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What the Future Holds for Unified Access Control

The future of access control is a dynamic landscape with unprecedented sophistication and capabilities. As with any uncharted territory, new risks result as well. Regulations such as GDPR, California privacy laws and others continue to impact how businesses deploy and manage security solutions. It’s nearly impossible to keep up with ever-evolving regulations with limited legacy technologies and associated compounded security risks.

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A Changing Perimeter Makes Way for a New Approach to Access Control

The workplace is now a fluid environment that is no longer limited to a single location, and the security perimeter is changing. Identity is the new perimeter, and it defines how we access the workplaces and applications needed to do our jobs. Due to this, access control vendors are increasing the speed of innovation through the adoption of more agile development methodologies. They’re also embracing technologies new to access control, such as cloud, mobile, near-field communication (NFC), Bluetooth (BLE), ultra-wideband (UWB) and artificial intelligence.

Open systems and connectivity are now a must-have, and this need will only intensify. End users have more choices in technology and solutions, so vendors must adopt the use of open standards to enable those choices. Some examples include:

  • Unified Physical Identity and Access Management (PIAM):Physical identity and access management is challenging and costly due to disparate physical access control environments within larger organizations. PIAM unifies and simplifies the management of multiple access control systems by providing a single portal or user interface. This unified approach also connects to primary IT identity and HR systems such as Microsoft Azure Active Directory, SAP and Workday.
  • Open supervised device protocol (OSDP): An access control communications standard developed by the Security Industry Association (SIA), OSDP improves interoperability among access control and security products — most commonly door readers and door controller panels. Devices from different vendors that support OSDP should work together harmoniously and meet the highest levels of security available today.
  • Bluetooth LE, near field communication and ultra-wideband: These communication standards help provide more seamless access control experiences, including real-time location services and secure door access without having to tap an access control badge against a reader.
  • Adoption and implementation of IT security standards: Digital certificates provide the highest levels of encryption and enable trusted identities across the entire access control ecosystem — people, software/cloud applications and hardware. Physical access control solutions should adopt these standards to ensure strong cybersecurity defenses and interoperability with workplace technology and the application ecosystem.

Unified Physical Access Control That Meets Everyone’s Expectations

The future deployment of access control systems will become increasingly frictionless. Completely seamless access experiences governed by native role-based provisioning will not only be standard but expected. Let’s break down the expectations from common roles within physical access:

  • For visitors: Organizations seek to make a great first impression. A visitor’s experience from the moment of their arrival through departure should be a smooth process. Unfortunately, anything less than “wow” not only reflects poorly on the organization’s technologies and processes, but also the brand as a whole. For example, upon a visitor’s arrival, the organization will want to know who the visitor is well before they reach the front door — accomplished through the advanced collection of identity data. Part of delivering the visitor’s excellent arrival experience means excluding superfluous information during check-in and eliminating repeat processes due to siloed data. The process could include a self-service sign-in via a tablet-based kiosk.
  • For employees: Those arriving at the workplace expect that the building already knows who they are from the first day. They can enter with minimal interaction — the front door should just open. During their workday, the employee can move about from one office to the next without having to wait for access to be granted.
  • For contractors: With a limited window of time to complete their tasks, trying to access the workplace unsuccessfully could potentially derail an entire project. They expect to get to work on the first day in an efficient manner and with ease. For organizations, long, drawn-out processes for granting access and providing credentials to contractors can easily spiral out of control. Contractors and the organization alike expect a seamless visitor experience with the additional protection and clearances that employees expect, and without burden and inefficiencies.

In order to deliver this experience, the access control and identity ecosystems must work seamlessly together. To learn more about unified identity and access management across multiple and often different, access control environments, download our eBook.