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INSIGHTS

ACaaS: Still going strong, and here’s why

ACaaS: Still going strong, and here’s why
We’ve been talking extensively about video surveillance-as-a-service. Yet access control can also be cloud-based, and it generates no less popularity and enthusiasm compared to its video counterpart. Meanwhile, the pandemic only spurred ACaaS growth even further.
We’ve been talking extensively about video surveillance-as-a-service. Yet access control can also be cloud-based, and it generates no less popularity and enthusiasm compared to its video counterpart. Meanwhile, the pandemic only spurred ACaaS growth even further.
 
Access control-as-a-service is not a new concept per se. Like video surveillance-as-a-service, ACaaS has been in practice for some time. Yet over the years, cloud access control has seen continued growth and demand.
 
“Access control-as-a-service has been around for quite a while. More organizations are looking to streamline their security infrastructure with cloud-based access control as it allows the company to focus on business operations,” said Kim Loy, Chief Product Officer of ACRE, owner of Vanderbilt Industries. “The adoption of ACaaS has been accelerating over the past couple of years, and the ability to manage your system remotely from any internet-connected device provides a significant advantage.”
 
“We are seeing an increased demand for ACaaS within small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) because there is typically lower capital investment on access control hardware for their organizations, and ACaaS allows for a more streamlined security infrastructure without the added expenses of an in-house IT team to maintain the system. To accommodate this demand, integrators are actively adopting cloud-based access control solutions to diversify their portfolio and add more recurring monthly revenue,” said Chuck O’Leary, President of Open Options.
 

Advantages of ACaaS

 
ACaaS leverages the cloud architecture whereby access control data is processed and stored in the cloud. Such architecture has various advantages that users find beneficial. These advantages are described as below.
 

Reduced cost

 
Reduced cost is one of the primary reasons ACaaS appeals to users, who only have to purchase basic door hardware. “Less equipment to install and manage makes cloud solutions more cost effective for both small businesses and multi-site enterprises. Compared to an on-premise system, the long-term ROI of ACaaS and cloud-based systems are often higher because the need to install and maintain servers, firewalls and MPLS connections at each location have been eliminated,” Lindsay McLain, Head of Marketing at Openpath.
 

Remote management

 
ACaaS is hosted in the cloud and makes remote management possible, as long as there’s Internet access. “As a cloud service, ACaaS is driven by the benefit of remote management service so regardless of where managers are, they can control access into their facilities and report on who entered or left and when,” said Martin Renkis, VP of OpenBlue Security and Innovation at Johnson Controls.
 
“Cloud-based and/or hosted systems provide the flexibility to truly operate remotely. Admins can access the system 24/7 because the locations are all configured and managed from internet-accessed dashboards. Therefore no one is needed to be on-site to open doors or grant access,” Loy said.
 

Scalability

 
ACaaS allows the user to scale up or down based on their need at the moment. “ACaaS is excellent for scalability, as the ability to connect multiple sites to the cloud service is far easier than connecting multiple sites together over a private network. The cloud provides scalable resources which increases storage and processing capability on demand rather than upgrading or installing additional hardware onsite,” said Tom Buckley, Co-Founder of Qumulex.
 

Cybersecurity

 
Finally, ACaaS has better security features than on-prem solutions. “Having an off-prem security solution greatly reduces the chances of potential data breaches. By storing video surveillance and critical data in the cloud and choosing a team of trained professionals to monitor the infrastructure, organizations can be assured that their data is secure,” O’Leary said.
 
“The fact remains that even on-premise solutions are subject to breaches, with insecure VPN networks and human error both contributing to many recent security incidents. Because cloud-based systems can push out software updates at any time system-wide, they are able to stay on top of evolving security threats and push out updates as they are released. Cloud-based systems are also typically faster to detect a breach, in the event there is one,” McLain said.
 

Growth accelerated by COVID

 
Indeed, ACaaS has already seen growth over the years. COVID-19 has only accelerated that growth as users see the value of ACaaS during the pandemic.
 
“Demand is increasing dramatically for us at Johnson Controls with our ACaaS opportunities growing over 250 percent from last year. We believe this is due to the increased amount of remote work because of the pandemic and the requirement for remote access control management,” Renkis said.
 
“We definitely see demand picking up, especially with the frequent changes that customers have faced due to COVID restrictions,” Buckley said. “Security integrators serving these customers faced the reality of constantly changing door schedules and employee access schedules, forcing many integrators to make repeated trips onsite to make these changes, and showed the value of having an ACaaS solution that allowed simple and easy remote management. It also showed the need for an easier way to service customers efficiently and remotely as many customers did not want vendors onsite, and the integrators themselves struggled to keep up with the constant demand.”


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