California Commercial Security (CCS) aims to deliver customized solutions to meet all of their customers' security needs. So, when customers began asking for someone to manage their security systems, CCS used creative solutions with their existing manufacturer to make their clients happy.
So you can imagine their relief when – five years later – they learned that Kantech could deliver a managed security platform that allowed customers to manage their own card access systems through a Dealer branded web-based portal 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from anywhere in the world.
"Managed access is one of the biggest security developments in years," says Charles Baker, CEO, CCS. "It's really a game changer in this business. Kantech's managed access platform is truly allowing us to offer our customers a product that they can manage on their own, without having to become an expert in security."
Based in San Diego, California, CCS is a leading regional security integrator in Southern California. They provide card access, fire systems, CCTV and more for the military, building owners, HOAs and other commercial/industrial environments.
"Our main goal is to provide cutting-edge solutions that help our customers run their businesses better," says Baker. "Kantech has helped us do that. Before, we were improvising a managed solution and now we can offer a truly managed solution."
In the past, when a building owner had common areas and doors that needed restricted access, they would approach CSS and request a card access system. However, that "traditional" system would require an
onsite computer, software, and training on how to use the system. The challenge customers often ran into was – who would manage this system?
"The person tasked with running the day-to-day operations of the card access system – for example, activating a card for a new employee – would often be someone onsite who was not a security expert,"
explains Baker. "This job was very often delegated to an office manager or an administrative assistant – two jobs with high turnover rates, which created ongoing continuity and training issues."
So, CCS began offering their improvised managed access solution. Baker's team would install a Kantech system at the customer's location and then perform all the management of the system remotely. Customers
would fax in any requests for modifications to the system and then CCS would perform them.
"This system was an improvement, but it could be cumbersome at times," he says. "On one hand, it eliminated the need for the customer to download software updates or train new employees on the Kantech software, but on the other hand, customers had to fax in their requests for modifications to the system and
then wait for them to be completed. If they sent us a fax during non-business hours, there was a lag time."
So when Kantech introduced the new web-based managed security product in 2008, CCS was quick to adopt the new platform and introduce it to its customers. The web-based system quickly eliminated the need
for having a computer on-site, installing or updating software, training employees on how to use the programs, and relying on CCS to manage the system for them.
As a result of this new offering, CCS was now able to provide two distinct product choices to its customers. A "fully managed" solution remained available, wherein the trained CCS staff would continue to make system changes upon the receipt of verified fax and e-mail requests. A "hosted solution" provided an alternative
to the fully managed product. The hosted solution leverages the innovative web-based interface and allows customers to retain more day-to-day and minute-by-minute control over their security systems, if that is what they prefer.
"The web portal marked the beginning of important additional managed security options," Baker claims. "Now, customers can log on from anywhere in the world and manage their systems 24/7. And, they can
do it themselves – it's easy to use and they still do not have to be a security expert. It literally takes 10 minutes to train someone on the program."
To illustrate his point, Baker describes a frightening scenario that leaves a company vulnerable to theft.
Say an employee went out to dinner one evening after work and her purse was stolen. Her company ID happened to be inside that purse. Now, that thief could have full access to the company's assets – creating a serious security risk. With the new web-based managed solution, the victim could report her ID stolen, and the building manager could immediately log onto the website and instantly turn off access for that ID card. Under the previous solution, the building manager would have to fax a form to CCS requesting that the stolen ID badge be shut down, and then wait until regular business hours when CCS could make the change – leaving the company building vulnerable to theft all night long.
For Baker, this scenario also hits home nicely with many of his pharmaceutical and biotech clients.
"We're warmly received in these industries," Baker says. "They like having a security system that allows them to focus on science – not security. For obvious reasons, there is a real security concern when it comes to controlling access to these drug testing and manufacturing facilities. They also appreciate the fact
that our servers are secure, offer RAID data protection, and the fact that their critical system data is backed
up off-site each evening. This is all part of the comprehensive package we offer."
Other industries that benefit from either the managed or hosted security solutions include Homeowners Associations (HOAs), who typically use card access to manage entry to pools, gyms and neighborhood gates.
Often times, there is no employee on site to manage these systems – and with the new managed security solutions, that's not a problem. CCS will just install the system and the HOA management company or the HOA Board members can manage the system themselves off-site.
In addition to being easier to use and easier to train someone on, another benefit of a portal managed access system is that it eliminates the need for companies to back-up their system information.
CCS backs up their data every night and sends a copy to a secure site via FTP transfer – allowing companies to stop worrying about the expensive and disruptive problem of losing data if their servers go down.
Baker estimates that 99% of his new customers select the "hosted" solution. They currently have more than 100 accounts active in the new system. He also adds that while some of Kantech's competitors offer a
web-based platform, they don't offer the same level of quality or ease of use.
"The Kantech managed access platform is far more robust than competitor's products," says Baker. "It allows us to deliver a unique, personal, secure and easy-to-use product for our customers. Additionally,
we are able to leverage our extensive installed base of Kantech KT300 and KT400 controllers. Our existing customers do not have to 'toss' their old Kantech hardware out, but instead are able to 'upgrade' to this new managed solution with very minimal costs. In fact, we are normally able to demonstrate that a managed solution offers them an immediate return on their investment. This is an exciting time for us."
For CCS, their ultimate goal is to make their customers shine, and these products help them do so.
"In the past, if one of our property managers gets a call from the CEO of one of their biggest tenants at 3 p.m. on Sunday complaining that his access card isn't working, they would have had to get in the car, drive to the building, and let the CEO in with a key," explains Baker. "Now, they could log on via the web or a
Smartphone, verify that the CEO was legitimate via the CCTV image, and remotely unlock that door for him. They just solved a problem in moments, not hours – and they look like a hero."
"We are excited about the future of managed access control," says Baker. "I don't see this trend slowing down at all. In fact, in a tough economy where our customers are searching for ways to reduce costs and
streamline, a managed access system often fits the bill. We help our customers recognize the concrete cost - benefits associated with outsourcing this portion of their security. It is really a win-win situation for CCS and our customers."
Working together to develop a robust product line, Baker and Kantech clearly recognize managed access as a key for future growth and an important solution for an increasingly diverse range of customers.
"Managed security is a game changer in this business. It's one of the biggest security developments in years... and after very careful industry research, we concluded that the Kantech managed access product is far more robust than competitors' products."
CEO, California Commercial Security