The cloud makes services available any time, anywhere, on any device, with no need to deploy any extra IT resources. You’re already using the cloud every day, so get up to speed on how it can transform your access control offering.

Access control is changing. In fact, it’s going through changes that other areas of technology went through a decade ago. It’s not optional, and it’s not a question of ‘if. It’s not even a question of ‘when’ any more. The changes are happening now. One of the biggest is the move to the cloud. We know that not everyone in the industry is clear on what that means. So we’re here to clarify what we mean when we talk about ‘the cloud’.

What is the cloud?

Simply put, ‘the cloud’ refers to the idea of doing computer-based tasks over the internet instead of directly on your computer (or a server that you own - a server is just a type of computer).

‘The cloud’ isn’t actually a thing - it’s a concept. Simply, there are two forms of computing: local and cloud-based. When you save a document to your computer, you’re storing it locally. When you save a document over the internet (for example, with Google Drive or Dropbox), you’re storing it ‘in the cloud’.

It’s that simple: ‘in the cloud’ means ‘over the internet’, rather than on your own computer or a local server.

How does the cloud work?

When something is stored ‘in the cloud’, it exists on servers in a data center. Usually those data centers are operated by big providers like Amazon, which popularized the term ‘cloud’. When you want to access that data, you access it over the internet - usually either through an app installed on your computer or phone, or from your browser (e.g. Chrome, Safari, Edge).

Before the cloud you would access files and software either on your computer or on a local server at work - this would be a server that your company owned and was kept on site (a server is just a type of computer that other computers connect with). For example, you might have had a file server where shared files were stored so that everyone in the business could access them. It all looked something like this:

You didn’t need an internet connection. If you wanted to access your files, the only way to get them was to be in front of your computer. This was how most IT infrastructure worked until around 2006. Cloud computing changed that.

Now you don’t have to buy and maintain your own servers to run applications. You don’t have to have access to your computer to access your data. The cloud allows you to access data and run applications wherever you are, as long as you have an internet connection. And that’s just one of its benefits. It looks more like this:

What are some examples of using the cloud?

Most of the things you do with your phone or computer now involve the cloud. Netflix is cloud-based. Your online banking is cloud-based. Ecommerce sites where you shop use the cloud. Email services such as Gmail are cloud-based, and file storage systems such as Dropbox are cloud-based.

How does Havr use the cloud?

Our entire system, BrightLock, is cloud-based. You may have heard the term SaaS (software as a service) - this is another way of describing cloud-based software. That’s what we provide. Instead of having to maintain the software yourself on a server, you access it via the internet. This means you don’t have to maintain the software, and it is much more scalable at lower cost. It’s also what allows us to do everything in real time and keep optimizing our technology constantly.

What is access control as a service?

Access control as a service (ACaaS) is the concept of an access control system that uses the cloud. Instead of being a product that involves a large capex investment for servers, licenses, and maintenance, it is provided as a service, with opex billing.

What are the benefits of a cloud-based access control system?

There are many benefits in moving your access control to the cloud. To name a few:

  • Always available: This is the big change the cloud has brought - you can access the system from anywhere on any device
  • Easy deployment: Setup is as simple as creating an account, and you don't need to buy more computing resources to deploy at larger scale
  • Scalability: Cloud-based software means it’s easy to manage 10, 100, or 10,000 users in a single organization
  • Powerful functionality: Updates in real time mean users can manage access instantly from anywhere, instead of having to hand someone a key in person, or make changes to a static system on one computer
  • Greater flexibility: A completely different way of managing access, ditching the hassle of keys
  • Patches and updates: Connected smart locks means users can buy hardware today and have updates deployed to them from the cloud, so they always have the most secure, highest-performing technology possible

That's just for starters. Whether you're looking for a better way to manage access for your own organization or you're a systems integrator looking for a new and better offering, you should be looking to the cloud.