The Access Control as a Service (ACaaS) market is growing at an impressive rate. MarketsandMarkets projects that it will reach more than $1.67 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 26.8 percent since 2016. MarketsandMarkets states that businesses with multiple locations looking for a way to centralize access control operations as a driving force behind the growth.
From the front lines, Jeff Bransfield, National Sales Manager for RS2 Technologies, agrees, “We’re seeing the demand for managed services grow exponentially.”
“Cloud-based access control takes the management of an organization’s access control system from on-site to the cloud, with emphasis on the ability to remotely manage and scale as needed,” he explains.
Bransfield comments that top service-based platforms are designed to be similar to on-site deployments. ACaaS uses existing access control panels, readers and credentials, but shifts management to a cloud-based platform.
“This design allows for less overall adjustment to a training regimen for deployment and management of these systems for the integrator and the end user teams,” he says.
“Additionally, in a managed service, the integrator can remotely monitor and remain abreast of any changes in functionality for the access control devices on the network to ensure they’re all up and running at all times and maintaining the utmost level of support for their end users,” Bransfield says. Installation is easier, troubleshooting is simpler, and response times are faster – and for the integrator or managed services provider (MSP), remote monitoring saves the time and money associated with a truck roll to an offsite location.
How ACaaS Works for the End User
In addition to centralizing access control for organizations with multiple facilities, ACaaS also provides businesses with:
- Cost Savings: Bransfield points out that the SaaS model allows for less reliance on internal IT departments for the deployment and management of an access control system. “This creates cost savings for reinvestment into additional layers of deployment or other integrations throughout the facility. There is also great upfront cost savings in deploying a service-based model than an all-upfront purchase of an entire system,” he says.
- Network Security: Deployment with managed services allows for more robust cybersecurity. “Via a cloud-based host, security of data is strengthened through protocols put in place by the hosting provider,” Bransfield says.
- Remote Management: SaaS services can be managed by an end user’s team from anywhere and at any time. Through the platform, they can manage permissions to delegate control of the business from simple cardholder management to full administrative controls.
- Trading a CAPEX for an OPEX: SaaS allows end users to scale their systems as they add cardholders and locations and avoid significant capital investment in on-premises equipment, upfront software licensing or server and workstation costs. Bransfield comments, “The shift from a capital expense to an operational expense allows organizations to better plan for ongoing security expenses.”
Keys to Success
Bransfield says one of the most important factors in ACaaS success is communication with your customer’s IT department. Their expertise may not include access control, so “having a vernacular that allows effective communication is critical to your success,” he says.
“It’s also important to have buy-in from the leadership at your integrator or MSP business to shift to a recurring revenue model,” he adds. Bransfield explains that you will need to address changes in invoicing, sales commissions and pricing structures, but the right vendor partner can help you transition to an ACaaS model and launch this part of your business successfully.
Never a Better Time Than Now
In 2020, integrators and MSPs have faced challenges created by economic shutdowns. Bransfield says, “Smart integrators are quickly realizing the benefits of introducing more managed services to their portfolio as a means to weather economic downturns and rely on monthly recurring revenue to better predict income.”
“This is especially important in the current landscape as some projects are put on hold, and others are canceled altogether. The companies that are flourishing throughout the current economic environment are those that put service as their top priority,” he says.