Access control controllers - Expert commentary

Get the most from investments in building security
Get the most from investments in building security

From analogue to digital, from stand-alone to interlinked, building systems are in a state of transition. Moreover, the rate of change shows no sign of slowing, which can make it difficult to keep up to date with all the latest developments. If asked to pinpoint the single biggest driver of this revolution, one could point out the growing clamour for platform convergence. A security guard in a building doesn’t want to use different systems to check video cameras, fire alarms or if someone has entered a restricted area: – it simply isn’t efficient. For similar reasons, a building manager wants a single interface to control heating and lighting to match fluctuating occupancy levels, particularly in a hybrid working model. Applying the digital glue The demand from end-users for system convergence is growing, but to achieve full interoperability you still need to apply some ‘digital glue’ and that requires expertise. Yet bringing together disparate systems from different manufacturers can be problematic. Just as you get things to work, someone upgrades their solution and your carefully implemented convergence can start to come unstuck. Managing an implementation can quickly become more complicated, today’s quick-fix can become tomorrow’s headache This is one of the principal issues with all types of new technology; not everyone will choose the same path to reach the desired goal – it’s the old VHS/Betamax argument updated for building management and security systems. Managing and maintaining an implementation can quickly become more complicated than it first appears and without proper oversight, today’s quick-fix can become tomorrow’s technical headache. Effective support for a hybrid workforce Today’s hybrid workforce is a response to the pandemic that looks set to become an established part of working life for many companies across the world. Security systems have a massive role to play in facilitating this transformation that goes beyond simple intrusion detection, access control, and video monitoring. They can identify the most densely populated areas in a building to comply with social distancing guidelines and provide efficient use of space. The insights gathered from a security system can also be used to identify patterns of behaviour, which can then be used for planning and directing the use of building space to help create the best possible working environment while also minimising heating, lighting, and air conditioning expenditures. Identity credentials can help manage compliance with industry regulations by limiting access to certain areas Similarly, identity credentials – either biometric or mobile-based – can help manage compliance to industry regulations by limiting access to certain areas only to approved employees. Creating and maintaining the appropriate level of functionality requires a combination of innovative solutions and industry experience. The complete security package It’s not just physical security that’s important – cybersecurity is a major focus, too. Bringing together both the physical security and cybersecurity realms is increasingly becoming a ‘must have’ capability. What is evident is that the pace of technological change is faster than ever. Today’s functionality simply wouldn’t have been possible just a few years ago, while today’s leading-edge developments may seem commonplace in five years.

Is hybrid working a red flag for business security?
Is hybrid working a red flag for business security?

