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How cloud-based solutions are shaping the future of access control tech

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Cloud Computing News

The development and implementation of managed access control systems remains one of the most important aspects of physical security for most modern organisations, with reports finding the global access control and authentication market to be growing at a CAGR of 11.4% to reach a total market size of $37.2 billion by 2032. But these figures may not illustrate the full picture.

Though physical access control systems continue to be popularly utilised by organisations of all sizes, studies in recent years have revealed as little as 41% of businesses operating physical access control technology feel their systems meet or exceed necessary functional requirements.

Of course, there are several key contributing factors that are likely to be impacting the efficacy of some installed physical access systems. Be that an estimated 38% increase in global cyber attacks posing a threat to converged security systems, or even calls for more touchless access solutions in the wake of the pandemic, many businesses may feel their systems need updating.

Thankfully, continued developments in the field of cloud-based access control technology look well-positioned to address a majority of business leader’s pressing security concerns. Integrated systems can now provide security teams with automated responses, predictive analysis features and remote-access functionality. To understand the true impact of these developments, here’s how cloud-based solutions are shaping the future of access control tech for modern businesses.

On-premises vs cloud-based security solutions 

Before discussing the specific benefits associated with the deployment of cloud-based access control solutions, it’s important to outline how the use of cloud-based technology differs from traditional on-premises security systems. Primarily, opting to host commercial security systems within cloud-based servers offers businesses a greater degree of control over live installations.

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For example, in order to appropriately manage access control and user authentication features within a traditional on-premises system, teams will be required to access management platforms via the site’s local network. This means adjusting functions like active permissions, data security software and access control door locks can only be performed by on-site security and IT teams.

Comparatively, cloud-based security management platforms enable admins to quickly configure and adjust active systems from remote locations using any secure smart device, allowing teams to immediately respond to detected anomalies and revoke live permissions if necessary, as well as view live data feeds pertaining to connected devices to better understand unfolding incidents.

Essentially, choosing to operate cloud-based access control solutions offers organisations a far greater degree of flexibility and authority over the management of physical security responses.

The benefits of cloud-based access control

By opting to host the management of access control solutions within cloud servers, security and IT teams extend the functionality of existing hardware far beyond the limitations of a segregated system. This means access control devices can be informed by data from additional systems to measurably improve the efficacy of incident responses, and offer almost limitless customisation.

Remote-access functionality

Alongside preventing unauthorised access to private properties by limiting entry only to persons carrying verified credentials, modern access control systems must be designed to provide users with a convenient way to enter facilities. Any bottleneck or delay in access verification may have a negative impact on productivity, and could even lead to significant health and safety issues.

Cloud-based access control solutions act to mitigate these concerns by enabling security and IT teams to view live access logs and adjust active hardware remotely, meaning issues regarding suspected faults can be immediately addressed. In addition, admins can grant access to guests and visitors remotely, so access for contractors and interviewees can be managed appropriately. 

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Remote-access capabilities have become even more crucial with the rise of hybrid work models, an employment schedule that almost 30% of all full-time employees adhere to. With employees working at different times, security staff must be positioned to provide assistance across a wider timeframe, a consideration that can be achieved by enabling teams to adjust systems remotely. 

Integrated security solutions

In addition to improving the functionality of existing access control devices, acting to develop a cloud-based security management system allows teams to connect multiple essential security devices together to form integrated solutions. This means security cameras, alarm systems and a wide variety of Internet of Things (IoT) devices can be used to inform access control systems.

For example, cloud-based security cameras equipped with AI data analytics software can be connected to access readers via a wider web-based management platform. If these cameras detect suspicious events such as a person carrying contraband items or a physical altercation, access control locks can be automatically engaged and security teams can be notified remotely. 

Security personnel will also be able to view live camera feeds remotely if a suspicious access event has been detected, enabling staff to investigate suspected intrusion events promptly, with additional options to revoke compromised credentials and activate alarms to alert employees.

Automated incident responses 

Intelligent cloud-based business security solutions can be used to strengthen access control solutions in many more ways than video security integrations. By utilising specialised IoT devices including motion, temperature, sound and occupancy sensors, automated responses can be developed.

Examples include IoT motion sensors instructed to secure access points when triggered, IoT noise sensors configured to lock doors and activate alarms if sounds consistent with a break-in are detected, and IoT occupancy sensors used to open new access ways to redirect foot traffic.

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Automated responses and integrations can be customised to suit the unique requirements of each installation, and to ensure that businesses are compliant with both industry-specific and government-issued regulations, improving the management and operation of access solutions.

