Physical security has a vital role to play in IT security. It can prevent on-site attackers from getting their hands on valuable data and accessing secure areas. IP access control is an important aspect of physical security and can stop an attacker in their tracks.
Yet what is IP access control and how does it work? What are the key benefits that come from using this technology?
In this guide to IP access control, we’re going to take a look at how IP access control can secure your facility and how it ties into managed IT services.
Are you ready to find out more and bolster your physical security? Then read on!
What Is IP Access Control?
In essence, IP access control is a network-based physical security measure. It’s an umbrella term that relates to door access controls, mobile-based controllers, and other measures but they all work in the same fashion.
They connect to your network and then manage access to different areas of your facility. They’re part of the internet of things, which means it falls into the same category as things like Amazon Echo speakers and other smart devices. They connect to your network but are not part of a traditional computer or mobile device.
How Do They Work?
We’ve all used traditional access panels, swiping a keycard to access a hotel room, for instance. IP access control is a step up from these devices but the access method is similar: a user can swipe a keycard, use an access pass, or use biometrics to access the area.
Yet inside the panel there is a small computer that will decide whether or not to allow the user access. It doesn’t make this based on heuristics, instead, the network will transmit information to the access panel which then compares said information to the keycard/another access method. If they match up, it will allow access.
What makes this such an effective security measure is that the administrator can tweak rules to their heart’s content. This means that if someone needs access, you can grant it to them and then rescind it, and so on.
What If the Internet Goes Down?
If the internet goes down, your IP access control will still function, as it’s reliant on the local network rather than the internet. If the local network goes down, your IP access control will also still work!
This is because the computer in the panel will save the latest ruleset. If it can’t access the network, those who should be allowed access will still be able to get in, and those who shouldn’t be will not be able to.
The Benefits of Using an IP Access Control System
Now that we’ve covered what IP access control is, it’s time to take a look at the biggest benefits that come from using one of them. Read on and let’s take a closer look.
Improved Physical Security
We’re all used to the idea of countering external threats. Attack vectors like phishing, ransomware, and other types of malware are common security parlance.
Insider threats can come from disaffected employees acting maliciously, employees being blackmailed or bribed, and even from employee negligence, with no malicious intent. The best way to prevent an insider attack is with access control.
Make sure that your employees only have access to what they need, nothing else. This way, the potential for an insider threat is lessened considerably, and should one occur, you can instantly narrow down the list of potential perpetrators.
Physical security is a bulwark of good IT security. IP access control is easy to maintain and is resilient in the face of insider threats.
Easy to Customize Controls
With a traditional access control system, it can be difficult to change permissions. For instance, if you still rely on traditional keycards, you will need to edit the person’s card to give them more permissions, which takes time.
With an IP access control system, permissions can be changed at any time, even from mobile devices. This means that if an employee needs emergency access to a restricted location, your administrator can grant them access. It also makes it easier to handle promotions and secondments, as if someone’s new role entails accessing new areas, they can get that access within minutes.
Easy to Install and Scalable
Installing an IP-based system is very easy as it uses your business’ existing network infrastructure. This means that laying new lines can be kept to an absolute minimum. All you need to do is hook the panels up to a power source and connect them to the network.
There’s also no practical limit on the number of access control panels that you can install. If you want to install several more, your network will be able to cope with that.
In terms of increased security, one of the best aspects of IP access control is the resilience of the panels and the system.
The panels are very secure and don’t have any visible wires on the exterior that could be used to short out the system. This means that an attacker or a burglar can’t short the panel to open the doors, as you may see in popular media.
The panels are also very resistant to hacking, they have firewalls as well as other security measures that make hacking into them very difficult.
In short, IP access control doesn’t only boost your security, the devices that control it are also very secure themselves.
Accurate and Easy Reporting
If you do suffer an insider attack, you need to know what’s happened right away. IP access control makes this very easy, as it will record each new alert in a central database which you can then access from anywhere.
This means that as soon as something goes wrong, you can start to investigate and find out what caused it and who is responsible. A fast response means that you can solve the issue sooner and prevent further damage.
You Can Set Access Periods
If you need to lock down your building, you can do that with IP access control. Your administrator can lock the building, restricting access to one person or a group of people who could then enter the building in case of an emergency.
This is very useful if there is a holiday coming up where no one should be allowed access, or if you want to make sure that people of a certain permissions level can only access the building during their working hours.
A Range of Different Access Methods
You can use IP access control panels with many different kinds of technology. For instance, if you want the convenience of not having to carry a keycard around with you all day, you can use biometrics.
If you’d prefer contactless technology due to the ongoing pandemic, proximity scanning can be paired with IP access control, too. This variety of choice means that you can customize your IP access control without compromising on security.
Can Be Paired With Smart Locks
If you would like to take your internet of things security approach to the next level, you can also pair IP access control with smart locks. These connect to the network and, like the access control panels, will also remember the last settings it got from the network should the network go down.
These connect to your wireless network too, which means no new infrastructure. It gives you peace of mind and better security, with all the other benefits that we’ve mentioned so far.
Depending on their location, you can set these locks to be fail secure, meaning that they stay locked when power goes out, or fail safe, so that if the power goes out in an emergency, they will be unlocked.
Safer and Easier Access for Employees
An unlocked door is a burglar’s dream. In the time that it takes for your employee to fumble around looking for a key, unlock the door, enter, and then lock it again, a burglar could shadow them and force access.
It’s faster and safer for your employees to scan a keycard or to put their fingers on a biometric scanner. This also eliminates the need for them to lock the door after them, which means there’s less time for a bad actor to enter via the open door.
No Need to Chase Old Keycards
If an employee loses their key or keycard, this is a serious problem. The chance of it ending up in a bad actor’s hands who then uses it to gain access to the building is too high. This means that the company needs to do the hard work of tracking down the key, which could be anywhere.
Similarly, IP access control also removes the risk of an old employee still being able to access the building. Former employees are a serious security threat, as many leave without giving up their keys, keycards, or access passes.
What this means is that they have the opportunity to come back at any time and access the premises, which poses massive risks to data security. Depending on the circumstances of their dismissal, you should also factor these employees’ potential motives into account.
If you have IP access control, you can strip them of their privileges as soon as they leave the company. It takes seconds or minutes to do and then they no longer have access. This completely eliminates the risk of the disaffected former employee.
Security Across Multiple Locations
If your business has more than one location, controlling access can be difficult. When you use an IP-based system, there are no problems. The scalability that we mentioned earlier comes into its own here, as your administrator can control the security across multiple buildings without any difficulties.
This keeps security tight across your whole company, should you use IP door access control at each location.
IP Access Control and Security
IP access control comes with some tremendous advantages. To maintain these advantages, you need to ensure that you keep the access control system secure itself.
One of the potential weakpoints in the system is the IP access control server. You should ensure that the server is well-protected with strong network security. If this server fails, hackers may be able to break into the system and let themselves in, yet with tight security you can keep the possibility of this happening to an absolute minimum.
You should also make sure that you update the firmware of the access control system as soon as an update becomes available. Updates tend to fix security and performance issues, which means that if you don’t patch them up, you are opening up security holes that an attacker could use.
Find the Right System for You
Due to the multiple possible configurations that are available for IP access control, there’s sure to be one that is right for you and your business’ level of security. We’re experts on physical and information security, which means that IP access control is solidly in our wheelhouse.
If you would like to make your business safer with access control but aren’t sure which type is right for you or are still uncertain about how it works, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team. We’re always happy to help you improve your security.