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INSIGHTS

How IoT impacts security development: Security as a Service

How IoT impacts security development: Security as a Service
a&s talked to Genetec about how the company is following the recent industry trend of the IoT (Internet of Things) to focus on utilizing and managing the metadata from security devices. Body-worn camera integration, IP access control systems, and finally security as a service (SaaS) are the company’s three major recent offerings.
The IoT (Internet of Things) has become an inevitable trend in various industries. It has also greatly influenced the future of the security industry. Surveillance cameras and access control systems act as multiple sensors in the IoT; security management platforms play another important role to manage the metadata by connecting all these sensors.

Genetec, an open-platform IP-based security management software provider, is also following the trend to deal with metadata from multiple security devices that have to do with video surveillance, access control, license plate recognition (LPR), and intrusion alarms, according to Andrew Elvish, VP of Marketing and Product Management at Genetec. Elvish pointed out how body-worn cameras and access control systems are important to Genetec, and how cloud service or security as a service (SaaS) will impact the security business in the future.

Body-worn cameras and access control as sensors
To secure inhabitants in metropolitan environments, sensors should widely and thoroughly cover the city, including everything from all buildings and city infrastructure, to the people, in order to provide enough data for situational awareness. The latest and most discussed connected devices [sensors] for safe cities under the IoT are body-worn cameras. “Recently, we have heard a lot of requests from police, urban protection institutes, and law enforcement agencies about how to do more with the data from the body-worn cameras. For instance, how can one utilize the footage from those body-worn cameras as a part of a larger citywide system and how to make sense of the volume of footage? In order to address that problem, Genetec focuses on how to make metadata sensible and how to integrate different devices into a unified and manageable view for operators and security specialists,” said Elvish. “That is why Genetec offers a direct integration and evidence management feature for body-worn cameras within in our unified security management platform, Security Center.”

Elvish added, “When users have the access to the data from body-worn cameras, then they have a bigger picture of what’s going on. If they can’t see the body-worn cameras’ data in relationship to the entire security system, which might comprise fixed cameras, LPR, and door access control, then you don’t actually have a true awareness or control of the situation.”

Therefore, Genetec has identified a mix of opportunities from body-worn cameras, which provide the key part of the metadata, especially for safe cities. In addition to that, body-worn cameras are being used quite often in very precise, safety-oriented maintenance and operation applications, such as the ground crew at airports. Another interesting application is for quality assurance. For instance, when you are doing something very complicated the live cameras could show an expert who is not at the scene how it works, according to Elvish. So, there are multiple conveniences and applications to be created from body-worn cameras.

Finally, Genetec has recently released a new series of its IP access control system, Synergis, which enables clients to leverage their on-premises access control with cloud-ready capabilities. Using the newly released Synergis Cloud Link appliances users can rest assured that if a local or cloud-based network fails, it intelligently works on its own till the network comes back. The appliances are smart enough to re-synchronize the data either to the cloud or to the in-house server. So, users can go either to the public cloud or to the internal server with this appliance.

Security as a Service
In order to use metadata and have the flexibility to retrieve it, the company is focusing on developing more cloud solutions. Its guiding principle is “hybrid cloud.”

“Some users don’t want to put all their data in the cloud — they would prefer to manage the split between what data stays on premises and what can feasibly go to the cloud. We are giving the user the control over their journey to the cloud rather than forcing an all-or-nothing choice,” said Elvish.

“When we talked to a large transportation client, they said they didn’t have the money to increase their storage facilities, nor to build out the required server room space with the associated electrical, cooling and IT management requirements. Nevertheless, in compliance with the latest government mandates, they were required to increase video storage to 30 days, effectively doubling their storage requirements. The solution was to store 15 days of video on-premises and the video starting from day 16 to 30 can be put into cloud. This is what we called ‘hybrid cloud’ for enterprise users,” added Elvish. “To ensure the security of cloud content — from capture to transport to storage — we have built in both AES-256 and TLS to deliver a highly secure method for handling the data whether in transit or at rest.”

Genetec offers cloud solutions for the small-tomedium (SMB) market sector and for enterprise customers. “We are providing a new service for end users who already have our open-platform security management software, which we call ‘federation as a service’ (FaaS). Federation is a method uniquely designed by Genetec to facilitate centralized monitoring, reporting, and alarm management across multiple sites or organizations. For example, a chain of retail coffee shops typically own a lot of different stores in a city or a country. With Genetec FaaS, a local store can be federated into a master security system to access all the coffee shops in one city, across an entire country, or around the entire globe. The ‘federation as a service’ over the cloud gives our end users the ability to expand their systems in this manner without making a huge investment in servers or other hardware tools,” explained Elvish.

“In the U.S., we have several federation-as-a-service customers. While, in Western Europe, we have many cloud customers using our SMB cloud solution, which mainly leverages our camera hardware partnership with Axis Communications. In addition, we have seen many telecom providers getting more interested in security systems for the SMB sector."

"Through the partnership with telecom providers, more and more end users can realize the benefits of a cloud-based video surveillance as a service. As soon as they hook up the cameras, they can enjoy a powerful and easy to use VMS solution all based in the cloud. Or, even enterprise customers, who have remote offices, can also adopt the Genetec cloud solution to quickly put video surveillance into smaller offices without the investment in local servers and storage, which still being able to federate these remote locations into one centralized, federated, view.”

According to Elvish, whenever Genetec designs new products, the company develops with a “cloud-first” strategy, which is the company’s internal direction. “Internally, we have a very strong discipline to move into the cloud. And, we work very closely with our partners like Microsoft to make this a reality. We really leveraged Microsoft Azure in our journey to becoming a cloud-first company. For us it just makes sense since it’s the way our industry is heading.”


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