Violence consumes our news, television, movies, and music. Very few aspects of American culture are exempt from this rule. The local news lines up catastrophe after catastrophe in the form of robberies, car accidents, violent crimes, and a host of other negative or danger-tinged news or “entertainment” almost designed to wear you down after a long day at work. We’re security professionals and we want to talk to you about the facts surrounding your safety today. This helps us keep you informed, put our best foot forward, and help you decide if building systems like surveillance and access control are right for you.
Violent crime and crime overall are on the decline, according to F.B.I. crime statistics released every year called the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. The violent crime rate is down 16.5% since 2008. Property crime, burglary rates, aggravated assault, and a host of other criminal acts occur at a much lower rate than in decades past. And while evidence is mixed on changes to mass shooting numbers and their seemingly growing quantity, and effect on Americans, one thing is certain despite these otherwise optimistic trends: you’re hearing about them in the media all the time.
The first line of defense for many campuses is perimeter protection through access control.
We want you to do what you have to do to keep your friends, family, employees, and students safe, secure, and happy. This could mean anything from putting up a fence to installing a fully-fledged access control system depending on your situation. In any case, often the first line of defense for many campuses is perimeter protection through access control.
We’ll look at what different aspects of access control can offer primarily for applications like public schools, universities, hospitals, and corporate campuses. Some of these features are native to many access control systems, but others may require integrated solutions. Your needs may be different and we’re happy to help regardless of your needs.
Looking for an Elegant, Unobtrusive Way to Protect Access to Your Campus? You Need Wireless Locks.
One of the more popular innovations of access control is wireless, electronic locks. These allow you to control locks from anywhere using a networked security system. The wireless locking technology allows schools and hospitals to scale more effectively as they grow, creating a safer campus while preserving student and/or employee quality of life.
Many campuses still use keys for entry, particularly in earlier education like high school. This can create a hassle when you need specific keys to access specific locations or don’t keep a record of who has access to what. Wireless locks transition keyed entry to keyless credential entry, usually using cards, fobs, or even your fingerprint.
This gives you the final say over who has an authorized access card, and how far it can get them. You can’t delete a key to a door, but you can remove an access card’s ability to open doors if it’s lost, missing, or belongs to a former employee, and gain more information through reporting on that card. This creates a safer campus environment for you and your students and staff.
What You Need to Begin Transitioning to Wireless Locks Today
Doors! Seriously, that’s pretty much it. It’s called wireless for a reason. Battery powered locks can “talk” to gateway devices — each gateway device typically managing up to sixteen wireless locks — that an associated management system uses to manage your access control, relaying attempts to enter or exit in addition to providing other great statistics about usage. Wireless locks are great for applications such as hospitals with many restricted access rooms or floors, dormitories at universities, and for perimeter protection at public schools.
With the coverage necessary to reach your locks and the system requirements to run your access control software or webware, you can get started on installing wireless locks as a pilot program or opt for a total overhaul today.
Speaking of Wireless Locks… Want to Better Manage Visitor Traffic? Explore Visitor Management Options.
One of the primary benefits of access control for closed campuses or parts of campuses is visitor management. Providing public access to many of your buildings during campus hours is rarely a big deal, and universities in particular act as a wellspring of knowledge and openness. But some of your buildings may be dedicated to private research or used as housing facilities for storage, utilities, and a ton of maintenance needs for your staff.
You need those areas to be secure, and you want to deftly manage both your internal and external access to those areas. Think of visitor management as temporarily granting users the ability to access different parts of your campus for as long as you want. Depending on your system and functionality of choice, you’ll be able to track their location, selectively add or delete permissions, or freeze or expire their card at any time.
With visitor management, you deliver a modern, professional feel to managing the open and closed parts of your campus, and quickly responding to changes in security becomes a cinch. Modern visitor management systems can even interface with criminal databases to confirm visitor identities.
What You Need to Jump to Visitor Management
It depends. If you’re looking for full control, your visitor management system can seamlessly interface with your security system to provide full coverage and advanced recordkeeping. This is especially helpful when it comes to higher-end requirements like managing multiple locations, tracking visitors in conjunction with surveillance, or storing data for more advanced analytics later on.
But your visitor management system may not need that level of power or integration. Many companies offer iPads or other devices with management software to operate as modern day receptionists. These devices can print name tags or access cards, provide visitor history, and send notifications to employees about arriving visitors, among other great functions.
The good news is that even if you aren’t using an access control system today, many of those visitor management systems on the market today can interface with total access control and surveillance solutions later on. If you opt for an out of the box visitor management system, we can recommend options that will work with expanded security systems as your campus grows later on.
Visitor management systems are one of the first steps in providing you actionable information about what’s going on in your school or campus, opening a host of other powerful tools to manage access.
Wondering About Instantly Securing a Building? Check Out One Touch Security Lockdown.
Sometimes access control goes beyond managing your visitors or making entry and management easy through wireless locking. In rare cases of danger like the ones touched on at the beginning of this article, your number one concern is protecting your students, staff, and others from harm. Responding quickly and efficiently can mean control at the touch of a powerful button.
One touch security lockdown allows school, hospital, and corporate campus administrators to remotely limit building accessibility, and protect students or staff from potential danger. These lockdowns can funnel traffic in particular directions, prevent movement between rooms or buildings, freeze temporary access cards, and more based on your organization’s emergency plan.
How to Start Transitioning to One Touch Security Lockdown Now
One touch security lockdowns are usually a feature of a dedicated access control system. Open campuses facing security vulnerabilities will often look at a system’s ability to respond to emergencies before anything else. Security lockdowns often work in tandem with existing university technology like mass email or text notification to alert students and staff to need to know information. You can program automatic or even input customizable alerts to send and notify users at the same time you initiate a security lockdown.
One touch lockdowns are a great resource for controlling your campus, but there are many different scenarios you face as a corporate, hospital, or school administrator. You can create a series of responses that allow for easy escalation based on a variety of factors, and make it easy for your team to switch from one to the other.
Interested in Assessing Threats and Activating Responses on the Go? You Need Threat Escalation.
Sometimes you’re overseeing a sizable security team, dozens of cameras, and a large complex or campus. Reacting to incidents across campus can be difficult, especially if they happen simultaneously. You can put protocols in place for a variety of threat levels ranging from bad weather to EMT response to full lockdown scenarios that make changes to your access control system depending on the circumstances you face.
You can use mobile devices to control threat levels for specific facilities or your campus as a whole, initiative emergency calls either manually or automatically, and escalate concerns to other devices as needed. Your personalized software can also create an organizational hierarchy that mirrors your own, giving different people different levels of authorization in select buildings, or across your campus. The possibilities are endless, and so is your ability to measure an appropriate response to an incident.
Bringing Threat Escalation to Your Campus
Threat escalation is a feature similar to one touch security lockdown in that it is usually easily included as part of your general access control solution. An access control system’s final capabilities depend on a combination of your system integrator, the technology required by you or recommended by them, and the functionality you demand.
Network Your Access Control, Intrusion Detection, and Video Surveillance Systems for Even More Security Features
Access control is one of the most powerful tools available for you to protect your hospital, corporate, or school campus. It can have many different components ranging from wireless locks to gauge levels of access and provide foot traffic analytics, to automatic lockdown or threat escalation features, to interfacing and coordinating visitor management systems with surveillance, access, and more.
These same access control solutions work for gates, fences, and a host of other applications depending on your needs. A knowledgeable system integrator with experience in customized security solutions can help you determine what’s right for your project.