Intrusion/Access Control/Physical Security--4 Trends in Access Control and ID Management

Dec. 19, 2012
The future of access control

There are four key technology trends that will impact the future of access control and ID management.  Understanding these trends will help you better serve your customers and grow your access control revenues as part of a broader services business.

 1. Deeper Convergence of Physical and Logical Security

The future convergence of physical and logical security is an absolute certainty and the convergence is already underway. For example, Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) has long been the predominant model for access control in the IT world of logical security and today this architecture is reflected in the design of leading access control systems, because it significantly reduces the cost of access management.  

 Another example is operational convergence, which is clearly the most efficient way for IT and facility security to share a common operating process for managing risks across the enterprise. This type of convergence treats access to a facility the same way organizations treat access to information, improving policies and controls in both areas by preventing illogical access. 

Today, a minority of visionary practitioners have physical and logical security technology seamlessly integrated to increase performance and ROI. This approach will grow to be an important part of the industry’s future. 

 Security dealers and integrators must be prepared to deliver a more comprehensive converged access control system that seamlessly integrates IT and physical security systems, such as Identity Access Management (IAM), Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) and HR systems to correlate physical and logical security event information, monitor alarms and rapidly respond to unauthorized activities.

2. Access Control “as-a-Service”

Budget constraints and a growing unwillingness to invest in expensive servers and IT infrastructure are driving enterprises toward a need for access control services. For security dealers and integrators, this means that in order to compete, they must move beyond what legacy access control systems and traditional models can deliver. Access control “as-a-Service” will continue to emerge as the de facto delivery model because it gives customers better pricing and flexibility as a hosted or managed service than traditional in-house installations.  Access control “as-a-Service” also helps dealers and integrators bring the benefits of access control to new customers that could not previously budget for these services.

Access control “as-a-Service” represents a new approach to delivery of access control and ownership of the network appliance, as it enables dealers and integrators to manage all aspects of building access control for their customers as an online, monthly subscription service. Dealers and integrators are freed from up-front capital expenses and equipment costs through the ability to purchase the network appliance on a flexible, annual subscription or lease-to-own basis. As a result, integrators truly own their customer accounts by simply selling access to their own network appliance, rather than introducing an access control manufacturers’ servers to their customer’s environment.

3. Peer-to-Peer Replication

While peer-to-peer replication has been prevalent on the IT side, it will play a growing role in physical security. Replicating across physical security and IT security systems has, historically, been a complex and costly proposition due to varying requirements from different business groups within an organization. Peer-to-peer replication frees organizations from the financial and resource burden of maintaining separate database servers at each facility or manually updating and duplicating employee information on site. As a result, security dealers and integrators will be able to increasingly leverage converged access control solutions that include a built-in peer-to-peer structure that synchronizes HR employee systems to network appliances and door controllers in real-time.

4. Shift from Proprietary to Open Hardware

Many security dealers and integrators know all too well the pain of telling a customer that their access control system manufacturer went out of business and their door controllers are proprietary and do not work with other software. When door controlling hardware typically makes up between 50 to 80 percent of the entire access control systems cost, a conversation is difficult and can leave the dealer/systems integrator with mud on their face. That is why leading access control manufacturers continue to voice support for standard, open (reusable) door controlling hardware.