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Nothing Is Clearer Than The Cloud

September 28, 2010
KEYWORDS cloud / SCC / storage
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It is rare and wonderful when a new infrastructure platform unites with applications to create a truly dynamic technology solution that provides significant leverage to both the cost/benefit equation of an enterprise security system and measurable return on the value and impact of the security organizations performance in both effectiveness and efficiency. This is not about cloud computing security or securing the actual cloud. That is an IT function. Security Cloud Computing (SCC) is all about applied security leveraging the cloud platform. 

You have not entered the twilight zone. You have entered the powerful world of SCC. And I encourage you to do all you can to get your arms around the concept and begin to integrate SCC into your strategic and operational planning. Because SCC will have a significant impact on your security goals and the enabling technologies including access control, life safety, intrusion, video monitoring and identity.

SCC offers a significant opportunity to change how your enterprise security organization uses technology to gain efficiency and effectiveness. SCC is driving a new market I am naming: Applied Security. SCC will seamlessly place the security body upon an IT chassis maximizing performance and economics in a similar way that we watched PCs value soar when we set them upon networks in the 90s.

What is this stuff and why am I so excited for this transformational technology to impact our industry?
Let’s use video as an example (and the largest current SCC opportunity). Today, most organizations base their video surveillance system on a local network. And that is what most channel companies propose and sell because that is what they know how to design, install and service. And that is where their vendor distribution agreements exist.

That means your video monitoring and storage is hosted or stored on several DVRs within a monitoring center. In the IT world that is called a LAN or local area network. As you know, the video is viewed within a local surveillance or monitoring center and is stored on DVRs within the monitoring center. Your officer picks up a communication device and “explains” what they see on the screen to first responders. Not ideal.

If you run wires and enable, let’s say, the building across the street to the local police to view your surveillance video, then you have changed from a “LAN” to a “WAN” or a wide area network. And the video is moved to a “SAN” or storage area network for wide area access. The result is that the folks in the next building (city police, for example) will also be able to view your live surveillance video (only if and when you allow them to) just as your monitoring officers can do in your monitoring center. That is a powerful application and one that is common today.

Let’s fast forward to You Tube (www.youtube.com). Everyone with Internet access can view all the video on You Tube. It is the ultimate cloud computing platform for video storage, access and viewing. But note the word “security” is missing for many obvious reasons.

First, it is not secure, meaning no one is prevented from posting or viewing any video they choose. And second, it is an entertainment, not a security media. Your video is designed to identify risks that require analysis, response and mitigation. It is meant to be viewed only by select individuals who are officers or monitoring center personnel.

OK… so here we are, somewhere between the DVR in your monitoring center enabling only one officer at a monitor and the entire Internet connected planet to view your surveillance images. How does SCC make this an important application for your security organization?

What if your surveillance was stored outside your organization in that mythical “cloud” in a way that was truly “secure”? Only those that you wanted to see the video would be able to do so. But what if we blew up your LAN? What if we blew up your WAN? What if your video was stored securely and externally so that your security monitoring officers and others you selected including police, fire, emergency operations, iPhone toting CEOs, Allied Barton security officers and State DHS fusion centers were able to see, if and when necessary, the same video images that previously only one officer in a monitoring center were able to view? What if surveillance video came to your handheld the same way email does? Immediate, Accessible, Personally addressed. Secure.

Excited? Let’s go on. What if the cost of the cloud model eliminated CapEx expenses and smoothed OpEx expenses and was within the scope of the local storage model’s cost? That is not a typo. What if moving video storage and access outside the organization had such economic dynamics that the cost and business benefits were exponential to your current operational processes?

Now is the time for the discussion to build this opportunity into a structured program with ROI metrics, best practices and technology processes we can benefit from. If you are coming to the Dallas ASIS Conference, please join SIA, Security and SDM at our networking event on October 11th in Dallas where we will kick off the conversation on SCC. Go to www.securitycloudcomputing.com to register today.

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