Access control controllers - Expert commentary

Physical security in 2021: Post-pandemic solutions
Physical security in 2021: Post-pandemic solutions

In a world forever changed by the coronavirus pandemic, companies worldwide are now expanding their concept of physical security to best safeguard their facilities and employees. Few incidents have had as much of an impact on businesses globally as the COVID-19 pandemic; much of the world is still struggling to contain COVID-19, navigating the lasting effects and exploring what the “new normal” looks like. While some organisations are still engaged primarily in “anywhere operations”, i.e. remote work, many organisations are implementing strategic physical security solutions that better protect everyone through the use of video surveillance technology and advanced intelligence capabilities. As this new normal takes hold within the business environment, security strategies will largely be centered around several key initiatives like access control, people counting, occupancy controls, temperature screening, contact tracing, and reducing office touch points. With the use of a video management system (VMS) in the shadow of COVID-19, occupancy data from a VMS can trigger a lockdown and not permit new entrants until the occupancy drops below a certain threshold; this is significantly useful for organisations that have returned to in-person work.  But there’s a caveat: though many legacy security systems are being re-evaluated to allow for touchless or frictionless access control — a move designed to eliminate the need for employees and visitors to physically touch a surface when using an access control system — upgrading the outdated technologies can be cumbersome and expensive, especially for organizations that had not planned for an interruption like the pandemic. Security contractors will be vital So, what is the solution? Security contractors will play a vital role in helping end-users across a range of vertical markets — large and small — to achieve their goals in the new paradigm. For some, this may mean leveraging existing access control and video surveillance systems with upgrades where needed. For others, an entire overhaul is made possible with budget friendly solutions for businesses to migrate to integrated access control through end-to-end security solutions that tie into existing infrastructures without major disruptions (meaning the organisation will never be left vulnerable). Cybersecurity is becoming even more intertwined with physical security There is massive transformation occurring in the security industry, most notably the movement to digitise physical access and integrate it with video management systems and surveillance. This shift means that cybersecurity is becoming even more intertwined with physical security, allowing organisations the ability to correlate the metadata of people’s behaviors and activities — a plus point for those looking to remain vigilant against future pandemic-esque business interruptions. Access, video, and audio are converging into consolidated platforms. Due to lower costs and pairings with IP-based, wireless infrastructure, there are infinite solution configurations. IT security requirements are beginning to apply to physical security because of this integrated infrastructure. Multi-factor authentication The security industry is also beginning to see a trend of multi-factor authentication, which is going to dominate in the days to come as it makes solutions more reliable. Most people carry smartphones these days, which have green check communication capabilities that allow easy multi-factor authentication. Costs are going down, and algorithms are getting better, making more people willing to try it. Some new solutions have both the fingerprint reader and a camera for facial biometrics Some new solutions have both the fingerprint reader and a camera for facial biometrics. Cameras and CCD modules cost almost nothing, and they do not have to be super high-end anymore, especially if organisations are doing one-to-one verification. It’s not just about security now; it is security, health, and safety. Access control with video, intelligent readers, and credentials is a perfect platform for next generation solutions.

Access control and door entry management: How technology is driving change
Access control and door entry management: How technology is driving change

