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26 May 2021 by Boon Edam

Mistakes to avoid when specifying high security entrances

High security can often mean high stakes. When a high security entrance is specified, it’s usually because there is highly valuable equipment, IP, data or people that a company is seeking to protect. In these cases, a single breach can have catastrophic consequences, and it could be the company directors that are legally liable if they haven’t met their duty of care obligations. For high security buildings and facilities, it’s important to evaluate each entrance individually, rather than picking a product that ticks a lot of boxes, says entrance security specialist Alastair Russell, who has decades of experience in the industry, both in the UK and in Australia. “Too often I see companies come to us with a less than ideal solution in place, which they’ve paid a fortune for, and they’re genuinely surprised when I tell them that a far more cost-effective option would have provided better security.” “You have to consider flow rate, different security levels, potential biometric integration, location of each entrance and disability access, for example. It’s far more effective to start with the outcome the client is trying to achieve – such as guaranteed prevention of unauthorised access – and work backwards to find the ideal combination of entrance security technologies that will deliver the desired outcome,” says Mr Russell, who is National Sales Manager for Boon Edam Australia The company is the local arm of the Royal Boon Edam architectural revolving door and security entrance organisation, which is a global leader in its field, serving scores of Fortune 500 companies in 27 countries, as well as Australasian private and public buildings, data centres, government buildings, cash centres, medical and scientific facilities and other high security applications requiring protection against physical threats. High security entrance mistakes to avoid Mr Russell says there are a few fundamental mistakes to avoid when specifying high security entrances, including:

• Not using security entrances for the purposes they were designed for. For example, speedlanes (also known as speed gates or turnstiles) are an ideal component of a layered approach to security, but they are so attractive that some companies decide to use them as a panacea for all security needs.

Mistakes to avoid when specifying high security entrances


Speedlanes are an excellent deterrent, and are ideal for lobbies and foyers where they can be combined with a receptionist or security staff member. Speedlanes can also be used in multi-storey and multi-tenanted buildings and facilities to accurately track exactly who is entering each floor, and providing an effective barrier for employee-only areas. They are elegant, refined and can blend in beautifully with the architecture of the building they are installed in. In addition to being a deterrent, Speedlanes can detect unauthorised entry and set off an alarm to alert security staff of a breach, which will then require a response. But Speedlanes should not be used in high security applications. Applications that need to level up their security to the point of guaranteeing prevention of unauthorised entry should utilise a security revolving door or portal, typically with biometric integration.

• Placing biometric readers on the exterior of a high security portal when you want to guarantee only authorised personnel can enter the secure space. One of the major benefits of using a high security revolving door or portal with integrated biometrics (such as facial recognition, palm or finger readers and retinal scanners) is that it not only determines that only one person is inside, but it determines exactly who that person is, and whether they match the authorised credentials. Having the biometric reader on the outside, allows for someone to authorise from the outside, while a different person is on the inside, ready to gain access. There may also be a duress situation where someone is forced to let the unauthorised user inside. If the biometric reader is inside the portal, it would prevent the unauthorised user from gaining access in this scenario. Boon Edam provides a special floor to ceiling column inside the portal for the easy integration and installation of biometric readers.

Mistakes to avoid when specifying high security entrances

• Not considering throughput when specifying security entrances. Every building and facility – and secured areas within them – has an average number of people likely to enter and exit each day. Specifying a high security portal where only one person can be identified at a time will work brilliantly where foot traffic is minimal, but will slow things down unbearably in some applications where larger numbers need to go through the authorisation process. In these cases, a security revolving door is a superior option, and it will typically be able to handle numbers four or five times greater than a security portal.

Mistakes to avoid when specifying high security entrances

High security entrances done right – a layered approach While mistakes may be present out there, the majority of companies take the time to do their due diligence, and install a well thought out physical security system. For high security applications, such as data centres, this typically involves a layered approach. “Particularly when it comes to data centres or protection of IP, companies usually invest heavily in cybersecurity, but can overlook the risks associated with a physical breach, which could provide a hacker with easy access to a secure server, and to sensitive information,” says Mr Russell. “For high security applications, certified bullet and burglar resistant upgrades to security revolving doors and portals can provide an added level of protection against unwanted and unwelcome threats,” he said. In these applications, a layered approach could involve a combination of:

  • Full height turnstiles, which are useful at the outer perimeter, because they provide both a visual and physical deterrent against unauthorised access.
  • Speedlanes in the lobby, to prevent tailgating – unauthorised people tailing authorised personnel through security gates – through to the use of alerts and visual recognition features that alert security staff to a potential breach.
  • High security portals to protect data server rooms. These portals use biometric scanning and overhead sensors to ensure the credentials of each user. It guarantees each user is alone and is exactly who they say they are. This is the ultimate security front line – essential for protecting data at its hub.Mistakes to avoid when specifying high security entrances

“Data centres are, unfortunately, a highly desirable target for criminals, who seek financial gain from selling or using the private data. This breach can not only be costly, but can ruin a company’s reputation, something that can take a long time to rebuild,” says Mr Russell. “Insurance companies are now asking for strong physical access security to be in place as an integral part of more stringent risk management measures required to combat these threats.” Taking a solutions-first approach There’s no silver bullet solution for entrance security – no “one-size fits all” approach, says Mr Russell. “Every building is different, every company operates differently, and the way people interact with a building’s physical spaces varies greatly from location to location.” “Most importantly, when speaking with an entry expert, make sure they are looking to understand your needs first, rather than trying to push a particular product on you, and fit your needs around it. Not only will you likely save on costs, it will save the embarrassment of installing entrance security and still having a breach occur.”

Boon Edam’s comprehensive security suite Operating under the market signature ‘your entry experts’, one major point of differentiation between Boon Edam and other entrance security providers is that Boon Edam can supply a comprehensive suite of products, rather than specialising in just one type of entrance security. Boon Edam products include the Turnlock full-height turnstile, Winglock access gate, Lifeline Speedlane, Tourlock Revolving Doors (with optional security features) and Circlelock full-height security portals.

Mistakes to avoid when specifying high security entrances

“Having experience in the full range of entrance security technologies allows Boon Edam to look at a layered approach to security from a wholistic point of view, and formulate the best solution for each individual application,” said Mr Russell.

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