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Four Reasons to Migrate to an Open Architecture Access Control System

Written by Wissam Acra, Regional Sales Manager at Genetec

In the recent decade, the access control market has changed dramatically. Previously, archaic access control systems (ACS) with proprietary hardware confined companies to single manufacturers and stagnant solutions. It is now more open, and the introduction of new technologies has offered businesses more options when selecting systems and components. As a result of the expanded variety, they can better address their individual needs because they can do more with their ACS.

However, while many firms have completed the leap, several are still using obsolete ACS technology because upgrading is too tricky. They’re terrified of the expenses of migration, so they put their effort and money into preserving their outdated systems instead. One of the key factors driving their concern is the way they look at upgrading. However, some organizations see investing in a new ACS as a capital expense rather than a straightforward return on investment (ROI).

According to Frost & Sullivan, the Middle East commercial security market was expected to reach US$10.2 billion by 2020, growing annually by 24 percent in value since 2015. This means that despite the growing importance of physical security solutions in the region, companies still approach their ACS as a capital expense and cannot see any options beyond simple system maintenance.

While many companies have transitioned, others are still utilizing outdated ACS technology because upgrading is too complex. They’re afraid of the costs of migration, so they devote their time and resources on keeping their antiquated systems.

Protect your business
A unified ACS can do more than lock and unlock doors. It can protect an organization’s people and assets more effectively and can help improve business operations and decision-making capabilities. By tracking key indicators and information, dashboards put events into perspective.

For example, designing a dashboard that tracks active alarms alongside other metrics, including the number of patrons waiting in a security line, can warn security operators of escalating situations. This helps organizations identify potential issues before they become problems and make better decisions aimed at improving every area of operations.

The real cost of legacy systems
Legacy systems were designed to address an organization’s needs at a specific point in time. As needs change and technology advances, they can lag. For example, some legacy systems limit an organization’s ability to integrate new technologies into its physical security system, including wireless locks and mobile credentials. One of the main post-pandemic concerns of physical security professionals in the EMEA is aging infrastructure, as 48% of the EMEA State of Physical Security 2021 survey respondents believe it is a significant hurdle.

An older ACS can also require constant upgrading and support to keep working. Parts for these older systems can be challenging to find and are frequently costly. And, when an ACS is proprietary and heavily integrated into a physical security system, this can further increase maintenance costs.

Increasing ROI by going beyond the door
To avoid the long-term setbacks associated with closed systems, organizations need an ACS that will evolve with their ever-changing needs, provide solutions that go beyond the door, and allow them to move to the cloud with confidence. With a flexible, open ACS, organizations can address current requirements and evolve their systems with new technologies as their needs change.

An open ACS provides the ability to scale up through additional hardware integrations, bolt-on software modules, and open software integrations with third-party products. These solutions allow organizations to customize their systems by selecting hardware that addresses their specific security objectives. It can also save time and money by enabling them to reuse existing hardware instead of migrating to an entirely new system.

They also provide a global view of environments by correlating data, enabling security teams to assess and respond to incidents quickly and effectively.

Legacy systems are no match for today’s cybercriminal
With the average cost of a data breach in the UAE and KSA rising to over $5 million, it’s never been more critical for organizations to be educated on the risks associated with legacy systems and the advantages that a new cyber-secure access solution can offer. Access Control Systems (ACS) are a powerful infrastructure tool that tends to be overlooked as a potential cyber-attack vector. As access control systems tend to be connected to an organization’s network, if a cybercriminal breaches a legacy ACS, they can open and close doors without permission and gain control over any other system connected to the network.

Threat actors often move around a breached network to search for information that will generate the most financial gain. By compromising a single user’s active directory account, a cybercriminal can disguise the funds they steal, making it virtually impossible for cybersecurity solutions to find them. According to the EMEA State of Physical Security 2021 survey, 67% of respondents set out to prioritize improving their cybersecurity strategy. To protect their data and networks, organizations need an ACS that is secure from server to the credential.

Keeping a legacy ACS is time-consuming and costly. It can expose a company to new hazards, such as cyberattacks, and it cannot keep up with changing access control requirements. Open access control solutions make modernising simple. An open architecture solution’s flexibility allows enterprises to scale their ACS as their needs evolve. This enables them to improve security while generating a higher return on investment continuously.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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