Innovations will better help manage and control access
- By Kevin Anderson
- Feb 01, 2020
Access control advancements over the years have
been notable: transitioning from keys and locksets,
to cards and card readers, to the sophisticated
access control management systems of today.
Technological advances continue to redefine the
capabilities of modern-day access control, allowing businesses
and facility managers to better protect assets and maintain a
high level of security. But what do those systems look like, and
what system properties are necessary in order to streamline and
strengthen access control management?
Modern Access Control Challenges
Enterprises of all kinds face many challenges when it comes to securing
their facilities. Visitor management ranks high on that list.
It can be a balancing act to provide a welcoming- and -productive
work environment while also controlling who can gain access to
it. There is a lot to consider: How many entry points are there?
What level of security is needed at a specific location or facility, be it a school, a corporate office or an industrial site? What type
of credentialing would work most effectively?
Other things to consider are: Is the access system working in
conjunction with a video surveillance system? How is it being
monitored? And does it need to be monitored?
More pragmatic, yet advanced, features are being built into
today’s access control platforms, giving end users more choices
than ever before. Regardless of a larger breadth of options, it is
essential that an access system be designed with the specific needs
of the business/facility/owner/end user in mind. Only then can
the integrator specify the right system using the right products
While protecting employees and visitors is a top priority,
many facilities are also tasked with protecting property and
physical/digital assets. Organizations across a range of industries
must secure areas, materials and equipment, while at the same
time managing who is authorized to access these areas. Key loss
or unauthorized duplication are real concerns for facility managers
responsible for the safety and security of staff and company
assets, but modern access control systems now have secure digital
components in place that mitigate/reduce that risk.
Key System Components
The integrated electronic access control systems available in today’s
digital world are well equipped to help companies optimize
their business, improve operations, increase security and lower
costs. When evaluating your organization’s needs, the following
system qualities should be taken into consideration:
Ease of use. The system should be user-friendly and simple to
set up/administer. The administrator and users should be able to
operate it seamlessly.
Scalability. Enterprise needs change over time, and the end
user’s requirements likely will, too. Access control systems should
have the flexibility of scaling up or down to accommodate growing
businesses and increased, or even decreased, security needs.
Affordability. Installing non-wired security options can be a
fraction of the cost of installing traditional wired systems. Nonwired
systems are also especially attractive for sites that are remote,
are not powered or are challenging applications such as
elevators and gates.
Accountability. An access control system should come complete
with software that provides an audit trail of events and
users who have accessed the facility to ensure full visibility and
Scalable and Affordable
The access control landscape is continually evolving, and new
technologies are driving the marketplace. Here is a look at some of
the newer capabilities that are elevating traditional access control:
Bluetooth enabled hardware. End users can now combine cost
savings with the convenience of keyless security, thanks to Bluetooth-
enabled hardware. Integrated software platforms are available
that allow system web interfaces and smartphone apps to
be integrated with Bluetooth-enabled security devices, including
Bluetooth padlocks, lock boxes and door controllers. These solutions
allow users to grant access to individuals, multiple users and
user groups – temporarily or on an ongoing basis – and issue and
revoke access in real time. This optimizes access control, affords
greater convenience and enhances security.
For organizations with high-volume traffic, this capability is
especially helpful in streamlining daily operations and tightening
up security. With the right software interface, facility managers
can easily monitor and access robust data and audit trails while
users also enjoy the added benefit of simple- and -secure access
to assigned locks or lockboxes. Software that can easily integrate
with security devices eliminates the cost, complexity and security
risk of physical key management and lock rework or replacement.
It also allows administrators to grant and manage access
for as many locks and as many users as they need.
Mobile credentialing. Innovative mobile credentialing solutions
continue to hit the market, and many end users appreciate
the convenience and security they provide. Today, employees and
visitors can use their phones to unlock Bluetooth-enabled locks
and get access to the areas and materials they need while on the
go. Consequently, more organizations are moving away from the
cards and fobs of the past. The cost savings are also attractive,
as the need to track, replace or revoke physical cards is virtually
With mobile credentialing, security administrators can instantly
issue – or take away – a user’s credential from anywhere.
They can also lock and unlock doors remotely. And, for users,
they no longer need to carry a separate card or key fob or worry
about losing them. From a security perspective, mobile device security
can still safeguard the credential if it is lost or stolen.
Audit trails. Many of today’s electronic access control solutions
provide robust data and audit trails of all those who have
entered and exited a location. A perk of these audit trails is administrators
can easily monitor lock access and automatically
map lock and lock box locations via their smartphone, ensuring
only authorized users are accessing their locations.
Encrypted technology. With audit trails and access control capabilities
via smartphones, safeguarding the digital data captured
is crucial. In access control applications, encryption technology
is a critical component in securing the electronic access control
system data, providing sophisticated data protection, security
across multiples devices and the secure movement of data to keep
information safe and to ensure compliance.
Benefits of Implementing Integrated
Access Control Systems
An integrated access control system, built upon the advanced capabilities
as outlined above, is the key to quality access control.
In addition to the near-immediate increase in property and asset
security, long-term benefits can extend to improved operational
efficiencies and overall cost savings, benefitting
both the business and the bottom line. Through
physical security assets and integrated software
platforms, building and facility managers can
create a safe, secure environment for all.
This article originally appeared in the January / February 2020 issue of Security Today.