When the pandemic hit in March 2020, one of the most difficult things for many workplaces was the almost instantaneous shut-down and the need to send employees home to work. While the early days of the pandemic’s draconian measures are thankfully (and hopefully!) behind us, some of the lessons learned from that experience won’t be forgotten.
One of those lessons was how to handle the management of the security system when you are not there. Many facilities were caught flat, with no way to access these critically important systems remotely. What’s more, while employees and visitors were not in the office, security needs did not go away. With so many empty facilities, the security needs changed, and the desire to monitor video from afar and to make sure doors were secure was more critical than ever before.
Many end users quickly realized the value in cloud-based systems that could allow them to either check in themselves remotely, or — if they already had a fully managed system in place — to have their security provider take that off their already full plates. Some of those that didn’t have something like that in place decided to try it for the first time; others are looking into it to now so as to not be put in that situation again in the future.
Beyond the benefits of the day-to-day management end of things, there are other reasons for customers to consider cloud-based security systems — of which there are many options, particularly for access control and video. Most people today are familiar with the service economy and the benefits of paying a monthly fee out of the OPEX (operational expenditure) versus the CAPEX (capital expenditure) budget. IT departments in particular favor this model; and as security and IT become ever more deeply intertwined, the IT departments are increasingly influencing security decisions.
Cloud-based managed systems also open up possibilities on the technology side, with one big attraction being the ability to change out systems as they evolve and new and better technologies become available. Unlike the CAPEX model the customer is no longer stuck with the technology they purchased until they can afford to replace it.
Before COVID-19, security integrators were already looking to add managed services to their offerings, due to the RMR it brings. But the challenges of changing the mindset from a project sales and installation mode to a service mode can be daunting. Now faced with higher demand due to the pandemic, integrators need to find ways to speed up the learning curve.
To that end, the National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA) and PSA Security Network, a consortium of security integrators, recently teamed up to release a joint research study on managed services. Called “Anatomy of a Successful MSP,” the aim is to help integrators more smoothly navigate this transition by analyzing the integrators who have been successful.
“During the pandemic we’ve seen a pattern of integration companies commenting on their state of managed services,” said Tom LeBlanc, executive director, NSCA. “In other words, ‘I wish we had more business under contract,’ or ‘I really appreciate the amount of business we have under contract because the cash flow has helped us immensely during a tough time.’ As a result, so many integrators are focused on accelerating that transition to managed services as they emerge from the pandemic.”
The research is designed to provide a blueprint for how to succeed in managed services.
However you accomplish it, managed services are one way forward post-pandemic and benefit both the integrator and the end user.