Access control and door entry is a huge responsibility, and challenge, for local authorities and housing associations UK wide. For councils, they’re accountable for the security and safety of many public facilities such as leisure centres, libraries as well as residential housing developments which are often large scale and home to hundreds of people. Housing associations manage affordable rental housing which also means they’re responsible for the appropriate access control management for each individual house or flat. Technology developments have enabled better entry systems that are far more secure yet also more convenient and easier to manage. For example, with modern intercom and access control systems, remote management and communication is something that offers local authorities and housing associations features that enable them to reduce costs and cut their carbon footprints by managing multiple sites from one place. On the other hand, such technological innovation has meant that local authority and housing association specifiers and consultants now have a wide range of systems and products to choose from which can cause issues in ensuring the right system for a specific building or development is chosen. Choosing an appropritate access control system In choosing an appropriate system, local authorities and housing associations need to opt for a cost effective solution that can be easily maintained with excellent support from the manufacturer and guarantees that the system and system parts will remain supported for the duration of its expected life cycle. It is also important that the chosen system is flexible to cater for the varying needs of the tenants and visitors. Of increasing importance is the reduction of anti-social behaviour which new technology can help by providing the use of data loggers which track the use and events of a door entry system, allowing specific evidence to be located by integrating with CCTV. Using technology to our advantage Through advancements in management systems and services, we can gain a much better visual representation of the events and general usage of an intercom entry system and not just its proximity access control. Systems, for example, can now send email alarms or notifications to the administrator or management. We are now able to modify user rights and access levels on the go from a mobile app which enables a much greater control over service and maintenance engineers, such as making sure they have full access when required via an app, rather than arriving to site with the incorrect keys or access fob. Systems, for example, can now send email alarms or notifications to the administrator or management Dealing with tenant’s lost and stolen keys has never been so easy either. The blocking or deletion of lost fobs and adding a new fob can be carried out in minutes while at the same time removing the cost of sending an engineer to the development to programme new fobs. This greatly reduces the carbon footprint of the whole task as fobs can now be sent out via post to a secure location for collection. Technology has also helped local authorities and housing associations to overcome the issue of not being able to have a concierge or building manager available 24/7 at some developments. Now with internet communication, it’s possible for tenants and visitors to get in touch with someone should they need assistance, whether that’s from within the apartment or from an entrance point. For example, lets take the Videx VX2200 with IP concierge integration. This system is exceptionally flexible, enabling calls to be answered on Videx intercoms and also mobile phones if required. With the integration of the IP concierge each block can be either standalone or networked via the internet back to a central control room. Reduced maintenance costs and carbon footprint We work with a wide range of local authorities and housing associations to help them overcome access control and door entry challenges. One organisation we have recently partnered with is The Living Group to help them greatly reduce their maintenance costs and carbon footprint by installing the MiAccess offline proximity system on many of their developments across the North East. Technology developments have enabled better entry systems that are far more secure yet also more convenient and easier to manage By installing an appropriate system, The Living Group has managed to overcome issues caused by the existing system’s limitations and also enabled much more flexibility when it comes to effectively managing the access control system of all their included developments. For those responsible for effective and appropriate access control, the management of the systems are easier, quicker and there’s no delay or on-going costs for needing a specialist programme to modify fobs and access rights as this can now all carried out in-house. Improved security legislation Further advancements in programmes such as Secured by Design (SBD), a police initiative that improves the security of buildings and their immediate surroundings to provide safe places to live, work and visit, means that there’s more security legislation being implemented that’s making intercoms and access control more secure, without affecting ease and convenience. Videx holds an SBD accreditation and we know, from first-hand experience, how it’s making a difference in keeping tenants safe. When you combine the safety features promoted by an SBD member company like ourselves with the likes of the Videx event logging, image capture and ability to modify access users on the go, for example, we can help to create a very safe and secure environment. Personally, I think there needs to be a greater emphasis on the role of security legislation Technology has completely transformed the way local authorities and housing association are able to choose, install and manage door entry and access control systems for tenants and visitors alike. Personally, I think there needs to be a greater emphasis on the role of security legislation such as Secured by Design to ensure all councils and housing association consultants are up to date with what constitutes a robust and secure system that’s also cost effective too. In my role, I see weaknesses in systems and constant ongoing costs that could easily be avoided. For instance, features such as timed remote entry means local authority and housing association management no longer need to worry about keys being lost, the wrong keys being supplied or locks needing to be changed. With new systems such as the Videx MiAccess and Videx WS4 range, we can help to massively reduce a housing association’s or council’s carbon footprint and engineer costs by allowing them the access to management and control from an offsite location. Crime prevention We can also use live and logged events to help prevent crime in different ways, from antisocial behaviour growing around a tenant being called or visited much more regularly than others, to knowing a tenant is currently still living at a property but isn’t paying rent or answering to any correspondence. Technology enables local authorities and housing associations to receive detailed data and therefore behavioural insights on the people under their management and care. If consultants and specifiers are advised on the most appropriate systems that meet their specific entry needs, they can ensure greater, safer and more convenient access control that meets the requirements of both the end user and the those responsible for its effective management.

