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Importance of Access Control Automation in Higher Education

By Detrios, LLC, Jul 26, 2022

College campuses are no stranger to the concept of access control.

Students, staff, and faculty have been carrying around identification cards for many years. Unfortunately, the process of managing student identities, door unlock schedules, as well as student access privileges to classrooms and dorm rooms, typically falls to a group of people that manually coordinate many moving parts. These processes are time-intensive and introduce a significant risk of user-error.

Campuses of any size can benefit from automating access control workflows. A couple of common examples are personnel imports that automate onboarding, offboarding, and role-based access, and managing access privileges based on real-time classroom scheduling and dormitory access. Automation reduces costs, increases security, and frees up staff to work on projects that are not well-suited to automation.

Reduce Time
With integrations that connect campus systems with physical access control, schools can save time and reallocate resources that are currently managing manual workflows. For someone to manually enter student information into a user profile, then assign a badge and the necessary access levels for a couple of hundred students could take hours out of a workweek. While many universities already import a bulk list of students at the beginning of each academic year, extending that concept to automating card access updates, access based on housing contracts, academic schedules, and department or major can bring significant additional value to campuses.

When a student receives their class schedule for the semester, that data can be used to automatically assign and unassign the appropriate card access for that student in near-real-time. If building and room privileges are automated so that the access control system accurately reflected a student’s or classroom’s schedule, the amount of time faculty would save could be used in other much-needed areas of managing the school.

Reduce User-Generated Errors
Manually updating systems creates room for user-error that can have significant impact on a school campus. One example might be processing student housing assignments. Several scenarios could create frustrating situations for faculty, staff, students, and their families: The team managing student access could make a mistake causing a student to lose access; Or room changes for hundreds of students may be needed for other reasons. Manually recovering from these kinds of errors could take hours or even days during which time students may need to be given access to all dorm buildings, increasing the risk of a security incident.

Integrating student information systems into access control ensures that when updates are made, those changes will replicate automatically—often in near-real time—to the access control system, eliminating the human intervention that leads to data inconsistencies.

Improve Building Security for Everyone
Many campuses utilize standard weekday unlock schedules for rooms and buildings as a way to balance convenience and security, unfortunately at the expense of both. Rather than opening a building from 8 AM to 10 PM to allow free access to spaces during ninety percent of expected event schedules, integrating the campus room scheduling system allows buildings and rooms to unlock during the day for a shorter period of time, and unlock on nights and weekends only during scheduled events. Automating when a room should be open or specifying access on an individual basis can keep everyone safe and accountable and can help protect the physical assets of a campus as well.

Access control schedule automation also helps campuses better prepare for unplanned, urgent events such as lockdowns or weather-related emergencies, or more mundane scenarios like last-minute cancellations or room reservations. True intelligent integration is more than having doors follow pre-defined access schedules; it is critical that any integration can easily identify and adapt to unplanned situations.

About Detrios, LLC
Detrios is a small independent software company that designs and develops access control solutions. Detrios partners with access control manufacturers worldwide to ensure the highest quality products are delivered to customers, while fostering strong business relationships and trust with their customers.

Detrios’ flagship product is DAX, which was designed to automate and bridge the gap between scheduling systems and access control systems in higher education. DAX is currently helping numerous campuses across the United States with more on the way!