Cloud is the veritable Emerald City on the Yellow Brick Road of security. You no longer need to “look behind the curtain” and peel back the myth of the Great Oz to understand that it is a powerful tool for integrators to build their business and for end user customers to better manage their incoming sensor data. The question, “Why cloud?” is quickly becoming “Why not cloud?” to many across the industry.
But the security industry is still experiencing barriers when it comes to cloud adoption. And though it may seem rudimentary, the real challenge lies in defining the term. Many people are creating their own notion of what the cloud is, leading to the lack of a unified understanding of proper nomenclature. The word therefore becomes difficult to absorb in an industry where we commonly talk about physical devices (and terms) that are so widely known, such as surveillance cameras.
Overcoming this challenge starts with transforming the mindset from physical security to solving risk-based problems. By understanding the risks to an organisation, we can become practitioners of risk-based outcomes rather than technology-based outcomes. Cloud infrastructure is made up of more than just devices; it encompasses the people, processes and technology applications that are required to enable organisations to accomplish their business and security goals.
We must also properly communicate the numerous benefits of the cloud, with one of the most important being the fact that an organisation doesn’t need to maintain the technology itself. Placing data in the cloud removes the inherent risk element that used to cost businesses a significant amount of money and personnel to manage on their own.
But the fact remains that cloud has myriad other advantages, including:
Scalability: One of the most important features of cloud architecture is that it is built to scale. This is a critical consideration for businesses that expect to grow or change over time (and quite honestly, what business doesn’t expect that?). As processing, storage and camera needs change, the cloud’s scalability enables organisations to increase or decrease usage without worrying about outdated software or hardware.
Flexibility: While we typically talk about cloud flexibility as it relates to scalability, the term can also apply to the cloud’s ability to give organisations flexibility when it comes to system access. On-premise solutions are more rigid in that they can typically only be controlled through a specific location and/or hardware, whereas cloud-based systems facilitate remote access from any device and at any location. This level of flexibility therefore promotes enhanced security efforts and increased response times to potential threats.
Usability: Cloud technology simply makes life easier for security and business professionals. Various types of systems and data can be incorporated within a single platform, such as video surveillance, access control and analytics and displayed in a user-friendly fashion. With features such as reduced setup time and efficient customisation, the cloud’s intuitiveness can benefit businesses in more ways than one.
Visibility: Aside from visibility in a physical sense, the cloud also allows leaders to seamlessly view their connected security operations. The cloud enables organisations to turn raw data into actionable business insights, delivering valuable information through one common operating picture. This then encourages proactivity when it comes to addressing vulnerabilities and allows for smarter decision-making overall.
Adaptability: Taken together, the cloud’s advantages set organisations up for success by allowing data to be seamlessly gathered, managed and analysed to provide more insights than ever before — and all without the added stress and expense of maintaining an on-premise server. To that end, cloud-based solutions provide up-to-date software at all times, with updates to security functionality, features and more made nearly instantaneously without having to manually update multiple servers across facilities within a global organisation. Adapting to the changing threats — and needs — of an organisation makes the cloud fundamentally a solid choice for forward-thinking businesses.
Security: It doesn’t exactly “fit” within our “-ilities” list, but it’s a critical component of the advantages. The cloud provides a level of data security that isn’t easily achieved with on-prem solutions. Cloud-based platforms benefit from ongoing updates to not only features, but also vulnerabilities that have been identified — and these updates are rolled out almost instantaneously, ensuring that the data being collected, transmitted and stored via the cloud is as safe and secure as possible. Similarly, in cloud-based platforms that utilise the public cloud, the security protocols that are in place for these data centres also apply to the data being stored, which means cybersecurity is top of mind.
As so many businesses currently address a threat landscape unlike anything they’ve seen, leaders are tasked with thinking differently about how best to protect their facilities — and that means shifting their mindset to incorporate new technology platforms that push the envelope on innovation. So “Why cloud?” Well, we’re pretty big fans of innovation.
By Nigel Waterton, CRO, Arcules