Access Control Systems in a Global Environment

To maintain operations across the globe, you must be aware of cultural, operational and organizational differences.

Information Technology Involvement
One of the constants in the implementation of global security systems is that some form of data network will be required to allow the components to talk to each other and to share information. The IT department controls the network, and they jealously guard their data resources, as well they should—IT’s role is to input, manipulate, store, and transmit corporate data as accurately, quickly, securely, and cost effectively as possible. Business relies on data to make business decisions, and the larger the business, the more reliance there is on data. The heavier the reliance on data, the higher its value as an asset and the greater its importance as a business tool.

Since IT controls the data transmission medium and is responsible for its reliability, they can also dictate what equipment can be connected to the network, what volume of data needs to be transmitted, and what controls are in place to ensure the security of both that application and the rest of the data processing system. Many IT departments specify the physical and performance standards for hardware and peripherals that connect to their networks, and they may require that they test and certify any new device type, such as an IP-addressable access control field panel. This may extend to version control for standard operating system software, communications protocols and computer system security software.

In some cases, IT may have negotiated purchase agreements with hardware and software providers, and the security contractor installing an access control application may be allowed to do so only under the vigilance of IT personnel and on systems that IT has provided. Some IT departments are considering using their help desk as the first port of call for physical access control problems, such as lost credentials or inoperable readers.

Thus the developer of the global access control system should coordinate all design activity, standards development, procurement plans, and implementation strategies with the IT department. And, just as in a foreign country, it is imperative for good communication that you can speak their language.

David G. Aggleton, CPP, is president and principal consultant at Aggleton & Associates, the New York City-based security consulting firm. Mr. Aggleton has been in the security industry since 1978 and has been a security systems consultant since 1985. He has taught the principals of the security technology design process at ASIS workshops, at ASIS, IFMA, and other industry conferences, and at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Mr. Aggleton is immediate past president of the International Association of Professional Security Consultants and a member (past Chair) of the ASIS Standing Council on Security Architecture & Engineering.