Risk mitigation strategies: securing public and private entrances
Gary Schreiber, a security entrance authority from the Boon Edam global network, looks at security issues surrounding doors and entrances, and offers some solutions to mitigate these risks.
Something we should never complain about is that people are too nice. They let people in behind them without a second thought in most cases. Most of us are not brought up to close a door in someone’s face, so we hold a door open for them, or we let them in behind us – especially if they have forgotten their personal authorisation or access device at home. Good manners indeed, but certainly not good security.
These weaknesses in a company’s security – at an entrance point – are part of what makes an organisation aware that its needs to find an even safer way to secure its space and keep employees’ valuables safe as well. Several solutions are often considered such as:
- locks on doors or gates
- access control systems to control electronic door locks
- security officers posted at key locations, and
- security cameras to monitor access.
Mitigating risk with security entrances
As with all things in life, all of the above-mentioned options have their flaws. An access control system can manage who can open a door, but once it is open, anyone is able to freely enter or exit. Adding security cameras does not necessarily ensure security either – it often just makes it possible to replay what happened after the security breech has actually taken place. Employing security officers is expensive, and these guards may have a limited impact as they can be distracted, misled or overwhelmed.
Security entrance solutions provide the most effective way to allow passage of authorised people, while acting as a deterrent or a physical barrier for unauthorised people. More than that, security entrances can provide companies with valuable metrics to determine the traffic flow, monitor tailgating statistics, biometrics and more.
You can think of security entrances in terms of four groupings to achieve a variety of risk mitigation strategies: crowd control, deterrence, detection and prevention.
The lowest level of security entrances, such as waist-high turnstiles, can count the number of people exiting or entering a facility, which helps staffed entrances to cope with a large numbers of authorised people who have to enter or leave a secured area in a short space of time. These low security systems are designed to slow down and organise the entry point, while also serving as visual deterrents to potential infiltrators and preserving a relatively open appearance for authorised people. Typical applications include sports stadium entries, factory shift changes, transit terminals and high-occupancy skyscraper buildings.
The next level up in the security entrance grading is designed with an increase in the deterrent factor. These incorporate a full-height barrier that deters casual attempts to defeat the system by means of climbing or crawling. A full height barrier is often installed at a perimeter fence line as a first layer of physical security, or an ‘exit only’ to allow people to leave – but deter them from entering. Here, when integrated with an access control system, metrics such as the number of inbound and/or outbound people, in addition to credentials, can be tracked.
Medium level security entrances rely on sensor technology to accurately detect objects moving through an opening, and can determine whether one or two people are passing through. In this way, they can detect when a tailgating or piggybacking incidence occurs. If this happens, an audio, visual and silent alarm are activated to alert the right security personnel quickly. At this security level, speed gates, which are particularly popular in corporate reception areas or foyers, can be equipped with presence detection sensors, and can provide accurate metrics including the number of authorised personnel inbound and outbound as well as the number of tailgating incidents or alarms. Certain models equipped with dense sensor arrays and can be set up to alarm and count jumping or crawling attempts
This is the highest level of security entrances available and it introduces true tailgating and piggybacking prevention. We see products such as high security doors and portals typically fall in this area. The solutions in this category are most suitable for facilities such as data centres, and for locations where security staffing is impractical. These security entrances not only serve as a visual deterrent, but also physically deny all forms of unauthorised entry completely. By integrating facial recognition analytics, it is possible to ensure that the person traveling through the entrance matches the credentials which have been presented. Biometrics serve the same function by utilising the individual’s face, iris or fingerprint as their credentials.
With the integration of sophisticated near-infrared sensors and optic technologies, such as the StereoVision, these entrances can provide a rich assortment of metrics, including authorisation received, passage completed, tailgating or piggybacking rejections inbound or outbound, biometric access control rejections, safety rejections, and emergency button rejections. They can also detect and send alerts for a variety of events such as an object left behind.
Securing an entrance can take many forms, but the overall goal is to establish risk mitigation strategies to keep unauthorised entry at bay. Security entrance solutions are the answer for protecting a company while, at the same time, providing critical metrics to further reduce risk. At the end of the day, security entrances are a good investment for any organisation that needs to control access to any points in their facilities.
Greg Schreiber has been with Boon Edam for a total of 15 years and currently is the senior vice president of Sales in the United States of America.
Security entrances selected for some of the world’s landmark public and private buildings and facilities will be featured at this year’s Security Expo (Stand G2) in Melbourne by security entrance and architectural revolving door specialist, Boon Edam Australia. Highlighted among exhibits at the Convention Centre Event from July 25 to 27 will be Lifeline Speedlane entrances and other technologies.
Images courtesy of Boon Edam.