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Pierre Trapanese: Taking Hold of the Cloud on the Horizon — Physical Security Over the Cloud

Sep 07, 2017

We can all lie back on a grassy hill, look up at the sky, and stare at the same cloud. Yet, we’ll each see something completely different. To me, it would obviously look like a bear. You would likely see something else. It’s time we take a similar approach when it comes to talking about the cloud in our industry and its potential for innovation. It’s often discussed as if the cloud can be all things to all people. It is not there yet, but there are some amazing formations in the making.

While cloud systems represent an amazing opportunity for the physical security industry, holistic end-to-end open solutions have not yet arrived. The industry has used the cloud to address specific needs quite well over the past few years. Such as a specific access control system or a video solution in the cloud. The promise of cloud services helping security departments turn resources into a flexible, scalable, and easily managed, self-service set of resources to support changing business needs is fantastic. That promise is not ready to be fulfilled yet, but it is on the near horizon.

Cloud is often mentioned in our industry with such esteem it seems it will “automagically” solve all our problems. It is also mentioned as if it is a concept too complicated to comprehend: “Just accept my solution and your problems will go away.” We need to get our heads out of those clouds and begin to define cloud services accurately and depict its powers realistically.

As mentioned, the cloud can be different things to different people. For some, it’s simply a shorthand explanation for servers and applications in a rack somewhere else in the world that is off-premise. A slightly more complicated approach to the cloud is when servers and applications are spread out over many data centers across a wide geographic footprint. And a bit more complicated is a hybrid of on-premise and off-premise resources. This article by Ray Bernard provides a more detailed analysis of what true cloud services are, their benefit and potential:

However designed, cloud services provide the hope the systems architecture, support, connectivity, security, and availability is extraordinarily better than anything you could possibly provide yourself, and thus a better solution. A solution which grants you, the user, the freedom to focus on your operations and services to your organization. You get to get to drive the car without having to be a mechanic.

Some industry cloud solutions already provide the welcome advantages of better systems architecture, availability, connectivity, and cyber-security of the platform… especially, as the concepts become more widely adopted by our industry. Cloud computing has evolved from a vague and confusing concept to a strategy that organizations routinely deploy as part of their enterprise computing strategy. We already see organizations using the cloud for e-mail, customer relationship management, and business applications with great success. So, what’s next? Are enterprise physical security solutions ready to be adopted as well?

Northland and others are providing Physical-Security-as-a-Service-Solutions that are a hybrid of available technologies and services. Software applications, servers, and databases can be in the cloud, on premises, or a combination of both. Not true Cloud yet, but organizations get many of its advantages while the industry catches up. Software support, administration, and on-demand services are available 24/7. Solutions adapt to your organization’s existing network environments, integration with non-physical security systems, incident response requirements, internal customer support, system analytics and custom reporting. Our Systems Design team, GSOC-as-a-Service, Custom Solutions, Professional Services and Technology Deployment teams all work in conjunction with each other to deliver a cloud solution in which you truly are the driver.

We ensure integrations to other non-physical security systems are supported, internal customers have someone to talk to, incidents are managed properly, and you have greater insights into your own organization. You will derive greater business value from your investment in those systems. Now, when you look up at the sky, the cloud you see will make sense.