electronic access control

What Is A Credential? What Options Does Your Business Have?

Post written by Penny Jackson, Marketing and Sales Specialist at Kenton Brothers

I remember when I first started working at Kenton Brothers and needed a way into the building before normal business hours. I heard Tom Feekin (Operations Manager at Kenton Brothers) tell someone “We are going to give her so-and-so’s old credential.”  I didn’t know what he was referring to at first, but then a key with proximity chip (you’ll learn what this is if you keep reading!) was handed over to me.  Eureka!

Let’s take a quick look at the definition of credential:

cre·den·tial   /krɪˈdɛnʃəl/  Show Spelled[kri-den-shuhl]  Show IPA

noun

1. Usually, credentials.  evidence of authority, status, rights, entitlement to privileges, or the like, usually in written form: Only those with the proper credentials are admitted.

2. anything that provides the basis for confidence, belief, credit, etc.

I find it interesting that we use the word “credential” in the security industry to refer to a factor that allows passage.  The example sentence in the first definition (italicized) could absolutely refer to someone having the wrong key, pass code, card, or biometric [biometric, by the way, refers to a unique physical trait used to identify a person, such as a fingerprint.].

When it comes to the world of security, examples of credentials include keys, codes, cards, and biometrics. So what are the differences between these credentials?

A key used to work a mechanical lock is the oldest and most recognized credential. In the past couple of decades, we’ve seen more and more doors operated through an access control system that requires a pass code. Now, swipe cards, proximity cards (a card that works by being in close proximity of the reader, like the paypass on some credit cards) and smart cards are becoming more commonplace.

These systems tend to offer more secure means to control the access to a building and they also offer the opportunity to track who have been coming and going. Now, with the rapid advances in technology, a biometric can also be considered a credential to allow passage. A person’s fingerprint or even iris can be used to identify whether or not they are allowed passage. These systems are typically used for more secure applications as it is nearly impossible to use someone’s iris or fingerprint without their knowledge. At the highest point of security, we recommend multi-factor authentication. For instance, you’d have a pass code memorized to punch into a keypad, in addition to presenting your fingerprint for access.

So what kind of credential do you have?  Do you think your office is properly secured for individuals coming in and out? Have you been wondering how to increase the security of your building or space by limiting who has access?  Depending on your security needs, a traditional mechanical key may not be sufficient. Your desired security level should dictate the access system you have and the credentials you use to control it.

Call us at 816-842-3700 to learn more about your options!

Kenton Brothers President Gina Stuelke: How I (Almost) Got Locked Out Of My Own Building!

(Post written by Gina Stuelke, President of Kenton Brothers)

A couple of weeks ago, I was working late one night and my husband Jim was coming by to pick me up for an event in downtown Kansas City. It was about 6 p.m. and Jim knocked on the exterior “counter” door entrance. I jumped up to let him in and unfortunately let the office door close behind me. (The blue and green door in the pictures is the door to the office)

Exterior Counter Door Entrance

The office that lies beyond the green and blue door!

So what’s the problem, you may be wondering? Well, the door between the commercial counter and the office area is equipped with an Ingersoll Rand VIP lock with proximity reader which automatically locks at 5 p.m. every day. Therefore, we have to use our access control credential to gain entry into the office anytime after 5 p.m.

All of the lights were on, my computer was running, my purse and all of my paperwork for the next day’s meetings and appointments was still in my office. But most importantly, my keys and access control card were in my office too!

Oh, the irony! Here I was, the President of a security company and now I was locked out of my office with nowhere to go but OUT.  Thankfully, with our Internet Protocol (IP) based access control system (along with a little technical support from our Operations Manager), I was able to get on a computer in the counter area, go to the website for the access control system, log onto the software and perform a TEMPORARY unlock!  Voila!  I was back in business!

Oh counter-area computer, how I love thee!

So there are many lessons to be learned here, but the most important one is this: If it weren’t for the IP-based access control system, I (just like any employee or business owner in a similar situation) would have had to call one of our trained locksmiths to come and let me back into the building. Can you imagine?

This is just one example of why we recommend IP-based access control systems to our clients. We want them to have an easy way to control access to their building and, using an IP-based system, everything can be controlled through a computer, even from remote locations.

So take it from me…your business needs an IP-based access control system!!  For more information, give us a call today at 816-842-3700 or visit www.kentonbrothers.com.