Access control is the first line of defense for many facilities looking to allow users to enter seamlessly, and prevent intruders from gaining access. Access control systems have been as simple as a lock and key, or as complex as electronic systems with individual assigned cards that allow for data reports on usage. However, For the first time since inception, cloud-based systems are set to change the market landscape.
All buildings need to regulate their building security, from healthcare facilities, to small commercial properties.
With this in mind, balancing security with convenience has always been a challenge. Facility managers and decision makers have to account for accessibility and ease of use, alongside security – not to mention budgets and management capabilities. With this, and the fact that many traditional security systems can sometimes be demanding to manage, it’s clear as to why facilities are beginning to implement cloud-based systems into their security strategies.
One of those new demands is cybersecurity. As with most internet-connected systems, today’s access control systems are also at risk to cyber attacks – with potentially detrimental consequences to building security. With this being a new area for some (consider schools or small commercial facilities), questions are now being raised on how to effectively secure a building both physically and electronically.
Cloud systems essentially store and access data online, taking it away from an on-premise computer or server. When integrated into an access control system, cloud solutions offer facilities a number of operational choices. Users can set how visitors are granted access into the building, with a number of situations possible, such as registration in a reception area paired with visitor passes. Of course, other factors need to be taken into account, such as the required movement of the visitor; but this is left in the hands of the decision maker. With the cloud, these decisions are designed to be made quickly and effortlessly – all via the internet and all while providing extra digital security.
Yet, there is a common misconception that on-site closed network security solutions are more secure. With plenty of evidence against this, cloud-based systems are progressively being seen as the best equipped systems for cyber attacks (providing the correct procedures are put in place, i.e. two-factor authentication). For an internally managed system, facilities may need a large amount of resources, time and even budget to keep it running smoothly. Updates, in particular, can be a timely and precise process, and when done manually on-site, there’s the chance that a lax approach or a common mistake could cause huge security repercussions.
In reality, many sites lack the expertise and experience to effectively and securely manage access control privileges. Stretched IT teams and budget issues can sometimes result in a more lenient or less meticulous operation. This increases the possibility that their access control systems become vulnerable to cyber attacks, highlighting the weaknesses of these systems compared to those that are handled by third-party organizations.
With cloud-based systems, the maintenance is taken away from internal teams, saving time and resources and giving peace of mind that updates are being handled by expert teams. This extra layer of security is why schools, among other facilities, across the globe are beginning to make the switch.