Simple and secure access control management

Access control is necessary for the security, operations, and sometimes compliance of a business. But an access control system is only as good as the policies and procedures in place to maintain it. Otherwise, consistency, safety, and efficiency may be lacking. In this post, we’ll share the things our industry experts have discovered and applied over the years to manage a simple and secure access control system. 

Access control mistakes and their implications

Has your system ever denied access to a space in your building that someone needed to do their job? Do you have high-secure areas that any employees can access, even if they don’t need to? We know you’ve been there – an employee shows up and can’t get in, or a door unlocks when it shouldn’t. If you don’t have a well-maintained access control system, proper access and building security could be at risk. IPVM outlines some of the biggest mistakes in access control and our experts have seen them all. Continue reading for our recommendations to counter these mistakes and achieve a simple and secure access control system. Do you know you need help now? SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT!

5 biggest access control mistakes
IPVM's 5 biggest access control mistakes

11 tips to manage your access control system

1. Create consistency and clarity when naming doors, areas, access levels, and schedules. If using a number or letter sequence, does it makes sense logistically? During an emergency, you don’t want authorities to waste precious minutes figuring out where to go. To avoid confusion, socialize door and area names internally and make sure they match on all documentation.

2. Assign role-based access by restricting users’ permissions to only what they need to perform their jobs. For example, an accounting intern doesn’t need access to your server room, right? And your HR manager better be able to access employee records. Think about where each type of role needs to go to do their jobs and how they will get there to create the right access level.  

3. Keep the number of access levels to a minimum. Use a default set of readers assigned to all cardholders, then add more doors based on roles. Assign no more than three access levels to a cardholder and avoid exclusive access levels for just one or two people. We’ve seen countless access levels that were created on the fly for an immediate need, creating confusion and heavy cleanup later. Keep it simple and use a standard.  

4. Consider time frames when designing access levels. Not only can you decide who has access to which doors and areas, but you can control when. Do certain roles need to do things on the weekends or holidays? Are other roles prohibited to be onsite after everyone else has left for the day? Think about the different scenarios so you can further customize each access level and ONLY provide 24/7 access to those who truly need it. 

5. Implement Visitor & Vendor Management. Consider using temporary access for contractors and visitors that will automatically expire. With visitor and vendor management, a simple and automated process ensures they have access to the right areas while onsite. Furthermore, it keeps records of who has been where, and revokes access when it’s no longer needed.

Visitor Management

6. Program holiday schedules in advance. Program a year’s worth of holidays and simply modify them annually. We see an influx of issues on holidays that can disrupt people’s valuable time off, so programming in advance ensures that the building is locked and off limits when it should be.

7. Establish a process for adding, removing, and auditing access. When do your former employees’ access rights get revoked? Do new employee have proper access when they start?  Ensure onboarding and offboarding processes include creating and removing access credentials and don’t forget external parties like contractors, patients, visitors, etc. And even if it IS part of a process, we’re only human. Things get missed. For that reason, AUDIT! Run a quarterly access report for all employees and compare it with new hires and terminations.  

8. Proactively check for unusual activity. If someone is spending considerable hours in your financial records office for no obvious reason, wouldn’t you want to know? Viewing activity reports regularly will show spikes that could indicate a red flag. Or, run an “Access Denied” report to find unusual patterns or failed access attempts. Take it one step further by leveraging vide to cross reference ‘Access Denied’ events to recorded footage at the door.  

9. ALWAYS keep software and firmware current. Outdated software and firmware can open your network to cybercrimes. So, updates are imperative to the health of your system. They improve the functionality and features of your devices and provide fixes to performance issues. Most importantly, they minimize the risk of a cybercrime and keep your system safe.  

10. Consider using other access control features like reporting, forced and held open notifications, mantrap function, threat levels or lockdown functions, key management, other options for credentials, or integrations with other business software. These features can increase safety, productivity, and efficiency.  

11. Discourage “tailgating” and propping open doors. We all like to be polite and hold doors open for people, right? Be careful! In security, tailgating is when a person with an authorized credential opens a door, allowing one or more people to pass through freely. When this occurs, you won’t have a record of who entered where. Even worse, a person with malicious intent could enter an area they shouldn’t. Educate team members on proper usage of doors and refresh training procedures to make this a standard for your team.  

Piggybacking
In an article published by IPVM, it is suggested that tailgating could be the biggest access control vulnerability.

Not sure where to start to ensure you have a simple and secure access control system? CONTACT US to speak with an expert. 

Get the most out of your investment

Remember, a neglected access control system can hurt more than it can help. Don’t invest in technology without the policies and procedures to back it up. Follow these guidelines to ensure the right people have access to the right areas at the right time, while optimizing efficiency and keeping your business protected.

Is your access control system in need of some TLC, but the thought of tackling it alone is too daunting? Not only do we have options to manage your system for you; our experts can do a deep dive. Together, we can roll up our sleeves and clean house so you can enjoy a simple and secure access control system.

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