electronic access control

How secure is your access control platform?

By Courtney Emra, Lead Customer Service/Sales Assistant at Kenton Brothers

Gallagher - Award WinningWe all know that the perfect security solution doesn’t exist. But we must always do our best to provide strong security for our people, property, and possessions. Did you know that in just 60 seconds, a simple $10 device is able to copy unattended, lost, or stolen key cards? This effectively leaves a wide open door for hackers to enter your company, systems, etc.

Gallagher has won several awards for their cyber security solutions. They perform various testing procedures and public information regarding these tests can be found on CVE. Included in those resources, they also have a free Security Health Check tool that helps you understand and identify weaknesses within your system, hardware and even users.

Let’s take a look at “The Four Horsemen of a Security Breach” from Corey Russell, a System Engineer with Gallagher.

1. Network

It doesn’t matter how much you’ve spent on your system if you leave it wide open for people to find on the internet. The system itself is solid, but if your access control is out there, there’s a good chance some usernames and passwords wouldn’t be hard to come by. Secure your networks, keep them up to date, and make sure you have email phishing training; your IT admin will thank you. If at all possible, take your access control system to a private network. Seclude it on its own island like Tom Hanks in ‘Cast Away’.

2. Hardware

Gallagher - Award WinningSo, you have your network secure? Great! Now what kind of hardware are you using? Something as simple as a plunger switch on a cabinet can be bypassed and let someone short the lock to the back door. Do your cameras still use ‘username’ and ‘password’ for the login? Did you put resistors in line with the reader you hung on the wall? Lastly, did you leave the keys in the cabinet lock because Steve keeps losing them? Get Steve a retractable key chain and make sure your hardware is as secure as your network.

3. Software

With our network secure and our hardware locked down, let’s talk software. We need to make sure we have complex passwords and, no, ‘P@ssw0rd’ is not a secure password. Make sure software is kept up to date. Look to use a platform that puts security first and offers additional tools to secure your network and hardware.

4. People

How secure is your access control system?This one is the hardest. People are predictable… until they’re not. Training staff and enforcing policies can be difficult. That’s why having a system that can help you mitigate the exposures people are sure to cause is a must.

Gallagher offers something called competencies which restrict people from even entering certain areas without valid, up to date certification on their record. Out of the box you can utilize broadcast notifications to get important messaging out to everyone with a push of a button, control how many people can be in one area, or how long any person can stay in that area. Track assets utilizing the readers already on the wall. The list goes on and on. Can your current security platform do that?

Now that you have a pretty good understanding of what’s happening in the threat landscape, do you still feel confident in your current system? We would love to do a commercial security audit of your system and help you plug any holes we find. Just give us a call!

Finally! A commercial security solution built for small to medium sized businesses.

By Neal Bellamy, IT Director at Kenton Brothers

Gallagher SMB ProductsAccess Control systems seem to be designed for 2 scenarios. Either they’re designed for hundreds of doors with a very large feature set or 1-2 doors with very few features. And finally… an access control vendor has entered the space with a product that fills the gap. Gallagher has introduced their “SMB” line.

The Gallagher SMB Line of Products

The Gallagher SMB line uses many components of their enterprise line. They’ve kept a few of their enterprise features, and added a lot more to make their products easier to use and manage with just a smartphone. Let’s dive into the features.

The SMB line has many features, just like its big brothers. The system combines access control and intrusion detection capabilities, just like their enterprise line. Although the panels are designated for the SMB line, the same architecture is used. This makes it versatile in the field. The system also uses smart fobs and Bluetooth credentials just like its big brother.

Resource: Gallagher’s SMB Solution Brochure

The SMB line adds many convenience features that are necessary for the SMB space.

First, the system is server-less and connected to the cloud. This means that you don’t have another server to maintain and can access the system from anywhere you have internet access.

The system updates itself. You will always have the latest features and security fixes. Since it is cloud-connected, you can add and remove people and credentials from your mobile phone. You can also check to see if the system is armed and arm or disarm it from your mobile device.

Imagine being at a conference across the country and being able to arm your intrusion system in the middle of the night, because an employee forgot to do so when they left the premises. If you need to send a friend to check on your business, you can add them as an authorized person and assign a Bluetooth credential for instant access.

Multiple sites can be managed from one mobile app. This allows you to have multiple stores or locations that can be managed with one app and accessed through one fob or mobile credential. Speaking of Bluetooth credentials, an unlimited number of them come packaged with the system.

Case Studies: Kāwhia Primary School, Huntly College Old Boys Rugby Football Club, Hamilton City Gymnastics,  and Chesters Plumbing.

The Gallagher SMB line also offers options to only pay for what you need.

The intrusion system, by default, is self-monitored. This means that you get alerts through your mobile app and you decide if there is a real threat and call the police if necessary. However, if you want an option to have the system professionally monitored, that’s also an option. Access control can be licensed for 1-4 doors, 5-8 doors, or 9-10 doors per site, which allows you to size the system appropriately for your needs. The system has options for accessing the internet through the network, Wi-Fi, or even 4/5G cellular connections.

