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IT & access control collaboration leads to functional, personnel and financial benefits

IT departments can leverage existing product families in a network environment with which they are already familiar
IT access control offers significant cost savings per unit or door as less hardware is required to cover a large area

Over the last several years, there has been a revolution in access control methodologies including increased integration with video management software and video surveillance capabilities that better protect businesses and enterprise applications. But nowhere is the integration space more progressive in scope than the collaboration between the IT department and security teams, namely in regards to access control.  
 
The transition of security operations into the IT sphere is changing the way businesses go about choosing and constructing their security networks by allowing access control solutions to rely increasingly on software and Web-based solutions that offer a number of functional, personnel and financial benefits. For access control, this means that a complete operational overhaul is no longer necessary for a corporate enterprise or business, since these solutions can be introduced and scaled on an entirely individual basis. The integration capabilities of IT for CCTV networks, as well as state-of-the-art IP video surveillance and alarm management systems, gives access control a renewed technological edge. 
 
Advantages of web-based access control solutions  
 
By shifting access control from a siloed system within the security department, to the technologically advanced team in the IT department, trained IT specialists and CIOs can finally be brought into the fold on security decisions. These professionals can offer a different perspective, leveraging their expertise to advise on strategic technological investments as well as provide an extra layer of security coverage beyond traditional access control. Training security personnel becomes easier as IT-based systems run on easy-to-use platforms that require minimal training, reducing the amount of time spent on learning complex software systems. Additionally, IT departments can leverage existing product families in a network environment with which they are already familiar, ensuring timely responses when it comes to incident management. 

Security operations centers, end users and integrators enjoy larger ROI as web-based solutions require lower installation cost and ownership
Training security personnel becomes easier as IT-based systems run on easy-to-use platforms 


One of the most attractive advantages of phasing out traditional, hardware-based access control in favour of Web-based solutions is the lower cost of installation and ownership. Since there is less hardware required to provide coverage to a large area, IT access control can offer significant cost savings per unit or door, as well as lower the cost of potentially overhauling an existing analogue or hardware-based system. The result is a larger return on investment for security operations centers, end users and integrators alike. 
 
Leveraging IT across campuses & buildings 
 
Numerous organisations are already taking this approach to bring the two departments together. At Ripon College in Ripon, Wisconsin, both the security department and the IT department worked together seamlessly to integrate the student information system (SIS), dining and human resource systems together with the Security Management System (SMS).  
 
By implementing a software solution that connects the access control system with these various software platforms, Ripon College went from changes made in one to two days, to having changes made almost instantaneously. What this means is that in the event that a student no longer is classified as a student, as soon as their status is changed in the SIS, their access credentials are changed from having access to buildings on campus to having none.

"The integration capabilities of IT for
CCTV networks, as well as IP video
surveillance and alarm management
systems, gives access control a
renewed technological edge
"

Offering campuses a single point of data entry on a software interface, such as an SIS, streamlines the process across departments, saving significant resources and time from inputting information on several different platforms. This also reduces human error, streamlining and maintaining updates to the system in a centralised location. None of this could be accomplished without building a relationship between the security team and the IT department, both of which should work together to form a collaborative approach to this streamlined solution. 

Looking to the future 

Integration between departments is only the beginning. As access control becomes more collaborative in nature, critical partnerships can be formed with local police and firefighters so that they may access different parts of a building or campus, as well as issue and override lockdowns, adding additional security and transparency in the event of an emergency situation. 
 
As innovation within the IT sphere continues to grow, end users, integrators and access control manufacturers will continue to seek out opportunities to innovate and simplify access control systems to provide the safest, most cost-effective solution for corporations and enterprises around the globe. 
 


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