Exclusive: Key-based access control for any business


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Programmable electronic keys can lighten the workload for facilities managers, reports ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions.

People come and go through our buildings like never before. Are they safe? Are premises and their valuable contents secure? To meet this challenge in the 21st century, businesses need more than a key.

Mechanical security was designed for a different era. Once issued, a metal key is out there forever. Even the best-managed mechanical key systems have worry and uncertainty built-in – because it is almost impossible to track who is using a key and when. Is such a static access system a futureproofed solution for a growing business?

If a mechanical key goes missing, there’s a risk to premises which often can only be fixed by changing locks. This is expensive for organisations and time consuming for facility managers, especially when a master-key goes missing.

Programmable electronic keys are a more efficient, streamlined solution which bring control, security and peace of mind.

Helping facilities managers work smarter

Intelligent keys put the powerful features of electronic access control into a convenient technology. They have the advantages of traditional lock-and-key security: familiar and user friendly. But, they have evolved.

Using these keys remains as simple as ever. The holder simply turns it in a cylinder. The important difference is that every unlocking decision is made electronically – and is logged – by the software. Security teams will discover that audit trails generated by these logs can simplify incident investigation.

This type of electronic locking solution further minimises risk because keys can be blacklisted if lost, without needing to change the locks. Using companion software, facilities teams can manage everyone’s access from anywhere, at any time.

Over 100 years of ASSA ABLOY Group expertise in lock and key technologies went into creating, enhancing and patenting an innovative electronic key technology. The company’s eCLIQ system is based on wireless locking devices and programmable keys. Easy to install and straightforward to run, it simplifies security for premises of every size and type.

The key advantages of eCLIQ

With eCLIQ, every facilities manager gets to decide who goes where and when, because they issue individual access for each site user. Once issued, keys are always under control. They can be programmed and reprogrammed anytime using the companion software and a range of programming devices.

Both installation and operation are simple. To fit, an installer swaps out the mechanical cylinder for an eCLIQ cylinder. There is no wiring or drilling. A standard battery inside each programmable key powers the cylinder or padlock. Because eCLIQ keys are powered by batteries with a typical lifetime of ten years, they can bring reliable electronic access control anywhere – far beyond the reach of wired locking.

Thanks to multiple software options, security staff manage user access rights in their preferred way. Authorised key-holders also enjoy the convenience: Everyone carries a single key programmed with only their cleared access permissions. They no longer carry bulging keyrings or waste time hunting down the right key for the job.

Configuration in three simple steps

It is straightforward to design and deploy an eCLIQ system that’s right for each individual location. First, choose from a range of cylinders and padlocks; there’s an eCLIQ device for almost any opening: interior and exterior doors, gates, cabinets, lockers, vending machines, alarm housing and more.

Second, issue every authorised employee or contractor with the right key for the job. All keys work together seamlessly in any eCLIQ system; each is protected against climate, dirt and dust (IP67). The battery is standard and has a typical lifetime of 10 years. Finally, a choice of easy software options can tailor system management to the exact needs of the business.

“Unlike traditional electronic access control systems, eCLIQ uses no mains electricity,” says Stephan Schulz, CLIQ Product Manager at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions EMEIA. “Relying on energy-efficient battery power minimises disruption when making the switch to eCLIQ. Because no cabling is required around the door, there’s no need to schedule or pay for invasive electrical wiring at installation stage.”

Easy administration with a choice of software options

Managing eCLIQ is equally straightforward. Keys are programmed with the easy-to-use software, with a choice between local software installation (CLIQ Local Manager) or web-based software (CLIQ Web Manager).

The CLIQ Web Manager administers keys and users securely online. It takes multiple administrators and multiple sites in its stride and can run in a self-hosted IT environment or with a choice of Software as a Service (SaaS) packages. It offers optional integration capability with many types of business management software, helping to automate tedious operations and processes to boost efficiency.

The redesigned eCLIQ Wall Programming Device also makes it easier than ever for facilities managers to require staff to revalidate keys regularly — the least disruptive way to increase site security. Because the updating process is fast and easy for keyholders, managers have the peace of mind that every key in circulation is loaded with the latest approved permissions.

For access at smaller, single-site premises, CLIQ Local Manager (CLM) software can be installed on a single PC. It manages up to 3,000 locking cylinders; keys are currently updated via a desktop programmer but soon CLM Remote will offer remote updating via wall-mounted devices, too.

Operating either version of the eCLIQ software is intuitive: “The programming software platform is very simple to use. We can easily grant or forbid access rights to any user,” confirms Laurent Schutz, Water and Sanitation Process Manager at O des Aravis in France, where CLIQ technology helps keep remote mountain communities supplied with clean drinking water.

