Enterprise security systems for multi-site organizations

What is enterprise security? 

While security is a top concern for every business, there are unique challenges when it comes to protecting larger operations. For enterprise organizations that need to secure multiple offices across different sites and locations, enterprise security measures are necessary. But what is enterprise security, and how do you implement it? Enterprise security solutions are controls designed to prevent, detect, and protect both infrastructure and applications. Essentially, enterprise security architecture is a form of risk management that specifically caters to businesses managing users across a multi-site organization.

Enterprise security systems look different depending on the industry and style of the business, but there are two main components that all enterprise businesses should have in place: physical security and conceptual security. In today’s technology-connected world, security breaches have gone beyond unauthorized entry. With so much data being shared every second, whether through online communications, swiping a credit card at the store, or even via your smartphone’s Bluetooth beacons, there’s more at stake than ever. Enterprise businesses need to take additional steps to address security concerns both at their buildings, and with their information. But how do you know where to start?

Enterprise physical security

When designing enterprise security architecture, it’s important to start with the basics. Physical security measures are necessary to define a business’s physical boundaries, and keep any unauthorized individuals out. Some examples of common physical security include perimeter fencing and landscaping elements, access control systems, alarm systems, video surveillance, and security guards. With just one office or building, putting together a security plan is fairly straightforward. However, physical security poses an additional challenge for any business with multiple locations, as each site likely has different risk factors and design elements to address. However, with the right tools in place, managing enterprise physical security doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking. 

The first step in creating a good enterprise physical security plan is to do a complete security audit of each location. A security consultant can help identify any weak points in the current setup, and help businesses choose the best tools for their enterprise. Technology plays a vital role in managing security for multi-site enterprises. While many enterprise organizations will likely have on-site security teams to handle any issues, the right technology tools can help keep admins informed, and automate some of the operations to keep things running smoothly, and reduce response times in case of a breach.

Access control for enterprise security

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Access control systems are an essential physical security component for any business, big or small. When it comes to enterprise security, installing the right access control system can make a huge difference in protecting your assets. However, not all access control solutions are a good fit for enterprise organizations. Cost is often a deciding factor, due to the size of enterprise access control deployments. Purchasing and installing hardware for hundreds of doors at multiple buildings can add up quickly. However, security teams should also be aware of maintenance costs and hidden fees for upgrades before choosing an access control system based on the up-front price. Many legacy systems may seem less expensive at first, but on-premises servers are cost-prohibitive to maintain over time. Cloud-based access control systems eliminate the need for on-site servers, and also make the entire access control system more manageable for enterprise applications.

Benefits of cloud-based access control system management

One of the challenges of access control in enterprise businesses is managing the thousands of users and hundreds of entries in the system. Many companies have hired administrators solely to handle issuing key cards and managing on-site access credentials. However, a more modern solution could save you time and money. Access control systems that run in the cloud are a smart choice for enterprise organizations, as they can streamline user and system management thanks to remote access. With a cloud-based platform, admins can instantly add or revoke permissions from their device anywhere in the world—without having to meet in-person to activate a key card. Admins can even unlock the door remotely in the event somebody gets locked out or needs after-hours access.

In addition, cloud platforms offer better security than their on-prem counterparts. On-site servers are a sitting duck for anyone looking to wreak havoc on a business, and many legacy access control systems operate on decades-old platforms and hardware that hackers already know how to breach. Cloud-based systems employ advanced encryption techniques to protect data sent OTA (over the air), and remove one of the physical components that could be a target for criminal activity. On-site servers also require in-person software upgrades and patches, which can take time to organize and complete. With a cloud-based system, you’ll get instant upgrades OTA, so your system is always protected with the most up-to-date software.

Cloud-based access control systems for enterprises can also reduce security costs over time. With a centralized management dashboard for all sites, security teams have greater visibility into all locations at once, which can inform ways to optimize your space. With every entry and all activity organized on a single interface, enterprise businesses can centralize their security teams and reduce overhead costs and administrative burden. 

Scalable enterprise security architecture 

Another consideration for enterprise security is the ability to scale the system. Access control for enterprise security systems should be able to keep up with changes to business needs, making it easy to add or remove entries from the system, or add a new location at the click of a button. When downtime can leave businesses vulnerable to security risks, an access control system that’s easy to install, quick to set up, and updates instantly over the cloud keeps your assets protected.

Hardware should be designed to accommodate a wide range of door applications as well. For example, you don’t want to have to use an expensive 4-door control panel just to add security for a new storage room. In this instance, a Single Door Controller, like the one offered by Openpath, would be a better choice. Access control hardware should also be compatible with other building systems and any existing access control security, making the entire system easier to manage from a single interface. Enterprise access control should be designed to effortlessly scale up or back with your business.

Enterprise security features for access control software

The best enterprise access control systems are about more than just scalable, reliable hardware. Your enterprise access control software should come equipped with features designed to enhance security and simplify management for larger deployments. With more users and doors in the system, look for features that help streamline and automate security processes.

