Integrated Technology Drives Security
Honor system has evolved to fast-paced security at the front door
- By Valerie Anderson
- Dec 01, 2019
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.