Automatic gates: Making the right investment for access control
Automatic gates: Making the right investment for access control

The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic has made us all more conscious of who is coming and going from our property. Whether it is a family home, business premises or public building, property owners want full control over access for protection and peace of mind. As a provider of access control technologies, we are seeing a growing demand for automated gates with a variety of access control systems. There are a number of considerations that buyers need to make when investing. And as an installer, there is advice that you can offer to help your clients make the right choice for their property. Here are some of the key considerations you’ll need to make and discuss with your client. Whomever you buy from, you should be offered more than a simple instruction manual. Electronic locks, magnetic locks and code security In the first instance, you’ll need to advise on the type of lock and access control available. Electronic locks release on the operation of the automation system to allow the gates to open. Locks are required for all non-locking (also known as reversible) operators and are recommended for any gate on a multi-user site or any gate over 2.5m. Apply the same logic to an automated gate as you would to a domestic door – for example, you wouldn’t fit your front door with a lock on the same side as the hinges or a drop bolt at the hinge end of a manual gate so why dispense with this logic when the gate is automated? Electronic locks release on the operation of the automation system to allow the gates to open There are a number of locks on the market including magnetic locks, drop locks that “shoot” a bolt into the ground and side latching locks. These are all designed for external use. While the gate itself will provide physical security, the customer will want to feel in control of who enters their property, when and for what purpose. Consider access for post and deliveries, waste disposal and visitors arriving on foot etc. There is a range of options available. Intercom systems will allow the user to vet visitors, keypad entry can allow remote access for visitors with a specific code, remote controls allow an oncoming driver to open the gates without getting out of the vehicle, and a timer control can be used to open or close the gates at certain times of the day. Vehicle detection loops can be installed discreetly under the tarmac allowing the presence of vehicles to exit the gates and prevent closing whilst obstructed. Sliding gates versus swinging gates There are a number of locks on the market including magnetic locks, drop locks that “shoot” a bolt into the ground and side latching locks Gates can be automated to either swing or to slide open and in the case of swinging gates, the opener may be concealed underground or gate mounted. The most suitable opener for your installation will depend on the space available and the type of gate selected. Concealed underground automation is ideal for highly ornate gates. However, where gates are fully infilled (typical of many timber designs), gate mounted openers are concealed from the front of the gate by the gate leaf and present a cost-effective option. The choice between slide and swing is largely down to space - swing gates require a clear space for their opening arc whilst sliding gates require space to one or both sides of the gate. Sliding gates are perhaps the best choice where the drive slopes or when drive space is limited, as they use the least space when opening. Voltage Most swing gate and sliding systems are available in 24v or 230v. The 24v systems still need 230v mains power – there is a transformer built into the 24v control panels. Deciding which voltage to use can include a combination of factors such as the material of the gates, the location of the system and the safety features you want. Concealed underground automation is ideal for highly ornate gates With wrought iron gates, the wind can pass through them whereas with fully boarded wooden gates (popular because they give full privacy) the wind has nowhere to go, so they act like sails. For commercial or industrial applications with larger entrances and a heavy gate, you may need 3 Phase 400v power (sliding gates only). Installing gate motors in confined spaces The environment in which you are fitting may well influence which gate and motor you recommend. Will it be in an exposed area which is subject to the elements? Will it be positioned on a slope? Sliding gates are perhaps the best choice where the drive slopes or when drive space is limited Installers have always faced the challenge of installing gate motors in confined spaces. When fitting a pedestrian gate, there is often limited space in which to work – potentially making an installation time consuming and technically demanding. If this is the case for you, consider a gate operator which is designed specifically for installations with limited space for manoeuvre. An example of this is the E5 compact gate operator. The operator is not only small but has an optional slide lever attachment designed for installations where there is extremely limited space, meaning that just 8cm of the pillar is needed for installation. What’s more, improved fixing points and a simple ‘hook and fasten’ process means assembly is safe, quick and straight forward. Ultimately, you’ll be looking for a good quality, reliable product with good service. Work with a supplier that offers more than just a manual. If they are happy to offer training, their time and advice when you buy, the chances are you’ll get their support long term.

