How the Pandemic Has Transformed Building Access Security

While the last year and a half has been challenging, the positive side is that the pandemic has made a significant impact on the acceleration of technology advancements. In addition, the unique requirements and environments caused by public health restrictions have actually brought to light new considerations previously overlooked, providing unique solutions that will ultimately drive the future of technology.

One of these sectors being transformed under the pressure of the pandemic is security. Asset accessibility and management have had to adapt to the new conditions we face, but industry leaders are not just thinking about the pandemic – they are using the lessons learned during this trying time to implement systems that will improve security long after the threat of COVID-19 ends.

Of particular importance are access control systems and the devices they integrate with to secure building entrances and interior doorways. Many current systems are quickly being labelled ‘outdated’ as they are unfit for today’s pandemic environment and its respective health and safety regulations or cannot accommodate for the changing nature of the office. Enter the future of entrance security.

The innovative solutions provided by various security technologies support the main goals that executives have set to overcome the challenges of the pandemic experience: enhanced health and safety, improved crisis management, and efficient business restoration.

Restoring corporate trust, health, and safety has been paramount for any organization, of which the frontline is security systems. On top of the increased need for feelings of safety due to the risks and stressors caused by COVID-19, many existing security systems are heavily touch-based and thus not conducive to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Office security systems will not only have to be upgraded to increase both the actual and perceived feelings of health and safety of its occupants, but these measures will also be competing with the health and safety benefits of working from home. For these systems to be seen as sufficient – or even useful – they will have to guarantee better safety than remote work.

From the initial secured entrance to the overarching access control system, the focus is currently on developing contactless access control and door entry solutions.  A myriad of technologies from smart mobile devices to facial biometrics will help play a vital role in implementing what are now COVID-driven essentials but will set the standard for the future of security.

Crisis management and business continuity improvement strategies are being reassessed in every corporation as new challenges and weaknesses have been identified through the pandemic experience, and security systems will be upgraded accordingly.

Some “piggybacking” or “tailgating” attempts may have in the past just been embarrassed employees that forgot their badges; however, the pandemic has made such behaviours more socially unacceptable due to physical distancing restrictions, making such actions more indicative of malicious intent. This provides an opportunity to implement new procedures and systems which can catch and control any such efforts.

In addition, it is crucial that these and other such security concerns should be dealt with in an immediate, sober and no-nonsense manner, as this gives employees the impression that the organization takes access control seriously. For those businesses currently operating in a physical environment, and for all those planning a post-pandemic stage return to a facility, communication regarding new expectations should be clear to your employees.

Restoring business operations is evidently a top priority, but we will not be returning to ‘normal’ – everything about the office must adapt to the ‘new normal,’ from company policy down to front door security.

Business operations and security functions have become closely intertwined throughout the pandemic, and health and safety mandates are expediting the migration for almost every building’s secured entrance and interior doors to touchless solutions and traffic flow. In fact, even before taking the touchless experience into account, security entrances are the most proven way to address tailgating and other forms of unauthorized entry.

A prime example of technology being developed in response to the pandemic improving the future of security is occupant monitoring and control. People counting has become important to ensure social distancing and tracking employees throughout facilities support contact tracing, while these advanced analytics can also be used to help audit and identify the people entering a building as well as efficiently restricting access inside a facility’s most sensitive areas.

It is evident that the pandemic has transformed security technology three-fold. First, the security measures and upgrades that corporations are implementing in response to the pandemic are not temporary solutions – they will become the new standard of building security. The remote-work experience has also provided extra motivation for building upgrades to both ensure secure access for those who must be on-site as well as to eventually convince employees to return to the office. In addition, as the new form of the office emerges post-pandemic, security measures will have to adapt along with it.

The future of building security is fast approaching – are you ready?