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The initial cost of a security system is still the deciding factor for many organisations and businesses. Yet as recent cases have shown, particularly across the healthcare industry, this approach can be extremely costly longer-term and even life threatening. Paul Taylor, security specialist at Allegion, explains why businesses must start to think in terms of whole life cost if people and assets are to be fully protected.

The security and protection of people, business assets and premises is one of the most important, yet arguably most overlooked, issues in modern times. Businesses and organisations across the globe continue to opt for the cheapest option possible, without fully considering the risks and long- term implications for their people or their business assets.

Organisations are faced with a vast array of security options, from mechanical lock and key through to highly sophisticated, electronic solutions, operated with specialist software. The lock and key option commands the cheapest up-front cost, however this must be measured against the longer- term costs and risks involved. With the protection of people and business assets more important and challenging than ever, electronic access control systems are fast becoming the only viable option.

While there is currently no legislation governing which systems should be used in the UK, it’s clear that the Government is watching, as are organised criminals and lone opportunists. The consequences of not having enough security are only too evident when you look at cases such as the horrific attacks which took place at Stepping Hill hospital in June and July of 2011.

During the two-month ordeal, a lone attacker poisoned 22 patients by contaminating their saline drips


with insulin. Unfortunately, the security measures in place at the time did not prevent the perpetrator from moving freely throughout the hospital buildings, tampering with medical records and accessing medical supplies to commit the crimes undetected.

Following the attacks, there has been a visible shift towards electronic security systems across the health sector. Not least because of a Government instruction that all sensitive areas, information and medical supplies within the health sector must be accompanied by a robust process of auditing. Although there has been no requirement placed on public sector organisations to install electronic access control systems, this is not something which organisations can or should rule out.

Indeed, many organisations are already making the move to electronic security independently. A hospital in Aintree recently switched to an electronic access control system to help strengthen their audit trail and protect patients and staff. Keen to install a tailored, scalable platform capable of protecting and monitoring of specific parts of the hospital, they selected Allegion’s PegaSys system. Its wire-free design means it is quicker to install than traditional electronic systems and is ideal for retrofitting with minimal disturbance. Comprised of a network of electronic cylinders,






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