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Step 1: Move to the Cloud 

“People, if you didn’t get the memo, we’re all going to the cloud.” 

Steve Van Till, President & CEO, Brivo  


Why change platforms? Why do anything different now? It’s about better security at a better price.  

The cloud makes it more convenient and cost-effective to use business apps, store data, manage security and communicate with other people. And, the secondary benefits are as important as the direct benefits because technological forces such as mobile, smart data and IoT are all built on the cloud. If you’re not moving towards a cloud strategy, you’re closing yourself off from new opportunities and technology that keeps pace with security mandates. This is why moving to the cloud needs to be step one in any roadmap.  



How can you make the switch? How can you win buy-in? How can you stay cyber secure? It’s important to make a plan with input from all stakeholders and start the process now.  

  • Timing Planning a migration to the cloud is easier than you think. Consider these time frames: The next time you’re updating your equipment (often occurring every two-four years), slip the cloud migration into your refresh cycle. Take an incremental approach and convert one product at a time as they become obsolete. For larger companies we see cloud transitions happen when acquisitions take place.  
  • Buy-In In most companies, the IT department is the best advocate for the cloud. The ease of launch, integration and low ongoing maintenance are benefits that the IT department appreciates. Executive buy-in happens when you show tangible aspects like cost savings and highlight the impact on the building security profile. Security and IT teams should lead the push together to get all departments involved including HR, operations and the c-suite.  
  • Cybersecurity Cloud-based access control is safer than on-premise systems because security tests and software updates are automatic. Moreover, they are controlled by the cloud solution’s security experts who are devoted to cybersecurity. Most on-premise solutions were not designed to be cyber secure. They need manual updates that can be missed or overlooked and leave systems vulnerable to hacks.  

Step 2: Adopt Mobile 

“Mobile puts the cloud on steroids.”

 Steve Van Till, President & CEO, Brivo  


Why do you need mobile solutions for physical security? It’s all about changing the role of security, the value of security and the users’ relationship to it.  

IBM asked over 5,000 C-level executives which technologies will be important in the next three to five years. Most agree that cloud computing and mobile solutions are the biggest forces at play. The main reasons to adopt mobile for physical security are: 

  • Reduced costs: Achieve a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) with numerous cost savings for your company.
  • Advanced situational awareness: Use real-time access to manage security and stay safe when faced with daunting demands, physical threats and emergency responses.
  • Improved efficiency: Use smartphones as the key to your facilities, and leverage additional benefits like ease of issuing and revoking credentials and added protection with screen unlock pins/biometrics that don’t require updates to door hardware.  

The security of a door is only as strong as the security of the credential used to enter it. Put your credential behind the most encrypted device most people own – their smartphone. When done right, mobile combines with the power of the cloud to increase productivity and competitiveness.  


How do you add mobile to your security platform correctly and effectively? Find an access control solution that already offers mobile as part of its services.  

An access control provider should have applications available for both you (as the system administrator) and your users. The administrator can manage access permissions from mobile devices, and users can open doors with their smartphone. If you already have a mobile app for your facility, you should evaluate access control providers that use an open API so you can integrate everything into one platform.  

Step 3: Plan IoT Strategy  

“All of your electronic security stuff will become IoT devices. You need to get on board.”  

Steve Van Till, President & CEO, Brivo  


Why should you integrate IoT into your security strategy? What’s the real opportunity here? IoT is changing how we interact with the physical spaces around us.  

The growing number of devices connected to the Internet has set a new standard for business. You have the opportunity for knowledge of who accesses your building, when they access it and what their behavior is once inside your facility. Property management systems, facility management systems, HR systems, light control and HVAC data can all be captured and analyzed for a holistic view to improve physical security. This should be considered a mid-term strategy for your business.


How do you start the conversation with executives for future buy-in? Position it is a solution to solve some of the most complex problems they face today.  

From safety and security to environmental controls and energy management, you can show ROI to executives to achieve buy-in. IoT has the potential to reduce human error, increase efficiencies, improve security, foster interdepartmental collaboration and decrease costs. IoT technologies bring building automation and access control together in a way we’ve never been able to join them before. Demonstrate how building IoT can solve top-of-mind considerations like reducing utility bills and decreasing time spent on reactive maintenance.  

Step 4: Understand (and Prepare for) Smart Data

“Data insights don’t grow on trees any more than other scientific breakthroughs. They arise through very specific processes applied under the scientific method.”  

Steve Van Till, President & CEO, Brivo  


Why is smart data something you should start to think about? Smart data has the potential to help us recognize threats earlier and make better choices.  

Collecting large amounts of security data is useful up to a point. The plateau for data is typically event monitoring and reactive investigation because it requires someone to sit and review a sea of information to find the important signals. The answer is adding machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze large datasets for faster recognition of abnormalities and proactive identification of threats.  

While machine learning isn’t currently available in physical security applications, it’s clear that this technology will be driven by the cloud. Our organizational security technology should evolve as threats evolve. In physical security, the big goal is to be preventative, not to aggregate logs of what happened after the fact. This is why you should prepare for smart data.


How can you build the case for smart data today? Understand your needs now so you have a plan for smart data when the time comes.  

Every organization has different security needs and priorities. You should figure out the types of datasets you need to solve for those priorities. Following the previous three steps of this technology roadmap can align your security plan and identify the data that can transition into smart data when AI is introduced to our industry. Aligning with the cloud now means building a long-term foundation for the smart data of tomorrow. 

Step 5: Adopt Social Media  

“I do believe very much that social saves lives.” Steve Van Till, President &&CEO, Brivo 


Why does social media matter for physical security? Social media has powerful and largely untapped potential in our industry.  

Social media offers three main benefits: communication, collaboration (coordination of rescue events), and community (putting people back in touch after a crisis/disaster). We’ve recently seen social media’s positive impact to help people during natural disasters. When traditional infrastructure—the 9-1-1 infrastructure—becomes overwhelmed and can’t respond right away, people have turned to social media to let others know they need help.  

Giving people the ability to help themselves is a very important part of managing large crises. Even though many of us are involved with individual buildings, we still need plans for emergency response for the people who are in our care. Social will become, piece by piece, a part of our strategies for physical security.  


How can you develop social media policies for building physical security?  

Though social media has not been fully embraced as a part of professional physical security yet, you should look for opportunities that fit your business. A growing amount of your workforce uses social media as a primary means of communication. Some of the most powerful life-saving organizations in the world have policies on the use of social media to address disasters. You can follow their lead to develop procedures that use social media to help keep people safe.