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Revamping college access control systems

college safety

Updating an access control system at a major university is no easy task. For this reason, many administrators wonder if transitioning away from magnetic stripe-based cards and solutions is worth the effort, especially since their existing method has worked for a number of years.

Valdosta State University in Georgia, for example, has used the same magnetic stripe access control system since the 1990s and has not updated because the multi-functional ID cards are used for a variety of purposes, according to a report by CR80 News.

“Obviously it’s an ID but it’s also used in the library, door access, bookstores, ball game admission. You can purchase anything on campus from meals to books,” said Craig Williams, key control and security systems supervisor at the Valdosta, according to CR80 News. “Why do we need to upgrade? A lot people don’t take that into consideration.”

The benefits of advanced access control systems
Reconfiguring an entire university’s access control system requires a lot of planning and time, as a number of buildings will need to replace equipment and readers to remain accessible to faculty, staff and students. Making the transition, however, may make the campus more convenient for users.

By using contactless solutions, individuals can easily gain entry to locked facilities without having to physically swipe a card. In many cases, educational facilities have integrated near-field communications (NFC) technologies into smartphones, tablets and other next-generation gadgets for even more convenience. Since people carry their mobile device virtually everywhere, people will be less likely to lose a key to their dorm room or other locked building.

A separate report by American School & University also highlighted the growing demand for NFC-based gadgets to be used for access control systems, as the emerging technology promises to enhance both physical security and convenience for the community using it.

Since NFC is an emerging technology, however, there are still a ways to go before it is deployed on a national scale. While there have been successful pilot programs, full-scale adoption is still a long way off.

Nevertheless, education and security administrators should consider upgrading their legacy access control system, as old solutions may be more easily compromised by skilled hackers. While the implementation may be a challenge, doing so will inevitably enhance physical security.

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Revamping college access control systems

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