When it comes to the security management for business, mitigating risk is only one aspect to consider – especially for large organisations with multiple locations. As we’ve proved in our work with multinationals such as Unilever, the commercial value of a good physical access control system stretches far beyond opening and closing doors.
The consequences of not managing risk effectively can range from annoying to catastrophic. So, granted, your system absolutely must be able to respond to security incidents in ways that ensure business continuity and the safety of your people. It’s why we put so much effort into identifying each client’s individual risks and working out how to protect against them.
But the ability to reduce and respond to risk is not enough for physical security systems today. They must, and can, offer so much more. We believe it’s crucial to understand the wider business value a security management system can bring – and to be able to demonstrate and maximise this value. Because justifying the cost of a new security system based solely on its risk management credentials can be a challenge.
Access control can be a powerful hub
Your access control system can become not just the mainstay in your enterprise’s security management – it can become the hub of all your organisation’s processes around the world. Because access control isn’t just the concern of security management. As we highlight below, it can bring great value to departments including HR, IT, facilities management and procurement, as well as to end users such as employees, visitors and contractors.
Key needs for multinational security management
Let’s look at what’s most important for multinational organisations when it comes to physical security systems, and the value these characteristics can provide.
For large organisations in particular, it’s vital that a physical security system can grow easily and cost-effectively. This may mean adding new locations and/or increasing the number of people using it. When you’re investing in a new system, you need to feel confident it can keep up as your organisation evolves over the coming years. And that you can scale it at a pace that suits you.
A close relation to scalability is adaptability. The needs of organisations both large and small change over time. Whether in response to internal changes such as a new service or client win, or external demands such as new risks or regulations. Your physical security system must be able to adapt accordingly. Your needs may also vary according to location. If so, your system will need to adapt to local requirements while enabling you to maintain global standards and control.
A high level of functionality
It’s essential your system can function in a way that solves the challenges you need it to solve. And the more challenges it can solve across your business – not just in security – the more value it will bring.
Here are a few examples for various groups of people.
- End users
For end users such as the receptionists operating your system and the people using it to access your buildings, convenience is key. The easier a system is to use the more productive people can be. Ease of use and a sense of freedom can even increase less tangible, but equally valuable, metrics such as job satisfaction and creativity.
When your HR system is integrated with your access control system, it introduces a whole new level of connectivity across your organisation. Data doesn’t need to be entered twice and access control authorisations can change in an instant to reflect updates in your HR database. People always have the correct permissions for their role, which not only increases efficiency but security too.
- Facilities management
The data collated and reported by modern access control systems is incredibly valuable. It can help you, for example, to avoid waste by ordering supplies more precisely for your buildings’ cafés and restaurants. Or it can enable you to monitor out how buildings are being used and how to manage them more efficiently – perhaps closing some floors on some days of the week. Such cost savings can add up dramatically for a global business.
All modern access control systems are software based and employ principles such as authentication and encryption, meaning they have close links with IT systems. By integrating access control with your global IT network, you can reduce complexity for your IT team by avoiding duplications and streamlining processes.
- Security management
Security managers need a system that’s easy to operate and manage as well as effective. It must reflect how people work today. Many security managers, for example, want to be able to operate their system from a mobile phone or web browser anywhere in the world. Others need to enable employee access to locations in multiple countries using just one ID card. And for others integrating systems such as biometric verification and video monitoring is key to achieve the level of security needed.
Scalability and adaptability, combined with a high level of functionality and integration potential, ensure a physical access control system that offers long-term value. The procurement department, and other key stakeholders, can then feel comfortable it will remain relevant for many years to come. Because when you’re making a significant investment, the last thing you want is for it to quickly become outdated and require the cost and disruption of a replacement.
Want to discuss the commercial benefits access control can bring to your business? We’d love to hear from you – why not get in touch today?
Building security management on a global scale
Want to see some of these characteristics and commercial benefits in action? Unilever is a vast organisation with 800 sites and 400 consumer brands. To increase efficiency and unify its global access control, Unilever chose AEOS – and realised a wide range of valuable commercial benefits.
When multinational manufacturer Rockwool wanted to unify work processes and implement a truly global security policy it turned to Nedap’s Enterprise Progamme. An advanced project rollout framework for AEOS, this offers several benefits, including standardisation across sites, easier and faster implementations and cost efficiencies.
Danfoss, meanwhile, had been handling security at a local level, but wanted to switch to a system of centralised, global control. It also used Nedap’s Enterprise Programme to implement AEOS and counted increased efficiency and staff mobility among the widespread benefits.
Learn more about Nedap’s Enterprise Programme
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.