Across the globe, people are bracing for the post-pandemic world. This is especially the case amid massive vaccination campaigns in various countries. At last, businesses are seeing light at the end of the tunnel and are reopening themselves to staff and employees who have been teleworking for some time.
Yet reopening triggers new challenges and requirements for businesses seeking to maintain a safe and healthy work environment. For example, denying access to staff/visitors with elevated body temperatures is essential. Enforcing social distancing guidelines and contact tracing employees are also new challenges facing employers.
In this regard, they can turn to access control solutions, which have gone through a significant evolution. Purely for security at the very beginning, access control has seen its role expand to business intelligence and, in the post-pandemic era, disease control and prevention.
“As staff look to their employers to provide a safer work environment post-pandemic, keeping track of who is on-site, at what time, where they are, and who they are sharing a space with will become even more important,” said Craig Schutte, GM of APAC and IMEA at Gallagher. “This is where security and access control technology can enable different, innovative ways of working to meet the ever-changing needs of a pandemic-driven world.”
Gallagher has established itself as a leading access control player in the world. In the wake of COVID-19, Gallagher has rolled out a range of products and solutions to help businesses reopen, resume operations, and sustain continuity, both during and beyond the pandemic. These solutions are described as follows.
Stop those at risk from entering
Businesses can screen people as they arrive on site with contactless biometric readers integrated with thermal imaging technology for elevated temperature detection. These readers can also detect whether a mask is being worn.
“Gallagher recently announced an integration between its Command Centre software and the Invixium IXM TITAN to support businesses who wish to enforce the wearing of masks, reading of temperatures, and management of access via contactless facial recognition,” Schutte said.
Implement a secure contactless access environment
Businesses can make the switch to contactless access control systems to minimize the act of touching, which has been cited as a means for COVID-19 transmission. Further, mobile access has also emerged as a popular contactless technology, allowing users to open doors with their phone. “Secure mobile apps allow for contactless access by using a mobile phone instead of an access/ID card. Apps such as Gallagher’s Mobile Connect offer multi-factor authentication (requiring card, PIN, biometric or any combination of the three) for an extra layer of security where required,” Schutte said.
Contact trace employees
Contact tracing has become a vital method for slowing the spread of COVID-19. Gallagher again has a solution in this regard. “Gallagher’s award-winning Proximity and Contact Tracing Report was developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and provides businesses with the data they need for fast and efficient contact tracing. The innovative design utilizes Gallagher Command Centre’s powerful reporting capability to help identify the on-site movements of specific individuals, enabling businesses to identify the areas where an infected employee has been,” Schutte said.
Finally, end-user entities will be subject to disease-prevention regulation compliance, in which access control can play a key role as well. “As COVID-19 vaccines are rolled out across the world, businesses want easy access to information around vaccination status. Through competency-based access management, sites can be alerted if a person has not had their COVID-19 vaccination and restrict or deny access to areas depending on vaccination requirements/status,” Schutte stated.
A word on teleworking and cybersecurity
Despite businesses’ best efforts to reopen, some employees are still working from home. In this sense, cybersecurity has become important. The end-user entity must make sure company assets or information are not compromised or breached during this time.
“As the internal network boundary increases, so too does the security risk. A company’s security is only as strong as the weakest part of its network. Remote working has widened the net in terms of vulnerabilities across business networks. Companies need to be robust in their cybersecurity as well as their physical security and think about the safety of their data as well as their people,” Schutte said.
Supporting channel and customers during difficult time
The pandemic has taken a toll on various industries. Many of Gallagher’s partners and customers are also impacted. That said, Gallagher seeks to provide them with the best service and support during this difficult time.
In April, the company launched Gallagher Care Plan – a tailored system and support package designed to help customers get additional value and benefits from their Software Maintenance plan at no additional cost. These benefits include early insight into upcoming features and releases, as well as the opportunity to work alongside a Gallagher advisor to conduct a personalized security system review to ensure customers’ sites are operating efficiently, utilizing functionality, and are cyber-secure.
“Gallagher Care Plan was developed to ensure customers are optimizing their system configuration and gaining a wider understanding of product functionality to maximize the value of their investment. As part of our Care Plan, customers will receive a remarkable 10-year hardware warranty,” Schutte said. “Through this new initiative, customers will have access to support across four key areas: product, training, advisory services, and development – complementing existing integrator service and maintenance programs.”
Gallagher Care Plan also offers training courses for customers to gain a deeper understanding of how their security system works.
“For end-users (customers), having access to Gallagher's Online Operator training will streamline their onboarding and enablement process, and reduce the time integrators need to spend on site. Customers will also receive unlimited registrations to Gallagher's Online Administrator Training course. This course gives system administrators the skills and confidence to manage their Gallagher system with greater independence in daily operations,” Schutte said.
Businesses seeking to reopen in the post-pandemic era are faced with a new set of challenges and requirements that can be addressed by access control solutions. Gallagher is able to deliver those solutions to help businesses meet their reopening needs. It’s indeed impressive to see Gallagher making achievements both internally and within the industry under such trying circumstances, and we can expect them to continue to provide long-lasting benefits for business operations, both during COVID-19 and beyond.