Distributed intelligence

Distributed intelligence

‘Around the clock’ businesses require “always on” access management by Mary Clark, CMO, Brivo

For IT professionals, it can be easy to assume that every individual and business is onboard with digital transformation and moving away from outdated practices that could be considered ‘on-prem’ – to stick to the profession’s language.  

The truth is, however, that many businesses continue to depend on systems hailing from the pre-IT world with fundamental weaknesses. Access to warehouses, stores, offices and more continues to hinge on a set of keys or a burglar alarm. It’s common knowledge that these access control measures aren't failsafe. In particular, they leave businesses that rely on ‘around the clock’ deliveries vulnerable. It’s impossible for security staff to audit access to multiple buildings 24 hours a day but the necessity to unlock doors at irregular times for contractors and deliveries remains. 

Enter digital access control. With the right solution, access control can be rolled out at scale via the cloud – ensuring the right people get in and out of a company’s premises at all times. Access to buildings hinges on identity authentication, removing the need for alarms to be manually disarmed – which eats into valuable time. 

What more businesses should know, however, is that this only scratches the surface of the benefits access control brings. For management, a better grip on access to commercial buildings can yield business intelligence, cost savings and safety improvements. For many businesses around the world today that might be heading into a recession, these potential upsides shouldn’t be ignored. 

Distributed intelligence over a central platform 

Access control has traditionally been expensive and complex to manage at scale. This is a problem for businesses with multiple facilities which see big inflows and outflows of employees daily and depend on overnight deliveries. A centralised, cloud-based access control solution can change this.  

With such a solution, security staff find themselves able to manage access to facilities from anywhere, at any time. This instantly saves time lost by the need to physically be on-site at a facility to give or revoke access, track who has keys and for which doors or chase down third-party vendors for new keys or fobs. Longer-term, businesses using cloud-based access control solutions can drive cost savings by reducing their dependence on cumbersome, on-prem hardware, that drive up energy costs and take up physical space.  

You may be thinking that we can't do away with hardware completely - and that’s correct. But the right access control solution can make a reduced IT estate easier to manage. Multi-site software upgrades can be pushed out, for example, removing the cost and time associated with delivering manual updates to hardware. Cloud-based access control can also integrate with CCTV across sites. This is particularly important for those businesses who need to manage and monitor access events 24 hours a day.  

This isn’t the only way that access control solutions can centralise data to the benefit of management. Logging access events across multiple sites helps drive operational efficiencies and improve workforce management. If a business knows how long a delivery typically takes, from analysing access events, they can optimise accordingly to ensure deliveries happen on time in a safe manner. More widely, oversight of access events can help head offices understand employee working habits and productivity to inform policy changes that make more positive working experiences. Logs of access events can also help management better handle issues like employee theft.  

Access control solutions grant or deny access by individual credentials - authenticated via a mobile app. This is preferable to antiquated systems based on shared keys and codes to burglar alarms. For businesses with a constant flow of employees or contractors into buildings around the clock, it's optimal to log ins and outs at entry points like doors. Mobile authentication also delivers efficiency gains through employees being able to enter and work at multiple company premises without the need for lengthy manual authentication processes each time. 

Overcoming barriers to adoption 

The benefits to a business described might make deploying access control solutions sound like a no-brainer. The reality in a lot of organisations, however, is that multiple stakeholders need to ‘buy-in’ to an overhaul of outdated processes and systems with technology.  

When it comes to overseeing the security and logistics of an ‘around the clock’ operation, individual store managers and head office hold a shared responsibility. Tech vendors with the access control solutions to improve this operation can’t rest on their laurels either. They need to take the story to businesses. Pitching access control in terms of a measure to prevent losses, like theft, will make decision makers sit up and listen. Security decision makers’ experience on the ground makes them realists - they know it’s not feasible to hire 40 plus people with a responsibility for access control. Decision makers will look past perceived implementation headaches to potential operational gains when given a believable outline of a simple implementation process. 

Typical business operations have shifted massively over the years. It would be a mistake for security measures to not move with the times. When they do, businesses benefit from wider gains and improvements. Putting access control into the cloud should be high on the digital transformation ‘to-do list’ of those businesses that have atypical access events to keep on top of and multiple facilities.

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