However the eCLIQ system is managed, missing keys are quickly de-authorised, cutting risks associated with loss or theft. At any time, facilities managers can generate an audit trail to find out who has accessed which locks.

Low maintenance devices that facilities managers trust

The eCLIQ device range can filter entry through doors and many other openings. Robust, durable cylinders and padlocks in multiple sizes and formats can protect lifts, server racks, furniture, gates, mailboxes and cabinets with the same level of control as sensitive doors.

Cylinders operate safely between -25°C and 85°C. Waterproof padlocks work outdoors in almost any environment, however harsh. Cylinders and keys meet ATEX standards, so can be deployed in potentially explosive environments. An integrated lubricant reservoir keeps these devices maintenance-free for 200,000 cycles, with typical use – another cost-efficiency benefit.

The keys are equally durable, compact and waterproof (IP67). They are easy to program, enabling temporary and time-limited access permissions for every employee or contractor. When a key’s standard battery runs low, it is easy to replace without tools – although, given the typical battery lifetime of 10 years, most keyholders will never need to.

How one city runs a flexible, intelligent locking system with eCLIQ

To deliver services effectively, public institutions need more than just innovation and accountability. They require flexibility and agility as well – including in how they approach security. Security challenges for public services and public spaces do not stand still: Here, filtering access intelligently and dynamically has become part of security’s job description.

For this reason, Vincennes city administrators sought a modern, electronic replacement for a master-key system with almost 4,000 keys. Several locations around Vincennes – among them schools, childcare centres and the town hall – relied on this complex locking solution. Mechanical security did not have the flexibility to adapt; the costs and risks when keys went missing were a growing burden.

Vincennes officials tasked their city security director with finding a more responsive solution: An electronic locking system which is easy to install; does not require power to be cabled to every lock; and helps municipal staff to tailor access rights for different people, to trace keyholder and lock interactions and to amend or revoke permissions when required. They also needed an established, trusted security partner able to offer training and system support.

“A wired access control system was rejected because it required too much work to bring the power to each door,” remarks Fabrice Pain, Director at Vincennes’ Municipal Technical Centre. “Now eCLIQ provides us access control without wiring at all.”

Interior and exterior doors at buildings including the Hôtel de Ville, 11 nurseries and 12 schools are equipped with electronic eCLIQ cylinders. Rather than 4,000 static mechanical keys, 1,000 intelligent eCLIQ keys have been issued to staff.

Efficient hospital security management

In hospitals, managers are responsible for ensuring that access to sensitive medicines or equipment is tightly controlled. A programmable key solution enables them to create personalised access schedules – even for temporary contractors – and collect audit trails automatically. Staff travel into, out of and through the hospital based on rules programmed into their keys.

At University Hospital Frankfurt 1,100 eCLIQ cylinders secure doors in a new building. CLIQ Web Manager software makes it easy to program, reprogram and audit every key, cylinder or padlock. Because the Web Manager interface is accessible from anywhere – via multifactor login over a secure internet connection – staff manage access whenever and from wherever they choose.

Security working to improve health and safety

At Hydreaulys, a French water and waste management utility, a simple switch to programmable key-based access control helped them make improvements in both security and staff health and safety.

Complex workflow challenges throughout the utilities sector can push static master-key systems beyond their limit. To upgrade their mechanical locking system, the Hydreaulys facilities team prioritised access control technology which was already trusted in the sector – and supplied by a leading global manufacturer with deep industry expertise.

Quality guidelines laid down by the utility’s Group Risk Manager were stringent: Alongside filtering access, the locking system should ensure only those with clearance gain access to potentially hazardous materials. Safety and security go hand in hand.

The solution was eCLIQ. Programmable cylinders and padlocks are wire-free, so swapping existing mechanical locking for eCLIQ devices was quick. Installation did not require any cabling. As a result, security and site safety are improved because unauthorised staff are kept away from dangerous materials.

Now, no one can handle risky products without authorisation, which is programmed on their personal eCLIQ key and changed whenever needed. Secure system management via the CLIQ Web Manager puts Hydreaulys’ security managers in total control of access: They can filter by building, zone, function or time period.

“Access control needs flexibility as our organisation and management of the site is evolving and the reliable eCLIQ system is evolving with us,” concludes Jean-Pascal Chuzel, Deputy Agency Director at Water France – Paris Seine Ouest.

To learn more about how your organisation could benefit from the eCLIQ electronic locking solution, download a free guide or contact an access control expert at: campaigns.assaabloyopeningsolutions.eu

This article was originally published in the May edition of ISJ. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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