Embrace the Cloud, Stay Ahead of the Curve

Browser- and application-based security solutions may offer greater flexibility, scalability and affordability as well as require less training for end users.

Mickey McCarter

When the town of Plainfield, Ind., initiated construction of a new high school facility, its school district hired a technology specialist from Schmidt Associates, an architecture and engineering firm, to design the building and manage technology deployment for the school.

As part of the technology effort, Schmidt Associates integrated S2 Enterprise, an IP-based security management system from S2 Security of Framingham, Mass., to provide a secure environment for the school buildings.

Schmidt hired security systems integrator Simplex Grinnell, a Tyco subsidiary based in Westminster, Mass., to carry out the deployment.

“Some of the big brands out there have what we would call a traditional Windows client-server-based security system platform,” says R. Todd Smith, S2 Security VP of worldwide sales. “That’s all well and good, but it’s very 1990s technology.”

When S2 Security founders John Moss and Michael Welles started their company in 2002, they wanted to get away from the idea that a fixed desktop would run access control, alarm monitoring, ID badging and other security functions. Moss and Welles sought to take advantage of the technological revolution of the time, and the one that would follow with the widespread adoption of smartphones in 2007, to produce a security system that focused on virtualization.

Related: More about Security Integration from Commercial Integrator

As such, S2 Security has a line of products that end users utilize through browsers and applications, Smith says. It can assemble security management systems and accompanying video management systems together in a cloud environment, Smith adds.

“We embed a lot of things in the products that make it easier and more efficient for integrators to install and service as well as making the user experience much more straightforward and robust,” he says.

This results in security platforms that are easier to use and work in a variety of contemporary IT environments, he says. Cloud-based systems are rapidly scalable and operate seamlessly across multiple technologies.

“We use lighter-weight technology so that users can do heavyweight things,” Smith says.

Lightweight technology includes easy-to-use mobile applications available for platforms like Apple’s iPhone and iPad. Last September, S2 Security made its Threat Level Escalator and S2 NetVR Mobile applications available through Apple iTunes. With the Threat Level Escalator, security personnel can simply enter a four-digit code on a smartphone and press a big red panic button, whose heavyweight functions then include locking down a facility instantly through phone service connected directly to the building’s enterprise security system.

Security managers, like many other professionals, cannot afford to sit at a desk all day. They must “untether” their daily work operations to move around facili- ties or between facilities. And as they are mobile, they require email or text alerts to inform them of security occurrences within their areas of responsibility.

And increasingly, security responsibilities may be assigned to people who do not have specialized security expertise; thus, it becomes important to have security applications that are easy to use.

“People want to use new technology to do one of two things — make things cheaper or more efficient, or to make them easier to use. Or both,” Smith says.

Apps don’t require a lot of computer savvy to use, Smith says. And as an added benefit, companies don’t have to spend a lot on training. After the installation of an S2 Enterprise system, one end user told Smith, “The system no longer runs me; I run the system.”

Plainfield High School also benefits from a seamlessly integrated security system, according to S2 Security. Security personnel can open and close doors instantly and quickly update access cards from the school building or a remote location. And the 100 percent web-based user interface keeps costs low and the footprint small, empowering end users to carry out “heavyweight tasks” with “lightweight tech.”