Going mobile: Tapping smartphones for the future of commercial security

Going mobile: Tapping smartphones for the future of commercial security
Andi is a copywriter for Openpath Security, a leading provider of mobile and cloud-based access control solutions. Andi contributes to a range of media sites focused on business security solutions. With more than 8 years of experience, Andi has a keen eye for identifying upcoming security trends and intuitive software solutions for the commercial real estate and enterprise market.

Today, almost everyone is walking around with a mini supercomputer in their pocket. Your smartphone just keeps getting smarter. Now you can sync your refrigerator with your phone, open your car door without a key, and even check on your home security from anywhere. So, why are businesses so slow to adopt this technology? 

The data is clear: more than 87% of companies depend on employees using business apps on their smartphones, and policies such as mobile work, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and hot-desking are increasingly popular. In other words, enterprise operations are trending towards an all-mobile future, and commercial security is no exception. The most impactful way to utilize smartphone technology for building security: mobile access control.

Is mobile-based access control secure enough for enterprises? 

Smart locks are increasingly popular for home security, and that technology is now available for enterprise businesses as well. With mobile-enabled commercial access control systems, businesses no longer need to manage key cards or fobs. Instead employees can use their phone. But the real setback for many businesses is a concern for how secure these systems are. 

With today’s advanced security features on mobile phones, a mobile-based access control system is incredibly safe and reliable. In fact, switching to mobile credentials can actually improve enterprise security posturing. Some of the unique security features of a mobile-based entry system for business include:

  • Two-factor and multi-factor authentication (MFA) built directly into the device
  • Mobile credentials cannot be cloned as easily as a key card or ID badge
  • Each mobile credential is unique to the user, unlike metal keys and PIN-based entry systems
  • Encrypted communication with edge devices such as door readers
  • Some mobile access control providers also have digital badging for easy visual verification without a physical badge
  • Cloud-based mobile access control systems can easily integrate with other business systems like video surveillance and identity management for a unified security platform
  • Automatic alerts can be used to notify the correct people in the event of a security incident
  • Trackable access activity for compliance and auditing

But what is a mobile credential, and how does it work? A mobile credential is just like a key that exists on your smartphone. With mobile-based access control systems, users install an app on their phone, open a special Cloud Key link, or scan a QR code at a door reader to gain entry. Depending on the provider, mobile credentials may use a variety of technology to activate an unlock, such as RFID, Bluetooth, cellular data, and/or wifi signals. Once in proximity of an authorized entry, a user can either tap a button in their app, or in some cases, simply wave their hand in front of the reader to unlock the door.

What are the benefits of mobile access for businesses? 

In addition to improved security, mobile-based commercial security systems are much more convenient. Employees want to work with the latest technology, and that includes building security. The convenience of smartphone building access should not be overlooked. A mobile credential means not having to worry about losing a key card, or forgetting a badge at home. Plus, employees are much less likely to lose their phone, or let a friend borrow their phone to get into the building. 

Unlike a home security system, enterprise security systems require more management and monitoring. Mobile-based credentials, however, are less of a burden to manage, since there are no key cards to order or maintain. Mobile credential management is done digitally, using a web-based system to configure who has access to which entries. A remotely accessible database also allows multi-site enterprises to control their security operations for every location from any device, anywhere in the world.

How much does commercial mobile access control cost?

Another determining factor for many businesses is the cost of updating their security to a mobile-based option. One cost of a mobile access control system is readers and door locks that are compatible with mobile-based credentials. If you already have a commercial door lock system for traditional key card or fob access, look for systems that are backwards compatible and use standard wiring to avoid an expensive rip-and-repair project. 

There are significant cost-savings with a mobile-based security system. For example, you will no longer need to order key cards or fobs for each employee. Additionally, cloud-based providers eliminate the need for dedicated servers and licensing, which often come with extensive training and maintenance costs as well. Choosing security providers with intuitive software and leveraging automations is also a great way to lessen the administrative and IT burden of managing a security system.

Making the switch

Companies who want to be on the forefront of technology and security should take a page from the smart-home evolution. Smart offices in the modern era are more than just cool gadgets. A truly intelligent enterprise platform is one that improves security and safety, without sacrificing convenience or employee productivity. By taking full advantage of the technology available on mobile devices, businesses can future-proof their assets and fully embrace the mobile work movement.

(Photo by Sven on Unsplash)

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