SP&T News

Genetec appeals to channel partners with major update to Security Center

February 21, 2024  By  Neil Sutton

Security Center SaaS (image courtesy Genetec)

Montreal-based Genetec has announced a major upgrade to its flagship Security Center product, referring to it as a harmonization of its cloud offerings.

Called Security Center SaaS, the company says it will help end users and integrators alike make the most of cloud and hybrid environments while also introducing new features that both groups should appreciate.

The new suite combines access control, video management, forensic search, intrusion monitoring and automation and, according to the company, has been re-worked to optimize the product lifecycle from procurement to deployment to ongoing maintenance.

The company’s leadership, including Christian Morin, vice-president of product engineering and CSO; Andrew Elvish, vice-president of marketing; Michel Chalouhi, vice-president of global sales; and Pierre Racz, founder and president, introduced the new SaaS suite at a media event held at Genetec’s experience centre in Washington, D.C. (the “DCXC”).


The DCXC (image courtesy Genetec)

Ubiquitous computing

A major selling point for Security Center SaaS is its ability to work effectively in hybrid (a mix of on-premise and cloud) environments.

According to Mike Jude, research director, video surveillance and vision applications, IDC, who spoke to SP&T News after the event, this is a feature that is growing more popular amongst security end users.

“The SaaS solution, especially since it’s compatible with existing on-premise Genetec solutions, provides that migration path,” said Jude. “The user can implement SaaS and still keep what they’re currently using… You can migrate what you want to the cloud.”

Genetec’s latest research also indicates more of its clientele are splitting the security workload between on-premise and cloud. In Genetec’s 2024 State of Physical Security Report, 44 per cent of end users indicated that over a quarter of their physical security environments are cloud-based or hybrid cloud, versus 24 per cent in the previous survey.

“It’s not about being cloud-first, it’s about being hybrid first,” said Morin, outlining the new software’s value proposition.

Racz referred to the approach as “ubiquitous computing” adding that “we don’t care where the workloads are.” They could be on-prem, in a company’s data centre or a third-party data centre. “That’s the future. That’s what this symbolizes,” he said.

Elvish compared the transition from on-prem to cloud-based security systems to the move from analogue to IP systems, which started in earnest in the late 2000s. “I would argue we’re going through an even bigger change [now],” he said. “We’re in a period of rapid transition.”

Quoting Genetec’s report, Elvish said 39 per cent of channel partners are leading with cloud-based solutions and more than half (52 per cent) of channel partners offer cloud-based solutions to customers when they request it.

He said that, from a global perspective, U.S. and Canadian systems integrators are at the forefront in terms of cloud adoption.

Genetec has about 2,000 channel partners globally and repeatedly stated the importance of their relationship with these partners during the Washington press summit. According to the company, more than 99 per cent of its transactions are accomplished through the channel.

“The integrator is as much our customer as the end user,” said Chalouhi. “How you procure, install and maintain the product is part of it as much as operating it.”

“If you’re putting a SaaS solution out there, your system integrators have an easier time of mapping solutions to user needs, and downstream being able to upgrade or add features becomes easier as well,” said IDC’s Jude.

A new Genetec Portal is designed to make the quoting, ordering and deploying process easier for the company’s partners. “We want our partners to be able to order a system and within 10 minutes be able to configure it,” said Morin.

“We’re putting a lot of emphasis on the tools they need to do their jobs properly,” he added.

Pierre Racz, Genetec

IA not AI

As an organization, Genetec has been preaching the value of cloud and the utmost importance of cybersecurity for years.

During Genetec’s last major press event in 2019, held at the company’s Montreal headquarters, Racz compared the public internet to untreated water. “The effluence of our civilization is leaking into our information supply,” he said.

Racz has not relaxed his stance on this. In fact, the first feature mentioned in the Security Center SaaS press release is “built with cybersecurity and privacy at its core.”

Racz is also keen to disabuse the security community of the notion that artificial intelligence represents the pinnacle of technical sophistication.

He cautioned end users against wholesale adoption of AI systems and said AI hasn’t reached a point yet where it should be trusted to write code.

Back in 2019, before the world was completely in thrall of AI, Racz spoke of Genetec’s focus on “intelligent automation” over artificial intelligence and he reiterated the distinction between the two approaches at the 2024 press event.

“What is intelligent automation? You let the computer do the heavy lifting but you put the human in the loop to make the judgements and to supply creativity,” he said. “These models are really useful if you understand their limitations.”

Genetec has imbued this “IA” approach into aspects of Security Center SaaS, including user queries. Racz said the interface uses “prompt engineering” to narrow down ambiguously stated questions from the user and map them to specific criteria.

The interface will provide its top five most accurate guesses based on vague or unclear queries, plus an optional sixth.

Security Center SaaS will be available starting in April. At ISC West, held April 9-12, in Las Vegas, Nev., attendees will be able to see product demos in the Genetec booth.

— This article was updated with comments from IDC on Feb. 26.

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