Lessons from COVID-19: Make hosted security part of your long-term digital strategy

13 Jul 2020

During the recent pandemic and resulting lockdown, cloud-based technologies enabled people to stay connected.

From a business perspective cloud proved advantageous to those companies that could unlock its potential to continue to operate successfully. Now, as the grip of the pandemic begins to loosen, we explore who or what is driving your IT and security strategy: the CEO, CIO or COVID-19?

From a security perspective, hosted video surveillance and access control solutions are now a vital component for the protection of people, premises and assets. Standalone CCTV and door locking systems are increasingly giving way to their cloud-enabled successors, video surveillance as-a-service (VSaaS) and access control as-a-service (ACaaS). Those businesses that have embraced digital transformation and sought to update their security provision now have the ability, through VSaaS and ACaaS, to unlock a range of powerful benefits to enhance operations.

Compelling benefits for security and business

These advanced security systems generate analytics that utilise the data from security technologies, such as network video cameras and smart access control devices, to offer valuable business insights which help inform and automate decision making. Examples relevant to the recent pandemic include frictionless access control, allowing touch free access to buildings to help contain viral spread; and occupancy tools which have helped retailers regulate shopper numbers and adhere to government guidelines on social distancing.

The benefits of physical security in the cloud have not been lost on the IT industry. Our recentsurvey of 1000 IT decision makers across the UK and Europe, intended to provide us with clarity around security purchasing intent in the 2020s, found that as many as 84% of IT managers are currently using or considering VSaaS or ACaaS systems. This points to an appreciation of the convergence of physical security and IT security, and a willingness to embrace systems when integrated with IT in the cloud.

Recurring revenues support adaptable business models

As a result of COVID-19, we have witnessed greater demand for hosted physical security systems from end customers eager to employ such systems that not only scale at speed as business circumstances change, but also provide greater flexibility to meet ongoing operational and security challenges. With no large upfront capital investment, businesses instead pay for the convenience ‘as-a-service’ out of operational expenditure as a monthly cost. The as-a-service model comes with the guarantee of ongoing vendor support, backed by the latest software updates and firmware upgrades, to ensure a system is always up to date and online.

From an installer perspective, convenient and recurring monthly payments will put them on a firmer footing. The security industry has traditionally been slow to adopt this proven cloud business model, and transitioning to sales cycles based on monthly licences rather than up-front purchases won’t be easy. Yet, the physical security industry will have witnessed uncertainty during the recent crisis, and, in some cases, a downturn in revenues as decisions around capital expenditure were put on hold. This recurring revenue model will allow those vendors that embrace it to remain competitive and drive new business opportunities.

The value of hosted security

VSaaS and ACaaS provide a flexible and fluid security and business solution to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving world. Such technologies represent an investment into improving security and operations, helping business leaders increase their agility and enabling them to better face their challenges in the ‘new normal’. For the physical security industry, the as-a-service model will open a recurring revenue stream and enable the forging of new business relationships as end customers switch on to new hosted solutions; a key factor in continuing to remain relevant and competitive in a transforming industry.