Cloud Based Security Feature
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Cloud-based Access Control vs. On-premise: Why Are We Still Debating?

The term ‘cloud-based’ has become outdated in most industries except for security. That is because it is assumed the technology is cloud-based, who would build technology that isn’t at this point?

You would never say, “I’m going to watch cloud-based Netflix tonight” or “keep your customer’s information up to date in the cloud-based CRM.” Yet, as security professionals we are still using two different types of access control to secure our facilities: on-premise and cloud-based. It seems we are stuck with the cloud-based label until we no longer need the distinction. That is to say, we will need to identify cloud-based access control until the security industry moves away completely from on-premise solutions.

The questions this observation raises are:
1. Why are we still relying on outdated on-premise technologies to protect our people and facilities?
2. What are we missing by continuing to ignore new access control technologies?

Why are we still relying on outdated on-premise technologies to protect our people and facilities?
One of the reasons security professionals drag their feet on moving from on-premise access control to cloud-based access control is the perception that on-premise solutions are more secure and less prone to hacking. The irony is that the opposite is true.

Like all other solutions built in the cloud, software updates can be pushed automatically. Think about your iphone, for example, you are always on the latest version of the software because apple pushes the updates for you. For cloud-based access control systems, those updates include bug fixes as well as fixes to any vulnerabilities found during recent and redundant penetration tests. Cloud-based access control systems are always running on the most up-to-date software, maintained by the software experts that developed it, and who are also constantly monitoring and testing that software against cyber attacks.

On-premise systems, on the other hand, often require IT departments to get involved to make cumbersome updates to clunky outdated systems. The longer these updates go ignored the more susceptible to hackers the system becomes.

What are we missing by continuing to ignore new access control technologies?

The reality is that loud-based solutions are more secure. A recent survey revealed that now, 58%, the majority of security professionals, agree that cloud-based access control does improve overall security. That percentage is up 12% from the end of 2019.

This large increase is likely brought on by security threats, vulnerabilities, and inefficiencies exposed by COVID-19. Organizations realize that their physical security and cybersecurity are critical to the health and survival of their business. The solutions they choose to control security must be as technologically advanced as any other business solutions they would choose, like CRM or accounting. Cloud-based access control fits into any organization's leading-edge tech stack.

Remote and Mobile Management
Aside from that, cloud-based access control offers remote control and management which is more important than ever since COVID-19. According to a recent survey this year has accelerated the growth of mobile applications and credentials at work.

When businesses went into lockdown, companies with on-premise solutions did not have any way to remotely manage their security plan. They had to send someone to the facility to make updates. Cloud-based solutions are accessible remotely from any device through mobile connectivity, making them more dynamic and flexible.

The use of mobile applications increased by 12% and the use of mobile credentials by tenants increased by 5% in 8 months.

A remote workforce spurred on by COVID-19 and stay-home measures has created the immediate need for remote facility control and monitoring. Now 85% of respondents say they use work-related mobile applications. Access control can and should be one of those applications that security professionals can easily access to monitor and manage business security at all times.

Subscription Pricing
Cloud-based solutions also lend themselves to a subscription model. COVID-19 has created worldwide economic uncertainty. Companies want to reserve their cash flow. However, at the same time, the pandemic exposed major business security vulnerabilities. Many organizations are realizing the need for critical business security functions that only cloud-based solutions can deliver, but they aren’t able to make large up-front investments at the moment. Cloud-based solutions offer low monthly payment options so companies who must upgrade their security solution out of necessity are able to do so without breaking the bank.

Another major benefit of cloud-based solutions is easy integration with other cloud-based software. As long as the access control solution is built with an open API, the integration possibilities are virtually limitless. Access control systems can be integrated with video surveillance, identity management, visitor management, alarm, HR software… the list goes on. This means less duplication of work for employees, better data, and a more secure work environment.


Security data is often overlooked. In a recent survey of security professionals 62% of respondents said they are not able to gain insights from their security data. Security professionals still get too much data, too little data, or don’t know how to use their data to glean insights for informed decisions.

The new normal for businesses and buildings includes much more diligent monitoring of traffic within the space. The only way to truly understand, monitor and control the human traffic within your buildings is to have data on who is in your space and when. This can also lend a hand if contact tracing needs to take place in case of a reported infection or outbreak.

The right data visualized to easily illuminate trends and patterns, can transform building and organizational security and increase operational efficiency.

Just like Netflix made Blockbuster obsolete, cloud-based access control will soon make on-premise solutions relics of the past. The security industry will continue to move into the future like all other industries to meet the modern needs and demands of customers.

Read Brivo’s Halftime Report to learn the state of the security industry in the wake of COVID-19.

Henry Lott
Publisher Partner
[email protected]
Tel: 01548 521862 / 07828 035059
Karen Lott
Editorial Partner
[email protected]
Tel: 01548 521862 / 07828 035059 published by
GMS Business Communications
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Tel +44 (0)1548 521862

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