Executives must handle large security decisions that affect the entire organization – and these choices are rarely easy.
One reason is that there are often competing goals – balancing security vs. convenience, or allocating budget to one priority area vs. another. To make it worse, these decisions – for example, on how to deal with potential security risks – can rely on data that the organization is not tracking.
That may sound hard to believe, but it’s the exact problem Boon Edam found when we conducted a survey on tailgating, drawing responses from hundreds of end users, security integrators and consultants. Most respondents stated that the cost of a physical breach caused by tailgating could range from $150,000 to millions of dollars – even though the overwhelming majority (84%) of respondents weren’t tracking tailgating or didn’t know if they were.
While most businesses know the basic purpose of entrance solutions, many don’t realize the huge number of benefits they can provide – from business analytics to the bottom line.
Cost-Effective Security and Efficient Access
Security entrances can range in purpose from simple crowd control all the way up to comprehensive detection/prevention. With regard to selection, many companies find simpler turnstiles attractive due to the relatively lower capital expenditures and reduced need for user training. While such systems can be an effective deterrent to threats, organizations should consider other costs the system may necessitate, such as those from guard staff or supplemental security systems. For this reason, often companies can achieve greater savings by opting for a security revolving door system: while the initial capital expenditure may be higher than a simpler turnstile system, the business can end up saving a great deal in annual operations costs by reducing the need for supplemental security staff.
In terms of access efficiency, organizations have multiple options as well. For example, a mantrap system may be ideal for a business that requires high security but generally has only a few people going through an entrance at a time. Meanwhile, if the business requires high security but must also accommodate a higher throughput at times (such as during lunch hours), a security revolving door system may end up being the better choice.
Impressive Business Intelligence
To maximize the effectiveness of your security program, it is helpful to remember the old adage: what can be measured can be managed. To that end, security entrances can help achieve specific security objectives through relevant KPIs. Generally speaking, the level of intelligence received depends on how sophisticated the entrance system is. Simpler waist high turnstiles are useful for basic tracking, such as the number of people entering the facility, though the system may still be vulnerable to turnstile-hoppers. While guard staff can provide supplemental information (visitor data, infraction reports, etc.), data gathered through this approach may be affected by social engineering, including distractions or favoritism on the part of security staff. Ultimately this type of security entrance is best suited to lower-security areas of a facility.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the sophisticated tailgating and piggybacking detection systems in security revolving doors and mantrap portal solutions provide a wealth of valuable data. These include a great deal of granular information that replaces what a guard could be asked to provide manually – e.g., number of passages, inbound/outbound tailgating and piggybacking rejections, biometric access control rejections, emergency button rejections and so on. Such information is very useful in providing very accurate intelligence on throughput, user education needs, etc.
The most provocative data is predictive data that can tell you your chances of being infiltrated. Security revolving doors and mantrap portals include anti-piggybacking detection technology sophisticated enough to provide a probability, expressed as a small percentage, that two people could piggyback through the door successfully. This capability is new territory for the security industry and allows executives a high degree of confidence that the places these doors protect are secure from infiltration.
Strengthening Corporate Image: Inside and Outside
Let’s face it: perceptions matter. Organizational leaders are responsible for ensuring that their businesses are perceived as safe. And while actual safety and perceived safety are inter-related, they are not always identical. This is seen in other areas of life as well: for example, one YouGov poll showed that people believed that New York City is the second most dangerous city in the US, even though data shows that NYC is in fact the least dangerous large city in the United States.
While harder to measure, aesthetic perceptions matter for businesses as well. To that end, the perception-building process begins the moment a person walks through the door (and oftentimes before that). With that in mind, security entrances should foster confidence for all parties who rely on them: the system must not only protect employees but also help them feel safe on a day to day basis. Beyond actual safety, security entrances also create a feeling of prestige for the facility that impacts personnel and visitors alike. A new visitor’s first interaction with your brand may be with the security system. That first interaction and every one after should foster a feeling of competence, sophistication, efficiency and safety. The more effective companies are at building a positive image in smaller ways, the more effective they’ll be when doing so in bigger ways.