The increasing availability of new security technologies is driving many facility managers to implement high-tech, keyless electronic entry solutions as a means for managing access to large scale buildings and organizations.
In many cases, significant attention and budget is dedicated to securing the exterior building perimeter and grounds; however, that same level of access control is not often extended to the enclosures that store high value items, confidential information, and employee belongings within the facility. Facility managers can ensure security of the building as well as its contents by retrofitting interior enclosures and cabinets with electronic access solutions. A complete electronic access solution includes an access control or input device, an electromechanical lock or latch and the capability to monitor remotely. When used with existing building access credentials, facility managers can connect building security systems with enclosure access to ensure facility wide access control that addresses the security needs of a variety of different enclosure applications.
1) Inventory Management
In order to better manage supplies and materials used for general maintenance and upkeep, many facilities have installed self-service lockers to store valuable tools and inventory. Electronic access solutions can be used to track access to these lockers, providing clear accountability by generating a digital audit trail that can be used for ordering and reporting, helping to reduce theft and loss. Each end user is assigned their own unique credential, which provides the input signal to a concealed electronic lock within a locker that opens the corresponding drawer or door.
2) Datacom Enclosures
Within a data center setting, electronic access can be used to physically protect the cabinets that house confidential data. For example, within a colocation environment where cabinets housing information from multiple organizations are stored, electronic access enables the IT manager to control access to each enclosure individually. An electronic lock with an integrated access control device, like a card reader or Bluetooth enabled controller can be easily installed within an existing cabinet and integrated with the data center’s overall security infrastructure. The IT manager can then control access on an individual basis, ensuring that only authorized personnel have access to secure server hardware.
3) Lockers and Office Equipment
Electronic access can also be used to secure employee belongings and protect other high-value items such as laptops that contain confidential data, or highly classified materials that cannot leave the building. Electronic locks can be easily installed into existing lockers and office equipment, allowing items to be stored securely overnight or between shifts. When networked with a building’s existing security system, the facility manager can access these enclosures from anywhere within the building or from a remote location, and add or delete user credentials according to personnel changes.
4) Medical Dispensing Carts and Patient Records
In the medical environment, preventing security breaches and maintaining compliance with industry regulations are key concerns for the healthcare facility manager. Unauthorized access and control issues can be prevented by installing concealed electronic locks within the enclosures that protect patient records and expensive pharmaceuticals and supplies. For instance, smaller electronic locks, such as electromechanical slide bolts take up minimal space in the drawers that store medications on portable dispensing carts, or within wall mounted charting stations that house computers containing patient information. These intelligent electronic locks deliver access reporting and audit trail capabilities that can be used to demonstrate compliance with HIPAA.
Moving into the future, there will come a time when most common physical objects will be connected to the Internet, and will be able to communicate intelligently with other devices. This concept, known as the Internet of Things (IoT), is already being used to simplify the interaction between individuals, technology and their environments. As this technology evolves, facility managers will have many creative solutions for integrating physical security throughout a facility.
Electronic access solutions offer a simplified means of connecting existing building security with interior enclosures, improving security administration across the entire facility. Intelligent electronic locks can be easily installed on secure equipment within a facility. When combined with existing access control systems, these solutions provide digital records of access and remote monitoring capabilties, allowing facility managers greater tracebility and accountability.
Steve Spatig is general manager of electronic access control solutions for Southco, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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