Data security and maintenance 

Finally, cloud-based access control systems receive significant data security and maintenance benefits as a result of being hosted on cloud servers. Identifiable user data will always be made available to teams when needed and automatically backed up to minimise the risk of data loss.

Advanced AI programs can also be deployed to autonomously scan data storage systems in search of any suspicious actions that may indicate an incoming cyber attack, allowing teams to engage automatic and immediate incident responses to reduce threats posed by data breaches.

Perhaps most important of all, cloud-based access solutions will receive updates and essential maintenance automatically provided the system is online, ensuring devices are protected from novel threats and that exposed vulnerabilities are addressed and fixed frequently and efficiently.

Summary

Well-managed access control remains an essential component of commercial physical security systems, but today’s organisations must upgrade legacy solutions to meet modern demands. By migrating existing access systems to operate from a cloud-based management platform, teams can create customised, flexible and autonomous solutions to improve wider security responses.

These easily scaled, automatically updated and freely integrated access security systems allow staff to adapt to changing needs and upgrade security systems as and when desired, displaying how the profound flexibility of cloud-based solutions is shaping the future of access control tech.

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Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

  • Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.

Tags: access control, Security, snart device

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TECHNOLOGY

Next-gen chips, Amazon Q, and speedy S3

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AWS re:Invent, which has been taking place from November 27 and runs to December 1, has had its usual plethora of announcements: a total of 21 at time of print.

Perhaps not surprisingly, given the huge potential impact of generative AI – ChatGPT officially turns one year old today – a lot of focus has been on the AI side for AWS’ announcements, including a major partnership inked with NVIDIA across infrastructure, software, and services.

Yet there has been plenty more announced at the Las Vegas jamboree besides. Here, CloudTech rounds up the best of the rest:

Next-generation chips

This was the other major AI-focused announcement at re:Invent: the launch of two new chips, AWS Graviton4 and AWS Trainium2, for training and running AI and machine learning (ML) models, among other customer workloads. Graviton4 shapes up against its predecessor with 30% better compute performance, 50% more cores and 75% more memory bandwidth, while Trainium2 delivers up to four times faster training than before and will be able to be deployed in EC2 UltraClusters of up to 100,000 chips.

The EC2 UltraClusters are designed to ‘deliver the highest performance, most energy efficient AI model training infrastructure in the cloud’, as AWS puts it. With it, customers will be able to train large language models in ‘a fraction of the time’, as well as double energy efficiency.

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As ever, AWS offers customers who are already utilising these tools. Databricks, Epic and SAP are among the companies cited as using the new AWS-designed chips.

Zero-ETL integrations

AWS announced new Amazon Aurora PostgreSQL, Amazon DynamoDB, and Amazon Relational Database Services (Amazon RDS) for MySQL integrations with Amazon Redshift, AWS’ cloud data warehouse. The zero-ETL integrations – eliminating the need to build ETL (extract, transform, load) data pipelines – make it easier to connect and analyse transactional data across various relational and non-relational databases in Amazon Redshift.

A simple example of how zero-ETL functions can be seen is in a hypothetical company which stores transactional data – time of transaction, items bought, where the transaction occurred – in a relational database, but use another analytics tool to analyse data in a non-relational database. To connect it all up, companies would previously have to construct ETL data pipelines which are a time and money sink.

The latest integrations “build on AWS’s zero-ETL foundation… so customers can quickly and easily connect all of their data, no matter where it lives,” the company said.

Amazon S3 Express One Zone

AWS announced the general availability of Amazon S3 Express One Zone, a new storage class purpose-built for customers’ most frequently-accessed data. Data access speed is up to 10 times faster and request costs up to 50% lower than standard S3. Companies can also opt to collocate their Amazon S3 Express One Zone data in the same availability zone as their compute resources.  

Companies and partners who are using Amazon S3 Express One Zone include ChaosSearch, Cloudera, and Pinterest.

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Amazon Q

A new product, and an interesting pivot, again with generative AI at its core. Amazon Q was announced as a ‘new type of generative AI-powered assistant’ which can be tailored to a customer’s business. “Customers can get fast, relevant answers to pressing questions, generate content, and take actions – all informed by a customer’s information repositories, code, and enterprise systems,” AWS added. The service also can assist companies building on AWS, as well as companies using AWS applications for business intelligence, contact centres, and supply chain management.

Customers cited as early adopters include Accenture, BMW and Wunderkind.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

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HCLTech and Cisco create collaborative hybrid workplaces

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Digital comms specialist Cisco and global tech firm HCLTech have teamed up to launch Meeting-Rooms-as-a-Service (MRaaS).

Available on a subscription model, this solution modernises legacy meeting rooms and enables users to join meetings from any meeting solution provider using Webex devices.

