Page 102 - Security Today, September/October 2021
P. 102

Higher Education
"The best way to begin is by breaking down each core vertical slice to determine its needs, and then find a solution that is open enough to make a
Fmulti-faceted system a reality."
inding the right security solution for, let’s say, multi- tenant housing, requires significant consideration. There is a variety of factors to think through, such as which doors need to be secured? How will visitors be managed? Where cameras will need to be deployed? What if that
was just one small vertical slice of a much larger campus with distinct needs? Now you are thinking like a higher education buyer.
A university campus comes with diverse security needs. There is residential housing, academic buildings, point-of-sale locations like dining halls, and high-security areas such as research laboratories, sports stadiums involving mass gatherings, healthcare facilities and even off-season usage by third-party organizations such as camps or symposiums. Finding a solution that can cover all of those use cases is no simple feat. The best way to begin is by breaking down each core vertical slice to determine its needs, and then find a solution that is open enough to make a multi-faceted system a reality.
Before diving into the solutions for the various use cases, it is critical to consider how any campus-wide security solution will be managed.
Consider using an “area access manager” style of governance.
This partitions system administration rights across different departments to manage buildings, cardholders and any other relevant systems. This distributes the workload, reducing strain on the often
resource-constrained security team.
Campus Buildings (with specialized areas)
The most common type of security needs on a higher education cam- pus are the buildings students use every day for living and learning. For student housing, access control at the main entrance of the build- ing is a necessity. Whether indoor wireless or PoE locks are included on individual room doors is a matter of budget. There is room here to go with mobile credentials but to accommodate other on-campus needs, as if dining halls and smart cards are also used. Integrating video management into the overall ecosystem is ideal for student pro- tection, allowing a university to monitor everyone coming and going, and ultimately identify unauthorized individuals who manage to gain entry. Furthermore, campus buildings are used in the school off-sea- son to house visitors for temporary stays (such as symposiums or camps), so the ability to provide temporary credentials becomes an important consideration when implementing a security solution.
One of the most onerous components of residential buildings is the constant turnover (as semesters come and go), along with ever- changing roommate assignments, because let’s face it – not all room- mates are a match made in heaven. Many institutions of higher learn- ing do not have a good solution for this challenge and find themselves spending significant time manually changing access rights. Finding an access control solution that can easily integrate with the existing human resource or student information system to automate this pro- cess saves many headaches, while also reducing the risk of a student accidentally gaining access to the wrong residence hall room. In situ-

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