The ‘new normal’ was all we heard about when it came to the working model shift after the pandemic hit. Businesses worldwide adopted working from home, and then the hybrid model: a balance of remote work and office work. And according to a recent survey by 451 Research, nearly 80% of organisations surveyed said they have implemented or expanded universal work-from-home policies as a result of COVID-19, whilst 67% expect these policies to remain in place either permanently or for the long-term. With more vacant office spaces, the question is: is hybrid working a red flag for business security? Empty-office days When buildings and office spaces are still active with advanced technology, equipment and assets on show, yet footfall is not as busy as it once was, opportunistic criminals are closely watching and taking note. But what are they learning? Security systems provider, Expert Security UK, investigates our new normal. Offices are nests for expensive, valuable equipment, with maybe the latest technology Instead of a packed, busy office five or six days a week, hybrid working means more empty-office days, which is music to the ears of burglars. Offices are nests for expensive, valuable equipment, with maybe the latest technology and safes sitting there, or potential stacks of cash or company cards. You may be thinking, well, who leaves company cards or cash out? You’d be surprised, especially when business owners think they’ll never be a victim, or sometimes, staff make mistakes. Hybrid working model And don’t forget, burglars don’t always know what’s been left and will take their chances. And when a hybrid working model is the ‘new normal’, that means a lapse in security - at least in a thief’s mind. So how worried should business owners be? Well, the latest figures are pretty worrying, but also, not massively shocking. Reiterating the temptation and lure the working model shift has on robbers, Statista recorded a 12-year high for robbery offences in the UK in 2019/2020. When more businesses either shut up shop or sent staff away to home offices, it’s not hard to make a connection. These figures reflect how, when given the opportunity, thieves will strike and take advantage. Handing vital information Whether you’ve decided to go fully remote, it’s crucial to review and rethink your business security However, it’s worth noting that the lockdowns and empty streets would also have played a part in this spike, and now that we’re out of lockdowns with a world back to flipping its sign to ‘open’, many businesses will be carrying on working from home, but towns, shops, and streets are busy again. Whether you’ve decided to go fully remote, or have adopted the hybrid model, it’s crucial to review and rethink your business security, starting with your social media presence. It’s a good idea to review your social media channels. We forget how open we can be on social media, and how our digital presence can actually work as a perfect guide and insight for criminals. All they have to do is follow your channels to pick up on clues. And if you’re not giving it a minute’s thought about what you're putting out there, you may even be just handing them vital information and helping their plans. Remote working shift Of course, there is information readily available such as your opening times, location etc. But, do you really want/need to show off the new, state-of-the-art tablets you’ve just kitted your office out with? It can be hard as a business, or even as a social person, to not want to share positive news on social media, but we really do have to stop and think, especially if people know a lot about the company and its remote working shift. It’s also a good idea to have a meeting with your staff about a social media policy Maybe share a post about that new, intelligent security system you've installed instead. It’s also a good idea to have a meeting with your staff about a social media policy or maybe just a casual chat about best practices, e.g. not to tag the business in a post about their new office gadget etc. Improving business security With fewer office days, you probably won’t need to take up as much work space anymore. Maybe some equipment has become more ornamental. Anything you don’t use or need, you could sell or donate. If you do have expensive equipment lying around that’s not being used, try and make money back from it or store it elsewhere. If you are keeping a lot of expensive equipment in vacant premises, especially fixed equipment and technology, then consider installing bars and shutters over the windows. Whatever your budget, you can improve your business security tenfold with key security measures. One of them being access control. Security gates with access control are incredibly effective at stopping unauthorised people from gaining entry. There are also car park barriers and bollards that are highly effective at keeping any potential getaway vehicles out. Easily portable technology High-quality CCTV is a best friend to any business, but you need to be reviewing it frequently High-quality CCTV is a best friend to any business, but you need to be reviewing it frequently, especially if you’ve done a perimeter check and noticed any signs of forced entry or damage. Don’t forget those signs either, let visitors or trespassers know they’re on camera. To fit in with the hybrid working model, static fixtures are becoming redundant. For instance, companies are switching to laptops instead of computers, so that workers can transport them easily to and from the office. This is not only more efficient and convenient, but it means assets are more guarded. It’s the same for any other gadgets. Having easily portable technology is good for business, hybrid working, and security. Don’t forget about your deterrents. Simple signs to warn people of alarms, CCTV, and even the fact that you don’t leave equipment inside overnight can go a long way. Best security technology Thieves are famous for taking their chances. Some will meticulously plan, and many strike at a convenient, opportune time. So having signs in place that show you have high-quality, intelligent security in place can work wonders, making them think twice. It’s also worth noting that you may not have the best security technology in place at the moment, but those on the outside don’t need to know that; they can be fooled. However, having the best physical security in place is vital, as criminals lurk and will take chances. Keep reviewing your security, especially as your business adapts and reshapes - whether you return back to full office days or carry on the hybrid working model. This guest post was contributed by Danny Scholfield, Managing Director of Expert Security UK.

Access the right areas - Making a smart home genius with biometrics
Access the right areas - Making a smart home genius with biometrics

