So, you’ve finally done it. You’ve committed to upgrading your access control system. As you narrow down the options, you come to a crossroads. Some providers offer on-premises access control, while others offer cloud-based access control. Companies advertising cloud systems claim that they’re the future, but you’re not convinced. You decide to investigate, and that’s when you come across the term “cloud architecture.”  

Cloud architecture is the components and subcomponents required for cloud computing. As the name suggests, cloud-based access control relies on cloud computing. 

Did your eyes gloss over yet? If not, let’s take a step back…way back…to the 1960s.  

The Invention of the Cloud  

While the hippies were making “love, not war,” a man by the name of J.C.R. Licklider had an epiphany. He envisioned a world connected by computers — a world where each person, regardless of their location, could access specific programs and data. Sound familiar? This is the origin of cloud computing.  

Although cloud computing has come a long way since the 1960s, the premise has stayed the same: to deliver different services over the Internet. These services include tools and applications like data storage, servers, databases, networking, and software. Through this technology, users can access all their software and files from any computer, anywhere in the world.  

This gets us back to our original question: what is cloud architecture?  

What is Cloud Architecture? 

Cloud architecture is the framework that makes cloud computing function. It is the mechanisms that power the engine, so to speak. Parts of the cloud architecture include: 

  • Front-end platforms (e.g., mobile, tablets)- Your IoT (Internet of Things) network  
  • Back-end platforms (e.g., servers and storage)- Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, and Google Workspace are popular cloud providers. 
  • Cloud-based delivery
  • Network (e.g., Internet) 

Ultimately, the goal is to send and deliver data between the back-end and front-end (e.g., from a storage server to your computer thousands of miles away). Cloud architecture makes it happen. Here’s how.  

How Cloud Architecture Works with Access Control 

Genea is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider. We offer access control to enterprises, commercial real estate buildings, hospitals, educational institutions, co-working spaces, and more. To deploy the latest software quickly and efficiently to end-users, Genea uses the cloud.  

The Advantages of Cloud-based Access Control 

Cloud architecture allows information to be transmitted back and forth between a computer and a remote server. From access credential information to the software itself, the remote server hosts it all.  

For example, Genea Security allows users to record an audit log; these logs help IT and security teams reference any access activity in their building or suite. Every time a user attempts access, the system records the time, location, user credential, etc. The cloud stores this information.  If supplies were stolen from a supply room, the security team could review the audit log and find the individual responsible.  

Already, we can see some benefits of cloud-based systems compared to their on-premises predecessors: 

  • Speed and Flexibility- Software, updates and new features can be deployed to any device, instantly.  
  • Remote Storage- All data is stored in off-site server rooms. Customers don’t need to buy servers or relegate precious space to store hardware. 
  • Data Security and Management- Cloud companies secure data by keeping their cybersecurity up to date.   

But there are other advantages, too.  

Cloud-based Access Control During a Power Outage 

Unlike on-premises access control, which shuts down during a power outage, the cloud continues functioning. Genea’s cloud architecture lets your system function even when the internet is down. How?  

It starts with the “brain” of the system — the master controller. Before the installation process, Genea configures all controllers. The controllers have local memory that acts as a backup to the user’s database. Therefore, access permissions are stored in both the controller and server. As a result, it doesn’t depend on whether the access control system is connected to the server. If a disconnection occurs the controller will step in. The controller is capable of making the decision, and users can still access the premises.   

 Every controller has a specific capacity as to how many events it can store in its memory. In occasions of disconnectivity with the server, the events remain stored in the controller memory. Once the connection is reestablished, the stored events get pushed to the server and the event memory of the controller gets emptied.

The most significant benefit of cloud access control is its reduction in equipment costs and space. Instead of system administrators, cloud providers operate and maintain cloud servers. Therefore, this eliminates hardware kept on-site and maintenance fees associated with on-premises hardware.  

Additionally, the cloud offers easier scalability; add more storage space during times of company growth and less space during shrinkage.  

Why Genea Uses Cloud Architecture  

There are many reasons why relying on cloud architecture makes more sense than on-premises access control.  

With On-Premises Access Control  

  • Buy and house hardware equipment on-site 
  • During upgrades, experience system downtime  
  • Pay for regular maintenance  
  • When the power goes out so does the access control 

With Cloud-based Access Control 

  • Hardware is stored off-site.
  • Use the on-site space for other things.  
  • During upgrades, there is minimal-to-no downtime.  
  • The cloud provider conducts maintenance and security updates.  
  • Even during a power outage, the access control system functions 

Contact us to learn more about cloud architecture, or see how Genea Security can benefit you. 

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