What Is Access Control? A Key Component of Data Security
Organizations rightfully pour huge resources into cybersecurity. The protection of data is critical to maintaining legislation compliance, retaining consumer trust, and keeping sensitive information safe.
However, while networks and computers are protected by layers of security, it is easy to overlook the physical side of data security. This is where access control can play a vital role.
A recent study by a UK insurance firm found that 10% of data breaches are physical. This represents a huge risk that organizations must address by ensuring comprehensive data security measures are in place.
Access Control and Its Role in Data Security
It is natural for organizations to concentrate huge resources on the cybersecurity aspect of data security. It does constitute 90% of the threat and the move to cloud computing has necessitated greater levels of protection.
But the remaining percentage still represents a massive risk that is all too often overlooked. This is why organizations must look at access control measures that are as robust as their cybersecurity stack.
Data breaches have many forms, from ransomware to data hostaging and from phishing attacks to physical theft - there are multiple avenues through which sensitive data can be compromised. Organizations must be vigilant against all of these threats and smart access control systems represent a cost-effective way of slamming the door shut on 10% of the risk.
The Link Between Physical Security and Data Security
Data has quickly moved from being something of an afterthought to being one of an organization’s biggest assets. The protection of this asset is essential and the ramifications of getting it wrong can be devastating.
While it's easy to associate data breaches with cyber threats, it is important to recognize that how data is breached is irrelevant. The results will have equally destructive consequences.
A comprehensive data security strategy needs to protect digital assets across both digital and physical realms. While aspects like securely managing online payments are obviously critical, layers of cybersecurity won’t protect data if physical access to sensitive areas or hardware is compromised.
This is why physical and cybersecurity should not be treated as separate entities. A robust data protection strategy will cover both cyber and physical threats and modern access control systems can play a large role in making sure your physical and virtual infrastructures have equal protection.
Understanding Access Control Systems
As the name suggests, the primary function of access control systems is to control and manage unauthorized access to physical spaces and digital assets. Of course, not so long ago all this would consist of would be a lock and key.
Modern access control systems for cyber and physical security are a different beast altogether. They utilize the latest technologies including AI and cloud computing to provide comprehensive levels of security that can be controlled and monitored remotely.
Some of the key features of the latest generation of access control systems include:
- Enhanced Authentication Methods: Biometric authentication and multi factor authentication offer heightened security by verifying identities through unique physical or digital attributes.
- Seamless Integration with Digital Systems: Access control systems seamlessly integrate with other digital systems, such as surveillance cameras and intrusion detection systems, providing a comprehensive security ecosystem.
- Centralized Access Management: The latest access control systems offer centralized access management, allowing administrators to monitor and control access permissions across multiple locations or systems from a single platform.
- Real-time Monitoring and Alerts: Access control systems provide real-time monitoring and instant alerts for unauthorized access attempts, enabling proactive response and minimizing potential security breaches.
- Scalability and Flexibility: Modern access control systems are designed to be scalable and adaptable, allowing organizations to easily expand or modify their access control infrastructure as their needs evolve.
Advanced features like these can play a massive role in mitigating the potential risks of a physical data breach.
Major Benefits of Modern Access Control Systems
Of course, enhanced security is the “key” function of any access control system. But modern systems are more than just a way of securing entrance to physical spaces. Some of the other main advantages are:
- Efficient Access Management: Streamline access management processes by easily granting or revoking access privileges, ensuring authorized personnel can swiftly navigate through secure areas.
- Audit Trail and Reporting: Access control systems provide a detailed audit trail and reporting capabilities, enabling organizations to monitor access activities, track user behavior, and generate comprehensive reports for compliance and investigation purposes.
- Customizable Access Levels: Tailor access permissions based on individual roles, departments, or specific timeframes, ensuring that employees have appropriate access rights to perform their duties while limiting unauthorized access to sensitive areas or information.
Other features that make access control systems essential include remote access control, integration with other systems, and smart software that helps to streamline physical security.
Access Control: The Key to Complete Data Security
Locking the door after the data has bolted is a hard lesson to learn. The theft of physical belongings is bad enough, but the theft of data can’t be undone with an insurance claim. The financial ramifications can be overwhelming, but so can the loss of brand trust.
To keep both data and reputation safe, organizations need to address the physical and digital risks. Access control systems play a critical part in providing this cover.