Access Control Records Maintenance Guide

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Jan 16, 2019

Weeding out old entries, turning off unused credentials, and updating who carries which credentials is as important as to maintaining security as keeping equipment operational.

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Comments (16)

We automated 99% of the electronic access control via our centralized HR, sponsored people, and student databases.

With the automation, a new employee would receive access to their parking lot and relevant buildings and office suites automatically. For example, public safety get automatic access to most of the doors (not for some of the CBRNEA category). A landscaper will get access to all buildings exterior doors, but not interior doors. A plumber gets access to every door. These are based on the home department and the job classification. We do similar, though less, with the email, LDAP, VPN. Everyone gets general default access to the VPN.

For both physical and VPN, additional requests are sent via email from the department's contact person for the request.

And, when they leave, the sytem updates via HR, also automatically revoking everthing - physical access and VPN via LDAP.

Our automation does roughly 1 million (door-person) changes per year with new employees, departing employees, location/department changes, promotions, etc.

We, too, have automated many of the processes with access control through our HR and RCL (Residential/Commuter Life) offices for both students and staff. It has saved so much time and turmoil!

Our system is currently split between the academic and residential sides meaning four servers. Our plan is to integrate both worlds into one and then hopefully have a PeopleSoft feed/interface to poll dynamic data. In most cases though it seems to be a static file nightly dropped which will then be merged. One of our big problems is that there are thousands of ID's floating out there for folks that no longer attend, work, or contract here. We are hoping the HR feed will completely eliminate stale accounts in the future. We ave also begun deploying prox/mifare readers so that we can ultimately tie all door access to a student class structure.

We have been deploying prox/mifare readers also in an attempt to be better prepared when the change comes. Faculty/Staff IDs are collected upon termination or transfers out but student IDs currently are not. Retirees are allowed to use the garage for parking, therefore their credentials stay in the system awhile. Students consider their ID cards as their "memento" of their college days. The data is purged eventually but all access is removed from the graduating senior cards. It is quite a job with 6000 card holders of all types delegated. I would be curious to know the ratio of EAC employees needed to thoroughly manage an enterprise system of this magnitude.

One mistake I once made was tying too much information to the access control database. Using CCure to track access enterprise-wide we decided to tie select fiields from our international traveler profiles into it to facilitiate quick access in an emergency. Those profiles included medical issues/daily critical meds taken, identifying marks, passport #'s, etc. Only after creating beau coup fields and investing substantial data entry effort did I realize we were violating employee confidentiality regarding sensitve medical issues information. Not a smart move and required reinvestment of labor hours to strike all such data and house it in a more narrowly restricted database.

The biggest problem I run into is customers do not allocate yearly operating budget and staff to manage the EAC. So it gets nelegected for years and then they complain when it does not work.

I am finding some of the sites i work at give access to people that shouldnt have access to certain areas like sercurity having access to surveillance, I think they should seperated from this access

University and Library of Virginia data standards requires records to be kept either 3 or 5 years, depending on the type of material and limits the database cleanup on a yearly basis. We purge cardholder data older than 3 years annually in an attempt to rid the system of unwanted and unused data. As long as we keep it up, it works for us.

This was very helpful in understanding the records portion.

This is definitely a necessity. Keeping up with employee terminations etc. can be critical tot he safety of everyone involved. There are no second chances when it comes to security.

Great report Brian. Keeping the access control system up to date and tidy is really important and can be really challenging as well. Like you said syncing with Active Directory really helps but can be really expensive up front. However explaining how this keeps the system running better and not worrying about a person getting fired and not removed from the system to the customer can often times overcome the initial price cost.

Also a system with good reporting helps as well.

If the system has an archive/restore feature for the database this can be a huge help for performance as well. Of course as long as that feature gets turned on and set to be done automatically depending on the customer's history requirements. When you to the customer site and it takes 5 minutes to run a simple report you know an archive hasn't been run in a long while.

Automation with HR and Active Directory is a great move. Companies often deploy this strategy and feel they have it all covered. Often there are populations of card holders that are not employees and may not be in IT systems. Contracted services like security, maintenance, temp workers, etc. get an access card and are left out of the automated off boarding.

Best practice is to audit the system regularly. Check with management or the person responsible for the restricted area to ensure the persons with access are still valid. This process also catches those that might never have been removed from HR or IT systems (yes, some people forget to terminate employees that leave).

We always advise our clients to use HR or Active Directory integration and automate as much as possible. For very sensitive doors we also advise a 'use it or loose it' policy. A person is given access to a sensitive door and as long as they keep accessing the door it works just fine, if they don't access the door for for a set period of time (say 2 months) then their access is automatically revoked to said door with the logic being they don't need the access for their primary job role. This is a great feature to have in an ACS system and is typically applied to data centres, secure storage areas etc with the logic of thinking that only people who actually access have it.

Your "use or lose it" example, is that an automated task, or one that must be checked manually?

It's automated. It's a feature of the Access Control system, that i know of Genetec, Lenel, Prowatch and I think C Cure support it (some might be custom solution but I've seen it working on those systems). When you create the access group (typically the access group only has one door or a collection of doors that lead to the same room i.e. server room with two entrances for example) you enable a use it or loose it attribute. With Genetec (last time I did it so fresh in my mind) you can then generate an event when a cardholder is removed and have say a weekly report generated and emailed of all the cardholders that were removed from an access group. Its a cool feature!

Neat, I never had a customer request such a feature, so I guess I never went looking for it. We use Prowatch here, I may just enable it for myself for shits and giggles.

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