Latest SALTO Systems news

SALTO highlights the importance of cybersecurity to safeguard touchless access control devices
SALTO highlights the importance of cybersecurity to safeguard touchless access control devices

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 and the pandemic everyone is living through, the uptake in touchless access control which was previously gaining in popularity has been accelerated driving digital transformation across many industries and technologies. Among these is the rapid growth of mobile and cloud-based systems that make access control a simple and secure solution for businesses to manage keys, users, and doors across multiple locations, simply and conveniently. SALTO Systems, which has been delivering state-of-the-art wire-free and keyless electronic access control solutions since 2001, is acknowledged as a pioneer in the manufacture of these electronic access control solutions. Access control products But with that convenience can come risk and security vulnerabilities for the unwary which is why it’s important to consider that as access control products – both hardware and software - become increasingly attached to networks and other smart systems via the Internet of Things (IoT) cybersecurity needs to be front and centre if it is not to provide a pathway for cyber criminals and hackers. Smart devices commonly use wireless transmission of information often referred to as OTA to deliver software Smart devices commonly use wireless transmission of information often referred to as over-the-air (OTA) to deliver software, firmware, or configuration updates. This can include the use and configuration of security devices for use on networks using NFC, BLE, and RFID. To avoid security breaches and unauthorised attempts to access or unlock data, manufacturers should encrypt and authenticate OTA data and updates and deliver them to end-users via a secure protocol. Secure opening procedure When it comes to mobile technology and the use of ‘virtual’ keys sent to smartphones, one way to do this is to use AES 128 bit encryption which helps prevent skimming, eavesdropping, and replay attacks and a secure opening procedure with the key received securely encrypted using SSL. Another is to ensure products are certified to BSI Enhanced Level IoT Kitemark™ standard which demonstrates that a connected product has a higher level of security controls in place than the market standard for its type and is generally suitable for higher value or risk applications. Assessment to this level involves BSI’s most in-depth and exacting testing and analysis. SALTO has always applied the highest security standards to both its hardware and software products which is why its access control solution was among the first from any major security manufacturer to hold both ‘Secured by Design ‘accreditation and IoT Enhanced Kitemark™ status. Eliminating security flaws Its XS4 electronic escutcheon family, as well as its associated gateways, controllers and wall readers, are all Enhanced Level IoT Kitemark™ approved under the scheme as is the NEO electronic cylinder family and its tough new NEOxx electronic padlock product. Some manufacturers do not invest enough in eliminating potential security flaws from their systems" SALTO Systems Limited MD, Ramesh Gurdev says: “New security challenges will confront us as technologies accelerate and it’s important to stay ahead of the curve. Some manufacturers do not invest enough in eliminating potential security flaws from their systems, and this can be common in many entry level access products imported from Asia and elsewhere. At SALTO we’re driven by continuous improvement and committed to developing the most technologically advanced and flexible electronic locking solutions for any kind of door and user need.” Access control technology “Now we are synonymous with innovative solutions that set new standards in security, manageability, flexibility, and design that bring real-world benefits and this continues to set us apart. More recently, SALTO’s technological expertise has brought us to a leading position in both cloud-based access control technology and mobile access solutions.” “We’re proud that our NEO cylinder family now holds both ‘Secured by Design’ accreditation and Enhanced Level IoT Kitemark™ status as both are increasingly important in the specification of access control systems. Such awards mean we exceed the market standard for a number of security products across our access range which provides SALTO customers with the confidence that they are using some of the most technologically advanced and secure products available on the market today.”

SALTO Neo electronic cylinder gains BSI enhanced level IoT Kitemark™
SALTO Neo electronic cylinder gains BSI enhanced level IoT Kitemark™

