Modernized touchless access control for improved safety and security

With the return to work on the horizon, contactless access control has become a hot topic. Post-pandemic, access control solutions will be expected to support a safe working environment along with continuing to provide secure access to physical spaces.

The main safety benefit of touchless access control is to minimize touch points, which will go a long way in helping stem the spread of infection. The good news is that beyond health benefits, modernized contactless access control also has security benefits. But according to a recent study by HID Global, a manufacturer of secure identity products and an IST technology partner, many organizations are having difficulty justifying the ROI of modernization.

The study gives us great feedback from security professionals in the field about their plans to upgrade access control. According to the survey, the biggest driver for upgrading is for workplace safety in the post-pandemic world. Other key drivers include better security and easier administration.

Aging Infrastructure is Eroding Confidence in Security
As expected, the survey indicates that there’s a hodgepodge of legacy technologies still being used for access control that have aged beyond their ability to protect against modern threats, and may or may not help stem the spread of infection. In 2017, more than 70 percent of organizations said their physical access control solution met or exceeded requirements. This year and last year, the percentage dropped to 50 percent.

As threats evolve, aging infrastructure is eroding confidence in security. More than a third of those surveyed are using 125-kHz low-frequency proximity cards, which are convenient and reliable but are limited in terms of security and privacy. Other organizations are using magnetic-stripe cards or barcodes, which are even less secure. Use of these technologies going forward exposes organizations to the risk of bad actors spoofing or cloning credentials, something that was perfected by the criminal community years ago.

What Security Professionals Want
Organizations are not only looking for improved workplace safety, they want modernized security and convenience for employees and visitors, which is why many organizations have installed or are considering touchless access control using mobile credentials stored on users’ smartphones.

Those surveyed also want easier administration and simplified processes. With cloud-based mobile access control, security teams can provision, customize and revoke credentials over the air quickly, and there’s no need to purchase and manage badges, cards and other credentials.

Security teams also like the advanced security features of modern touchless access control, including enhanced encryption and biometric solutions, which help eliminate credential spoofing and cloning. Modern systems also support new standards such as the Open Supervised Device Protocol or remote credential management.

Forty-one percent of those surveyed said the biggest obstacle to modernization is cost. But the cost of a security breach can easily exceed the cost of modernized access control, especially when measured in dollars and brand erosion. Yet, 22 percent said the lack of strong ROI was a primary obstacle to upgrading.

Justify the ROI
One way to justify the cost of upgrading is to better understand the full benefit of a modernized solution. Today’s touchless technologies do more than just open and close doors. Reducing common touch points is key to stemming the spread of infection. Streamlined administration saves money and gives security professionals more time for other activities. And real-time building occupancy data helps enforce social distancing and contact tracing in the event of an infection.

Last but not least, modernized touchless access control solutions can go a long way in restoring confidence in security and safety. How much is that worth?

Rely on a Trusted Partner
While security budgets will continue to be tight, communicating the full value of a modern touchless access control solution to executives is key to motivating action. If you need help, IST is here for you. We can help assess your current environment and recommend ways to upgrade to meet today’s safety and security challenges, and even help you build a case to justify ROI to executives. We may also be able to upgrade your access control using some or all of your current installed infrastructure. It may not be as expensive as you think, and with cloud-based solutions that reduce maintenance costs and can provide a basis for automating processes, you may get more than you bargained for.