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Access control opens legal doors

by Brian Sims

Capital Fire and Security has completed the installation of an access control system at a site in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, where lawyers have been practicing for over 600 years. The Grade-II listed building, located in London’s largest public square, is now fitted with hardware from Access Control Technology (ACT). House to ‘4 New Square’, a commercial set of barristers, comprising 75 independent practitioners of whom 19 are Queen’s Counsel, the site is located next to the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales, commonly called the Old Bailey. Using ACT’s proximity readers and door controllers, 4 New Square has added access control to over 100 doors. The building hosts meetings between clients, solicitors and barristers for high-profile legal cases. Having seen a demo, 4 New Square saw the benefits of a centrally controlled card-based access control system as opposed to traditional key-based systems. Flexible security is paramount, especially in an environment where lawyers working in the same building frequently appear on opposing sides of the same case. Capital Fire and Security chose an ACT proximity reader with the ability to read highly secure and versatile smart-card technology, the ACTpro DESFire EV1 1040. This choice of advanced reader allows the client to use the same cards with time and attendance and PC logical access systems. With architectural integrity a major consideration, the ability to install the readers as either flush or surface-mounted ensured the installation had minimal architectural impact. To complement the choice of readers, ACTpro 4000 door controllers have been fitted in the operational and administrative areas of 4 New Square. Used in conjunction with ACTpro door stations, these controllers can support 60,000 users and 1,024 user groups. The ACT hardware uses low bandwidth and auto-discovery for easy installation and maintenance, alongside advanced features such as timed anti-passback and counting areas. ACTpro Enterprise software is being used locally to manage the access control system. The design principle behind ACTpro Enterprise segregates different functionality by the user’s role” such as the installer, the security guard and the system administrator” to ensure minimal accidental system changes and system maintenance. The modules within the application are called ‘ACTinstall’, ‘ACTmonitor’ and ‘ACTmanage’. The flexibility of ACTpro Enterprise is demonstrated with the integration of third-party products on this site such as the intruder alarm system. ACTpro Enterprise has been designed to give users a familiar web-browser experience using hyperlinks, ‘backwards’ and ‘forwards’ buttons and powerful search functionality. Ian Wheeler, IT Manager at 4 New Square, said:” ACTpro Enterprise allows us to assign rights based on roles, zones and time of the day. With ACT’s access control system, a lost card is easily removed and a replacement issued straight away. Flexibility, paired with ACTpro Enterprise’s reporting ability, means ACT access control really is an all-in-one solution for us.”

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