The need for access control security is at an all-time high for enterprises, schools, hospitals and other types of organizations. With 70% of organizations having undergone or currently working on a digital transformation strategy, protecting valuable data, physical assets and intellectual property is more important than ever before.

Access control security is the method of regulating who can view or access a particular resource or physical area. Whether you operate security for a large corporation, a university holding sensitive student information or a hospital safeguarding patient medical records – access control security can provide a robust framework for managing and securing access to physical spaces. Further, cloud-based access control solutions provide centralized management and security monitoring without complex on-premise access control systems. Here’s how. 

Centralized Security in Access Control Systems

Centralized access control manages security for all locations using a single unified system. With a cloud-based solution, IT and security teams can connect their video surveillance systems, video management systems, identity management systems and more. By centralizing these otherwise disparate systems, administrators can save time and operate more efficiently. 

Additional advantages of centralized security include:

  • Simplified administration: Administrators can manage access rights, permissions and user accounts within a single location. User access can be added or removed easily and permissions can be updated across disparate systems. If an employee leaves the organization, administrators can revoke credentials immediately to mitigate security threats and retaliations.
  • Real-time monitoring capabilities: Administrators can monitor access and user activity. With real-time visibility, administrators can instantaneously detect and respond to suspicious activity. Let’s say a hospital employee is attempting to gain unauthorized access to a dispensary. IT and security teams can see this happening in real-time and take the necessary preventative actions. 
  • Enhanced incident response: Organizations can detect, respond and mitigate security incidents. Security personnel can monitor access activities and receive immediate alerts for suspicious or unusual activity.

Implementing centralized security in access control systems can help organizations streamline monitoring and credential provisioning while improving response times and reducing potential risks.

The Value of Integrating Access Control 

Integrating access control systems with other security and building management solutions can provide significant value to organizations through enhanced security. The unification of video management systems and access control helps to simplify operational efficiency and improve visibility within a single interface.

Types of Access Control Integrations

  • Video surveillance: Let’s say an unknown person has attempted to access a restricted area without proper access credentials. The integration between access control and video surveillance can trigger cameras to instantly record the event and alert security personnel to respond in real-time, helping to prevent unauthorized access. Integrated video systems help organizations increase situational awareness, improve incident response, and allow for greater scalability. 
  • Identity management systems: A new sales employee has been granted authorization to access their work computer. Privileges have been assigned to the employee by the IT department based on their job role and title. Although they have access to the company’s CRM system, they only have limited access to customer data. The company has centralized control over all users, allowing them to identify unauthorized attempts if the employee tries to access information, they don’t have access to.
  • Visitor management systems: Visitor management systems replace traditional paper-based visitor logs. These systems typically consist of software that runs on a computer or mobile device, combined with hardware such as a tablet or self-service kiosk for visitor check-in. Visitors to a building can pre-register their visit, either through a web portal or a mobile app. This enables them to provide essential information in advance, including their name, contact details and purpose of the visit. Pre-registration helps expedite the check-in process and improves security by allowing organizations to vet and screen visitors in advance.

Integrating access control systems is beneficial for organizations as it improves awareness through real-time monitoring, streamlines workflows through automated processes, and enhances emergency response with rapid notification and access control capabilities.

Using Mobile Credentials and Key Card Capabilities

Organizations are increasingly turning to mobile credentials as a more secure and convenient alternative to traditional key cards and badge systems. Mobile credential systems provide a touchless, convenient and cost-effective alternative. Users are able to store mobile credentials directly on their smartphones without needing to carry multiple access cards or fobs. 

Touchless credentials and key cards provide many advantages compared to traditional access card systems including:

  • Convenience: Mobile credentials are stored on users’ smartphones thereby eliminating the need for physical cards. Users always have their credentials available helping to streamline the security process without having to manage multiple cards or remember complex codes. Additionally, IT and security teams can more quickly and easily deploy credentials to users’ phones. 
  • Improved user experience: Mobile credentials improve the user experience by streamlining access processes. Users can simply unlock their phone or open a dedicated app, making the security access process quick and hassle-free.

Secure mobile management and encryption protocols are essential when it comes to protecting access credentials and preventing unauthorized access. By implementing mobile credential management practices, organizations can minimize security risks and maintain a high level of security in their access control systems.