  • Granular permissions—Not all users need the same level of access across your organization. Your access control software should let you assign site-specific permissions for users. This feature is helpful in defining user roles and customizing access levels by location, zone, or site.

  • Rules Engine—An easy-to-use rules editor makes it simple to automate processes. With the Openpath Advanced Rules Engine, you can create an unlimited number of custom if/then rules for any scenario, with an easy-to-use editor that does the hard work for you. For example, set a rule using the convenient dropdown options that notifies the on-site facility manager of any issues during business hours, but sends a notification to the nighttime security personnel if there is an after-hours breach. With clearly-defined rules and processes, everything is streamlined and more efficient.

  • Detailed reporting—Data is king for any enterprise business. Access control systems with detailed, filterable reporting provide better visibility into what’s happening at each location. For businesses that need access to audit trails for compliance purposes, such as public entities, a good reporting tool is an essential enterprise feature.

  • Activity and usage tracking—A better understanding of usage throughout your buildings gives a clearer picture of how to optimize your space. Whether you’re a building owner managing tenant leases, or an enterprise business with national offices, activity reports can show you which spaces are the most profitable, and help you make informed decisions with detailed analytics.

Conceptual enterprise security architecture

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Going beyond the doors and physical security components, conceptual enterprise security is a set of controls that protects private information and data. While cybersecurity protects data locally, conceptual enterprise security architecture is designed to protect information as it’s shared across networks and servers, and also between system users. Sharing data is inevitable in the IoT-connected world that we live in. Especially for businesses that operate in multiple places, having a secure way to share important data and information is essential for success.

Enterprise security system compliance and data protection

When designing enterprise security architecture, security teams will likely need to meet specific compliance measures. Operating an enterprise business often involves storing private information, such as financial, personal, or healthcare data. A single security breach can cost businesses millions in lost revenue and legal fees, not to mention a serious dip in consumer confidence. Adhering to strict levels of privacy and security can help prevent costly data breaches.

In order to determine what types of enterprise security solutions are needed for your business, review the regulatory frameworks, documentation methods, and information gathering and storage policies you currently have. You may also need to meet industry-specific compliance standards. Some of the most common compliance standards for enterprise security are HIPAA, SOC reports, and PCI. Businesses should make sure that their physical security technology, like access control, are able to meet these standards as well. Are they adequately protecting your data, or are you leaving your business vulnerable to cyber attacks? 

Data protection and encryption

While data storage at one facility may be heavily protected, many data breaches actually happen when information is in motion. Therefore, data encryption at every level is essential for enterprise security architecture. In modern enterprise organizations, where IoT connectivity and cloud computing are increasingly common, your encryption should extend to any third-party devices or apps that you use. It’s tempting (and smart) to create integrated building management systems to connect everything from HVAC, to tenant platforms, to alarm systems, but make sure you choose partners that take security seriously. For example, your access control system, which stores personal identifying information for all your users, should use encrypted communication with door readers, management software, and any tenant management platforms connected to the system.

Part of building a holistic security posture is merging physical and logical security. It’s essential for enterprise businesses to not only keep data secure online, but to also physically protect the areas of the building where sensitive information is kept. Many data breaches occur in coordination with a physical breach, so your access control hardware should be compliant as well. Access control restricts who and when people can gain entry to spaces such as IT rooms, and can help protect company computers and laptops left in the office overnight. Avoid access control providers that store data at the reader level, meaning anyone can tamper with the device to gain access to your data and wreak havoc on your business.

Education tools for risk mitigation

Even if you employ the highest level of security protocols for your hardware and software, people aren’t perfect. Without proper education to identify, avoid, and report attempts to access data, your enterprise business could be at risk. After installing new technology or implementing new enterprise security solutions, educate security administrators about best practices, and what to do in the event of an emergency or breach. Preparedness is key to prevention.

At the staff level, it’s important to teach employees how to identify attempts to gain access to confidential information. Educate your employees and building tenants to be wary of scams like phishing email attacks, and how to prevent tailgaters from accessing controlled spaces. Establish and communicate best practices on protecting proprietary information while traveling and working remotely. Don’t forget to provide information on how to report any suspicious activity, too.

Using automations in enterprise security strategies

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In order to create flexible, future-proof enterprises, business leaders are increasingly investing in “smart” technology solutions. In the workplace, smart technology includes systems that automate processes and operations across the enterprise, including security. One of the benefits of a cloud-based access control system like Openpath is that the open architecture allows for seamless integration with other apps, platforms, and building systems. A fully integrated enterprise security system not only brings all management tools onto the same interface, but also allows business intelligence tools to ingest richer data sets for unprecedented awareness and insights across the entire enterprise. Automations are key for enterprises looking to strengthen their security posture, and to increase ROI. 

Video surveillance and access control 

The basis of a smart physical security solution is having good visibility into your space. Security cameras are great for getting a visual of the space, but they often lack the ability to provide more granular details. When video surveillance is integrated with access control, however, you get the benefit of powerful data insights paired with live visual snapshots. In an enterprise application, this integration reduces overhead by bringing both platforms together, enhancing asset protection with remote physical security monitoring, and improving response time in emergency situations.

