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5 Ways AI and Access Control Data can Enhance Security Operations

Opportunities abound for making sense of access control data to enhance security and efficiencies. Co-Founder and CEO Sam Joseph highlights how.

Sam Joseph, Co-Founder and CEO

Originally published in Security Magazine

Access control systems generate and store an overwhelming amount of data. Most of this data is never accessed or used by security teams for any particular purpose or benefit. However, opportunities abound for making sense of the data. Insights from the data enable security teams to enhance security and efficiencies across the organization. With artificial intelligence (AI), they can uncover potential insider threats, change employee behavior, identify faulty hardware and more. Here are five ways your security operations center (SOC) can transform access control data into actionable insights.

Solve Tailgating Problems

Tailgating is the top physical security vulnerability in any enterprise. On their own, access control systems are unable to detect tailgating events. However, AI can combine access control with video data to solve tailgating problems. AI software can automatically analyze video corresponding to every badge swipe and detect tailgating if and when it occurs by looking at the number of unique individuals or vehicles going through a door or vehicle gate. AI can take this a step further by analyzing trends in tailgating data to identify top tailgating offenders and locations. Security teams can then take action by giving warnings to offenders, posting signs at top locations, and so on. AI software can even send out automated emails to employees, bringing about real behavior change in employees.

Uncover Insider Threats

Access control systems generate massive amounts of data, and AI can mine this data to point out anomalies that would have otherwise gone undetected. For example, AI can analyze all invalid access level alarms – or badging attempts despite no authorization to enter – and bring to light individuals that generate a high number of such events. This is practically impossible to do manually due to the sheer number of events generated by the access control system daily. AI analytics has uncovered real insider threats at various enterprises, such as an employee constantly trying to access sensitive server rooms.

Monitor and Improve System Health While Reducing Nuisance Alarms

Access control systems generate numerous alarms, many of which are nuisance alarms caused by faulty hardware. AI can help identify faulty hardware to assist security teams in making sure the hardware is operating as it should. For example, a common access control nuisance alarm is a door forced open (DFO) alarm caused by a faulty request-to-exit (REX) motion sensor. Such a faulty sensor will result in nuisance DFO alarms whenever someone exits out of a door. AI software can analyze the video corresponding to each door transaction and point out that every exit results in a false DFO, which in turn points to a faulty REX sensor. The security team can then have the integrator come and fix the sensor, thereby helping keep the facilities secure and generating fewer nuisance alarms for the security team to handle.

Make Facilities More Efficient

Many of today’s enterprise organizations accommodate office workers, remote workers and employees with hybrid schedules. Data from the access control system can give valuable insights into building utilization and occupancy during these times. These insights can then be shared with other organizational stakeholders, such as facilities management and operations, to make buildings operate more efficiently.

For example, if a location is not being used to its full capacity, it can be downsized to cut costs. If occupancy levels are low or confined to certain hours, the HVAC system can be adjusted accordingly to save on energy consumption. This also shows how security teams can add value to other parts of the organization and thus elevate the stature of security within the enterprise.

Maximize Operator Performance

Security teams often have limited resources, which means that operators must be as efficient as possible. AI software can generate reports with operator metrics, including the number of alarms resolved by each operator, the number of notes they wrote and their mean time to resolve an alarm. This information helps managers identify top performers and areas for improvement. When the security operations team operates effectively and efficiently, operators have more time to focus on higher-value tasks, enhancing security and better employee retention.  

These are just some of the ways access control data can be harnessed to enhance enterprise physical security. With the help of AI, access control data becomes a gold mine that can generate actionable insights for a wide range of applications across the organization. It’s up to us as an industry to unearth these valuable insights to not only increase security and generate efficiencies but also to demonstrate the value of having a security team and associated systems.

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