August 10, 2020
Featured / IT Philosophy / Security / Technology

Access Control and Identity Access Management: Three Common New-Normal Problems Solved by IAM+ACM

Written by Jeff Gaines

The rapidly evolving relationship between digital and physical security:

Access Control Management helps power the modern workplace.

The way we work has fundamentally changed. Also, our relationship with workplaces continues to evolve.  First, many industries are operating at full capacity. Secondly, companies need new ways to track who is in the office. Thirdly, management needs new methods of grant employees and others access to various parts of the building. Finally, new requirements exist for tracking who is coming and going. 

Most businesses will maintain an office, but for the next several months, the office will be limited use.  Additionally, for many businesses, the shift to work-from-home adds cybersecurity risks. However, Access Control Management and Identity Access Management tools are easy to manage, inexpensive, and integrate well together!

The technology enabling access control and physical security has changed dramatically. Businesses can now operate without security guards, receptionists, and combo-boxes. 

In this blog, we cover the intersection of access control and identity access management (IAM) and share three common problems companies face in the new normal. We also explore how access control management can solve these problems. Moreover, we discuss how these tools can give your company’s stakeholders an amazing experience.

First, some definitions:

Identity Access Management: OneLogin defines Identity access management as “… the policies and tools used by IT departments to ensure that people and entities have the appropriate level of access to the organization’s technical resources. IAM systems are technology solutions to securely manage digital identities and their access to various applications and systems.”

Recapping, IAM is ensuring that the digital identity of your organization’s employees is managed. Only users with known identities can access your digital systems, data, tools, etc.  

Access Control Management: Industry leader  OpenPath, defines access control as: “These days, instead of mechanical locks and keys, technologically-advanced access control systems keep buildings safe from intruders and sticky fingers. These systems rely on RFID keycards, electromagnetic locking mechanisms, smartphone credentials—and even fingerprint and facial scanners—to keep the property safe.”  Otherwise, Access Control Management is utilizing digital identities, stored on cards, phones, or in the cloud, as modern keys to grant access to physical locations.  Access Control can be applied to elevators, doors, store closets… most anything with a physical lock.”

In summary, Identity Access Management is about controlling access and enabling ease of use for digital infrastructure (servers, SaaS applications, data).  Access Control Management is about controlling access and enabling ease of use for physical infrastructure (elevators, lockable doors, storage, etc).

Increasingly relevant in the blended WFH & in-office, new normal reality.  Three Case Studies in why IAM+ACM matters for today’s workforce:

“Hey boss, I forgot my keys.”_____ “Ok, I’ll be there in 30 minutes to let you in” – Justin Wells, July 2020.

We’ve all been there, plugging away from our home office when we get a call. “Hey, I’m here on-site and I’m locked out, can you come let me in?” Unexpected trips to the office can put a big dent in your calendar.  

Access Control Management gives you the ability to grant access remotely, on a temporary or permanent basis. Moreover, You can grant access, right from your smartphone, to the smartphone of anyone else.  With IAM + ACM, any device can effectively become a key.

“We get between 8-10 deliveries a day.  It is a 5-minute walk from my desk to the front door, each way.  You do the math.”  – Project Manager at a San Diego Biotechnology Company

All modern companies rely on many external stakeholders: cleaners, suppliers, technicians, consultants.  Additionally, most companies struggle with giving too much or too little access to their stakeholders and have no way to monitor their access.

Access Control Management allows you to set recurring or one-time access to your stakeholders. Also, ACM will also time stamp all access events, and give varying levels of access to different stakeholders.

“We have 5 different keys, four different lock combinations, and 30 tenants, each with differing levels of access” Facilities Manager at San Diego shared lab space

Legacy hardware does not support modern work arrangements such as multi-tenancy, co-working, and co-location.  Lock, key and combo are out of date.

Access Control Management allows you to manage your tenants as easily as if they were subscribers in SaaS Applications. You simply grant varying levels of access depending on their role, job duties, and needs. 

The intersection of these two technologies, Access Control Management & Identity Access Management, is where the magic happens… “I can get into any door in the office with just my Apple Watch.”

Having a common managed digital identity for all of your company’s stakeholders is a powerful tool. You can easily create amazing digital and physical experiences for your workforce.  If you are already thinking about cybersecurity, Access Control Management can be an easy add-on to ensure your physical infrastructure secure, as well.  Separately, if you are thinking about upgrading your physical security, Identity Access Management is a great way to manage identities. In summary, some key benefits have to have both IAM and ACM:

  1. Create a single workflow for onboarding employees into SaaS application stacks, as well as provisioning physical security (check out our blog on IAM).
  2. Manage access to multi-site operations with ease.
  3. Establish operationally-efficient security policies.
  4. Track access events and interactions (#ContactTracing).
  5. Grant access remotely for extended stakeholders.

Having both Identity Access Management and Access Control Management systems in place is a great way to protect your assets. Leading tools such as OpenPath and OneLogin can empower your employees and impress your stakeholders.  

Seem overwhelming? We can help make it simple for you. Reach out today for a demo from one of our solutions engineers:

Jeff Gaines

Jeff Gaines

Jeff has served as an operating executive at Interlaced since 2016. He is deeply passionate about driving impact for Interlaced, for his community, and for his loved ones. In his spare time, Jeff loves spending time with his wife and son at the world famous San Diego Zoo, enjoying tacos on the beach in Baja, cheering on the San Diego Padres, adventuring outdoors and playing music with friends. Jeff’s top 3 films of all time are Point Break (the original), Road House and Field of Dreams.