizations to retain their existing investment in backend hardware, but get all the benefits of cloud-based software.
Some of the infrastructure that may be supported in a cloud-based physical security solution includes controllers and boards, readers and credentials. Hybrid systems are also a great way for organizations to install cloud-based physical security in a new location, without updating the entire infrastructure in their existing buildings.
To get the most out of a hybrid cloud and legacy solution, access control integrators will recommend updating the building’s door readers to ensure compatibility with mobile credentials. To reduce costs, look for systems that use standard wiring so that it’s easier to replace the readers without rewiring each entry. In addition, options that can support both the existing credentials (such as key cards or fobs) and mobile access offer a more future-proof system, eliminating the hassle of having to install multiple devices at the door.
Myth 4: Migration means re-training the entire security team.
While each new system — security or otherwise — will require some onboarding, choosing the right provider can make a big difference here. Legacy providers are often using cumbersome and outdated platforms that are difficult to use without extensive training, and take time to configure. On the contrary, intuitive, easy-to-use cloud platforms reduce the time commitment and onboarding needed for existing staff and new team members.
This is key for getting a new Cloud deployment up and running quickly, as well as for efficient scaling as the business grows. In addition, remote and app-based system configuration can make adding new sites and users much easier. These features are usually not offered for legacy systems. Because good support and customer service matters for any type of technology, always look for security providers that offer one-on-one onboarding and training sessions to make this process even smoother.
Myth 5: The cloud isn’t as secure.
The fact is, your entire security system is only as secure as its weakest link. This remains true for any system, cloud-based or on-premises. The only way to truly be protected in an ever-changing security landscape is by ensuring that every element of the system is consistently running the latest software and employing the latest leading practices across every aspect of the business.
One benefit of cloud software and systems is that they can be automatically updated over-the-air, minimizing system downtime and expensive onsite maintenance visits. This leads to greater productivity, as well as peace of mind that the system is operating with the most up-to-date features.
On today’s campuses, just about every piece of technology, including physical security systems, is connected to the Internet. That means that traditionally siloed security structures can leave organizations vulnerable. Now that cybersecurity is just as important as physical security, the cloud can make it easier to connect all the previously disparate systems for improved visibility into what’s happening at every location. Combined data streams and business analytics tools connected to the cloud can offer a more holistic view of security across every element of the system, consolidated for improved identification of anomalies and faster auditing.
How to know if the cloud is right for an organization
If an organization is still on the fence about migrating to the cloud, it’s important to remember that today’s cloud-based security technology is smarter, more flexible, and more efficient than ever, and it keeps getting better. As IoT-connected systems become more prevalent, and more of the tools businesses depend on every day live in the cloud, a building’s commercial security system needs to be able to keep up to protect physical spaces, data, and the people who depend on them.
Making an investment in a future-proof security system ensures organizations have the best technology available today, and that those same systems will be able to protect them against future vulnerabilities, too.
Andi Krebs is the lead copywriter for Openpath Security, a leading provider of Cloud-based access control solutions. This article originally appeared in CS sister publication Security Sales & Integration and had been edited.