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SECURITY


alternative. Easier to install than a key-based system, electronic systems allow managers to preset access levels for individuals and protect designated areas, and when employees leave the business access can be cancelled relatively quickly. Crucially, an electronic system provides a fully auditable series of checks and helps prevent the entry of unauthorised persons.


validation readers, electronic wall readers and an e-trim or electronic door handle, the system at Aintree currently protects 60 areas across the hospital. These include wards, medical supply stores and areas containing sensitive patient and hospital information. It also allows them to monitor staff movements and, if a key-card is lost, it can be disabled immediately.


The investment made absolute sense to the hospital team from a security point of view but also in terms of protecting the hospital financially in the longer-term. Previously, the upkeep of a manual lock and key system alone cost the hospital in the region of £30,000 each year in replacement keys, new cylinders and administration costs. Compare that with the cost of just £1 to £2 per replacement key card combined with the increased, sustained protection of assets, and the decision to move to an electronic access control system was an easy one to make.


There’s no doubt that electronic access control systems provide a much more secure and scalable platform than the mechanical


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The fact is that sub-standard security systems are as bad as having no security in place. With mechanical lock and key systems, keys can be lost, copied without permission, handed to unauthorised third parties, or people may simply fail to hand them in when they leave a place of employment. Keeping a reliable and meaningful manual record of user access patterns is almost an impossible task and unfortunately crucial information often goes unrecorded. In the case of the Stepping Hill hospital incidents, the reality is that the presence of a robust electronic access control system could have enabled much earlier identification of the perpetrator and reduced their ability to cover their tracks.


The Stepping Hill tragedy is a classic example of where basic security measures were simply not enough to fully protect patients, staff and business assets. In today’s world, organisations cannot afford to ignore the risks. The only reliable protection comes from a truly integrated electronic access system, one which stops intruders in their tracks. Regardless of the issue of legislation, businesses must look at the whole life cost of their security systems in order to make the right decision. Organisations have a stark choice: to protect their people and businesses, or risk exposing them through inadequate protection.


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