For so many schools today, math and spelling tests serve as accountability to ensure students work hard and concentrate on learning. But for administrators, evaluations of a different kind are at hand: the assessments necessary to examine how schools handle emergency response, security risks and incident management. Therefore, in addition to fostering supportive and creative learning environments, schools must also focus on optimizing the safety of students and faculty. And this fact has propelled educational institutions to proactively engage in training and technology investments, in addition to re-examining security policies and procedures. And although traditional video surveillance and access control are valuable solutions, there are new technologies to consider evaluating.
Bring in the cloud
The cloud has proven to be a highly functional, flexible and convenient method for small- to medium-sized campuses. Cloud-based services, such as video and access control-as-a-service, provide educational facilities the ability to manage multiple cameras, access control permissions and video analytics. The cloud can be a powerful tool in helping you leverage your existing video surveillance investments (including current cameras) to deliver centralized, remote management of video, reducing the capital investments needed to transform data into usable insights. But that’s not all it helps with. The cloud is helping to revolutionize security functions in many ways.
One of the biggest advantages of the cloud is allowing the right users to access information from anywhere. Data collected from IoT devices are funneled into a single, intuitive platform designed to be as easy to use as your smartphone. In an emergency or incident, stakeholders can obtain the most relevant and timely information in minutes for an immediate, informed response.
When purchasing technology, immediate needs are often prioritized over what future needs may be. Cloud-based services can scale easily as needed, including adding devices such as additional access points or more video surveillance cameras. And this level of scalability can happen on the fly.
Don’t let the naysayers fool you: A public cloud service can enhance data protection versus an on-premise solution. First, public cloud providers like Google have stringent security measures to protect data being transmitted and stored. And it makes sense because their entire business is based on cloud and data storage. Additionally, these well-known cloud service providers incorporate strong security protocols including vulnerability testing, encryption and secure password etiquette to ensure the data they have promised to keep is protected.
While a majority of today’s schools employ an IT department to help address network-related issues, these individuals often support the most critical IT processes. Manual updates to on-premise technologies, while critical, can become cumbersome for smaller teams. Cloud services help address this challenge because they automate upgrades and firmware fixes. Maintenance and software updates are managed by the cloud service provider, freeing up IT teams to focus on more critical tasks.
Schools constantly have to adapt to changes. Schedules, events, and student and staff line-ups can change daily, requiring easy-to-use and simple-to-manage solutions that can be quickly and easily updated on demand. With cloud services’ centralized management, schools can quickly add or change a security or IoT device. Stakeholders can also add new buildings as needed without the downtime typically associated with on-premises platforms.
The changing nature of modern campuses demands solutions and services that are accessible, scalable, and flexible. At the same time, they must provide the ideal level of security to ensure a safe yet welcoming educational environment. Here’s a look at how one school made it happen with cloud:
An Advanced Educational Leader
This school district is recognized as one of the best institutions for quality, impact and value. They provide academic and physical learning opportunities to establish a dynamic foundation for quality education and continued student growth. Central to this accomplishment is the collaboration among all shareholders and disciplines.
As part of its core mission, the school district takes security and safety very seriously. From its modern security operations to its extensive video infrastructure, it is evident that the school is focused on maintaining a safe environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors.
Security officers monitor their video to stay ahead of any apparent risks, and the camera system is instrumental in keeping students and faculty safe. But what was missing was advanced functionality and simplified management of their infrastructure. With hundreds of cameras across its campuses, the district needed a more refined way to manage video and security operations—one that offered a pathway to the cloud to limit hardware, as well as provide higher levels of cybersecurity, rapid deployment and the ability to leverage existing infrastructure.
Looking to the Cloud
The school vetted several solutions. On-premises solutions included many of the desired features but required significant capital expense, costly ongoing maintenance and features that could not be implemented within the required timeframe. Many standard systems lacked vital features and could not scale. After an in-depth selection process that included several hybrid clouds and pure cloud solutions, the school district selected Arcules.
Arcules stood out because of the robustness and advanced capabilities of its cloud solution and the willingness to craft a plan to meet all the school’s critical requirements. The support team also worked with the school to outline a flexible pricing model that worked within the school district’s budget.
The Arcules platform was designed to be intuitive and user-friendly, so the school’s security operators can easily manage and monitor the district’s various campus locations without the need for extensive training. Because of this fact, the school could reap the benefits of the new system almost immediately.
The Arcules unified cloud security platform has proven to be a highly functional, flexible and convenient method for the district in its drive to protect and modernize its facilities. With Arcules, they can now manage multiple cameras, administer access control permissions and manage video analytics. With the cloud, this leading school district has created a safe and secure space for students and faculty alike while enhancing the security of data and managing risk effectively.
This article originally appeared in the March / April 2022 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.