The MRaaS solution helps enterprises simplify the design, implementation and maintenance of integrated meeting rooms, enabling seamless collaboration for their globally distributed hybrid workforces.

Rakshit Ghura, senior VP and Global head of digital workplace services, HCLTech, said: “MRaaS combines our consulting and managed services expertise with Cisco’s proficiency in Webex devices to change the way employees conceptualise, organise and interact in a collaborative environment for a modern hybrid work model.

“The common vision of our partnership is to elevate the collaboration experience at work and drive productivity through modern meeting rooms.”

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Alexandra Zagury, VP of partner managed and as-a-Service Sales at Cisco, said: “Our partnership with HCLTech helps our clients transform their offices through cost-effective managed services that support the ongoing evolution of workspaces.

“As we reimagine the modern office, we are making it easier to support collaboration and productivity among workers, whether they are in the office or elsewhere.”

Cisco’s Webex collaboration devices harness the power of artificial intelligence to offer intuitive, seamless collaboration experiences, enabling meeting rooms with smart features such as meeting zones, intelligent people framing, optimised attendee audio and background noise removal, among others.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

Tags: Cisco, collaboration, HCLTech, Hybrid, meetings

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Canonical releases low-touch private cloud MicroCloud

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Canonical has announced the general availability of MicroCloud, a low-touch, open source cloud solution. MicroCloud is part of Canonical’s growing cloud infrastructure portfolio.

It is purpose-built for scalable clusters and edge deployments for all types of enterprises. It is designed with simplicity, security and automation in mind, minimising the time and effort to both deploy and maintain it. Conveniently, enterprise support for MicroCloud is offered as part of Canonical’s Ubuntu Pro subscription, with several support tiers available, and priced per node.

MicroClouds are optimised for repeatable and reliable remote deployments. A single command initiates the orchestration and clustering of various components with minimal involvement by the user, resulting in a fully functional cloud within minutes. This simplified deployment process significantly reduces the barrier to entry, putting a production-grade cloud at everyone’s fingertips.

Juan Manuel Ventura, head of architectures & technologies at Spindox, said: “Cloud computing is not only about technology, it’s the beating heart of any modern industrial transformation, driving agility and innovation. Our mission is to provide our customers with the most effective ways to innovate and bring value; having a complexity-free cloud infrastructure is one important piece of that puzzle. With MicroCloud, the focus shifts away from struggling with cloud operations to solving real business challenges” says

In addition to seamless deployment, MicroCloud prioritises security and ease of maintenance. All MicroCloud components are built with strict confinement for increased security, with over-the-air transactional updates that preserve data and roll back on errors automatically. Upgrades to newer versions are handled automatically and without downtime, with the mechanisms to hold or schedule them as needed.

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With this approach, MicroCloud caters to both on-premise clouds but also edge deployments at remote locations, allowing organisations to use the same infrastructure primitives and services wherever they are needed. It is suitable for business-in-branch office locations or industrial use inside a factory, as well as distributed locations where the focus is on replicability and unattended operations.

Cedric Gegout, VP of product at Canonical, said: “As data becomes more distributed, the infrastructure has to follow. Cloud computing is now distributed, spanning across data centres, far and near edge computing appliances. MicroCloud is our answer to that.

“By packaging known infrastructure primitives in a portable and unattended way, we are delivering a simpler, more prescriptive cloud experience that makes zero-ops a reality for many Industries.“

MicroCloud’s lightweight architecture makes it usable on both commodity and high-end hardware, with several ways to further reduce its footprint depending on your workload needs. In addition to the standard Ubuntu Server or Desktop, MicroClouds can be run on Ubuntu Core – a lightweight OS optimised for the edge. With Ubuntu Core, MicroClouds are a perfect solution for far-edge locations with limited computing capabilities. Users can choose to run their workloads using Kubernetes or via system containers. System containers based on LXD behave similarly to traditional VMs but consume fewer resources while providing bare-metal performance.

Coupled with Canonical’s Ubuntu Pro + Support subscription, MicroCloud users can benefit from an enterprise-grade open source cloud solution that is fully supported and with better economics. An Ubuntu Pro subscription offers security maintenance for the broadest collection of open-source software available from a single vendor today. It covers over 30k packages with a consistent security maintenance commitment, and additional features such as kernel livepatch, systems management at scale, certified compliance and hardening profiles enabling easy adoption for enterprises. With per-node pricing and no hidden fees, customers can rest assured that their environment is secure and supported without the expensive price tag typically associated with cloud solutions.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

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Tags: automation, Canonical, MicroCloud, private cloud

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