Pairing real-time footage and access activity also empowers businesses with powerful data and behavioral learning insights. In an enterprise setting, integrated VMS and access control systems help optimize space across different locations, enable social distancing with occupancy management tools, and provide advanced compliance auditing with customizable reports.

Integrated identity management platforms 

One of the biggest challenges for enterprise businesses is being able to manage thousands of users across multiple locations in an efficient manner. Identity management tools are a great way to record, manage, and audit employee information. With mobile access control that utilizes open API architecture, administrative teams can automatically sync user info between these two platforms, effectively eliminating manual management. One of the key benefits to this integration is that administrators can instantly issue (and revoke) mobile credentials on a user’s smartphone over the cloud, without having to meet in person or wait for an on-premise system to sync. In terms of investment, integrating access control and identity management is not only a better experience for employees, it also strengthens security and greatly reduces administrative burden, which shows up on an enterprise’s bottom line.

Full-building management systems 

While HVAC, lighting, and tenant apps may not seem important to security on the surface, the ability to integrate all systems in an enterprise can prove a powerful tool in proactively protecting and managing enterprise security. By connecting access control, alarm systems, and safety tools to other building systems, the combined data provides deep learnings about how and when spaces are being used to inform decisions about resizing, occupancy levels, and where additional security might be needed. Empowering teams with this data results in reduced overhead costs, and a more efficient, scalable enterprise.

Enterprise security for COVID-19 

The COVID-19 pandemic added an extra layer to the security concerns for all business, and enterprise organizations in particular. From managing a remote workforce, to ensuring only healthy people come into the building, to securing the office is even when it’s empty. Putting together a strategy for safe reopening that addresses the unique needs of each building site and office can be a daunting task. When it comes to safely reopening now and staying open, it’s necessary to upgrade your building technology to address safety and wellness concerns for COVID-19 and future challenges. 

Touchless access is a great place to start. With enterprise access control from Openpath, enterprise organizations can deploy contactless wave-to-unlock capabilities at key entry points to remove common touch points in high-traffic environments. The feature uses Bluetooth signals to detect nearby credentials, without needing to open the app or even take the phone out. Touchless technology is an increasingly popular feature, and a solution like the one Openpath offers creates a reliable, fast entry experience that also enhances the safety of your building.

The CDC recommends social distancing as an effective way to prevent the spread of diseases like COVID-19. However, when reopening workplaces, making sure people are adhering to these guidelines is essential for the health and safety of everyone. Enforce social distancing in your buildings with technology tools designed to automate the process. Occupancy tracking tools, presence reports, and capacity sensors can give you better visibility into how many people are at the building. Plus, with access control solutions that automatically deny new entries once a zone has reached capacity, you can automatically control occupancy without having to be onsite. 

Many businesses are turning to a remote workforce in order to keep occupancy low. With more people than ever transmitting data over the cloud, via email, and on personal devices, be sure your enterprise security architecture is designed to protect this flow of information. Review the security status of your servers, cloud apps, and access permissions to address any vulnerabilities. Now is a good time to remind your employees of security best practices when working remotely, and add multi-factor authentication for access requests, too. 

Travel is another cause for concern during a pandemic event. For enterprise businesses that rely on traveling between locations, extra precautions are necessary. Before allowing people to come to the facility, use digital health questionnaires and temperature screenings to make sure anybody requesting to visit is healthy.

Best practices for enterprise security

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Enterprise organizations require additional planning and action when establishing security system protocols. Because of their scale, enterprise security systems are often complicated with a lot of moving parts. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind to streamline enterprise security solutions for large organizations:

  • Use a building security audit to identify any weaknesses in your current security measures. Keep in mind that not all offices and locations are the same, so each will require site-specific solutions. 

  • Implement access control designed for enterprise-grade deployment. Look for features that centralize user management, give you better visibility into your space with detailed reporting, and offer features specific to enterprise businesses.

  • Ensure your enterprise security systems meet your industry compliance standards. Talk to a security expert to determine which regulations are required for your business. When dealing with third-party vendors and applications, always ask about their certifications to make sure they also meet the necessary compliance requirements.

  • Enterprise security systems need greater flexibility and scalability. Design your enterprise security architecture to accommodate growth and changes in business needs. Invest in IT-approved, cloud-based systems with remote management tools to minimize unnecessary spending over time and reduce administrative burden.

  • Establish security processes to protect and encrypt data at every level of your enterprise. All communications and data transmission should be secure with end-to-end encryption to prevent data theft.

  • Use automations to streamline operations across your organization. IoT-connected systems work together to create smarter, future-proof buildings, improving security posture and increasing ROI with less investment.

  • Educate admins and employees on best security practices, including how to spot potential threats, and what to do in case of a breach. Being prepared will help minimize damages and can stop security threats before they happen.

Looking for an access control solution for your enterprise business? Speak with a security expert from Openpath to learn about enterprise-grade features and schedule a demo.

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