Decentralized Assets, Centralized Control

In this day and age, securing educational facilities is not as simple as it once was. Long gone are the days of slapping CCTV cameras around the exterior of a building and calling it “safe.” There is no finite security solution for any one campus, and oftentimes, solutions will vary greatly in their technology depending on their size and location, among other factors.

More than likely, when one thinks of security in a campus setting, they probably think of the most common components: access control, high-security locks, cameras, and maybe a visitor management system. However, with the constantly evolving state of campus safety and security, coupled with emerging technologies, it is time for schools to begin thinking about innovative solutions when it comes to their overall security plan.

A technology that is not as “mainstream” as CCTV or access control, but just as important and effective, is key and asset management. This proves to be an extremely valuable addition to any campus in enhancing security and effectively managing the important keys and devices which are critical to day-to-day operations. Recognized as the global leaders in innovative key and asset management, Traka utilizes pioneering solutions to manage the most important parts of any organization, including campuses.

Power Through Integration

It is becoming more and more critical that businesses and organizations adopt open standards when selecting their security equipment providers and technologies. With the recent integration of Traka’s intelligent key and asset management products and Open Options’ DNA Fusion access control platform, users can now have a feature-rich and powerful solution that makes the task of managing and tracking company property that much easier.  A well thought out integration allows you to scale your operational needs without the burden of scaling your administrative needs.

DNA Fusion is the standard in open platform access control software. It’s designed using the very latest in software development technology and contains countless customer-centric features that provide an extremely user-friendly experience. A true proponent of open architecture, DNA Fusion has the capability to interface with leading technologies in the industry, such as Traka key and asset management, to develop a customized and best-of-breed security solution based on each user’s unique needs.

The functionality of the integration is simple yet extremely effective. System administrators can automatically enroll DNA Fusion cardholders into the Traka database, assign user access levels for access to Traka cabinets and lockers, and receive Traka events and alarms back into the DNA Fusion interface for centralized control. For enterprise-level organizations, this integration gives users the regionalization necessary for efficient management without adding any burden to top-level security administration, which is ideal in a multi-campus setting.

Furthermore, this integration streamlines security processes and procedures, as single credentials can be assigned for both door access as well as property and equipment secured by Traka.

What Can be Secured?

The sky is the limit when it comes to what can be secured with an integrated access control and asset management solution, especially in a campus environment. With the recent introduction of technology in the classrooms, such as iPads, tablets and laptops, there is certainly an increased need for secure and controlled storage that can be audited at any time. Traditionally, assets such as these are assigned on a “sign in, sign out” method. Although this leaves somewhat of an audit trail, it is not a very sophisticated practice and poses numerous security risks such as theft and accidental loss, to name a couple.

There are also several aspects to be considered outside the classroom when it comes to asset management and protection. Campuses house a number of different departments including grounds and facilities, IT, finance, athletics, and many more. As a result, there are many different assets – ranging from maintenance fleet vehicles to controlled substances in a laboratory – that require strict access control and monitoring.

So, what’s the solution?

Decentralization Increases Efficiency

Networked key cabinets and locker systems enable schools to securely store items at the point of use making daily use more efficient. Authorized users can retrieve the key(s) or assets they need in seconds, right in the building where it’s used. This means that vehicle keys can be stored in the garage, specialized equipment can remain in the lab, and tablets can be kept in the classroom. Administrators still have the same control and visibility from the central security office, while your staff – and students – enjoy more efficient and effective daily processes.

Many campuses suffer from having a single point of distribution and collection for facility keys and assets. This has proven to be extremely inefficient with a direct impact to the bottom line. While it’s beneficial to have centralized control and visibility of protected items from the campus security office, faculty and staff must walk across campus every day just to check in or out a key or asset. Multiply this by dozens of users, and it adds up to a lot of lost productivity each day. Think about security officers, cleaning crews, maintenance workers… The list goes on and the dollars stack up.

While these keys and assets are necessary for employees to gain access to various areas of the campus, utilizing a decentralized key and asset management solution allows the items to be tracked effortlessly from one central location. Consequently, the number of keys held by staff is reduced, and in turn, the chance of them getting into the wrong hands is mitigated. This reduces risk while increasing security and peace of mind all without disrupting daily operations, making processes more effective.

Additional Benefits to Campuses

An integrated asset management and access control solution will also create a more controlled environment, increasing safety and situational awareness for students and staff alike. For example, system operators can easily restrict access to hazardous areas until proper safety equipment has been checked out. Access to assets can also be easily controlled by adding, deleting or suspending users.

Because the time of every user and asset transaction is recorded and logged as an event within the access control platform, individuals are held accountable for the property they have checked out. Furthermore, this integration gives system administrators control of each user’s facility access permissions based on Traka item status; for example, employees cannot leave a facility prior to returning keys or equipment to the Traka cabinet. Knowing this may prompt those who access property to act more responsibly and return items in a timely manner.

These are just some of the reasons an integrated management and access control solution is not just a smart, but necessary technology to have as part of any campus’ total security solution.

This article appeared in the January 2018 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety magazine