Security and regulatory compliance needs create a business environment in which organizations have to carefully control who has access to different types of information. While the focus of such discussions is often on the IT side of data protection, many companies maintain paper records, in-house IT infrastructure and other physical assets that have to be protected. Keeping hackers out of the network is not the only access control concern that organizations have to keep in mind.
Because physical access to records and IT equipment can create major security problems and lead to a regulatory breach, businesses have to build multiple layers of access control into their facilities.
Establishing exterior access control setups
Organizations should have at least two layers of security to prevent individuals from accessing their offices. If a company is in a shared building, the first layer of defense – the parking area and entry points – should be secured by the building owner. However, organizations should be aware of the nuances of the locking system and ensure its employees know the proper ways to enter and secure the building. Companies that own their own facility gain more control of the entry points, but have to be responsible for proper security. Generally speaking, a flexible locking system that allows for easy entry for authorized personnel is needed at this first layer. Having security personnel present can also help since initial entry should rarely be obstructed with locks during normal working hours.
The second layer of entry-point access control has to be put in place at the main entry to corporate offices. If the facilities are inside a shared building, fairly simple locks can be used because easy access is needed during work hours and external security systems should provide more complex protection at other times. In a single-business facility, a more nuanced approach that accounts for authorization for different parts of the office is important.
Dealing with internal access control systems
Once inside the office, the locking system has to be more nuanced. Individual offices and storage rooms should each have their own locks. Only authorized personnel should be able to open these. While a key-based system can work in this type of scenario, it can be unwieldy for individuals that have to access a variety of rooms. An electronic solution, on the other hand, can be more flexible. For example, key cards that store all of an individual’s authorizations enable an individual to carry a single card that lets them get where they need to go, but does not work in doors they are not allowed to open.
Such a system can present risks, however, when extremely high levels of security are needed. In such a setting, biometric scanners and other specialized solutions can pay dividends. Using code-based locks can also help in some circumstances.
However, there is more than just locking offices and storage rooms that has to be considered. For example, an organization that stores key records internally may need to give administrative assistants access to a room where sensitive documents are stored, even if those employees do not have the authorization to view every file. Similarly, an accountant or human resource worker may need to enter the same room, but only be able to access certain files that the assistant cannot see.
These types of nuanced scenarios pose a major challenge that organizations have to keep in mind. Using a combination of safes, specialized file cabinets and even building walls with lockable doors into storage areas may be necessary to properly protect files.
There are many layers to access control in an office, but the right combination of advanced locks can enable organizations to develop a simple, but highly secure system for access control and data protection.
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