While access control is a fundamental element of security in higher education, many aging access control systems urgently need to be upgraded, according to a survey of 1,800 higher education security and IT professionals conducted by Genetec and HID Global. 

The survey shows that 33.76 percent of readers, 30.6 percent of controllers and 24 percent of software are more than six years old. Older technologies such as barcode, magnetic stripe and 125khz low-frequency proximity continue to dominate physical access control systems in higher education. More than half of survey respondents still use mag stripe, and almost a quarter still use 125khz prox. Sixty-four percent of survey respondents said their current access control system experiences malfunctions.

However, more than a third of survey respondents (35 percent) are ready to embrace more modern technology as a way of improving the experience for students, faculty and administrators. Over half of respondents (54.2 percent) would be interested in using their access control credentials to support multiple applications beyond physical access, and 44 percent stated that better integration with other security systems/components is a key driver to upgrade their access control systems.

Sixty-four percent of survey participants said while they want to upgrade their systems, they view costs as an obstacle. This often leads institutions to ultimately migrate to systems that fulfill minimum requirements because of cost, rather than seek the features and integration capabilities they seek.

“There are new technology options that can make life easier for administrators as well as those who use the systems,” said Jason Friedberg, commercial head, education, Genetec. “With ever evolving threats, and a need for increased efficiency, accessibility and privacy, security on higher education campuses is an ever-changing environment. Institutions need to be prepared for these changes by upgrading to a unified video and access control solution that is flexible, connected and easy to use.

“And while cost is seen as an obstacle, the true value is often not factored in. With a modern, unified system, ongoing costs often end up being lower than those of legacy systems because the additional capabilities of newer systems increase operational efficiencies across multiple departments.”