5 Access Control Trends to Watch This Year

Mobile-based access control, biometrics and Access Control as a Service are among the trends Swiftlane says will take off in 2021.

5 Access Control Trends to Watch This Year

San Francisco — Though interest in access control was already on the rise, the COVID-19 pandemic has even further accelerated adoption of these technologies.

In addition to securing and controller premises, access control is now being used to help control the spread of COVID-19 through innovative Cloud and mobile solutions.

So it should be no surprise that these areas show up on Swiftlanes’s 2021 access control trends to keep an eye on. The touchless access control and video intercom system provider recently shared its trends and insights, portions of which can be found below.

1. Mobile Access Control

The use of mobile phone based credentials is the organic evolution for the physical security and access control industry because they are more convenient and secure than key cards. 93% of the entire U.S. population uses a smartphone, most of whom have their device on their person all the time. They are undeniably ubiquitous. Alternatively, key cards are inconvenient, clocking in as the second most forgotten item. Since most key cards are unencrypted proximity RFID cards that can be cloned easily, credentials on mobile phones also offer a more secure solution.

2. Cloud-Based Security

Physical security is seeing a strong shift towards Cloud-based access control, due to huge benefits provided in terms of operational improvements, higher security and easy multi-site management of access to reap the benefits of limitless scalability.

Multi-site access management has previously been a seriously sub-optimal experience. For example, if an employee is visiting a different branch office, it would require notification multiple days in advance in order to prepare for their arrival in terms of security and access. Manual processes like these, in addition to being inconvenient, result in higher leaked credentials and security inconsistencies.

The adoption of Cloud-based systems has become an emerging trend due to the ability to manage multiple sites under a single system. Access levels can easily be managed across all sites. Moreover, it’s possible to manage a global infrastructure without compromising security or convenience. In fact, security is strengthened, and convenience is higher in this environment.

3. Multifactor Authentication

Both multifactor and multimodal approaches have significant benefits. Multifactor authentication is more secure than single-factor authentication. It also helps organizations to feel more comfortable using single sign-on, and single sign-on is a favorite of users because it greatly simplifies network access. Further, multifactor authentication may be required by regulation to handle personal identifying information.

Multifactor authentication is frequently used by consumers when changing account passwords or performing online transactions; they will be cued to enter a PIN sent via SMS text or email, for example, to verify identity. These are called push notifications, and they are a favorite of research and analyst company Gartner.

4. Biometric Technology

Biometrics have existed at the periphery of access control for decades, limited by high cost, accuracy issues, privacy concerns and other issues. But with prices dropping, quality improving and privacy concerns not at the fore, it has become a viable access control technology in the COVID-19 era. With advance and innovation in facial recognition access control technology, installation is cost effective and can compete with the cost of alternative key card systems.

Instant self-enrollment and simple integration has made facial recognition more accessible than before. Cloud dashboards are allowing admins to centralize access management. In the COVID-19 world and beyond, face recognition will be a critical form of authentication, given the touchless experience. Past implementations of face recognition access control systems suffered from poor accuracy, anti-spoofing issues and lack of privacy controls. But advances in recent years have catapulted the technology into the mainstream.

5. Subscription-Based Business Model

Traditionally, access control has been a hardware-sales-driven business model. You buy readers, key cards and panels from distribution and have an integrator assemble and program the on-premise server. Updates need to be manually programmed, and an IT staff is needed for operation. Times change, as has our culture and security landscape. As such, this model is now being phased out and replaced by subscription-based access control operated from the Cloud to give end users the control and flexibility they want.


This article originally ran in CS sister publication Security Sales & Integration and has been edited.

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