Month: August 2020

What is access control?

Access control is a fundamental component of data security that dictates who’s allowed to access and use company information and resources. Through authentication and authorization, access control policies make sure users are who they say they are and that they have appropriate access to company data. Access control can also be applied to limit physical access to campuses, buildings, rooms, and data centers.

How does access control work?

Access control identifies users by verifying various login credentials, which can include user names and passwords, PINs, biometric scans, and security tokens. Many access control systems also include multifactor authentication, a method that requires multiple authentication methods to verify a user’s identity.

Once a user is authenticated, access control then authorizes the appropriate level of access and allowed actions associated with that user’s credentials and IP address.

There are four main types access control. Organizations typically choose the method that makes the most sense based on their unique security and compliance requirements. The

four access control models are:

Discretionary access control (DAC) 

In this method, the owner or administrator of the protected system, data, or resource sets the policies for who is allowed access. 

Mandatory access control (MAC) 

In this nondiscretionary model, people are granted access based on an information clearance. A central authority regulates access rights based on different security levels. It’s common in government and military environments. 

Role-based access control (RBAC) 

RBAC grants access based on defined business functions rather than the individual user’s identity. The goal is to provide users with access only to data that’s been deemed necessary for their role within the organizations. This widely used method is based on a complex combination of role assignments, authorizations, and permissions. 

Attribute-based access control (ABAC)

In this dynamic method, access is based on a set of attributes and environmental conditions, such as time of day and location, assigned to both users and resources. 

Why is access control important? 

Access control keeps confidential information, including customer data, personally identifiable information, and intellectual property, from falling into the wrong hands. Without a robust access control policy, organizations risk data leakage from both internal and external sources.

It’s particularly important for organizations with hybridmulti-cloud cloud environments, where resources, apps, and data reside both on premises and in the cloud. Access control can provide these environments with more robust access security beyond single sign-on (SSO). 

THE ADVANTAGES OF CLOUD-BASED ACCESS CONTROL

Access control is the process of managing the entry and access to buildings and locations for individuals who have been authorised to be there. It can also be used to limit the use of certain restricted areas and facilities within a building. Many spaces, such as complete buildings, gyms and specific floors can benefit from access control; it’s an effective way to enhance and manage security. The three main options for access control are:

Lock and Key

Before cloud-based technology, the only option consumers had to secure doors and facilities was with a lock and key. Whilst this traditional security system is still frequently used by many smaller organisations, this method does present a number of problems.

  • Firstly, keys can be easily stolen, lost or shared with others, leaving buildings vulnerable to intruders.
  • Secondly, any lost keys have to be re-issued which can cost a considerable amount over time.

On-Premise Access Control

On-premise solutions are a step up from a lock and key solution, providing more features, functionality and automation. However, this solution requires maintenance, servers updates and cybersecurity in place to ensure that servers are not affected by cyberattacks.

  • Usually, on-premise solutions don’t provide remote access to the system, so anytime a new door or entrance is needed, the changes must take place on-site.
  • There is little room for flexibility, scalability, and maintaining IT security can be costly and time consuming.

Cloud-Based Access Control

Cloud-based access control is the best solution when it comes to securing your facility, providing a much higher level of security and simplicity. Unlike the above methods of access control, which can take up a lot of resources and ongoing investment, cloud-based solutions save internal resources and are offered on a subscription basis, helping your business to optimise cash flow.

  • Cloud-based access control allows for complete control of your facilities, wherever you are in the world.
  • Staff members can also gain access using their phone, eliminating the need of keys and keycards.
  • It also has the ability to open and secure doors remotely, so you don’t have to worry about hiring additional on-site security staff.
  • Data about the traffic entering and exiting the building can be collected in real-time.
  • Unlike on-site access control, there are no servers to maintain, and software is updated automatically, keeping your organisation safe from cyber threats at all times.
  • Cloud-based access control also allows for unlimited scalability. New doors, offices and users can be added to the system at any time for greater convienance.
  • For an additional layer of security, video surveillance can be integrated with cloud access control. 

Features of Cloud-Based Access Control

Cloud access control has a number of features that make it very convenient. Thanks to the technology, the following processes are managed remotely:

  • Verification of the system operation
  • Adding new users to the access contol groups
  • Revoking rights to access certain facilities
  • Lockdown feature for emergencies
  • Offline unlock capabilities
  • Changing users’ rights instantly and remotely
  • Access point reprogramming
  • Heatmap of entry events
  • Exportable access logs for admins

Wireless capabilities provide an increased level of flexibility and scalability and the security of multiple offices can be put under one umbrella; information received from each and every office is saved in one single place.

