Join the Team
Moving further into buildings and operations
- By Kevin Hendershot
- Apr 01, 2018
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
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
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.
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 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
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.