Integrated Technology Drives Security

Integrated Technology Drives Security

Honor system has evolved to fast-paced security at the front door

Most security professionals would agree the rapidly-evolving nature of technology can be daunting, not only for end users but also for systems integrators and consultants alike. From high-security credential verification systems to the growing list of biometric options, so much is changing so fast. Still, embracing a solid, layered approach to security in general, and particularly at a facility’s security entrances, can help ease organizational techno-fear and create an integrated access control ecosystem that is both secure and aesthetically pleasing.

New Threats Require a New Approach

The security and risk landscape has changed drastically over the last two decades. Prior to the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City on 9/11, most buildings had swinging doors. Only a small percentage of those doors were integrated with an access control system. This setup was primarily trust-based using the ‘‘honor system.”

Security managers trusted no one would tailgate, or that employees would prevent anyone from tailgating with them.

The events of 9/11 solidified the realization among security executives, facility directors and C-level executives that there was an urgent need for heightened security measures. That new awareness quickened the demand for more secure entrances, from simple turnstiles to optical turnstiles, security revolving doors and mantrap portals.

Initially, the demand for more advanced entrance security was strongest on the east coast in corporate and industrial sectors. Today’s market is widespread as large technology companies, retail centers, universities, healthcare facilities and other organizations deploy high-security entrance solutions in growing numbers.

As more news reports communicate the grim toll of active shooter incidents, the demand for greater protection at building entrances has surged as people realize how potentially costly and devastating an ill-intentioned intruder could be. The question of “who is in your building” has been the impetus for many organizational discussions aimed at preventing intrusion employing a combination of technology, physical security entrances, people and processes.

The fact is that 10 years ago, most security entrances used simple RFID card readers with two-factor authentication using a secondary PIN code if more security was required. Today, users are considering cost-effective biometric solutions, even for single-factor authentication, to enhance throughput and verification of identity. Users are also opting for security entrances that can actually prevent tailgating, versus monitored alarm solutions, after the fact, if a breach should occur. Some facilities are also more interested in critical security features such as bullet-resistant materials being used in their security entrances, as these can potentially save lives and buy time for first responders during an incident.

Ensuring Duty of Care at the Front Door

Duty of care is a high-priority issue in today’s C-suite. The principle behind duty of care is that an organization has an obligation to anticipate risks for its customers, visitors and staff and take action to prevent them from coming to harm. Appreciating the security and risk drivers that are key to any security solution, most security consultants stress that protecting organizational assets, people and data must start at the front door. Consequences of unauthorized entry can be as minor as vandalism, or as terrible as violence or loss of life. Beyond the human toll, there are additional devastating consequences including workplace stress, negative news stories, reduced productivity and civil lawsuits, and even potential shutdowns due to the premises being declared an investigative crime scene. If the organization is subject to government regulations, there can also be severe fines if they are found to be noncompliant in preventing intrusion.

Security practitioners must make their clients aware of the overall liability they could incur if an intruder enters their building. Recommending the use of advanced security entrances, along with access control technologies, can create a working security formula where credentials and identity are verified during passage into a building, and if necessary, human supervision can be used to respond to intrusion alarms.

Future-proofing Your Access Control on a Budget

Security is typically viewed as a cost center. In order to justify the capital expenditure, it helps to present management a datarich solution that goes beyond security and delivers metrics, audit capabilities and advanced analytics that provide business operational insights.

Assuring the C-suite that security entrances are cost-effective solutions that prevent tailgating and piggybacking, and can also be integrated with access control devices to include biometric technology to verify identity, makes for a strong business case. Not only does a security entrance solution limit access to authorized people, but that same system can also provide metrics, based on actual data, about the future probability of an intruder successfully piggybacking in, how many piggybacking attempts may occur, what time it occurred and the identity of the culprit. This wealth of data can strengthen the ROI proposition and help management better manage people as well as liability.

Another quick note - most clients today want high-security performance from security entrances, along with aesthetics and fast throughput. They also want a small footprint, but not a cramped experience, with sleeker designs that can be integrated with biometric technology and are able to keep people moving quickly and effortlessly. This trend will definitely continue in the coming years.

Creating Technology Buy-in

Selling technology solutions to management is sometimes easier than getting employees to buy in when asked to use it.

When deploying a new entrance technology, be sure to communicate the benefit to the employees. Assure them it is not about employees being watched, it is about providing them with protection. Set up meetings showing them new solutions and how other firms are implementing entrance solutions. Show them what is coming and what will be installed, then provide them a chance to ask questions.

Benefit by Increasing Integration

Increasing the use of security entrances with integrated access control technology can give security managers powerful tools to meet their organizational objectives. By updating their entrances and procedures, maintaining future flexibility, and increasing buy-in in their user groups, businesses can gain the benefit of improved security along with operational improvements.

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2019 issue of Security Today.

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