The Transition of Physical Security to the Cloud
The migration of businesses to the cloud is one of the latest trends that is going to disrupt the traditional operational models. This shift has been attributed to digital transformation across various industries, increasing improvement of the internet and adoption of Artificial Intelligence. It was also accelerated by COVID-19 that highlighted the need for managing employees seamlessly, accessing documents securely and collaborating with colleagues from anywhere. As a result, the global cloud computing market has shown impressive growth. According to a research and markets report, the cloud computing market reached $484 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow to $1,555 billion by 2030, registering a CAGR of 15.7%.
While the transition to the cloud is already well underway, organizations have been reluctant to alter their security strategies and integrate cloud solutions into physical security operations. The most common concerns are around infrastructure issues, the potential risks associated with moving sensitive information to the cloud and the challenges of migration. Let’s explore whether these concerns are well-founded or whether the companies are missing out when holding back from migrating to the cloud at scale. In this article, we’ll delve into these issues and have a closer look at the challenges of the transition to the cloud environment for physical security, explore the advantages of cloud-based technologies and explain how organizations can benefit from migrating to the cloud.
What benefits can organizations get?
Cloud computing enables companies to leverage the most powerful technologies which are easy to deploy and cost-effective to manage. It delivers faster services, better responds to the needs of businesses and drives greater operational efficiencies. With cloud technology, even small companies, who can’t afford to buy and maintain a full-scale data center, get access to high-end technologies that enable them to store, analyze, and process data. It also allows activating physical security solutions in locations that are remote or too small for an on-premise system and help optimize physical security, increase operational efficiency and remain agile in decision-making.
Migrating a security platform to a cloud-based architecture gives organizations the ability to scale up and down and adapt easily depending on their actual needs. They can adjust their cloud installation in accordance with their changing demands and loads. For example, extra capacities can be added in case they need to process more data for a short period of time or disable services and resources when they are no longer needed, thus avoiding long equipment downtime and reducing charges as well. If you are expanding your operations, cloud services can add extra storage and compute capacities with a few clicks.
Cloud computing allows customers to lower operational costs mainly because they don’t have to buy and operate expensive equipment and hire IT specialists to maintain it. They can benefit from the cloud computing provider’s economies of scale.
The charge for cloud resources and services depends on the workload, so you only pay for what you use. Unless companies need to transfer and store huge volumes of data, costs are lower than having your own data center.
Increased safety and reliability
Storing data off-site doesn’t look safe. Many people are concerned that data can be lost in the cloud due to hackers.
In fact, the reliability and security of modern cloud resources are much higher than using your own servers and infrastructure. Cloud providers prioritize data security and have dedicated teams of experts to keep it under control and provide regular upgrades related to essential security patches. All the necessary protection measures from encrypting all data to providing employees with multi-factor authentication are implemented to ensure their safety. Besides, working with different clients, CSPs have the opportunity to learn from their experience. If system vulnerabilities are spotted, they adapt their security and operating models to benefit all.
Access to smart analytics
Customers want to gain business insights for decision-making. That’s why AI-based analytics is becoming more and more in demand. Cloud computing enables organizations to use real-time video analytics and deploy AI to manage large volumes of data online and derive business intelligence.
With cloud technology employees have the ability to work with their data and applications from anywhere in the world and use communication and collaboration tools for easy sharing and mobile computing. That is especially important during pandemic times when employees at thousands of companies have to work remotely.
How can organizations use the cloud for physical security?
Physical security may require expensive servers which require upfront costs and ongoing management. The servers are used to process the video feeds from security cameras to detect events of interest. A cloud-based model is able to run a heavy computational load. Also, the security company provides constantly updated software, so you are always running the latest version.
Many organizations are likely to give preference to hybrid cloud solutions, which use multiple environments combined, for example, on-premises and public or private cloud solutions. These hybrid options can offer the best of both worlds. According to statistics from Nutanix, over 50% of survey participants want to implement hybrid cloud solutions by 2026.
For example, you could use an edge device to do the initial processing of video, with the cloud being used to identify events and label the video for your security team to review.
Cloud adoption challenges
The transition of physical security to the cloud is not easy, especially for companies that have spent years building their security systems and infrastructure. It is a complicated process that takes time and involves extra costs. Hasty migration may increase the risk of insecure data transfers and compliance issues.
However, companies are getting more interested in making the step towards cloud adoption, be it private, public or hybrid types in order to reap the benefits of the cloud. Due to the explosion of available tools to provide assistance in moving to the public cloud, they can count on smooth transition and support of their operations.
Typically, security solutions have been deployed on hardware located on the premises. They are designed to be locked down and ensure the safety of information.
However, along with limited access to the data such systems have limited capabilities. So, if companies want to scale their business, they have to invest in new servers, computer hardware, software, network services, backup and data storage systems, and much more. Maintaining the infrastructure is another problem. It involves ongoing technical support, regular updates of hardware and software, and optimizing their performance, which directly translates into extra costs. For small companies and businesses with limited budgets, it can turn out to be too expensive.
Cloud computing takes the strain off the budget as it eliminates the problem of buying and maintaining hardware. It is convenient as the company can scale up and down as needed. It also reduces the team’s time required to carry out the infrastructure maintenance. A cloud service provider ensures technical support, updating and configuring these technologies according to the actual needs of the users.
Cyber security threats
Clouds can be susceptible to cyber security issues, especially if an account is not properly configured. This makes stakeholders feel uncertain about moving sensitive information to public servers. The World Economic Forum predicts that the sophistication and scale of cyberattacks will continue to break records, thus in 2022 we will see more large-scale hacker attacks targeting CSPs.
No one is immune to hacker attacks. However, when it comes to cloud architecture providers, cybersecurity is their top responsibility. Cloud services have dedicated teams routinely working to be on top of new threats. They keep up to date with the latest best security practices, install patches and do regular updates to prevent breaches. This makes clouds more secure and effective than most on-premise solutions. However, the users of cloud computing also have a responsibility to ensure that they comply with the cloud provider’s security guidelines and properly secure accounts.
Poor Internet connection
Cloud computing requires a reliable internet connection, so bandwidth issues can be a hindrance, particularly in remote areas suffering from the interrupted connection. Without stable Internet connectivity, it’s impossible to rely on cloud technologies, especially when it comes to security solutions.
On the other hand, internet connectivity is constantly improving and the proliferation of 5G is expected to increase cloud adoption. With 5G the Internet will “fly” offering cloud services the opportunity to handle bulk data almost effortlessly as it will provide higher speeds at a lower latency.
Over the last few years, organizations have started realizing the value of transitioning to the cloud. With modern cloud services, businesses of all kinds and sizes have gained the opportunity to effectively address today’s security challenges. Incorporating a cloud-based or hybrid solution allows them to easily scale computing and storage resources and have a comprehensive and technologically advanced physical security system while reducing operational costs.
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