Morphean’s CEO, Rodrigue Zbinden, looks at the boost in cloud adoption and considers what an increased uptake of hosted security solutions might mean for small to medium enterprises.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on businesses around the globe, forcing them to quickly adapt and deal with many new challenges. To keep businesses operational, many leaders turned to cloud technologies such as hosted video conferencing platforms to replace the need to meet face-to-face. This has resulted in an acceleration of the digitalisation of processes and systems.
To better understand the ability of cloud technologies to help businesses during the pandemic and beyond, and to reveal purchasing intent in relation to cloud-enabled physical security solutions, Morphean commissioned a survey of 1000 senior decision makers across the UK, Germany and Sweden, working within HR, facilities management, IT and security.
A changing workplace and the role of cloud
Our survey found that, as a result of the pandemic, 76% of managers across industry increased their organisational use of video conferencing software, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. In fact, the web / video conferencing market is now expected to reach $10.46 billion by 2027, with the dramatic increase in predictions being attributed to a dispersed workforce, the closing of educational institutions and the mandatory lockdowns imposed by governments across the world.
Many senior decision makers will have realised the merits associated with embracing digitalisation measures across the enterprise. 78% of respondents anticipate their organisations’ use of cloud (hosted) technologies to increase in the future as a result of COVID-19, with 50% indicating that having more flexibility in working locations is a primary advantage. 82% of all respondents stated that they would expect to see much more or slightly more working from home or flexible working than pre-pandemic levels. From the perspective of the SME, this raises many questions around the management of premises that may remain empty for extended periods and a more flexible workforce.
Insights bring greater efficiencies
A recent study by Deloitte predicts that, where an employee previously had to request to work from home, it will become normal for the opposite to happen; working from home will become the new standard and office space will need to be applied for, along with a desk, parking space and adapted allowances. Businesses can use this more flexible approach to their advantage, with efficiencies around the use of energy, lighting, heating and even the leasing or divesting of work space according to data around its use, obtained from modern cloud-enabled access control systems and other interconnected network camera devices.
Where many buildings have been left vacant during the recent periods of lockdown, or manned by only essential key workers, security, operational and facilities teams have benefitted from on-site visibility delivered remotely via mobile app. Such intelligence has proved to be a key benefit in the current climate where greater reliance is placed upon surveillance cameras and other devices to avoid contravening social distancing and lockdown regulations.
A call for urgent adoption of VSaaS and ACaaS
Physical security solutions such as video surveillance cameras are also increasingly moving to the cloud. Connected to a network as an IoT device, modern solutions bring powerful insights from collected data that can enhance security for comprehensive levels of protection. In addition, such systems offer many benefits outside of security, which can aid operations and business decision making. One example is office track and trace, where access control and video data can be used to determine an employee’s movements in the event of a positive COVID-19 result, and alert others with whom that individual may have made physical contact.
60% of companies with 250-500 employees stated that their company currently uses a cloud-based service for security purposes, such as video surveillance as a service (VSaaS) or access control as a service (ACaaS); the highest proportion of those considering such solutions was found in companies of 50-249 employees. When asked whether the pandemic had increased the necessity/urgency for businesses to adopt VSaaS and ACaaS, a significant 70% of respondents agreed. Security will need to be enhanced to facilitate greater flexibility in worker patterns. An access control system, for example, can be linked to staff records to check the swipe of an access card, with surveillance cameras providing additional visual clarification of an individual’s identity.
A more convenient business model
Cloud will enable more businesses to scale quickly to meet ongoing challenges, with solutions offered ‘as-a-service’ meaning a move toward an operational expenditure model, rather than one based on capital expenditure. While this model will be unfamiliar to those businesses used to purchasing equipment as a capital asset, the freezing of budgets during the crisis will surely have made a model based on small recurring monthly payments more appealing.
In fact, 28% of respondents highlighted cost benefits as a key factor in the move towards VSaaS/ACaaS and 19% indicated that they would expect to see all-inclusive updates/upgrades and support. VSaaS and ACaaS are supported by the latest software updates and firmware upgrades, so are always up to date. Additionally, functionality such as remote management allows operations to be monitored offsite via mobile device. Access from any location (32%), remote maintenance (31%), and the ability to monitor empty sites (29%) were all identified as key benefits of introducing VSaaS and ACaaS, alongside better security (40%) and better functionality (33%).
The resilience of cloud and its ability to connect the world during the COVID-19 pandemic has proved its worth, even to the uninitiated who have now witnessed first-hand the value of connected systems. VSaaS and ACaaS provide a flexible security and business solution to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving world, where the changing threat landscape means that, for today’s SMEs, cloud represents a worthwhile investment.
Rorrigue Zbinden is CEO of Morphean SA a leader in secure service platform delivery through the use of cloud and AI technologies. The platform helps firms prepare for the future by keeping their ‘Eyes Wide Open’ to the intelligence gathered from a variety of network connected devices. Read the whitepaper for further insights and to understand the benefits for small and medium sized businesses: https://morphean.com/whitepaper
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