Exclusive: Enhanced access control brings operational benefits

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The American University of the Middle East, based in Kuwait, has turned to Gallagher to improve security for staff and students.

The American University of the Middle East (AUM) in Egaila is the largest private university in Kuwait. Its extensive campus is spread over 261,190 square metres of beautiful grounds, including academic buildings, technical labs, AUM library, AUM Sports Centre, outdoor sports playgrounds including a FIFA certified football field, AUM Opera House, AUM Conference Centre, parking areas, administrative and service areas. The American College of the Middle East (ACM) is also hosted within the campus.

With sizeable grounds and multiple institutes of learning operating on site, AUM’s access control requirements were complex. The popularity of the campus with not only AUM students but also Kuwaiti youth in general meant AUM needed to ensure the right access was provided to the right people at multiple points on campus.

AUM’s Director of IT highlights the challenge the administration faced in efficiently identifying, authenticating and providing access for more than 800 employees and over 10,000 students. “The campus needed to be secure, but at the same time easy to use, causing no inconvenience to students and staff.”

The Gallagher solution

AUM needed a dynamic solution that met their access control requirements, could integrate with their core enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution and was scalable to accommodate future growth.

Gallagher’s access control solution, featuring Gallagher Command Centre and a range of integrations, was selected as the university’s preferred choice, meeting its requirements in the best possible way.

Student and staff ID cards became part of the access control system with MIFARE contactless smart cards provided to students, faculty and staff. Turnstiles installed at the entrances to AUM and intelligent integrations with existing systems provided total control of movement within the campus.

AUM uses learning software and automated systems widely across its campus. Extensive integration with the Gallagher solution has significantly reduced operational costs, creating efficiencies for staff and students and enhancing the overall security system. “Gallagher gives us the best option to fulfil our requirements, with a total solution,” says the university’s Director of IT.

Access control with confidence

Exam control rooms at AUM need to be fully secure. Command Centre integrates with the CCTV system to ensure that when movement is detected, or someone tries to open the door, the CCTV is triggered and a photo attached to the security report.

Within the campus, access permissions need to be well defined for different groups. Access to the gymnasium, library and sports centre is defined by male and female, staff and students.

Command Centre allows AUM to define these access controls in the directory, ensuring they happen automatically. “Fully automated access control gives us confidence in the system,” says the university’s Director of IT. “We don’t have to worry about it.”

The reporting capabilities of Command Centre provide AUM with greater control and audit information. The university is governed by a council, that regularly conducts audits. “The Gallagher solution helps us easily produce daily reports to meet those reporting requirements. It’s a fantastic solution, no doubt.”

Integrations make all the difference

The integrated booking system in the library controls access to study rooms, giving entry only to those who are included in the room booking. Staff and students no longer have to manage who is in the rooms, allowing them to get on with their work and study.

The university’s Director of IT says in the past, monitoring and reviewing this information would take a person two or three days. “With this small integration from Gallagher, turnaround time has improved to within half a day for the same task.

“Campus access for dismissed students has been prevented. Their access is automatically restricted by the admin department. Students whose access has been prevented can visit the admin department to rectify their enrolment status.

“The integration with the Gallagher solution is amazing. Our operational costs have been reduced wherever it is used.”

Future focused

With new construction underway and increasing popularity with students, AUM is a growing university. The Gallagher solution is growing alongside it, providing regular updates and new innovations.

“Gallagher often contacts us about new initiatives and things they are introducing,” says AUM’s Director of IT. “We will implement them, because of the success of the current solution. We try at every point to take full advantage of the features offered to keep reducing operational costs. From an industry perspective, it’s a beautiful solution.”

For more information, visit: security.gallagher.com

This article was originally published in the January 2022 edition of International Security Journal. Pick up your FREE digital edition here.

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