How to Select a Cloud-Based Access Control System

Shoppting for cloud-based access control? Consider these important factors.

Established in 2010 in Ottawa, Ontario, Feenics is a provider of cloud-based access control and security management platform solutions. Feenics received an award from CS’ sister company, SSI, as 2015’s Most Valuable Product Award under the Access Control Management Programs & Software category. In this article, the company’s executive vice president, Paul DiPeso, discusses critical factors in the selection of a cloud-based system.

As the cloud and physical access control continue to unify, what benefits do you see blossoming?
Moving access control from a traditional model of residing on a server to a cloud-based environment is like taking the shackles off of the end user. They want ways to lower their overall costs, gaining more functionality and having the ability to command and control their system from anywhere.

How does a cloud-based access control security management platform foster these advantages?
For years, internal IT departments have built and maintained the servers and infrastructure at the business facility, and that came with a very high price tag. But having that same footprint with an on-premises access platform creates unnecessary spend and upkeep. With cloud-based solutions, onsite servers and appliances are eliminated, thus reducing the total cost of ownership [TCO] while not losing any functionality.

In fact, cloud-based software is always up to date. Any patches, hot fixes or new enhancements are automatically downloaded. No scheduling or rolling of trucks by the integrator and more importantly, no disruption to the end user’s business day. In addition, backups are also accomplished in the cloud, so data recovery becomes a built-in attribute of this environment.

What should be foremost in mind for campuses that are exploring a cloud-based offering?
Ppen hardware platforms is a key component. Using field hardware that does not box in the end user is important. Today, Mercury and HID combined have over 50 access control manufacturers using their hardware, and that is a safety net for the end user. So if one of those 50-plus software developers decides not to continue building an access control platform, options are available. Yes, there is a cost to convert but not nearly as painful as a total rip-and-replace.

During my tenure at Lenel, I had to break the news to some of largest Fortune 500 companies that their GE hardware was becoming obsolete in the future, forcing many of them to spend unbudgeted funds to replace their access control system. Over the past 30 years, the industry has seen this occur too many times.

Finally, having a robust, full-featured access solution where innovation continues to add new functionality is critical; however, having an open application programming interface [API] that allows bolt-on solutions from other sources is important as well.

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