Kenton Brothers has already deployed the Gallagher SMB solution with great results.

The Gallagher SMB Solution fills the gap in security offerings between a single door at a single site and hundreds of doors at multiple sites. If you would like to increase your security while having a system that’s simple to manage without breaking the bank, give us a call. We would love to talk with you to see if the Gallagher SMB Line is the right answer for your commercial security needs.

Three Security Trends for 2022 – Blurring of Cyber and Physical Security

By Gina Stuelke, CEO of Kenton Brothers

The lines are blurring between cyber and physical security. Here are three important trends we are seeing in the commercial security space for 2022.

1) Organizations will invest in new commercial access control systems and video analytics solutions that are more integrated.

CyPhy Part 1During the pandemic, many businesses had to get creative in managing new health and safety mandates. Controlling social distancing was critical. To adhere to health mandates, retailers, corporate offices, and others needed to know how many people were in their facilities at any given point. This has generated huge demand for occupancy management solutions.

While most are using this technology to count people entering and exiting a building, organizations will continue expanding this technology across all areas of their facilities.

These spatial analytics are helping businesses unlock insights about how people use their facilities. Long after the pandemic is over, they can extract data to learn:

  • How many people are waiting in the lobby
  • How many people are in the cafeteria
  • How specific spaces are being used over time

This data then becomes the catalyst for building improvements that enhance the visitor, employee, or tenant experience.

Implementing video analytics within camera systems can further strengthen site security and delivers more insights. From people counting and directional flow to object left behind and crossline detection, analytics are giving security teams a clearer picture of what’s happening in their environments. Analytics also allowed remote teams to stay on top of threats while securing near-empty facilities during the pandemic. Beyond safety objectives, organizations are using analytics data to reduce wait times, optimize staff scheduling and enhance business operations.

Corporate offices are also finding ways to best optimize their workplaces as they give employees the flexibility to split up their work time between the office and home. This space utilization intelligence helps them better track employee office attendance, monitor meeting room demands and make more informed floor plan changes such as adding more desk-sharing options.

All of this leads to higher operational efficiencies, effective resource management and cost savings.

2) Cybercrime will continue to grow and inspire new strategies.

CyPhy Part 2In today’s world, while we can harden and tighten the physical security of a facility, a truly secure IT perimeter no longer exists. Physical security professionals are collaborating with cyber security teams to put measures in place to deter hackers and protect their businesses.  Choosing trusted vendors and deploying physical security solutions that come with layers of cyber defenses are critical. It’s a layered and collaborative approach.

A report by Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that global crime costs will reach $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. With a growth rate of 15% per year, this is said to represent the greatest transfer of economic wealth in history.

As we continue to see more devices come online (at the rate of 17 per hour) and data processing becomes central to operations, businesses will need to remain agile and responsive to the evolving threat landscape. Businesses will also need to offer greater transparency to meet customer expectations of keeping their data private and secure. All of this will bring in a new model for physical and cybersecurity that relies on continuous verification rather than just hardening networks and systems.

3) More organizations will make the move to the Cloud and embrace a hybrid model.

CyPhy Part 3The pandemic is largely responsible for the surging demand for the Cloud. As online usage and remote work spiked, there’s been a global shift to accelerate digital transformation.

According to a report titled Predictions 2021 by Forrester, global public cloud infrastructure was predicted to grow 35% to a market value of $120 billion in 2021. To thrive in the long run, physical security professionals will need to determine how to best leverage cloud technology and offerings in the years ahead. More chief security officers will let go of the division between cloud and on-premises physical security systems and embrace a hybrid deployment model. This allows them to implement specific systems or applications in the cloud while keeping existing on-premises systems.

This hybrid approach can also be the simplest answer when deciding how to enhance scalability, redundancy, and availability to meet changing needs. Beyond that, cloud offerings provide tons of added value. Physical security teams can quickly migrate to newer technologies, minimize hardware footprint, boost cybersecurity and reduce costs.

It’s an exciting time in the security industry!

Innovation and continuous improvement are happening every day in the commercial security industry, both core values of KB! Let us be your commercial security partner and we will help you navigate these changes!

Project Spotlight: Commercial Security Consolidation for a Local Manufacturer with Dozens of Buildings

By Neal Bellamy, IT Director at Kenton Brothers

Kenton Brothers + GallagherA local manufacturing business approached us over a year ago to talk about their existing system security. They have several dozen buildings in 2 states. Their system had been managed by multiple people over the decades, and while functional, it would not fit their commercial security needs moving forward. They had four different access control software platforms, one IP video surveillance platform, and two analog video platforms. In this situation, multiple platforms made managing the system difficult and, in some cases, impossible.

This manufacturer also had some unique security requirements, which meant not every access control platform available today could provide the single pane of glass that KB likes to deliver. (Our goal is to provide our customers with the ability to monitor and control their integrated commercial security system from a single device.)

