Although the security industry is sometimes hesitant to make the move to the cloud, Genetec’s implementation of Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform has increased their efficiency and improved their line of products and services.
Christian Morin, vice president of cloud services for Genetec, explains why the company has their heads in the cloud, and how they plan to use this technology in the future.
IT in Canada: More enterprises are integrating cloud computing into their daily functions. Why did Genetec choose to move to the cloud?
Morin: As a pioneer in network-based security solutions, it is part of the Genetec culture to always be forward-thinking. Cloud-enabled applications have not only gained traction in other industries, but have been fully adopted by the masses for everyday use. Therefore, we knew that it was the inevitable direction of the security industry as well.
While this industry is generally more conservative in adopting new technology, the question to ask was not merely whether or not cloud-based applications for physical security will be adopted by businesses, but instead, when? There is also a surge in the demand for higher resolution video, and a greater need for mobility. The cloud allows businesses to not only store more data at lower costs, but also provides easier access to video and data from anywhere.
ITIC: With many products available on the market today, why did Genetec choose Microsoft Azure over others?
CM: Finding a secure cloud platform was the biggest driver for Genetec in choosing Microsoft Azure. We wanted to be able to offer our customers a safe, secure and reliable computing platform and based on our research, there was no better cloud provider than Microsoft and its Windows Azure platform upon which to build our video security-as-a-service offerings. With Microsoft Azure, our customers receive the added security Microsoft provides in handling infrastructure updates while creating a secure foundation from which we could build and host our application.
Part of our decision to go with the Windows Azure platform was also because of the capabilities of the PaaS provided by Azure, the development tools available, and the relative ease of migrating our existing on premise software to Azure by using these tools. The relationship we have with Microsoft played a huge role as they accompanied us during the migration, providing us guidance along the way.
ITIC: How has Genetec benefited from using Microsoft Azure?
CM: We are able to benefit from the investments that Microsoft is making in cloud technology in order to shorten the amount of time it takes to develop our solutions. Microsoft is very keen on listening to its partners so that what they are developing and delivering is actually useful and of value to us.
From a sales standpoint, we have also found that our cloud-based offering benefits from Microsoft’s experience and reputation for trustworthy computing and commitment to security. Simply mentioning our products are built on Microsoft services helps build trust with our customers. They know that Microsoft understands secure coding, as well as how to run – and secure – a data centre.
ITIC: Would you recommend Microsoft Azure to others within your industry?
CM: Definitely. The platform itself is robust and comes with a great set of development tools in Visual Studio that makes our life easier in developing cloud apps. Microsoft has been a great partner as we continue to develop next-generation cloud solutions, offering Genetec an exceptional level of ongoing service and support on both the technical and business sides.
ITIC: How has Microsoft Azure assisted Genetec with its development of its security technology?
CM: Microsoft keeps us up-to-date on the latest technologies and developments on a regular basis. They assist us in the design and the architecture of our solutions to ensure that we get as much mileage as we can from the capabilities of the Azure platform.
ITIC: What are Genetec’s future plans for cloud computing?
CM: While we started developing our cloud applications for the small and medium-sized business market, we are seeing more interest from larger organizations and government entities. Some large organizations can no longer manage, host or scale massive private data centres, and looking for more cost-effective options. Governments are also implementing cloud-first policies where federal organizations must consider cloud-based options before building data centres on premise.
Because of this demand, we are introducing larger enterprise or government installations to hybrid storage solutions, where our cloud-based solutions can function in tandem with traditional server-based installations. Generally, the hybrid cloud model offers greater scalability or the adoption of specific uses for each storage solution such as having long-term archives in the cloud, and more recent archives stored on local servers.
Leveraging the benefits of public data centres to expand the capabilities of existing on premise servers offers organizations the flexibility to gradually expand at their own pace, thus becoming a simple and cost-effective transition to the cloud.
We are also launching other cloud-based services beyond video, such as access control and automatic license plate recognition (ALPR). This is another way for us to extend the benefits of the cloud to all our customers.
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