The Access Solution

The Access Solution

Why multi-campus facilities are investing in centralized access control

Providing security, managing budgets, gaining efficiencies— these are just a few of the many objectives that facility managers have to balance at once. And for organizations with multiple campuses, the challenges can be even more significant. Whether a university system, a commercial organization or a hospital network, multi-campus facilities are looking for ways to improve outcomes at scale. Thanks to technological advances and a growing move to centralized systems, access control is proving to be a valuable solution for achieving the many goals of multi-campus facility stakeholders. However, the path to an centralized access control system is rarely without challenges.

Organizations of all types must be budget-conscious, and with finite funds, access control doesn’t always make it to the top of the list. If there is enough budget for access control, an integrated system is passed over for a stopgap measure to address short-term needs.

This can be particularly problematic for multi-campus facilities where existing infrastructure varies in age, type and quality. On university campuses in a state-wide system, localized decision-making could result in card readers that don’t communicate with other campuses’ ID cards. In addition, aging infrastructure often includes analog video equipment that can’t be merged with a main campus’ digitized system. At each location, there could be thousands of access points and a host of technologies—from mechanical to wireless and everything in between.

Moving to an integrated system can require an upfront investment of time, finances and other resources. But the potential longterm benefits and efficiencies these systems deliver can actually yield an even greater return. For multi-campus organizations contemplating an access control evolution, here are four benefits to consider.

Better resource management. Implementing a multi-campus access control system allows facilities to leverage their size for pricing. Ultimately, a centralized system centralizes spend, providing a holistic picture of the total cost of access control across locations. Managers, buying committees and stakeholders can use this information to evaluate where resources need to be allocated—are there opportunities for infrastructure upgrades? Where can efficiencies be gained, or systems streamlined? A clear picture of spend across locations can drive cost-saving decision-making without sacrificing performance.

Talent is prioritized. With a centralized access control system, the roles and responsibilities of team members can be consolidated, allowing personnel to be re-deployed to other priority projects their talents can serve. For example, with centralized access control that gives cross-campus line of sight, the task of monitoring the function of card readers system-wide can be handled by one team out of one location rather than by separate teams at each campus. This frees up staff to focus on preventive maintenance and other security priorities.

A seamless experience for users and operators alike. Another key benefit is that centralized access control enables facilities to deliver a consistent user experience and address the growing complexities of today’s environments, all without creating additional back-end challenges. More specifically, it provides flexibility to operate multiple technologies with varying system topographies. On the main campus of a university, student housing may require Wi-Fi electronic locks for every residence hall room door. But student housing at a sister campus could select locks that use local wireless communication with a hub that connects to an access control panel. With a centralized system, a university can easily install multiple types of technology— in this case, card readers and electronic locks—that can work with varying power sources and infrastructures without negatively affecting the experience of students and staff accessing the spaces.

Identify opportunities to improve. When multi-campus facilities harmonize access control systems, it allows them to identify patterns at scale and learn from issues across locations. For example, data can show the times users are accessing certain facilities most, which can be used to inform onsite security staffing needs or to adjust the level of access to restricted buildings during peak hours. In the event that a theft occurs on one campus, all campuses across the organization can use insights from the incident to identify and improve potential weaknesses and prevent similar attacks.

Moving to a centralized access control system can seem daunting, but there are several valid reasons to do it. These integrated systems allow facility managers to achieve economies of scale, free up personnel to focus on new priorities and identify opportunities for improvement—all of which drive long-term efficiencies and improved outcomes that make the move a worthwhile investment.

This article originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of Security Today.

Featured

  • Maximizing Your Security Budget This Year

    7 Ways You Can Secure a High-Traffic Commercial Security Gate  

    Your commercial security gate is one of your most powerful tools to keep thieves off your property. Without a security gate, your commercial perimeter security plan is all for nothing. Read Now

  • Busy South Africa Building Integrates Custom Access Control System

    Nicol Corner, based in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, South Africa, is home to a six-star fitness club, prime office space, and an award-winning rooftop restaurant. This is the first building in South Africa to have its glass façade fully incorporate fritted glazing, saving 35% on energy consumption. Nicol Corner (Pty) LTD has developed a landmark with sophisticated design and unique architecture by collaborating with industry-leading partners and specifying world-class equipment throughout the project. This includes installing a high-spec, bespoke security and access control system. Read Now

  • Only 13 Percent of Research Institutions Are Prepared for AI

    A new survey commissioned by SHI International and Dell Technologies underscores the transformative potential of artificial intelligence (AI) while exposing significant gaps in preparedness at many research institutions. Read Now

  • Survey: 70 Percent of Organizations Have Established Dedicated SaaS Security Teams

    Seventy percent of organizations have prioritized investment in SaaS security, establishing dedicated SaaS security teams, despite economic uncertainty and workforce reductions. This was a key finding in the fourth Annual SaaS Security Survey Report: 2025 CISO Plans and Priorities released today by the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), the world’s leading organization dedicated to defining standards, certifications, and best practices to help ensure a secure cloud computing environment. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

Webinars

New Products

  • FEP GameChanger

    FEP GameChanger

    Paige Datacom Solutions Introduces Important and Innovative Cabling Products GameChanger Cable, a proven and patented solution that significantly exceeds the reach of traditional category cable will now have a FEP/FEP construction. 3

  • PE80 Series

    PE80 Series by SARGENT / ED4000/PED5000 Series by Corbin Russwin

    ASSA ABLOY, a global leader in access solutions, has announced the launch of two next generation exit devices from long-standing leaders in the premium exit device market: the PE80 Series by SARGENT and the PED4000/PED5000 Series by Corbin Russwin. These new exit devices boast industry-first features that are specifically designed to provide enhanced safety, security and convenience, setting new standards for exit solutions. The SARGENT PE80 and Corbin Russwin PED4000/PED5000 Series exit devices are engineered to meet the ever-evolving needs of modern buildings. Featuring the high strength, security and durability that ASSA ABLOY is known for, the new exit devices deliver several innovative, industry-first features in addition to elegant design finishes for every opening. 3

  • ResponderLink

    ResponderLink

    Shooter Detection Systems (SDS), an Alarm.com company and a global leader in gunshot detection solutions, has introduced ResponderLink, a groundbreaking new 911 notification service for gunshot events. ResponderLink completes the circle from detection to 911 notification to first responder awareness, giving law enforcement enhanced situational intelligence they urgently need to save lives. Integrating SDS’s proven gunshot detection system with Noonlight’s SendPolice platform, ResponderLink is the first solution to automatically deliver real-time gunshot detection data to 911 call centers and first responders. When shots are detected, the 911 dispatching center, also known as the Public Safety Answering Point or PSAP, is contacted based on the gunfire location, enabling faster initiation of life-saving emergency protocols. 3