In high-rise buildings, elevators are used to move between floors and are also as a means of securing each floor by controlling access to various floors. As a security measure, a card reader can be installed in an elevator, which will require the use of an access card to be allowed on all or selected floors.
As good as access-controlled elevators may sound, they are still vulnerable to intruders in the following ways:
Piggybacking on a multi-floor access card swipe: When a user with all-floor access makes use of his card, the buttons for all the floors are still active a couple of seconds after it has been used. This means that unauthorized users could take advantage of those few seconds and gain access to floors they should not be on.
Joining others that have floor access: Elevators with a lot of traffic usually face this problem. Anyone could join an elevator full of people and wait till it gets to the floor they want to get to before getting off, whether authorized or unauthorized.
Fire service overrides: In cases of fire emergencies, elevator security controls are typically overridden for firefighters to use. Someone with a fire service key could make use of this to gain unauthorized entry.
Despite these vulnerabilities, here are some tips to help you improve elevator access control security:
- Understand that access-controlled elevators are vulnerable to intruders in more than one way. Therefore, ensure you do not use elevators as your only way of controlling access to floors in high rises.
- In addition to elevators, card reader controlled doors should always be used to limit entry to floors.
- Video surveillance complements access-controlled elevators well. Consider installing security cameras at strategic places that provide you with a good view of those that get on and off elevators. This also helps you monitor suspicious activity and gives you a visual record to go back to if the need arises.
- Employees should be trained on elevator security. Regular training will teach them to report suspicious movements and keep them from unknowingly giving strangers access to floors they shouldn’t be on.
- When you can, use optical turnstiles for access control to the elevators in the lobby.
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