Unloading Dangerous Materials

Traka Secured CabinetsOne of the unique requirements we had to accommodate was an area where material unloading happens. Some of the ingredients that they use can be dangerous if mixed. There are strict requirements about which people are allowed to unload the material and where it can be stored. They have an existing Traka cabinet where the keys are stored to the padlock to unlock the unloading ports. To further enforce the security of the unloading area, they want to ensure only one of the five gates could be open at a time.

Visitor Management

Another desire for the access control system were Bluetooth credentials and visitor management. This customer had pain related to the current credentials. They had multiple card formats and multiple facility codes making the credentials hard to track. While talking to the customer about a new path for access control, the topic of mass notification came up. It was then that we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Gallagher was the perfect solution.


Gallagher LogoGallagher allows us to take over/interface with existing access control panels. Their products can communicate over ethernet or RS-485, so no existing wiring needed to be replaced between panels or between the panels and readers. (This was a big win for our client from a project cost perspective.) Gallagher also handles Bluetooth credentials, visitor management and mass notification.

The solution at the material unloading area was made easier with Gallagher. Traka cabinets can already ensure that only certain people have access to certain physical keys. It can also enforce 2-factor or 2-man authentication, for even more security. To manage who has access to the Traka cabinet, we leaned on the existing integration between Traka and Gallagher. Adding a Gallagher cardholder to a specific access group gives the cardholder access to the Traka cabinet.


Ensuring only one gate at the material unloading area was open at a time was as simple as setting up an interlock. Interlocks ensure that only one door opens at a time. Typically, you see interlocks set up at a high-security facility. When someone enters from the outside, the door unlocks and then closes so that the person is locked in a vestibule. Then a credential is presented to the interior door. As long as the exterior door is closed, the interior door unlocks. Conversely, while the interior door is open, the exterior door is prevented from being unlocked.

This principle was applied across the five gates. While one gate is opened, none of the other gates can be unlocked. To gain access to an unloading port, a truck driver must only have one gate open, have a code to get to the physical key, and be escorted by someone who has access to the Traka cabinet. This was an elegant solution to a complicated set of security requirements.

Single Pane of Glass… check.

Today, this manufacturer has a single pane of glass to manage all of their access control across their entire footprint of dozens of physical locations. Credentials will be consolidated and secured as old credentials are retired. Their unloading area is safe from an accidental mixing of materials. Visitor management is running to track visitors at one of their facilities. Bluetooth credentials and mass notification are in testing to further increase security.

If your company faces challenges with dated access control security systems, we can help you too. Just give us a call.

What is a “Master Key System” and why should I care?

Master Key Systems

By Courtney Emra, Lead Customer Service/Sales Assistant and Ryan Kaullen, Field Services Manager at Kenton Brothers

A master key system is made up of a group of locks, and the keys that operate them. They’re related in a hierarchy with one key at the ‘top’, which will fit into many locks; and many keys at the ‘bottom’ which may only fit into one lock. The fewer master key levels, the more secure the system.

A master key system allows you to know which employees have physical access to which portions of your building(s) or secured areas. These systems are designed to prevent unauthorized duplication of keys. As part of a master key plan, you designate which employees have the administrative capability to request a duplicate key or rekeying.

Whether your business is large or small, a master key system is a great addition to an existing credential-based access control solution for protecting your people, property, and possessions.

Master Key System Process

The process of setting up a master key system involves a series of critical steps to make sure your company is secure.

First, Kenton Brothers will come out and do an evaluation of your facility. This will help determine if your existing door hardware will work with a master key system and how you currently secure the facility or room in question. Next, we go over the master key plan together. This allows us to understand the hierarchy of your staff and the appropriate access for each. This authorization list tells Kenton Brothers who can request a key to be made, report a key that is lost or stolen, request technician service, etc.

Finally, once this information is gathered, we present the new key plan as well as a map that is marked to show which keys go to which access points. From there, we order the necessary parts and products for installation and schedule an installation date.

Door Hardware Additions

A common question we hear is, “How do you tie restricted cylinders with adequate hardware to match securing my facility?” Kenton Brothers has options!

Grade-1 or Grade-2 hardware are the best options from the top manufacturers in the industry. Grade-1 not only is the top for commercial installations, but it also increases security from vandalism and heavy usage. (Like exterior doors with a higher traffic flow in and out.) Grade-2 meets light commercial and is more than enough for residential scenarios. (Like interior doors, such as storage closets, HR offices, and lower traffic flow areas.)

Master Key System Maintenance

Tri-FlowThe most critical thing to know when it comes to maintaining a master key system, is to never use WD-40 in the locking mechanism! There’s a specific graphite spray, called Tri-Flow, made for cleaning out master key locks. Kenton Brothers can come on site to take care of that with a maintenance program, or we can sell you cans of the appropriate spray if you want your facility staff to maintain the locks.

Ongoing maintenance of a master key system is important. It’s critical to keep your locks maintained at least annually, especially during the cold and salty winter months.

If you don’t currently have a master key system in place at your organization, we would love to help you set that up! Please contact us and we will have a conversation about your current situation and what it would take to implement a master key system in your office space or across multiple buildings.