How can cloud benefit the physical security industry in challenging times?
Martyn Ryder, VP Sales and Marketing at Morphean, looks at how cloud can help security businesses unlock smarter and more profitable ways of operating in the current climate.
Digitalisation is changing everything. We now live in a world where cloud infrastructure and the exchange of information through data centres underpins the very fabric of modern society. This is further enhanced by the IoT; connecting and communicating with other devices and systems over the internet and/or private networks, and AI; using data to augment human decision-making processes.
When it comes to physical security capabilities, digital transformation has ushered in a new era of hosted security platforms that eclipse the limited capabilities of legacy, analogue systems to offer a wealth of benefits.
Yet physical security businesses have been slow to adopt cloud, often staying within their comfort zone by continuing to offer more traditional security systems. As a consequence, they have not been able to pass the benefits provided by intelligent cloud-enabled systems on to customers. Now, with the opening up of the global economy after Covid leading to huge pressure on supply chains, and a cost-of-living crisis with inflation and energy prices running at their highest rates in decades, companies across Europe that are clinging to traditional business models will have many hurdles to face. This all amounts to an urgent need for security businesses to rethink how they operate and look for ways to work smarter. Migrating to cloud holds the answer.
A brighter future in the cloud
With critical functions such as banking, client management (CRM) and email systems all being delivered through the cloud, it’s only natural for firms to migrate their video surveillance and access control to more efficient and compliant platforms.
Getting to grips with cloud physical security means understanding the benefits of software-as-a-service (SaaS), the revenue model of cloud, and the advantages for customers of solutions such as video surveillance as-a-service (VSaaS) and access control as-a-service (ACaaS) over more traditional methods of securing premises, assets and people.
By broadening the scope of products and services offered, the calibre of future projects can be improved, and, ultimately, the way security businesses operate can be changed for the better. With skills shortages and recruitment challenges adding increasing pressure, the migration to cloud can actually lead to better use of current resources, the mitigation of rising salary costs and the multiplying of revenue streams. But first it’s essential to build knowledge of this new world and to fully understand how to make use of the opportunities it presents.
Recurring revenue and smarter budgeting
Moving to a SaaS revenue model means that customers are charged per device per month, allowing contracts to be leveraged as a sustainable revenue source. The ongoing relationship with the end-user opens up an avenue to upselling more features, with applications such as people counting, AI intrusion detection and virtual concierge providing a continuous revenue stream and meeting evolving customer needs. In addition, the ability to carry out remote maintenance simplifies delivery and ultimately saves money.
In contrast, a traditional security system typically requires large upfront investment from the customer, with the addition of recurring costs for video backups, system updates, manual server maintenance and the energy use associated with running and cooling servers. In addition, the value of the technology continues to depreciate, becoming redundant after a lifespan of as little as 5-8 years, and requiring a whole new system to remain sufficiently protected.
A cloud solution, maintained by hardware upgrades and software updates, facilitates simple plug-and-play capabilities so that components can be easily upgraded or scaled to meet the fluid, dynamic requirements of the modern business, and to keep the system current. Customers only pay for what they need, when they need it, making cloud more affordable and representing real value for money. For the security business, making the switch to cloud represents recurring revenue and more predictable budgeting.
Improving security and operations
As physical security continues to evolve, customers will increasingly seek solutions that fit their industry-specific requirements which will often include the streamlining and automation of security and also the optimisation of business processes. Cloud allows insights to be unlocked from visual data that would otherwise be invisible to the human eye. With a dedicated platform that can be accessed from any computer or mobile device, decision makers, armed with meaningful metrics based on real-time data about their company operations, can make more informed decisions.
From the perspective of the physical security business, migrating to cloud allows them to deliver a solution that meets the evolving needs of the customer while representing significant savings and better use of people and resources within their own business. Often, the shortage of workers results in highly paid, highly skilled engineers being employed to carry out simple tasks. With cloud, a skilled professional can set up systems remotely from their own premises for a number of customers, not only saving money on fuel but also completing several customer jobs in the time that it would take to set up just one system at a client’s site. More business is sold and deployed faster, representing a better return on the salary investment of the individual.
Partnerships to aid business growth
In order to unlock the full value of cloud, businesses will need to enlist the services of security practitioners who understand the converging world of physical security, cloud platforms and the capabilities of networks, systems and software. Innovative technology, partnership and collaboration can help companies operate much smarter and more securely. For security businesses, developing knowledge and understanding of the cloud and how it functions opens up a world of wide-ranging possibilities based around the very latest innovations.
A trusted partnership between likeminded companies across the supply chain can create joint business growth through the reselling of a wider range of security products based on the SaaS model. And as customers increasingly carry out due diligence to determine the integrity of vendor, technology and supply chain, so security professionals who seek partnerships built upon high levels of trust are much more likely to achieve long-term success.
The challenges facing businesses are not going to dissipate any time soon, and continuing to do the same is not going to alter the outcome for the security business. Limiting negative impact requires creative thinking. It’s clear that cloud physical security will become the default setting for video surveillance in the professional security industry; positioned as not just business security, but rather a business opportunity.
Discover more and download our guide to cloud physical security https://www.morphean.com/insights/en-cloud-mission-critical