By: Alex Wasson
The physical security of our employees and buildings are a far higher priority to business leaders and decision-makers than they have traditionally been in the past. It is unfortunate that nearly every day there are reports or threats of violence in the workplace and schools around the nation. Although it’s hard to imagine, = the “all mythical and mysterious” Cloud can play a significant role in decreasing or even preventing a potential tragedy from occurring.
When we think about protection for a physical threat, it comes down to a lock and key, a way to limit access to areas where a perpetrator is not welcome. If they cannot access a location, the likelihood of them forcing entry through a locked door is far less. In a study performed by the FBI, nearly 70% of active shooter incidents ended within 5 minutes or less and 14% ended within less than 2 minutes. Locked doors simply take too long to get through.
So…Just Lock the Door?
The problem with a common lock and key however is that during a time of distress, it’s easy to fumble and can take a much longer time to secure. Simply put, these armed persons are gaining access to areas where they shouldn’t be. Access control systems allow management to determine when and where doors are locked, who is allowed to enter, an audit trail or reporting of who was there and when, and instant activation/deactivation of credentials in case of emergency situations. As technology progresses, these systems have become more intelligent. They utilize various credentials, biometrics, and more in order to grant access. These systems create a complex, layered approach to security not found with a normal lock and key. Perhaps this is just one of the many reasons why the global sales of access control systems is set to exceed $530 million for 2018 and is slated to reach over $1.8 billion in just 5 years. It is a solution that works.
So why doesn’t every business or school have a sophisticated access control system? Well, the cost. There is usually a significant, upfront capital investment. However, the limitations and drawbacks of relying on a standard lock and key defense far outweigh the presumed cost savings.
- Keys are easily replicated or end up with an unintended user.
If an employee is fired under hostile conditions, the entire building’s key configurations have to be reworked. (Maybe they turned in their key at dismissal, but who’s to say they didn’t make a copy beforehand?)
- Keys are notorious for being lost or misplaced.
Getting a lock rekeyed can cost anywhere from $50-$100 per door. Although it’s not a huge expense (depending on how many doors you have), it is one that is not included in your budget and can happen multiple times a year.
Where the Cloud Comes to Play
Cloud-based access control systems allow you to depend on the ever-increasing capabilities of IoT devices. Card readers, key fobs, and pin numbers are implemented as an alternative to a typical lock and key entry. If someone is fired, their credential method can easily be deactivated and can even set an alert if there is an attempted use. If an employee misplaces or forgets their card, that card can quickly be deactivated and temporary credentials can be sent via email.
The cloud-based system is incredibly efficient because it takes the management/the headend/the brains of the system and its software and places it on an external server in a secure off-site data center. With the infrastructure off-site, there’s no need to purchase all of that equipment. It only requires an internet connection. That server can then be monitored and managed by external “employees”; if a manager needs to add or remove an employee’s access, they simply give their managed systems provider a call and it’s done. Those notifications from an old employee trying to gain access are acknowledged immediately and the proper course of action can be taken before a situation occurs.
The cloud-based access control systems have a far lower cost of entry. Business owners pay for the services on a monthly/per door basis. It’s a flexible and scalable approach to security; as a business grows, the location or expansion of the system can adjust based on the users’ needs. Additionally, managers can remotely access their system from a standard browser or mobile app to securely make changes if necessary.
Will this work for me?
This solution is the best fit for small to medium businesses such as doctor’s offices, retail offices, property managers, smaller schools and more who operate without a dedicated IT staff on site.
Still not sure? Give us a call!
We understand that keeping up with technology can be a job in-and-of itself, adding that to the safety and security of your staff, students, or property, the task can seem overwhelming. At Tech Electronics, we have staff that is dedicated to providing you with the absolute best solution for your business’ needs and budget. Contact our experts today to learn more information on the benefits of cloud-based access control!