Cloud-based services simplify security deployment
Editor / Provider: The a&s Editorial Team | Updated: 4/22/2013 | Article type: Tech Corner
After entering a strategic, multiyear agreement with Microsoft, Genetec unveils its cloud-based security solution, aiming its services at the SMB sector. With this new product, Genetec launches itself in the cloud, and shares with a&s its goals and how the company plans to help its customers start their adoption of this new solution.
Having come a long way from the garage where it was first created 15 years ago, Genetec has grown into a global entity with 458 employees, maintaining strong and steady growth in every region where it operates. Pierre Racz, President and CEO of Genetec, started with a vision for IP video management which was originally seen as being “too disruptive” to the already established industry of analog video surveillance. However, his pioneering objective has driven Genetec to evolve beyond IP video to create a unified security suite that encompasses IP video surveillance, access control, and automated license plate recognition/license plate recognition (ALPR).
Genetec is a global company serving customers of all sizes in the retail, transportation, education, gaming, and government sectors worldwide. “With an initial focus in North America, we are now further expanding our leadership into other markets around the world. We are currently undertaking a significant expansion of our APAC, EMEA, and Latin American operations to support strong market growth and enhance customer support,” said Racz. The company has recently expanded its office to Singapore, Tokyo, Paris, and Dubai with training facilities and solution centers. Furthermore, new subsidiaries were opened in the U.K., Brazil, and Mexico.
Open platform in video & access control
In 2013, Genetec is continuing to see strong growth opportunities in all global regions it has targeted. The company is positioned to not only deliver the most optimized physical security, video surveillance, and ALPR platform for its customers, but also to penetrate new markets with its recently announced web- and cloud-based video surveillance as a service (VSaaS) targeted at SMBs.
Already pinpointing several strategic areas of focus, Genetec has started with planned updates and new features for its unified security platform. The company also plans to assist customers in migrating and upgrading their traditional analog video surveillance and access control to an IP infrastructure that offers a superior, unified, and scalable approach to physical security. This transition reduces excessive equipment costs and moves away from proprietary wiring and cumbersome architectures, helping simplify communications, surveillance, access control, and network ALPR systems.
Genetec also noticed a great opportunity in access control. End users continue to face being stuck with using proprietary hardware, software, cards, and readers since the cost of switching is high. Seeing an increasing need for open solutions for access control, its newly launched network door controller introduces an open architecture door controller with device and hardware flexibility, allowing customers to deploy industry-standard equipment from HID and Mercury that is integrated with the Genetec unified security platform. With this new controller, customers are able to modernize their existing installations, allowing them to transform their infrastructure to a fully network-based access control system while offering them the opportunity to also integrate video surveillance as part of the system when/if desired.
Migration to cloud
Leveraging the 2013 launch of its new web- and cloud-based product, Genetec plans to offer SMBs an enterprise-strength way to realize the benefits of a fully hosted VSaaS solution. Genetec recently partnered with Microsoft, engaging in a strategic multi-year alliance, to develop a hosted, cloud-based security solution that will include video surveillance, access control, and ALPR as-a-service, built on the Windows Azure cloud computing platform. This new approach combines Genetec's unified security platform with the global reach, scalability, and reliability of Windows Azure.
Genetec's unified security platform, released four years ago, is designed as a data-center friendly architecture to address the vast and varied needs of its customers. The base of the architecture allows customers to centrally manage large numbers of cameras, door controllers, and monitoring/recording systems in a single system. Leveraging this strong technology foundation, the company's knowledge of physical security and thousands of deployed systems across the world, Genetec was able to put together a strategy to deliver a cloud based system to address the industry's desire for internet based solutions. Genetec's focus is to deliver a truly hosted VSaaS solution and to help its customers break away from having to manage on premise networked servers and infrastructure hardware.
Also unique to the Genetec approach is its ability to offer a hybrid system where its unified security platform can centrally manage satellite locations that are federate to the central system via the cloud. Instead of standing up dedicated servers in remote office locations, it is possible to connect these sites to the platform at the organization's security head office.
Utilizing the cloud, Genetec is able to remove the repetitive IT-centric work that can cause difficulties for integrators by delivering a system where they can focus on security needs, while leaving the IT requirements for Genetec to manage, especially as constant software updates make it a challenge for the integrators to stay up-to-date.
Security in the cloud
It is possible that some people may be uncomfortable with the idea of hosting their potentially sensitive video footage in the cloud. In order to address this issue, Microsoft has designed the Azure platform with security in mind, building in a number of different security features and mechanisms in every layer of the cloud infrastructure to implement a defense-in-depth approach. This includes Microsoft running Windows Azure in geographically disbursed data centers that are managed and operated with both physical and data security practices.
"We understand very well that people are worried about the cloud and the security of their data. We think that in three years time, about 10 percent of businesses will be hosting their video surveillance in the cloud. The rest will remain on premise. But of this 10 percent, we see both small and enterprise businesses leveraging the flexibility that the cloud offers," said Racz. If users need additional storage, to install temporary or satellite facilities, or are rebuilding facilities, the cloud can play an integral part in their security strategy.
Different product, different crowd
Genetec plans to continue developing its unified security platform for larger business and to concentrate on its hosted, cloud-based video service for the SMB sector. While suitable for all business verticals, the hosted video is especially fitting for the needs of SMBs, because it offers them the opportunity to realize the enterprise level video surveillance features at an attractive entry-level price point and lower cost of ownership. Customers need not invest in additional storage solutions at their physical locations or install other IT infrastructure, thereby eliminating many expenses. With the new cloud-based solution, Genetec customers can view live and recorded videos that are stored safely in the cloud from any laptop, tablet, or smartphone. The solution can also be quickly set up and federated to the unified security platform for any temporary installation, satellite offices, and remote sites. “The retail market is one very important vertical for our cloud offering in North America as we introduce this new technology, but literally any SMB entity will be able to benefit immediately,” Racz said.
In 2013, Genetec is expanding relationships with a broader network of third-party hardware providers, including camera vendors, access control hardware vendors, and infrastructure providers. Genetec is committed to offering its customers' the most flexible solution, offering pre-integrated support for other important industry technology. Working with its integrator channel, the goal of Genetec is to deliver solution that will fit any job requirement and budget. “Our recently launched Genetec Infrastructure Partner Certification Program is designed to qualify and certify solutions from storage vendors and ensure optimal use with the unified security platform. This is a Genetec ‘In-house' certification program that offers Genetec customers additional storage choices, and warrants the most efficient configuration for their security installations,” said Racz.