When it comes to access control, security isn’t usually the only department involved. Decisions and processes related to access for employees, visitors and suppliers typically involve HR, facilities management and IT, as well as security. If each of these departments is operating their own system independently of access control management, the results can range from inefficiency to serious breaches of security.

Limit risk with automatic updates

When an employee leaves your organisation, for example, you want their access rights to be revoked as soon as their contract ends to maintain security levels. To ensure this happens automatically, physical identity and access management (PIAM) processes should be integrated into wider business processes.

In this case, you want your access management database to link with your HR database. So when the latter shows that someone’s left the business, or switched roles, their access rights instantly update in the access management database to reflect this.

Improve consistency and efficiency

The benefits of integrating access control with your organisation’s other systems and processes aren’t limited to automatic updates and increased security. It can also make procedures more consistent and processes more efficient.

Hospitality can be improved, for example, as receptionists know when a visitor is expected and who they’ve come to see. Catering staff can see how many people are in the building and so can adjust how much food they prepare. And facilities management can analyse how buildings are used and perhaps close underused areas for parts of the week, month or year to save on utilities costs. The options are wide and varied.

Increase productivity and happiness

By integrating access control with other business systems, you can use the opportunities and information it generates strategically. Not just to improve security and efficiency, but also to boost productivity, creativity and even happiness. This is particularly important for us because we believe security is as much about people as technology. For us, security is about helping people to make the most of their life and work.

Want to learn more about the benefits of integrating access control?

Download our PIAM whitepaper.

Frequently asked questions

At a very basic level, access control is a means of controlling who enters a location and when. The person entering may be an employee, a contractor or a visitor and they may be on foot, driving a vehicle or using another mode of transport. The location they’re entering may be, for example, a site, a building, a room or a cabinet. We tend to call it physical access control to differentiate it from access control that prevents people from entering virtual spaces – for example when logging into a computer network.

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If you decide to use an access control system, it’s probably because you want to secure the physical access to your buildings or sites to protect your people, places and possessions. That’s just the start for access control systems though. The right system, used well, can add value in a range of ways. You can use it, and the data it generates, to boost not just security but productivity, creativity and performance.

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Today, physical security is about so much more than locks and bolts. Many modern physical access control systems are IP-based, powered by smart software and able to process large quantities of data. This provides more functionality, flexibility, scalability and opportunities for integration. It also means they’re part of your IT network, so it’s essential they’re protected and upgraded – just like your other IT systems.

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From our perspective, a centralised access control system is always preferable – whether you have just two locations in the same town or hundreds spread around the world. Centralising your access control brings a range of far-reaching benefits.

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For the people using your building, biometrics can give a better experience compared to an access badge. These days, biometrics are used for both identification and verification – sometimes even both at the same time. Being allowed to enter your building just by scanning your hand or face makes access control more convenient than ever.

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Mechanical keys are the simplest form of physical access control and the method many smaller organisations use. Even for a small company, however, using mechanical keys has several flaws and limitations – especially as an organisation gets bigger. Below are just some of the problems presented by using keys.

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