Household adoption of smart home systems currently sits at 12.1% and is set to grow to 21.4% by 2025, expanding the market from US$ 78.3 billion to US$ 135 billion, in the same period. Although closely linked to the growth of connectivity technologies, including 5G, tech-savvy consumers are also recognising the benefits of next-generation security systems, to protect and secure their domestic lives. Biometric technologies are already commonplace in our smartphones, PCs and payment cards, enhancing security without compromising convenience. Consequently, manufacturers and developers are taking note of biometric solutions, as a way of levelling-up their smart home solutions. Biometrics offer enhanced security As with any home, security starts at the front door and the first opportunity for biometrics to make a smart home genius lies within the smart lock. Why? Relying on inconvenient unsecure PINs and codes takes the ‘smart’ out of smart locks. As the number of connected systems in our homes increase, we cannot expect consumers to create, remember and use an ever-expanding list of unique passwords and PINs. Indeed, 60% of consumers feel they have too many to remember and the number can be as high as 85 for all personal and private accounts. Biometric solutions strengthen home access control Biometric solutions have a real opportunity to strengthen the security and convenience of home access control Doing this risks consumers becoming apathetic with security, as 41% of consumers admit to re-using the same password or introducing simple minor variations, increasing the risk of hacks and breaches from weak or stolen passwords. Furthermore, continually updating and refreshing passwords, and PINs is unappealing and inconvenient. Consequently, biometric solutions have a real opportunity to strengthen the security and convenience of home access control. Positives of on-device biometric storage Biometric authentication, such as fingerprint recognition uses personally identifiable information, which is stored securely on-device. By using on-device biometric storage, manufacturers are supporting the 38% of consumers, who are worried about privacy and biometrics, and potentially winning over the 17% of people, who don’t use smart home devices for this very reason. Compared to conventional security, such as passwords, PINs or even keys, which can be spoofed, stolen, forgotten or lost, biometrics is difficult to hack and near impossible to spoof. Consequently, homes secured with biometric smart locks are made safer in a significantly more seamless and convenient way for the user. Biometric smart locks Physical access in our domestic lives doesn’t end at the front door with smart locks. Biometrics has endless opportunities to ease our daily lives, replacing passwords and PINs in all devices. Biometric smart locks provide personalised access control to sensitive and hazardous areas, such as medicine cabinets, kitchen drawers, safes, kitchen appliances and bike locks. They offer effective security with a touch or glance. Multi-tenanted sites, such as apartment blocks and student halls, can also become smarter and more secure. With hundreds of people occupying the same building, maintaining high levels of security is the responsibility for every individual occupant. Biometric smart locks limit entry to authorised tenants and eliminate the impact of lost or stolen keys, and passcodes. Furthermore, there’s no need for costly lock replacements and when people leave the building permanently, their data is easily removed from the device. Authorised building access Like biometric smart locks in general, the benefits extend beyond the front door Like biometric smart locks in general, the benefits extend beyond the front door, but also throughout the entire building, such as washing rooms, mail rooms, bike rooms and community spaces, such as gyms. Different people might have different levels of access to these areas, depending on their contracts, creating an access control headache. But, by having biometric smart locks, security teams can ensure that only authorised people have access to the right combination of rooms and areas. Convenience of biometric access cards Additionally, if building owners have options. The biometric sensors can be integrated into the doors themselves, thereby allowing users to touch the sensor, to unlock the door and enter. Furthermore, the latest technology allows biometric access cards to be used. This embeds the sensor into a contactless keycard, allowing the user to place their thumb on the sensor and tap the card to unlock the door. This may be preferable in circumstances where contactless keycards are already in use and can be upgraded. Smarter and seamless security In tandem with the growth of the smart home ecosystem, biometrics has real potential to enhance our daily lives, by delivering smarter, seamless and more convenient security. Significant innovation has made biometrics access control faster, more accurate and secure. Furthermore, today’s sensors are durable and energy efficient. With the capacity for over 10 million touches and ultra-low power consumption, smart home system developers no longer have to worry about added power demands. As consumers continue to invest in their homes and explore new ways to secure and access them, biometrics offers a golden opportunity for market players, to differentiate and make smart homes even smarter.

Latest Nedap Security Management news

Ava Security partners with Nedap to integrate their best-in-class solutions for security professionals
Ava Security partners with Nedap to integrate their best-in-class solutions for security professionals

