Switching to Cloud Control

Tim Timmins from ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions examines the growing shift towards cloud access management. How can organisations benefit — and what should they look for when choosing a cloud access control solution? 

ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions provides an exclusive From the Expert article highlighting the benefits of switching to cloud control for a more agile, flexible access management solution. 

Efficiency, agility and convenience have become megatrends: They are important drivers across almost every area of global economic activity. Within security and access management, they play a major role in the rapid adoption of cloud infrastructure. Perhaps a third of security end-users already use cloud-based software to manage access to their premises, according to one industry report.  

The motivations for cloud adoption are easy to understand. Managers want to operate from anywhere, at any time. This can be especially important in security, where unexpected issues are usually urgent — or time-sensitive, at least. 

Cloud management simplifies budgeting and reduces IT expenditure: its simple subscription model prevents nasty surprises in the shape of unexpected hardware or support costs. The cloud “allows businesses to save the cost of having to own, maintain and manage their own data centres (servers, storage and networking) while still having the ability to provide full computing capabilities. Cloud computing is a key part of businesses’ digital transformations”. 

According to the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, cloud security services may also encourage good practice and improve resilience. 

In an economic environment where change is a constant, security management must be agile and futureproof. Cloud access control provides this. For a small or medium-sized organisation, readiness to expand or pivot the use of space at any time is even more critical. The inherent scalability of a cloud solution offers a huge advantage for these businesses. 

Cloud access management, the easy way to take control 

The key question, then, is: what to look for in a cloud access management solution? The security of the cloud environment is non-negotiable. Whether self- or third-party hosted, the solution must keep data safe and software up to date. 

To maximise the benefits from cloud adoption, I also recommend that customers consider 3 major factors, to ensure their chosen solution will offer the flexibility benefits they expect. 

Flexible control for different security levels: areas in a building often have different security requirements. Where entrance doors or critical zones need real-time (online) monitoring including alerts, some other parts of a building might have lower demands for physical security. Here, autonomous devices can be installed faster and more cost-efficiently, with no need for network cables or hubs.  

Don’t forget to check the device range: a modern access control solution should offer a wide range of digital locks, helping a business manage their workspaces and workflows with maximum efficiency. Growing organizations require a large and diverse choice of access control hardware. Doors, cabinets, gates, server racks and almost any other opening may need to be locked with a wireless or wired device. 

A broad and futureproof choice of credentials: for user convenience, it makes sense to choose a system which supports all common RFID technologies, including iCLASSÒ and MIFAREÒ. However, the investment should be futureproofed, offering the chance to upgrade later to smartphone keys. Because many organisations still have legacy credentials in circulation, rolling out a shift to mobile access control will be more cost-efficient if mobile and RFID may be used simultaneously. 

Flexible cloud-based access control boosts agility and efficiency 

ASSA ABLOY’s Incedo™ Cloud access control ecosystem was developed to meet these needs. When they choose Incedo, organisations can secure almost any opening with autonomous electronic locks or in real time with online devices. They issue building users with credentials of their choice. And they manage everything from one place, via the flexible, scalable, intuitive Incedo platform. 

Building users gain access via smartcards, mobile keys stored on their smartphone, or energy-harvesting smart keys. Incedo Cloud software manages doors and users securely — from anywhere. 

Installation is easy, with no complex integrations required. The entire ecosystem is modular, designed for simple adoption and easy expansion at any time and in any direction. An Incedo system can include both wired and wireless locks, all natively integrated and covering almost any application: for a handful of doors or hundreds, a startup or a staff of thousands in multiple locations. 

Incedo Cloud adopters can combine online and autonomous management. For example, controlling access to entrances, labs and server rooms in real time, with online management. Adding autonomous devices alongside these adds control for access to areas that previously have been uneconomical due to location, environment, or cost. Switching between online and autonomous management is seamless. The only difference is how credentials are managed, online or via updaters. 

The widest possible choice of devices and credentials 

On the Incedo platform, wireless locking is provided by an award-winning range of Aperio devices with built-in readers: the Aperio wireless handle, escutcheon, cylinder, security lock and server rack lock. Aperio devices can secure almost any interior or exterior door, including wooden doors, glass doors and fire doors. Because they are wireless, installation is quick and without disruption to walls or work. They also consume much less electricity during use than equivalent wired locks. 

Also deployable within the same cloud-based system, PULSE key-operated digital cylinders are self-powered using energy harvesting technology — no wires, no batteries. They consume no power in use. The PULSE cylinder range includes door locks, cam-locks, furniture locks and padlocks which operate outdoors in any climate. Almost any mechanical or electromechanical cylinder can simply be switched for a PULSE device and connected to Incedo without wires or drilling. 

Incedo systems can also include hardwired, high-security doors with ASSA ABLOY Signo readers. These upgrade door and identity security without compatibility worries. Signo readers are powered by Seos, with the highest encryption and authentication standards. Each one supports almost any RFID credential and is mobile-ready when installed — Bluetooth, NFC and Apple Wallet. 

A shared Seos backbone ensures all credential types may be deployed together, which makes gradual site upgrading easier. Incedo Mobile Keys work on most smart devices, including phones and watches. They are simpler and safer to administer than fobs or smartcards, sent over the air to employee devices and thereby removing the need to buy plastic cards or schedule time-wasting credential handover meetings. Updating, revoking or adding new access rights is practically instant….

Read more exclusives and news in our latest issue here.

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Rebecca Morpeth Spayne,
Editor, Security Portfolio
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922
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