SALTO Systems, front-runners in wire-free networked, wireless, cloud and smartphone-based access control solutions; announce that the SALTO Neo electronic cylinder is their latest product to gain the coveted BSI Enhanced Level IoT Kitemark™ for access control systems. Designed for doors where fitting an electronic escutcheon is not possible or required, the compact SALTO Neo Cylinder can be installed on standard doors, server racks, gates, cabinets, electric switches, sliding doors, and more. It’s also available in an extensive range of models, including a new tough next-generation electronic padlock, and is suitable for use on almost any kind of door from Europe to ASIA to the Americas. IoT security IoT is a network of smart devices and systems when connected, enables the exchange of data to provide services, efficiency and innovation BSI (British Standards Institution) has been part of this collaborative work to give clarity on best practices for IoT security, subsequently developing a scheme to assess connected/IoT devices. The scheme determines whether a product has the appropriate security controls for its intended use and is suitably supported throughout its intended life. This cyber/physical security scheme forms the security element of the BSI Kitemark for IoT/Connected products. The IoT is typically a network of smart devices and systems that can be connected, enabling data to be exchanged to provide services, efficiency, and innovation. Its technology can positively enhance lives and businesses, but the complexity of IoT also means that those of criminal intent may attempt to access it to steal data, hack cameras, enter buildings or otherwise breach security. Advanced security testing Like the already approved XS4 One electronics locks product family and BLUEnet wireless peripherals, SALTO controllers and readers, to achieve certification the SALTO Neo family of electronic cylinders had to undergo advanced security testing for vulnerabilities and security flaws in BSI’s state of the art IoT laboratory enduring BSI’s most in-depth and exacting testing and analysis. The SALTO Neo Cylinder provides an effective and convenient way of securing a building or assets. The clutch system is energy efficient, dropping power consumption to impressively low levels resulting in 100,000 / 130,000 operations from just one set of batteries. Standby power consumption is also reduced, further extending battery life. IP66-rated and certified Now IP66-rated, the SALTO Neo Cylinder is weather-resistant, making it especially suitable for outdoor use, even in the harshest of environments. Inside the tough SALTO Neo Cylinder exterior is the latest in electronic lock technology. Certified to the highest security standards, and incorporating ever-higher quality and reliability, the SALTO Neo Cylinder offers value far beyond security, however. It also provides greater control over the door by offering users access to audit trails, reports, alerts and much more. SALTO Systems Limited MD Ramesh Gurdev said, “We’re proud that our SALTO Neo cylinder family now holds both ‘Secured by Design’ accreditation and IoT Kitemark™ status as both are increasingly important in the specification of access control systems. The award means we now exceed the market standard for a number of security products across our access range which provides SALTO customers with confidence that they are buying one of the most secure products available on the market today.”

Wave XS by SALTO offers 100% touch-free access control
Wave XS by SALTO offers 100% touch-free access control

The Wave XS is a smart, fast and reliable access control solution with a touchless button that permits easy and clean operation for a large number of activator devices. Upgrading to touchless access control allows for hands-free entry, eliminating the need to make contact with common touchpoints upon entry and creating a more hygienic environment for everyone. Wave XS reader technology offers 100% touch-free automated access control. Depending on the configuration, the Wave XS reader’s capacitive technology can sense hand gestures. All the user has to do is approach the door and their hand activates the door to open, which makes for simple operation and eliminates the need to touch any surface. Automatic door opening hardware With the Wave XS standard reader range, one can easily install hands-free automatic door opening hardware on an existing electrified door to eliminate that added touchpoint and promote a touchless, disability compliant workplace. The solution can also be integrated with the SALTO Systems controller (CU) product range which delivers seamless integrations with lifts, turnstiles, and parking garages to further reduce touchpoints throughout a building. Push-button technology Automatic door technology is expected to revolve around innovation along with the development of smart touchless access Contactless push-button technology has advanced in recent years, with devices activated by proximity using microwave, infrared, and laser sensors. Within the context of the global pandemic, automatic door technology is expected to revolve around innovation and the development of smart touchless access that avoids contact and creates safer spaces. Some of these systems allow doors to be opened by simply bringing the hand to within just a few centimetres from the reader device. As SALTO Systems has long leveraged electronic locking solutions that enhance any door or building with elegant electronic locks, cylinders, locker locks, and readers, they do so again with the SALTO Wave XS reader. Wave XS features and characteristics Developed by the Conlan SALTO Group Company, the Wave XS reader will help combat the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus as well as future germ threats and help reinforce safety within building spaces. Hands-free wave to unlock touchless technology (Infrared) 2 Outputs (Open collector) Black and white faceplate & surface mounting Compact design with standard wiring IP65 protection rated for indoor and outdoor use Several design, text and symbol configurable options Operating temperature: -20°C ~ +70°C Voltage interval: 12 – 24 VDC, 30 mA Compatible with SALTO Space and SALTO KS technology platform

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