Accurately Planned Access Control Solutions Fuels Overall Security Solutions
‘Access control solutions’ has over the past few years become a buzz phrase in in-house corporate security circles. It refers to all the necessary measures taken to control access to various parts of a physical perimeter, and certain locations within the perimeter itself. While it may benefit certain departments within the organisation (HR, for example, to monitor attendance), it should be planned based on a solid security backbone to serve the organisation as a whole through effective security solutions.
The planning itself starts with a needs analysis by the organisation’s IT and security team to determine the goals of the access control solutions to be implemented. This will be determined based on the function of the company, the departments (like HR) who may require access to the system, the sensitivity of the information the organisations holds and also the perimeter’s physical location and structure. Once all these aspects have been taken into account and the goals have been determined, the security solutions need to be mapped out.
One of the key mistakes made by many individuals who plan access control solutions for an organisation is to start at the front door. Experts agree that obvious and potential security weaknesses should be indentified, starting from the outer perimeter of the premises and working inward in concentric circles. This approach might reveal certain security flaws from the parking area, or from a fire escape which can be accessed from the alley behind the building. This exercise should provide a clear indication of which security solutions (magnetic strip cards in the parking bay, for example) would be needed to mitigate any potential weaknesses.
As the analysis reaches the front door of the building (or any other door through which the building can be accessed), a detailed list of staff and other permissible individuals should be created with a note indicating the areas to which every single employee has access to, and which not. Departmental stakeholders should also be consulted during the creation of this list to ensure that their inputs gained during the needs analysis are met.
Once inside the premises or building, the task becomes slightly more complicated since there’ll be people moving about in offices and other spaces for prolonged periods of time every day. Sensitive areas should be identified; if those areas are high traffic areas, then security measures in those specific areas should be bolstered, or the human traffic should be diverted. CCTV cameras are typically employed in addition to other security measures such as keypads or biometric fingerprint scanners. Consulting a blueprint of the premises, building or floor during this stage of the planning process will be nothing less than prudent.
Keep in mind: health and safety regulations often place certain requirements on escape routes in the event of fires or other potential disasters. An efficient security plan will restrict access to the premises, but will allow a free flow of traffic to designated gathering areas.
After the physical world has been planned, all that remains is to plan the digital integration of these access control solutions, and their accompanying security solutions, into the IT infrastructure. Like vital servers, switches and routers, these systems also require redundancy in the event of device or system failure; should all your security solutions be connected to an upstream server, switch or router without a redundant backup and it fails, the situation may arise that no one can either enter or leave the premises. Should this happen in the event of a fire, the damage to the premises or personal injury could end up costing the organisation tens of thousands.
As such, planning effective access control solutions requires prudence, patience and, above all, a clear indication of its individual goals. This will allow the implementation of effective security solutions of which the need can be justified when next year’s budget is planned.