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Hosted vs. Managed Service: Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Security Solution

By Chuck Robinson

One of the most common questions we get asked is about the difference between hosted and managed security services. Many people use the terms interchangeably, but they actually refer to two very different things.

When choosing between a hosted or managed security service for your business, it’s important to consider two key questions.

First is, where do you want the physical machine that controls your system to reside–on premise, off premise or in the cloud?

Second, do you want to manage the system yourself or have someone else manage it for you? 

In this article, we’ll break down the difference between a hosted and managed security solutions and help you determine which option makes the most sense for your business.

Understanding Commercial Security Hosting Options

One of the first questions to consider when choosing a commercial security solution is where you want the physical machine or software that controls the system to reside.

In this day and age, you can have a system reside on-premise (or off-site with a third-party vendor if you choose to hire one). But more and more often, the trend we are seeing is people are choosing to use cloud hosting.

In its simplest form, cloud hosting is taking the software that operates the system and installing it on a machine that uses cloud support and functionality from a service like Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services for performance and redundancy gains.

Cloud hosting works especially well for video surveillance, because it allows you to easily access your system from your phone or tablet, and it offers unique features (like facial recognition, advanced search, and analytics) at a lower total cost of ownership than its physical onsite counterpart.

Cloud-based video surveillance is also a cost-effective solution for many businesses, because you only have to pay for the camera hardware, installation, and an annual licensing fee. And since everything is stored in the cloud or within the cameras, you don’t have to worry about maintaining a server, system backups and disaster recovery, manually updating software or your storage capacity.

Cloud-based hosting continues to see new developments and advancements. Video surveillance options include companies like Eagle Eye and Verkada, and you can even use hosted service for access control with companies like Openpath.

Understanding Managed Services for Your Commercial Security Systems 

A managed service means the system is monitored, managed and maintained entirely by a third-party vendor. The system might live on an on-premise server, a server at the vendor’s location, or in the cloud.

But regardless of where the system is hosted, with managed services, the vendor is responsible for daily monitoring and handling all system updates and maintenance.

When you invest in a managed service, you don’t have to worry about checking to make sure your system is running smoothly or taking care of any of the day-to-day tasks associated with operation with systems like access control and security.

Additionally, a managed service provides a few unique advantages that many business owners don’t even realize they’re looking for.

For example, here are few ways ACT’s managed access offering can benefit businesses:

1. Simplified Credential Management

Keeping access control credentials up-to-date is no small task, but when you use a managed service provider, they take care of all credential management for you.

At ACT, our clients simply call or email us any time they need us to add, delete, or modify user credentials. We have a dedicated access control manager who’s focused entirely on this service, so we make most changes within 2-3 business hours or less.

If security is a concern, your managed service provider can set up more sophisticated features and processes, such as adding a dual factor authentication layer to restrict certain areas within your facility.

2. Access to Relevant Data

Did you know that your access control system can provide businesses with a wealth of useful information about where people are going and when? When you use a managed service provider, we can extract that data for you to provide you real time accurate data about the hot spots within your facility.

Access control data can help you understand what hours see the heaviest traffic, which parts of your facility people are using the most, and more. It can even help you notice security risks, such as doors being propped open for extended periods of time.

3. Simplified Schedule Management

Any time your business hours change, your access control system should be updated accordingly. If you’re closed for severe weather or have limited holiday hours, you need to make sure people aren’t entering your building when they shouldn’t.

With a managed service solution, especially one that’s hosted remotely, you never have to worry about going to the building on a snow day to lock up, or manually updating your holiday hours each season. Your vendor can handle all of those changes for you, all you have to do is call or email.

4. Improved Monitoring and Maintenance 

A great managed service provider knows how to spot potential security issues before they even begin. We get active health alerts anytime a part of your system is not functioning as it should, so we can problem solve before anyone is impacted.

Plus, if repairs or maintenance are needed, we can help you figure out how best to proceed, so you never have to scramble to find a service provider who’s trained on your specific system.

Find a Commercial Security Partner You Can Trust for the Long Haul

Since security system upkeep is an ongoing process, it’s especially important to choose a partner who’s responsive and delivers great quality with every interaction. Whether you’re interested in exploring cloud-based hosting options, or you want to set up a managed service, ACT has a solution that will fit your needs.

And even if we weren’t the ones to install your system, we can serve as a managed service provider to help with all your ongoing monitoring, maintenance and upkeep.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more!

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