Protecting their privacy

October 2004 Access Control & Identity Management

Project scope

Residential apartment block with 600 tenants.

The history

Providers of accommodation for residential tenants, this is how Gerald Kaplan describes what his company, The Monsy Group, does. Security is cause for concern in the apartment blocks the company owns and rents out in downtown Johannesburg.

Before the installation of turnstiles, access to the building was controlled manually, with management issuing cards to visitors or merely identifying them by sight - both situations can be, and are often, abused.

The solution

"About eight months ago we installed turnstiles in one of our buildings, which homes about 600 people, and we are about to start installing the same type of system in another block that houses in the region of 800," says Kaplan.

"The rewards of the turnstile installations are threefold," Kaplan continues. "They provide increased security for tenants; the system ensures that the units are only occupied by the bona fide tenants; and there is much more control over visitors."

The result

The success of such an access control system depends largely on its acceptance by the tenants. "Access control in an office environment is more easily accepted by the tenants, but in a residential situation we are dealing with people's private homes and if something goes wrong with the system and they are not allowed access to their own property it is an infringement," Kaplan explains. "But they do understand that it is not an invasion of their privacy, but rather a protection of it."

The integration of the turnstiles with the software - in this case supplied by Card Control Systems (CCS) - is of utmost importance. Kaplan feels that turnaround times, if there is a problem with the software, can be improved upon and also that the management and guards need to be more thoroughly trained, preferably onsite, to use the systems. "When the system does not work, we have to revert to manual back-up cards, which is what we were trying to move away from in the first place.

"Turnstiles are a purely hands-on, physical, access control measure and with that in mind this system does exactly what is expected of it. It does not visually record entries and exits, but integrated with the correct software it does keep a record of who went in and who left the building but more important can restrict access. From my personal experience, the main weaknesses I found is not in the system itself but first in that market itself, there is a need for education all round, especially tenants and on-going liaison with the software provider to ensure the system does what it should do. Security staff should be better educated in their training for certificate.

"I feel I would have been much more aware of what my options were and are as far as access goes."

Fact file

Service providers:

Turnstiles: Turnstar, Mark Eardley, 011 786 1633, mark@turnstar.co.za

Cards: CCS, Piet Vermeulen, 011 907 3192.

The Monsy Group, Gerald Kaplan, 011 640 2523, gerkap@global.co.za


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