access controlDefining the need for access control

Identity theft, corporate secrets, personal privacy; all of these are important issues of any manager today.

In today’s business climate, owners, managers, and shareholders are considerably more concerned with security and safekeeping than in the past. Since 2000, cyber-crime has gone up over 20 times*. While cyber-crime is a significant sector of business security and protection, physical access to premises continues to be the number one security breach in most businesses. Often, the business internet and network protection is first rate, but the physical access security is simply deplorable. This leads to unlawful access to information, valuables and other business information.

Access control systems are where loss prevention and protection must start. Gone are the days of simple master key systems. Understanding that controlling the access of individuals in and out of various areas of your company is essentially your first line of defense, a high quality access control system provides a vital core layer to protecting valuable company property. While other security elements do a good job of detecting, alerting, and providing information after a security event has occurred, access control systems are meant to provide the primary role of deterrence during the security cycle. Because of its preventative ability, corporations are learning that access control greatly affects their profitability.

Consider these questions about access control:

  1. What is the total number of keys are in your organization?
  2. What is the number of different keys are in your organization?
  3. Are you absolutely certain there is no unauthorized key usage?
  4. If someone misplaces his or her keys, what controls are in place to ensure workplace security?
  5. Does the key control methods consider personnel changes?
  6. With multiple offices, do you have a security strategy for the overall organization and for each individual facility?
  7. Who is mainly responsible for key maintenance in the company?

When you have a detailed comprehension of the answers to these questions, you can feel making the decision for electronic access control much less complicated.

If you are considering your access control systems, you need to grab your brass keys…. and throw them away. Something feels safe about holding a ring of brass keys. Its heft can give you a sense of control over whom can enter your facility and how they can move about.

Taking into consideration the level of access control your organization needs, your system should be tailored to match your specific company directives. Securing a location in today’s world requires more than locking the outside doors and windows. Nearly all facilities have areas requiring varying degrees of protection, from high security areas such as research labs and server rooms to outer gates and often accessed office cabinets. Economical access and key control for all levels of security throughout a facility is a primary benefit of an electronic lock systems. In addition, companies that must comply with TSA, NERC-CIP, EPA, and HIPAA regulations can benefit from the system’s automatic reporting of lock and key activity that provides vital information when investigating suspected security breaches.

The question is: How can master keys be suitably controlled? Even under the most stringently managed key control system, variances exist, such as loaning of keys between personnel; too many and lost and stolen keys; excessive key levels; ineffective return procedures; and lack of personnel to service cylinders and keys. Moreover, there is the cost and time incurred for locksmiths to service mechanical keys and locks.

Electronic access control reduces risk because it gets rid of the need to physically re-key offices, saving time and money. An electronic system is easy to reset instantly to eradicate vulnerability, and to minimize risk and liability.

*—IC³ Internet incident reports from 2000-2010

About the Author

Derrel Allen is a technology adviser for a Fortune 100 company. He is also an entertainer and well sought after internet marketing consultant. You can read more about him at omagic.com.