Ava Security, the pioneer of unified video and cyber security, has teamed up with Nedap, the Dutch provider of powerful solutions in physical security, to integrate their best-in-class solutions for security professionals and integrators. Together, the Ava Aware Cloud™ intelligent video management system (VMS) and the Nedap AEOS physical access control provide the simplicity, security, and power needed for proactive physical security. Access control events By enabling the 24/7 video monitoring of access control events as they happen, Ava Security’s powerful AI analytics gives security professionals what they need to act: usable, precise data, delivered instantly, whether from a video security stream or Nedap’s card readers, door controllers, or intrusion components. The pop-up can be expanded to show more detail and allow further actions to be taken by the operators In cases of forced entry, authorisation failure, revoked credentials, or doors propped open for a longer period, notifications pop up on the Aware Cloud user interface, including a thumbnail view from the camera that triggered the rule. The pop-up can be expanded to show more detail and allow further actions to be taken by the operators. For instance, additional details can include the name of the badge holder, the image on the credential, and the exact location, provided in real-time, leading to insights and options that are just not possible if access control remains separate from video security. Gaining additional insights After an incident, fast forensic searches allow video security teams to find things quickly and reduce the burden of manually reviewing massive amounts of footage. Sam Lancia, Head of Video Engineering & Co-Founder of Ava Security, comments: “We are delighted to announce a new partnership that will enable organisations to react to security events as they unfold, connect the dots between ‘who,’ ‘where,’ and ‘how,’ and gain additional insights to streamline and take full control of their operations.” Integrations between security providers are crucial because of an increasing demand for real-time insights, cyber security protection, situational awareness, and the ability to perform accurate and fast investigations. Financial and commercial businesses, government, defence, healthcare organisations, schools and campuses, critical infrastructure facilities, and public venues can all benefit from the ability to monitor and detect access violations using the two seamlessly interconnected platforms. Amazing user experience Ava’s cloud video security solution is cyber-hardened with always-on end-to-end encryption Wesley Keegstra, Integration Manager at Nedap Security Management, says: “I’m very proud of having Ava Security joining our Technology Partner Programme. They truly bring an amazing user experience and a rich set of powerful features. By combining Ava Aware Cloud with the AEOS access control, you get strong insights on events and alarms like who accessed, where and when including the recorded videos. Aware Cloud offers features like Smart Presence, so you can live monitor where your people are. Or view Heatmaps of certain floors, areas or doors. Features you should definitely check out!”  Both companies place the utmost priority on data security, given the risks of operating in a connected world. Protecting video and data both at rest and in transit, Ava’s cloud video security solution is cyber-hardened with always-on end-to-end encryption and factory-installed certificates. Internal security processes It also provides audit trails of operator and administrator action, automatically recorded to address the full spectrum of compliance requirements. Ava is ISO 27001 certified, demonstrating its commitment to protecting its internal security processes and customers’ data. Nedap’s AEOS access control platform is designed to be secure and safe by default. Every installation is encrypted, so AEOS more than meets the access control requirements of many organisations. Nedap also supports several industry standards to ensure AEOS works with a wide range of third-party readers, including Wiegand, Nedap rs485, OSDP (secure), and transparent.

Nedap provides access control system to enhance security for DPG Media Group’s headquarters in Antwerp
Nedap provides access control system to enhance security for DPG Media Group’s headquarters in Antwerp

DPG Media Group is the largest media company in both Belgium and the Netherlands, and active in television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and online services. It employs around 6,000 people company-wide and has its modern headquarters located in Antwerp, Belgium. DPG Media has been a Nedap customer in the Netherlands for many years. Until recently, this was not the case in Belgium. Here, locations were standardised on an access control system where they were completely dependent on their products and services (so-called vendor lock-in). Access control system When building their new headquarters in Antwerp, they started looking for an access control system that is fully flexible and scalable, in terms of the future. DPG Media needed a system that is well supported in both the Netherlands and Belgium Moreover, DPG Media needed a system that is well supported in both the Netherlands and Belgium. Together with partner Nsecure, Nedap became the perfect match for DPG Media. Nedap addresses the following requirements to provide a unified and flexible security for life: A unified access control system for multiple locations in the Netherlands and Belgium – including their ultra-modern headquarters (Antwerp), and one of the largest printing plants in Europe (Lokeren) Ensured support for the latest technologies, features, and security Fully scalable and flexible access control Security with the highest standards to protect against the impact of cyber attacks on access control Implementation and support by a single trusted partner (Nsecure) in both the Netherlands and Belgium "Given the good experiences with Nedap in the Netherlands, it was a logical choice for DPG media to also secure their locations in Belgium with AEOS," said Peter van Bockstal, Nedap Security Management.

Nedap enhances security solutions for Polpharma and provides better software integration
Nedap enhances security solutions for Polpharma and provides better software integration

Polpharma is the largest Polish manufacturer of pharmaceuticals and among the top 20 generic drug manufacturers in the world. They actively operate in the markets of Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. For over 80 years, Polpharma have been trusted by patients, healthcare professionals and business partners alike. The Polpharma Group and associated companies employ more than 7,500 people in Poland and on international markets. Polpharma wanted a centralised, high-level and reliable security solution. Moreover, they need the flexibility to integrate with systems, like Hikvision, Evoko and Followme. All in cooperation with a company that offers local support. Centralised access control Nedap provides the following things to provide the flexibility to manage complexity Centralised access control Encryption on each level of communication Implementation and support from local channel partner Improved flexibility and scalability Integration with HikVision, Followme (printing), Evoko (room manager) "The Pharmaceutical sector and especially Polpharma has to pay high attention to security. That’s why they identified that operating so many access control systems and card technologies leads to risks and affects the resilience of the company. Since 2016 we have been involved in the merge of the access control systems into one: AEOS," said Anna Twardowska, Nedap Security Management.

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