Protect your assets: A buying guide to office security systems

Antivirus software protects your data, but a robust security system protects your PCs and everything else in your office.

By Michael Brown, PC World |  Security, physical security

A RedCloud security system consists of a master controller linked to door and window sensors, security-card readers, keyless-entry devices, IP surveillance cameras, alarms, and lighting controls via an ethernet network. Typically this type of access-control system operates on a stand-alone server with a commercial operating system and database, and it relies on proprietary door hardware that ties you to one manufacturer. In contrast, RedCloud's systems are designed so that any corporate IT department can deploy and maintain them. You have no applications to install on the client machines--you can monitor and maintain the system using any PC, tablet, or smartphone--and the systems utilize nonproprietary door hardware.

How Much Does It Cost?

The least-expensive model, RedCloud Express ($1200 to $2000), is a network appliance whose setup, according to the company, "is as easy as installing a wireless router." RedCloud Express can manage up to 32 card readers and up to 2000 identities.

RedCloud Enterprise is a rack-mount server that can manage up to 2048 card readers and as many as 500,000 identities. RedCloud Virtual delivers the same functionality as RedCloud Enterprise, but in a VMware virtual-server environment. And if your business doesn't have the desire, the IT resources, or the capital budget to acquire and manage a RedCloud system on its own, keep in mind that RedCloud recently announced a cloud-based initiative whereby service providers sell its product as SaaS (software as a service). In this scenario, the service provider purchases the hardware and installs everything, and you point your browser to the service provider's website to manage the system on a subscription basis (at a cost of $80 to $100 per month, depending on your system's complexity).

Will It Fit Your Needs?

RedCloud's products are aimed at larger businesses that are primarily interested in access control, as opposed to central monitoring with the ability to dispatch law enforcement automatically in the event of a break-in. RedCloud can tie into an alarm system--as well as lighting control, video surveillance, and other systems--but its primary function is to monitor, control, and maintain a record of who has access to your building.

Determining the Right System for Your Business

Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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