Cloud-based access control systems

SMART Access & Identity 2024 Access Control & Identity Management

Looking at the international market, cloud-based access control systems are finding greater acceptance in organisations large and small. Locally, while companies recognise the value of cloud-based systems, transferring security to the cloud has not grown as fast as in first-world countries.

The benefits of the cloud are well-publicised, including scalability, flexibility, ease of use, and more. Yet there are still some hold-outs, especially in the surveillance world due to the size of the data captured, but also in access control. The question of bandwidth availability and the associated cost plays an important role in cloud adoption in SA, as do the people making access decisions – the old school likes to keep everything under their control, while the digitally inclined tend to accept the cloud and its benefits.

SMART Security Solutions asked SALTO Systems’ Business Development Manager, Inland SA, Lumard Groenewald, for his take on adopting cloud services and their benefits.

When it comes to any significant and long-term investment, business leaders always want to know what the TCO (total cost of ownership) will be. The purchase price is always a big issue, and we understand that the security market likes to buy cheap; however, the maintenance and service costs and the cost of peripherals and management are not to be forgotten. In the as-a-service market, costs seem much lower as customers pay a monthly fee for everything – hardware, software, maintenance, etc. Service providers can make a good profit in this scenario, assuming they factor in the costs of repairing or replacing readers they thought they were getting a killer deal on – the customer does not always care about the brand, only the functionality and security, including cybersecurity.

Groenewald agrees, adding, “Since cloud-based access control requires updates, maintenance, hardware, networking, and software, the TCO covers more than simply membership payments. TCO for cloud-based systems decreases the initial outlay of funds and recurring costs such as subscription and usage-based fees. “

“In addition to data transfer costs, the organisation should thoroughly consider and evaluate the previously listed variables when making decisions about the financial consequences of customising cloud solutions.”

He notes that cloud systems are indeed easy to scale because of their capacity to meet changing demands due to their scalability and flexible resources. “Because of the superior encryption, two-factor authentication and additional authentication capabilities available in cloud-based systems, access and identity information handling is secure regardless of the location.”

Data security concerns

The question of data security was never really an issue in the days when magstripe cards were all the rage, but today, things are different. Whether it is PoPIA, GDPR, or any of the newer regulations coming out, protecting the personal information of employees and visitors is more important than ever. This includes ensuring that your access continues to work during rolling blackouts, potential Internet failures and our local speciality, civil unrest.

Groenewald is confident in data security in the cloud, noting that cloud access and identity data stored by cloud-based providers enforce strict security guidelines that offer a haven for confidential information. “Some cloud-based access control systems provide industry-standard encryption (AES-256) for data at rest and in transit, as well as two-factor authentication (2FA) that adds an extra layer of security for user access.”

In addition, depending on which provider you select, he says extensive data security is offered for redundancy and disaster recovery to address diverse eventualities.

This is where standards are essential. Groenewald advises those using cloud-based systems to ensure that their systems adhere to the major security standards, including FedRAMP, GDPR, SOC 2, PCI DSS, ISO/IEC 27001, and HIPAA. “The system user should also constantly be aware of the NIST Framework, CSA STAR, robust encryption procedures, and be subject to frequent independent audits.”

Customisation questions

One of the benefits of on-premises systems is that customers can tailor them (or customise them) to the organisation’s specific needs. Whether this is possible in the cloud, where the same solution is sold to multiple customers, is often confusing.

“Fortunately, cloud-based access control systems still offer a significant degree of customisation that allows them to align with specific user needs,” states Groenewald. “While they might not provide the same level of granular control as traditional on-premises systems, they offer several customisation features and flexibility.”

For example, he says that cloud-based systems give customisation options to adopt security settings to users’ unique specifications. This helps the customers focus on their security infrastructure as per their needs and operational demands. The specific customisation options vary between different cloud-based access control providers, and customers are advised to always review a system’s feature set and customisation capabilities before making a purchase decision to ensure it aligns with their specific needs and preferences.

What SALTO offers

To end, SMART Security Solutions asked Groenewald what the latest solutions are that SALTO offers, and whether it ensures its products can be integrated into other vendors’ solutions.

“SALTO Systems offers the SALTO KS (KaaS: Keys as a Service) platform as well as SALTO Homelok All-in-One cloud-based smart access solution for residential living,” he says.

SALTO KS (KaaS: Keys as a Service) is a scalable and flexible cloud-based Access Control as a Service (ACaaS) solution with real-time capabilities, built to fit anything from small and midsize businesses to large enterprises and multi-site organisations. It is designed to be user-friendly and easy to manage, with a simple web interface that allows administrators to manage access from anywhere at any time.

SALTO KS is ideal for businesses that want a turnkey access control solution that can be easily scaled up or connected to a third-party system. SALTO KS smart access solution offers multiple ways of opening doors, including digital keys. It supports a wide range of smart, keyless access methods to improve user experience and the security of any building or door. It also delivers advanced security features on a fully remote and wireless cloud-based smart access management platform.

SALTO Homelok is a smart access solution that offers managers and owners a convenient and secure way to control access, improving security across all types of residential properties. A comprehensive and cloud-based smart access control solution, it includes hardware and advanced software technology for the residential, multi-family, and smart-living industries. Homelok provides a smart, modern, easy-to-install and maintain electronic locking solution without the cost and complexity of traditional mechanical access control methods, including Apple Wallet. It is designed to secure every part of any residential property – from apartment unit doors to perimeter access points and common areas.

SALTO also offers a SALTO Technology Partner Programme that empowers technology companies to link into SALTO’s access control technology platforms and integrate and certify their solutions with SALTO’s smart locking product portfolio. “We are focused on driving high-value integrations which translate into improved access control solutions for customers and overall operations enhancements for building management,” he says. “Our successes result in increased market adoption for both SALTO and our technology partners.”


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