Enterprise access control systems have become a target for hackers who look for the easy way in. Some enterprises rely on access control systems solely for ease of use, and others use them to provide some level of protection.
However, in today’s business world, it’s imperative that all enterprise security managers utilize their access control systems as a way to mitigate risk—and if that’s not on your radar screen, it should be. Before we dive into securing your existing systems, let’s first talk a bit about the risk posed by enterprise access control systems.
Enterprise Access Control Systems — They Are Not Without Risk
No matter how satisfied you are with the enterprise access control systems you’ve used, keep in mind that they do have some risks that you should account for. First, there’s the simple, but potentially big issue of user error. People often lose or forget their access methods, including their RFID cards, passwords, and mobile devices. This means that not only do they not have access, but that an unauthorized person might, which is a big problem.
Another common issue to consider with enterprise access control systems is that they can be fairly easily hacked if cybersecurity is not a priority, since they often rely on codes and other digital tactics. A Google employee discovered this when he found a vulnerability in the enterprise access control system on Google’s campus. He sent a code across the network that was able to trick the doors into unlocking without using the required RFID card.
Fortunately, Google quickly fixed the issue, starting with using a more effective form of encryption to stop hackers from getting in. But this shows that even a major tech company like Google can be hacked if cybersecurity isn’t a high priority when it comes to the access control system.
Finally, your enterprise access control system might not be compatible with the other security technology you’re already using. This means you might install a system that freezes up often because the hardware and software aren’t compatible with each other. This can lead to delays or the outright inability to access what you need when you need it, so compatibility needs to be a consideration when you’re installing an access control system.
Enterprise Access Control Systems— 4 Ways to Keep Them Secure
So, what do security professionals need to know to keep their enterprise access control systems secure? I went to our team of account managers and several clients for their guidance on this topic—here is the advice they shared:
- Understand your enterprise access control system fully
To properly use enterprise access control systems, you have to understand how they work. That’s why working with a security integrator rather than simply a security vendor focused on selling equipment is so important. As I cautioned earlier, a security vendor might sell you an enterprise access control system that might not be compatible with your other security technologies. A security integrator is your strategic security partner and can ensure compatibility between all of your systems. They can be counted on to work beyond the sale to ensure you and your team are fully trained on the system and understand every detail about how the system operates, An integrator partner will also be available to help answer questions and/or modify the system as needed as the company grows and security needs evolve.
- Be transparent about your access security system needs
It used to be that companies wanted to keep any security issues quiet, sweeping them under the rug when they were discovered. Today, our clients report that transparency and swift action are critically important. Security professionals across several industries recommended being open and honest about the unique realities and challenges of the company’s security needs as you not only work to solve current problems, but also plan for the future. Your team and your employees play important roles here and should collectively work together to identify and fix weaknesses within the system. Your security integrator can also play a role here, helping you be proactive about your security needs moving forward.
- Educate employees, they are your front line of defense
As I mentioned earlier, many access control issues are actually due to human error. Employees are every company’s front line of defense against security issues and keeping them informed is key. Employee education and ongoing training can help cut down on user errors, and the more they understand about credentialing and the importance of quickly reporting problems or concerns, the better.
Look for opportunities to educate employees on an ongoing basis.
For example, you can offer training on your enterprise access control system during the onboarding process. You can also use company-wide emails, intranet messages, newsletters, and department meetings to help communicate the importance of security awareness to your team. One and done is not the way to treat security awareness training—it’s an ongoing process and one that never ends. Don’t despair, that’s a good thing. The more your people know, the more they will understand the importance of security, and the more they’ll be able to contribute to the process.
- Look into other types of access control systems
There are a few types of enterprise access control systems to choose from, so consider your options before selecting one. Maybe you use a card system now, but a mobile security system might better serve your needs in the not-too-distant future. That’s also where a security integrator can play an important role in helping you develop a long-term electronic security plan and help you make decisions that will serve your access control system needs both now and in the future.
- Understand your enterprise access control system fully
Hopefully these thoughts on how to secure your enterprise access control system have provided some insight that you might not have considered. If my team and I can help you in any way, even with a quick question, feel free to reach out. You can connect with me on LinkedIn or send me an email.
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The original version of this article was first published on 3Sixty Integrated.
Brian Cox is an account executive at 3Sixty Integrated. Driven by his passion for finding the right security solutions for his clients, Brian has accumulated over 7 years of extensive industry knowledge. He likes to solve problems and is particularly intrigued by those related to electronic security. Brian has developed solutions for clients in differing environments, from K-12 and higher education to municipalities, healthcare and government institutions. He’s found nothing satisfies him more than meeting new people, developing new relationships and winning chili cook offs.