In January, the Office for National Statistics published an alarming headline figure – in 2015 there had been recorded a 27% increase in violent crime.
The figures were splashed around newspapers and have been revisited a number of times over the past months, particularly following the Brexit vote and the increase in reported hate crime. With the general decline in crime rates breeding complacency, organisations not taking the necessary steps to keep secure are ultimately paying the price.
It’s a nightmare scenario; theft, violence, criminal damage, danger to people, happening with your business, your school, your premises. But as an employer, it is your duty to keep your employees and your assets safe.
In 2015, 23% of businesses in the manufacturing industry reported some form of physical stealing, be it burglary, robbery or theft. The picture is bleak across a number of sectors:
35% of businesses in the arts, entertainment and recreation sectors
31% of transport and storage businesses (non-vehicle related)
24% of businesses in the accommodation and food sectors
6% of information and communications business
Security of premises is often at the forefront of many peoples’ minds, particularly in schools and educational institutions, or businesses with valuable stock, data
Breaches not only cause loss of important assets, inflate insurance premiums and constrain business, but also seriously compromise the safety of employees, patrons, students, and customers.
Many organisations will have worst case scenario plans, insurance, and physical barriers in place. However, there is a conflict between locking down your premises and allowing the people who are entitled to be there free access. This is where access control systems come into play.
In the field of physical security, access control is the selective restriction of access through designated points such as doors, gates, turnstiles, and barriers
Physical barriers have an obvious appeal when it comes to security, but issues arise when they interrupt the day-to-day function of a building. If locked doors have to remain unlocked at certain times to allow access, this opens up a period of vulnerability. If you rely on key-holders, a key misplaced means a lock needs changing. If you rely on a keypad door entry system, the number will probably be shared. If an external visitor or contractor requires access, you will likely have to entrust them with a key or a code.
There are ways around this, however.
Access control that relies on an individual, unique credential can leave you with a secure access point that can only be opened by designated cards or fobs. The evolution of door control hardware in recent years means that, supported by appropriate software, you can restrict access to certain card users to certain doors at certain times on certain days. At the comprehensive end of the scale, software goes even further, and you can view movement between doors, or when a cardholder has attempted to access an authorised door.
This software can link access levels to:
- Company grounds
- Training records
- Right-to-work verification (such as valid working permit)
- Or even when a person is scheduled to be onsite, so that if a contractor walks away with a card at the end of their contract, it will no longer allow them access
If safety is a key concern, the evolution of door control means that physical and software links can be set up with a fire panel. Common industry standards are locks that can be programmed to ‘fail-safe’ (open on a fire alarm) or ‘fail-secure’ (remain secure on a fire alarm). With our Intelligent software this can go one step further, and automatically print fire reports based on access records (who is recorded as being in the building) or send a tick list to a smartphone or tablet.
In addition to this, as an added level of security, intelligent software links between access control software and specialised card printers allows the printing of photographs, or details of a user, straight onto a card, to create an intelligent ID badge. Not only does this make spot checks a simple process, but means it is quickly obvious if someone is using a card that is not theirs.
In brief, access control has to move with the times; we’ve long since progressed from times when you could block your cave entrance with a large boulder. To keep people and assets safe, a more intelligent approach is required, and this is where it helps to keep up to speed with the latest technologies in the access control industry.