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Moving further into buildings and operations

Winning more business is typically thought of as using marketing, advertising, referrals, or even cold calls and precision pitching to secure new opportunities at new clients. When it comes to physical security integration, there are after all, only so many doors to secure in your area of operation.

But rather than spend that time and money to find new clients, what if you could win more business with your current clients who already know and trust you, and with whom you have a business partnership?

The key to this approach is in knowing your solutions for security better than anyone else, in finding manufacturers who offer a diverse range of products and solutions, and presenting these new security options to your client in a way that operationally improves their business.

In short, you’re looking for ways to move farther into a client’s building and further into their operations. This is accomplished by seeking out areas where access control and audit capabilities are critical. Look for locations currently under lock and key, but not digitized due to a previous constraint (location unavailable for cabling, afterthought areas, locations where access control typically isn’t implemented). Most importantly, ask your clients what they still need to protect—or are protecting in different ways—conduct a site survey or facility walkthrough to identify areas they might be missing or are unaware could be improve, and see if you can provide updated solutions.

This approach, of course, can also be used on new projects where perimeter doors are specified, be sure to offer additional services. If you can come in under budget with new solutions on an initial bid, that leaves new funds for additional installations. It also gives the integrator a bit of a “hero moment” with clients, which is critical for long-term success and relationship building.

Here are a few examples of applications that can allow you to win more business with existing clients.

CABINETS, STORAGE AND SMALLER OPENINGS

Cabinet locks with wireless capabilities are one of the quickest ways to seek out new openings to secure within a facility. In many businesses, there are file cabinets full of sensitive documents being stored behind poorly-manufactured locks that could be quickly and easily broken into.

An upgrade to more robust locks not only adds a physical security component but also a digital layer of security through the use of access control units, which restrict who can access the items through credentialing, and provides an audit trail so managers can review who accessed the location and when it was accessed.

These locks work on more than just cabinets. Storage of sensitive materials—such as medical supplies in hospitals, or computer components in IT environments—also requires a much higher level of security than standard mechanical locks can provide. An audit trail adds a level of accountability to storing and accessing these materials.

This application plays into healthcare spaces where medications are stored. From schools with onsite nurses to emergency rooms and hospital pharmacies, the ability to secure medical supplies in a single space or in individual patient rooms is a critical operational shift. It means the ability to treat patients more quickly and easily. Again, it comes with the ability to provide an audit trail so no medications are accessed without documentation.

Looking a bit more toward the enterprise side of things, employee storage units are now being utilized in co-working environments where an atypically scheduled workforce may exist. The new demand from businesses that utilize these workforces is to provide employee lockers or storage where the employee can choose a different locker every day with just their keycard. This is a fundamental shift in the security paradigm—moving away from predetermined access—but it is available for integration.

That same level of access control can now be used in more places than just traditional doors. In these co-working environments, the need to track who used what desk or work space could also be a priority, and using the same credential on the desk as the storage unit, with the same flexible technology, is valuable for a business.

SERVER SPACES

Also in the enterprise space is the need to secure server rooms and server racks. For racks, using the same type of cabinet locks, be they wireless or wired, provides a facility with solutions to a number of problems and vulnerabilities.

The locks restrict access to individual cabinets while also recording the audit trail of who accessed what and when. For locations that control their own data with onsite servers, this is a critical need as it allows for a robust level of in-house auditing. For colocation facilities, it may be even more critical as it allows the service provider to offer clients the assurance that only the correct people are accessing their servers.

Further, with server spaces, an additional level of security can be added in the event of a network failure. Intelligent keys, which also provide an audit trail, can be integrated alongside a standard lock. This means the access control device itself could be without power, but the key will still be able to open the rack in an emergency situation, and the accountability remains intact.

In all of these scenarios, the result is ensuring only authorized employees are accessing server racks for specific reasons. These capabilities help facilities meet PCI and FISMA requirements as well.

For the server room itself, integrators should ensure that all access points are utilizing a high level of security. Typically, a biometric of some type—iris, hand-geometry, fingerprint—has become the expectation in these build outs.

There are even technologies that allow for integration of biometrics on mobile devices. That means an individual can receive a credential on their handheld device and activate it with a fingerprint reader. It’s a more affordable solution that still allows for access to be granted to technicians and security in the event of an emergency without losing the high level of security needed for that location.

GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS

Government facilities are now subject to rules dictated by the Federal Government’s Identity, Credential, and Access Management (FICAM) program. FICAM sets the standards for implementation of secure access to all government facilities, and mandates the use of FIPS 201 Personal Identity Verification (PIV) for federal employees and contractors.

What this means is that every federal employee and contractor today is issued a PIV ID Card. All facilities need to work toward implementing PIV access control points. The job of integrators is to know these requirements exist, how they work, and be prepared to implement solutions at government facilities.

While this is good information for seeking out new business, being knowledgeable about the subject also helps integrators move deeper into a facility. Exterior doors, where strong authentication is required, utilize electro-mechanical locks, electric strikes and hardwired PIV-enabled card readers. Meanwhile, the interior of the building can support the same PIV credentials at a lower cost using PIVenabled WiFi, PoE and Integrated Wiegand solutions.

PARTNERSHIPS REMAIN KEY

Again, the best way to discover opportunities to further expand an integration is to be well versed on the technologies available and be partnered with manufacturers who are invested in your success.

It’s critical to approach every client with the intent of collaboration. Listen to their needs, address those concerns, then seek out additional openings. By using wireless deployments, you can often come in under budget for what an owner may expect. That extra expenditure can then be used to make the building more secure in other areas. Providing more security at an affordable rate is a prime way to develop profitable, long-term relationships.

Finally, communicate the needs you see in the field back to manufacturers. Ask them for the solutions that will help you in your sales and integrations. We operate in a world where nearly every opening can be secured?it is simply a matter of working together to develop the correct solution.

This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of Security Today.

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