When making use of cloud access control you can monitor live-stream videos from any device and at any time during the day. Thus, your security needs can be addressed in real time and you don’t have to hire an in-house security specialist. Your access control provider will take care of any security-related issues.

Cloud-Based Security vs. Traditional

When we think of the legacy access control, it has the following drawbacks compared to a cloud-based physical access control system:

  • Higher upfront costs (purchase of local servers and other hardware)
  • Proprietary legacy systems make it hard to change a security vendor
  • Centralized controllers are usually limited to a certain number of doors (for instance, 8 or 16)
  • They require the presence of an on-site specialist who can react to an issue if it arises

By having a cloud-based physical access control system you turn your capital expenses into operational ones. There are no high costs associated with the purchase of servers and wiring that will connect all the components of access control—this allows for increased scalability and flexibility. The number of doors/users you can add to the system are not limited, which is the case with legacy systems.

Last but not least, IP access control can be seamlessly integrated with building management systems, video surveillance and fire alarms—unlike traditional access control where a physical interface is required for communication.

With the Cloud:

You don’t need a local server! All your data is hosted on a secure remote server, which eliminates maintenance and training costs.

Free, over-the-air security and feature updates.

Free tech assistance from a dedicated in-house support team.

Without the Cloud:

Expensive hidden costs, like hourly maintenance or extra fees for software updates and training

It’s more complicated (and costly) to manage your system remotely.

Older systems are often too complex to easily delegate to other team members.

Why Move Your Access Control To The Cloud?

In the past companies ran their access control system on a physical computer in their buildings, but cloud systems allow companies now to manage and control their doors through the internet. When you update your payroll (Namely, Justworks, Gusto etc.), you’re using cloud computing. Checking your company bank balance on your phone? You are in the cloud again. Chances are you rely more and more on cloud computing to solve challenges faced by a growing company – firing off emails, overseeing accounting and a bunch of other apps that help you manage your workload.

So why should you also move your door access control system to the cloud? It’s because it increases efficiency and security of your company which makes you ultimately more competitive. Check out the ten reasons below:

1. Flexibility

Cloud-based access control is ideal for growing businesses with fluctuating workforces (e.g. freelances, interns, contractors etc.). Centrally managing and monitoring access rights across office locations provides the agility for a growing business and the real advantage over competitors.

2. Compliance

You need to submit the access log of your offices on a monthly basis? With cloud-based access control you simply log into the web portal and download the relevant data. No more transferring data from on-premise systems.

3. Automatic software updates

The beauty of cloud access control systems is that the servers are off-premise, out of sight and out of your way. Suppliers manage the servers and release regular software updates – including new features and security updates – so you don’t have to waste time maintaining the different systems across your locations. That way you can focus on the things that matter and help grow your business.

4. Capital-expenditure Free

Cloud access control systems cut out the high cost of hardware and let you simply pay as you go. The subscription-based model optimizes your cash flow. The ease of setup and the management of the system saves you also considerable internal resources.

5. Increased collaboration

Your team can access and edit access rights anytime from anywhere with a cloud-based access control. This allows more efficient work flows without losing control. The different admin roles and the visibility let you empower your team mates without losing any control.

6. Work from anywhere

With cloud access control you can manage and monitor access to your offices from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. That way your office is never at risk of being accessed by retired employees or contractors.

7. Synchronized data

The more employees collaborate with external partners and freelancers the greater the need to have a watertight access control system in place. Before cloud systems workers had to receive and eventually hand back access cards. Sooner or later you end up with a chaos where people still have access to your offices but are no longer affiliated with your company. This is a huge risk for your business and your employees.

When introducing a cloud access management system, all access rights are stored centrally and can be seen with a few mouse clicks. You can easily update the system with the latest list of people who should have access to the offices and even set expiration dates of keys to be compliant.

8. Security

Greater than the loss of expensive equipment is the loss of sensitive data which puts your company at risk. Updating the access control system from anywhere gives you the agility to update or delete access rights immediately. Furthermore you can synchronize floor access rights with your HR database.

9. Competitiveness

Cloud access control systems are real time and allow you to act faster than on-premise systems. Moving to the cloud with your access control gives you access to enterprise-class technology for all your locations. Remain lean and nimble while having an access control system of the big boys.

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