Genea Security mobile device and card reader illustration

Cloud-Based vs. On-Premise Access Control

When it comes to access control, organizations have two types of solutions at their disposal: on-premise or cloud-based. On-premise access control requires computer servers that are maintained and secured onsite by local users. Physical security is particularly important as servers must be safeguarded against potential threats using locks, guards, and onsite security. Cloud-based access control security is hosted off-site away from user facilities without dedicated servers. 

Cloud-based access control systems provide many benefits compared to traditional legacy on-premise technologies including:

  • Scalability: As organizations grow, it can be difficult to scale on-premise access control security. Cloud-based access control systems allow for centralized management across multiple locations – making them ideal for organizations with distributed operations. Cloud-based systems can be easily scaled to accommodate growth and expansion. 
  • Flexibility: IT and security teams have greater flexibility when combining cloud-based access control with non-proprietary hardware. If they want to switch systems, they’re able to simply find alternative access control platforms that function with non-proprietary hardware. 
  • Cost efficiency: Cloud-based access control systems are more cost efficient as organizations don’t have to maintain on-premise servers infrastructures. Additionally, if your team decides to switch software providers, you don’t have to rip and replace your hardware. Instead, teams can continue using their non-proprietary hardware.

Key Areas to Secure with Access Control Security

Organizations must identify key areas within facilities that require access control security to ensure authorized access and protect sensitive data. 

Common areas prone to potential security vulnerabilities include:

  • Entrances: Access control systems can be implemented at specified entry points including main doors, turnstiles and gates to authenticate individuals and permit access only to authorized personnel and visitors. Imagine a corporate office space with thousands of employees. Therefore, to ensure security, the facility can provide an employee badge in Apple Wallet to enter the building.
  • Server rooms: Server rooms contain sensitive data that should only be accessed by authorized IT personnel. Consequently, access control systems should restrict entry to these areas to prevent unwarranted individuals from accessing equipment and stored sensitive information.
  • Executive offices: Executive offices house confidential documents, records of employees, meeting minutes, and other sensitive information. Only authorized personnel need access to the information in these offices. Let’s say an executive leaves his office at 4:00pm, but a lower level employee tries to enter unknowingly. Access control systems can be integrated with surveillance systems to provide visual evidence of individuals entering offices. Custom reports can then be generated to track access attempts outside of business hours.
  • Sensitive data storage: Many facilities have designated areas that store sensitive data in the form of customer information, financial records and intellectual property. Access control systems should only grant access to authorized personnel to prevent theft, data breaches, and misuse of sensitive data. A large corporation has a specific data storage room that contains proprietary trade secrets. An employee is leaving the company to work for a competitor, but wants to take valuable information. Any attempts to enter storage areas should immediately trigger security personnel to react and respond accordingly.

Organizations should perform comprehensive assessments of their facility to identify areas that require access control security. Sensitivity of data and operational needs must be considered to determine appropriate levels of access control for each area.

Access Control Policies

Effective access control policies define rules and guidelines that govern access to specific resources, systems, and areas within a building. Only authorized users are able to access sensitive data and each of these individuals understand their specific responsibilities when it comes to protecting company resources. Well-defined policies establish acceptable expectations and limit user access according to job function. 

Comprehensive access control policies consist of the following:

  • User authentication: Used to verify the identity of individuals seeking access to systems, resources or sensitive information. Organizations ensure that only privileged individuals can access their system and resources – reducing the risk of unauthorized access, data breaches, and compromised accounts.
  • Authorization levels: Defines and enforces different levels of access privileges to users based on their specific roles and responsibilities. Authorization levels ensure that users only have access to resources necessary for completing their job functions – nothing more or less.
  • Visitor management: Organizations with a significant number of visitors must be able to monitor and track access of all individuals. Visitor management systems help ensure the security and safety of visitors and employees within the organization. Visitors must be properly identified, given controlled access and monitored to keep facilities safe and secure.

Organizations should implement access control policies tailored to the specific requirements of their business. Using a systematic approach, companies can identify, analyze and address unique security threats and mitigate potential risk concerns.

Protect Your Business and Assets with Genea

Access control security is a vital tool for protecting businesses from unauthorized access, data breaches, theft, and other threats. Establishing effective access control policies is an effective tool for safeguarding valuable employee information and assets.

Organizations should prioritize cloud-based access control security to improve employee safety, ensure business continuity, build trust and minimize financial losses. By making access control security a top priority, organizations will be better equipped to protect valuable assets and sensitive information. 

If your organization is looking to update their access control security to a modern, cloud-based access control system, such as Genea, schedule a demo today and see how our solutions work for you!

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