Time & Attendance Tutorial

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Jul 18, 2013

Access Control is useful for more than unlocking doors. One of the best features is also rarely used: Time and Attendance logging. However, selecting the 'same old' door readers for can open several vulnerabilities to abuse. In this note, we look at Time & Attendance Readers for Access Control, describe what features they should have, and what problems arise if they are not properly implemented.

Time Logging is Central

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Time ***** ********

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Payroll ***********

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What *** *** *****?

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  • Clock *****: In effect, the EAC system clock serves as the payroll clock. While a variety of solutions for syncronizing/standardizing time exist, such as *** ********** ******* **** ******, *********** ******* *** *** ***** ********** can ****** *********** ********. **** *** ** **** *** **** and **********, ******* ****** **** ** **** **** *** ***** standard **** ** *****.
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  • Passback *********: For access systems using 'Anti-Passback' controls, logic discrepancies can cause low-level conflicts with Time Clock readers. If an employee 'scans In' to the timeclock, and then immediately 'scans In' to a normally secured door, the EAC system may generate an alarm or deny access unless the timeclock reader is isolated from passback rules. Given the large number or doors across multiple sites, or large populations of employees in a single system, these sort of errors can be common and hard to troubleshoot.

What *** *** ********?

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  • Less ** ***, ********: While a single system can be a weakness, it can also be efficient. Many facilities prioritize the upkeep of facility access systems, and issuing a credential for access also means it can be used for payroll. The investment in one facility system can be leverage by another.
  • Expanded ******** ********: In normal use, if an employee has a security credential revoked in an EAC system, they immediately become invalid in the payroll system. In addition, tying the two systems together can prevent an unauthorized employee from gaining access to an 'Time In' reader before an allotted shift and help manage overtime payouts, and payroll hour allocations are enforceable by physical access controls. 

Comments (7)

I've never done an integrated EAC/TA system. Although I have seen the same card used for access control also enrolled in a separate time and attendance system. Some the cards are dual technology (barcode or mag stripe) to accomodate the time clocks. HR and payroll get along almost as well as IT and security.

Brian, an interesting article, but I must say that simple punch-in and punch-out scenario isn’t what time and attendance is all about. Advanced T&A systems support different scenarios for tracking employee’s presence/absence which we can put in two basic categories: private (lunch, doctor’s appointment, unpaid free days etc.) and business (working hours, training, business trip, etc.) which will be of big help to HR department calculating employees’ payroll. Also, if you have such T&A system which is integrated with HR (payroll), EAC and IT (controlling login in to your computer), you can have better company security control, reduced administration time and maintenance cost.

I agree with you that Multi Factor makes sense, but sometimes, using a biometric solution is a disadvantage if you have to have a high flow of people. For this scenario, an integrated camera inside a T&A terminal can be a way of solving this problem, or using an external one which doesn’t have to be a part of CCTV system, but it’s a plus if already is.

Although T&A sounds new, we have used it from the 80´s in Finland (Europe, up North). Biggest brands used to be local, but now they are owned by global companies (Pelco Scheider ESMI, Stanley Security Timecon and Hedengren Hedsam).

The T&A is just another feature inside the Access Control System and usually it it fully integrated into the HR system. Where we use it? Pretty much on every company. Mainly because we were industry based economy and the distances were long and our work legislation was so complicated, that it was smarter to integrate everything in one system. I have made a couple of hundred of these type of systems and i can see the advances on them. Also you can do the validation to T&A on different methods (card, mobile, web, app) and still it goes to the same system.

I have sometimes wondered why not other than Nordic Countries use T&A more often. Maybe Europe would be in better condition if they had.

Brian,

Although not my field anymore there were some warnings for the great state of California that reduced using the EAC system as a time and attendance method, but did allow for use of the same credential (card/fob).

Primarly there are requirements for an hourly employee to see specific information at the "clock" when they punch in or out. Maybe it's different in other parts of the country or world. I did several where we integrated the card technology into Kronos and Simplex time systems to allow for that.

I understand it's different if they are "salaried" employees and you are tracking their attendance versus hourly employees and you are recording their working hours.

Greg

T & A is a headache. There are all kinds of issues involved here including labor laws and contract issues with unions and issues related to lost cards (now impacting the employee's pay, not just his access). I have been involved in two projects where T & A was part of the project; but the solution was fairly simple: The access control system used the employee data base as the source records for the access control system (pretty normal stuff) and the same card was used for T & A. Since the card was also used as an ID and was required to enter the parking lot, food service purchases, and door access, there was/is no real issues with the early checkout.

Some years ago I read an article that said time was listed as the most frequently "stolen" items reported by manufacturers. I have seen a number of corporations that use biometrics for time and attendance and without exception they all say the move to biometrics has paid for itself.

Just hope 20 of my co-workers don't show up at 3 minutes til like I normally do.

Hi

Do these T&A system requires readers on both side of the doors? Would seem to eb important to ow when a given person has left the premises or a department or a location?

Thanks in advance, currently working on a T&A proposal. We are very new (euphemism for never done it before :D) to T&A.

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