EXCLUSIVE: Preventative security starts at the front door

Office space and entry

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Unauthorized entry is one of the biggest threats facing enterprise operations today, says Derek Nilsen, Director of Marketing at Boon Edam USA.

From petty theft to acts of terrorism and workplace violence, the risks associated with unauthorized entry are harmful at best and irreparable at worst. The worst part? Most organizations don’t think an incident of irreparable scale could happen to them, but ignorance is no excuse.

When a critical security event does occur, most shareholders ask: “What could have been done to prevent this?” This prompts security experts and investigators to pour over forensic data from video cameras and access control systems in search of an answer without actually considering the question at hand.

It takes a proactive, preventative solution installed at the door to thwart various attempts of unauthorized entry – one that only secured entry solutions can provide.

The shortfalls of forensic-based security

Many organizations are led to believe that access control systems, surveillance cameras and security guards are a sufficient approach to facility security. By keeping intruders out via access control, the reasoning goes, unauthorized entry is prevented. If an unauthorized person does get in, then camera records are available to review and analyze the occurrence in addition to security guard recollections or other witnesses. This can inspire false confidence, leading an organization to believe they are doing all they can to mitigate risk while overlooking critical facts.

First, the idea that access control systems proactively prevent unauthorized entry ignores social constructs embedded in society at large. In a perfect world, every employee would scan their badge upon entry, opening and closing the door immediately behind them. However, this is rarely the case with good natured individuals holding the doors for those who are entering behind them – which can potentially allow bad actors access.

Access control devices are ill-equipped to address such instances of tailgating or piggybacking as they happen. Many access control devices are embedded with tailgating detection; however, such alerts only bring attention to the issue after the fact. The same can be said for video surveillance systems that cannot actively prevent an intrusion from occurring. By the time someone raises an alarm or notices an intrusion on surveillance video, the intrusion has already happened.

While it is true that the presence of access controls, cameras and guards provide a visual deterrent to a casual or opportunistic offender, these measures will not stop a determined attacker. Today’s threat actors employ a range of effective measures to gain entry ranging, from social engineering to bribery and coercion. The truth is, it is impossible for companies to provide safety and security if they are only utilizing deterrence and detection-based solutions without any preventative systems in place.

Preventative secured entry solutions

Secured entry solutions are among the few, if not the only, solutions designed to combat unauthorized entry at the source. Security entrances provide a unique combination of detect, deter or prevent functions. For example, revolving doors and interlocking mantrap portals prohibit unauthorized intrusion as it is attempted while optical turnstiles confirm that only authorized staff are entering the facility. By layering security entrance solutions at the various entry points found within a facility, truly proactive security is achieved.

In a corporate setting, it makes the most sense to layer these solutions based on the level of security required in each area. Generally, most organizations tend to keep their high value assets behind multiple doors and entrances, requiring the highest level of unauthorized entry prevention.

Here, unattended security revolving doors and interlocking mantrap portals can be deployed to prevent infiltration. These entrances make use of sophisticated sensors to detect tailgating and piggybacking, identifying when two people try to enter on a single authorization and will not allow such entry.

Conversely, corporate lobbies are places where visitors and contractors require authorized entry in addition to employees. It is here where optical turnstiles provide a strong visual deterrent against intrusion while also keeping traffic moving. Optical turnstiles additionally feature detection sensors that recognize when someone tailgates behind an authorized user. When an attempted intrusion is detected, they raise an immediate alarm that can be handled by nearby security staff.

By combining visual deterrence with actual intrusion prevention functionality, security entrances provide a far better proactive solution for facility safety and security than their forensic counterparts. Secured entry solutions discourage casual intrusion attempts, defend against determined attackers by raising immediate alarms in staffed situations and physically deny entry in unstaffed situations. In both attended and unattended cases, security entrances are immune to social engineering and distractions, making them more reliable than guards and other members of staff.

Enhance your risk mitigation

Deploying secured entry solutions is a great starting point for organizations looking to take a proactive approach to security, however there are many ways these solutions can be enhanced to offer even higher levels of threat prevention.

For example, integrating biometric technology with security entrances has been gaining momentum for more than a decade and understandably so. This marriage has made it possible to accurately verify user identity while at the same time offering swift throughput.

Some models of interlocking mantrap portals can even be equipped with biometric authentication to ensure that the person entering the compartment is the authorized person.

AI is a growing area of importance as it relates to secured entry solutions. Currently, security entrances detect tailgaters by using near-infrared sensors – if it appears that two separate objects are breaking through the sensor beams, an alarm is generated.

In security revolving doors and interlocking mantrap portals, near-infrared technology is paired with optics to create a 3D image of the objects inside the compartment while algorithms and sampling data are used to determine whether there is one person or two. When these technologies reject a user incorrectly, e.g., a person entering the compartment alone wearing a backpack, that’s known as a “false rejection”.

Advanced AI can fill the gap by recognizing the difference between people and objects via learned movement patterns and spacing of features, which can bring the false rejection rate to near zero. For example, it could know the difference between any inanimate objects being worn or carried through the entrance versus living users.

Lastly, a variety of security entrance solutions can be easily enhanced with the application of vandal-resistant or bullet-resistant glass. Vandal resistant glass works to keep glass intact upon impact after an attempt to break the glass is made. The result is a strong barrier that protects against unauthorized entry.

Scalable solutions

In the modern workplace, it is essential that unauthorized entry is prevented before it happens. Otherwise, the organization is susceptible to the risks associated with intrusion such as fines, legal liability, negative public perception, workplace violence injuries or even worse.

As the threat of unauthorized entry continues to intensify following the rise of hybrid working, social instability and ongoing labor shortages, now is the time to think about strengthened security. When it comes to creating a positive first impression and secure environment, enterprise security teams and C-suite officers need not look further than the front door.

This article was originally published in the June edition of Security Journal Americas. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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