The complete guide to upgrading security systems & access control

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Access control is the first line of defense for your company’s security. Out of date security systems are at higher risk for breaches, and many physical security measures are more vulnerable to misuse. Traditional keys, RFID (radio frequency identification) cards and fobs are prone to being copied, lost and stolen, and if your system is even just a few years old, you can bet hackers have already found ways around it. The longer you put off upgrading your legacy access control system, the more you’re putting your office—and your entire business—at risk. 

When Should You Upgrade Access Control Systems?

Here are six signs that your access control system is out of date, vulnerable to hacks or simply in desperate need of an upgrade:

1. You’re still using RFID keycards or traditional locks and keys

If you believe that your legacy RFID (radio frequency identification) keycard system is safe and unhackable, you’re probably mistaken. Many RFID “proximity card” systems are hackable by criminals who purchase a $10 copying device on eBay. By eavesdropping on your card readers, thieves can steal your access codes, copy them and enter your facility like they belong there. The older your keycard system, the more likely it’s vulnerable to this kind of attack. 

Traditional keys are cumbersome, and your employees will waste time every day trying to find them after they get lost, and figuring out which key opens which door. Even worse, every time an employee moves on, you’ll need to rekey all the locks if you want to ensure the building is safe. According to one study, Americans spend 2.5 days a year looking for missing stuff and $2.7 billion collectively replacing it. Eliminating a few “losable” things—like keys and keycards—could save you a lot of time (and money). A hands-free, mobile-based access control system from Openpath means fewer lost key and keycard replacements, and no more retooling your locks.

2. Your company is concerned about security threats

While no company wants to experience security threats or breaches, these are sometimes the circumstances that lead managers to realize their access control needs upgrading. Even if you haven’t experienced a security threat, upgrades should occur before any problems take place. But if an event does happen, it's critical for organizations to take steps to evaluate their current access control technology to determine how the breach occurred. In doing so, it's possible to figure out which security upgrades are necessary to prevent future incidents.

3. You don’t have remote or smartphone-based access

Imagine the convenience of being able to lock the doors using your smartphone. Adding the convenience of mobile access to your existing setup is easy and affordable with Openpath. Once you’ve installed the plug-and-play smart readers to your legacy access system, you can grant access to anyone who downloads the Openpath mobile app on their smartphone. Plus, you’ll be able to access data in real-time, and easily integrate your access control system with surveillance applications for added protection.

4. You’re still using equipment from the 90s or 2000s

When you launched your company, you started with one of the first types of access control systems offered to you. It’s common for older systems to experience failures because the technology is outdated. What's more, the features of the system may not be as secure as they once were. Keeping your building safe with decades-old access control technology is like trying to stop a modern-day cybercriminal with a 1999 Nokia. Even if your system is only a few years old, you should still check with the Openpath team to see if upgraded access control technology could optimize your system. 

5. You’re not on the cloud

By upgrading to a door entry system with a cloud-based access control software, you're safeguarding your solution by putting it on a heavily-encrypted remote server that you connect to via the Internet. In addition to cutting-edge, end-to-end encryption, cloud-based access control systems offer considerable cost savings due to easier integration, optimal scalability, reduced maintenance, and peak performance 24/7.  

6. There's growth occurring in the company

If your company is experiencing growth, the types of access control you're using may not be able to support that. New employees should have immediate access to the building. Running out of key cards can pose an issue, and this is another sign that it's time to upgrade your system. If you upgrade to an access control system where keycards aren't necessary, it's easier to keep up with your company's growth. Plus, if your growth plans include expansion to new locations and buildings, a cloud-based solution is easily scalable.

Traditional Access Control vs. New Security Systems

Generally, there are two types of access control systems: traditional server-based and cloud-based. Both offer access control door systems that grant entry to your business location, and can be integrated with existing video and camera surveillance, alarm systems and even elevators.

Traditional systems use a PIN pad or require employees to carry physical security badges or access cards. These systems can provide coverage to a large area, such as multiple floors and even other facilities like parking garages and storage structures. However, buying and maintaining a local server and workstations comes at a higher price and requires more labor for installation and upkeep.

The main benefit of cloud-based systems is convenience. For example, with Openpath’s cloud-based system, employees can access your site via their smartphone, tablet, or Apple watch. They don’t have to remember a PIN code or carry a physical card. Employees appreciate this ease of use and flexibility, and administrators appreciate the reduced maintenance costs and seamless integration. Here are few more perks of switching to cloud-based access control:

  • No need for an on-site server room, technicians or workstations. 

  • You can manage it from anywhere. 

  • Better security with end-to-end encryption, two-factor authentication and mobile credentials.

  • Immediate security patches and system updates. Did you know that Equifax could have avoided the security breach that affected 143 million people if it had installed a security patch that was available two months before the hack? With cloud-based access control, you’ll benefit from up-to-the-minute security patches—as soon as they’re available.

  • Seamless integration with third-party apps. Openpath’s cloud-based access control systems permit easy integration with third-party applications like G Suite, Slack and more.

  • It makes scaling and expansion easy. New employees, temporary visitors, entire new office suites—all granted access without complication.

Integrate with an Existing Legacy System

You’re ready to upgrade access control systems for your company, but you’re not able to install a completely new security system. Luckily, you can still have best-in-class security by upgrading your existing legacy system painlessly and affordably with plug-and-play installs that repurpose the best of your original system.

Upgrading Access Control with Openpath

We know deploying a new access control system isn’t always an easy task and understand that many already have a legacy system installed involving complex integrations and a significant financial investment. With our expanded deployment options, Openpath allows you to keep your current system, and add on Openpath to leverage our cloud and mobile capabilities. By simply adding Openpath to your existing system, you’ll still be able to use your old credentials but now have the added convenience of utilizing our hands-free access with our mobile credentials.

Here are a few key reasons you’ll want to effortlessly upgrade the access control system you already have by adding Openpath to your building:

  • Backwards compatible with legacy keycards & credentials

  • Uses existing wiring which reduces security system install costs

  • Runs alongside existing access control systems

  • Enables mobile credential use with legacy access control systems

  • Adds cloud controls to legacy access control systems

  • Enables easy upgrade to encrypted credentials

  • Supports legacy credentials, like prox cards

  • Enables real-time reporting for buildings with legacy systems

  • Brings building up to latest cyber security standards

Retrofit Installation

Openpath offers an innovative cloud-based solution for integration with existing door-locking, surveillance and alarm systems. The hardware and software are easy to install in new or existing buildings via Open Standards. As mentioned on, whatever system is currently in place, whether it uses RS485 or Cat5 or Cat6 wiring, Openpath can employ retrofit installations with existing door security panels, servers and software, or they can be replaced wholesale. The Openpath panel is installed right next to an existing panel in a retrofit and preserves all legacy integrations of the previous system.

System Costs

Cloud-based access control systems typically charge low monthly or yearly subscription fees, and may charge either per user or per door. But even considering this expense, cloud-based systems can still cost a lot less than their traditional counterparts — in both time and money.

With traditional systems that require cards, there is a cost associated with activating and deactivating the physical cards when an employee joins, leaves or is terminated. Onsite servers require more labor hours to install and maintain, plus they take up precious office space.

As simple or complex as your access control needs might be, Openpath has a solution to meet them. Whether you’re looking for a new door security installation, or just want to upgrade your existing access control system, Openpath has a solution that works for you. Reach out to our sales team to learn more!

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