The three elements that need to be taken care of to ensure effective security are people, processes and technology. Each element has a distinct purpose but they’re far more powerful when combined. In short, technology ensures that processes and procedures are enforced and that people are doing what they should be doing.

The technology we’re discussing in this article is access control. But the same principles could be applied to intrusion detection or video surveillance systems.

One of technology’s greatest benefits is how it can automate and eradicate manual processes to:

  1. Reducing manual labour
  2. Eliminating human error
  3. Increasing security
  4. Providing greater insight

Reducing manual labour

It’s common for organisations to want to create an open, welcoming feeling in some of their buildings. In a corporate headquarters reception area, for example, companies usually want people to feel that they can walk straight in. Installing automatic doors with movement sensors to open a door when someone walks up to it are a good way of achieving this. It’s not an issue for this to happen when the area is staffed, but outside of normal working hours this may be a security risk.

The typical way to solve this is to have security officers lock the doors after normal working hours. On a large estate with lots of buildings, this can take a significant amount of time or people. But by connecting the movement sensors to the access control system, we can apply schedules. The access control system will then automatically enable and disable the sensors, and lock the doors electronically outside of normal working hours.

This frees up security staff to patrol the buildings or grounds or be ready to respond to any incidents.

Eliminating human error

To operate correctly, security systems need data such as personal information, photos and card numbers. But entering this data manually can be fraught with problems. Mistakes can include entering the wrong data in the wrong field, forgetting to enter a piece of data or misspelling something.

Most organisations have a human resources database that contains the personal information a security system needs. Importing this data directly into the access control system eliminates the need for manual data entry.

Integrating your HR database with your access control system also speeds up the on-boarding and off-boarding  of employees. This can mean fewer people are needed to operate and manage security systems. Which frees staff from laborious data entry to work on something more interesting and of greater value.

Increasing security

The main role for access control systems is to control who can go where and at what time. Cardholders need to have access permissions to allow them to move around the building or in and out of controlled areas.

Best practice calls for access permissions to be related to the person’s job role. In most modern organisations, however, a person’s role and responsibilities change over time. They may temporarily take on additional responsibilities,  for example, or move permanently to a different role or department. It’s common for access control systems to be unable to keep up with the necessary changes to permissions.

You can avoid this by automating permissions in your access control system based on personnel data and security policies. So, when someone’s role, responsibilities or department changes, their access permissions automatically change too and they can only access the areas they’re allowed to access.

Providing greater insight

Access control systems contain a lot of valuable data that organisations can use to make better decisions. They can, for example, help to identify:

•   Potential issues with security systems.
•    Where people are abusing security measures.

The problem is, senior decision makers may not be aware this data exists, or how to interpret it. Some access control systems make it very difficult to export data or use it in a meaningful way that can contribute to effective decision-making.

Being able to create reports from information held in an access control system, in a format that makes sense to decision-makers, is critical.Once the reports have been created, it’s also a good idea to ensure they’re automatically e-mail or printed out, so the information gets to the right people at the right time.

In summary, applying sensible automation to security systems can increase security and productivity and reduce costs.

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