People using mobile devices in a connected workplace.

Secure, Smart and Simple: Connected Workplaces

Connecting Business Systems for Safer, More Convenient Operations

Imagine needing one key to open your home’s front door, another to access the kitchen and a third to enter the garage. This may seem unnecessarily complicated, but businesses do this all the time. Employees frequently need to present different credentials to enter the building, clock in and out, access data and print securely. They’re expected to keep track of all these different credential types, like multiple cards, keys, fobs and ever-changing passwords. This isn’t just cumbersome — it presents real security risks and leads to rising IT costs.

More organizations are connecting their business systems and applications and granting access to multiple physical and digital locations as well as resources of any kind with one credential. In addition, the same convenient credential can become an essential part of a multi-factor authentication (MFA) system for highly secure physical and logical locations. Administrators simply have to add another requirement — like a PIN or biometric verification — to add a layer of security. Connected business systems that seamlessly support MFA solve many operational and security challenges, including the following:

Evolving Cyber Threats

Don’t mistake the simplicity of connected systems with fallibility — in the connected workplace, more applications have robust security. Once the infrastructure is in place, additional readers can be installed for secure print, parking garages, elevators and more — all managed through the same network and accessed with the same credential. This makes everything more secure — after all, the entire security chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Of course, it’s also more convenient, since it removes the user’s hassle of having to carry additional keys and badges and lets administrators manage the new security, including permissions and access authorizations, using existing systems.

Variable Security Needs

User A needs access to elevator bank 1 and network 2, but should not have access to door 3 after 5:00 PM. No problem. In a connected workplace, permissions can be granted — and revoked — remotely, immediately and at a highly granular level. Administrators can easily apply a consistent company-wide security policy by granting temporary access to visitors and adjust permissions as needed. This way, visitors become part of a comprehensive security system, conveniently and safely.  

Highly secure areas can receive additional layers of variable protection with MFA. Staff may either swipe an access card or carry a smartphone with the necessary credentials to enter the front door, while access to safe and essential data may require additional factor using a PIN or biometric verification with one’s face or fingerprint.

User Convenience

In many settings, security is only as strong as it is simple. If it’s not simple, it won’t be used correctly. Multiple credentials mean multiple chances to leave one lying around. Passwords are particularly tricky, especially when security requires them to be changed frequently. If employees have too many passwords to remember, they’ll share them or write them down, where they can easily be “borrowed” by would-be thieves. Physical keys can also be shared or hidden in easy-to-find places like under a doormat. Even if they’re not stolen, passcodes and keys are often forgotten, putting a strain on IT and facility resources who spend far too much time retrieving and resetting them.

For an even simpler user experience, this single credential can be on a mobile phone. Users might forget their key cards at home but are unlikely to leave the house without their phone. In addition, mobile access allows instant security updates and easily transfers a credential from one form to another device.

Health and Location Tracking

A single trusted identity gives administrators insight into an employee’s activity on any given day, allowing them to automatically respond in case of irregular behavior. This provides proof of presence and immediate response in case of any security incident, while keeping the experience comfortable and seamless for the user. Connected workplaces offer security administrators a very efficient and powerful system.

From parking garages and elevators to networks and databases, the benefits of connecting business systems with converged physical and logical access provides better security — simply.

Ready to get started? Read our white paper, How to Connect Business Systems: A Breakdown of the First 5 Critical Steps >>

Helmut has been in the security business for more than 25 years in various management roles for some of the leading suppliers of a broad range of security solutions. He also holds some patents. Within the last 20 years he has successfully led different engineering, global product management and marketing teams. His portfolio includes one of the first VPN products ever as well as solutions for HW-based encryption solutions in combination with RFID technologies managed by his various teams. He has been with HID now for more than 10 years with a focus on RFID technologies, and is used to challenging the status quo in seeking more customer-friendly solutions and services.