Access Chaos

access chaos

Are you experiencing Access Chaos™?

​Access Chaos /ˈakˌses ˈkā-ˌäs/ n.

The state of an access control system in which many of the identities and the permissions assigned to those identities are missing, incorrect or out of date.

Threats and incidents caused by limitations in managing the continually changing state of identities and access rights within an access control system.

// Access Chaos creates increased risks for organizations

Understanding, identifying and controlling Access Chaos

If you feel as though your organization is suffering from Access Chaos, know you are not alone. An estimated 90% of companies with access control systems experience this threat in some form. Most organizations are either unaware they are experiencing Access Chaos, or are not sure how to address it.

However, through the application of innovative software solutions, organizations can actively identify, combat and prevent Access Chaos.

access chaos visitors

Access Chaos can look like…

More people in the access control system than there are current employees and contractors
Terminated employees who still have valid badges
Expired contractors and vendors with active access
High-risk area access assigned to people that do not require it
More than one credentialed badge held by an individual
Outdated or inaccurate access rights that cannot be updated due to a lack of time, money, or knowledge
Frequent staff schedule updates that make it difficult to tell who should have access to the building and when
Access creep due to new permissions being added but old ones not removed
Numerous badges that are still active, but physically unaccounted for

If any of these statements ring true for you and your access control system, it is time to start addressing your Access Chaos.

Even if you feel as though these statements do not accurately describe your current access system, you may want to take a second look and conduct your own User Access Review. If even 1% of your access rights are incorrect, this could mean dozens, hundreds or even thousands of individuals could have inappropriate access to your secure assets.

Access Chaos can feel…

Overwhelming
Bringing your access control system up to date can seem like a daunting task that potentially requires weeks, if not months, to fix manually
Confusing
Inaccurate, irrelevant and outdated access control data often looks the same as accurate data leaving you to wonder where to start
Impossible
When access rights, badges, staff schedules and disparate security layers are constantly changing, it can start to feel as if maintaining an effective access control system is out of reach
Embarrassing
Admitting that Access Chaos is present in your physical security system sounds like admitting failure
Normal
The reason Access Chaos is known as a hidden issue is because you may not even be aware that your system is full of incorrect data
Access Chaos - Busy Visitor Lobby

Access Chaos is caused by a variety of factors compounded over time. Often it is not the fault of one person or people, but rather the result of natural changes in staffing, badging, and scheduling that every organization goes through.

This is also why many organizations are unaware that they are even experiencing Access Chaos. Unlike a broken card reader or a non-functioning security entrance, Access Chaos is not always visible to the naked eye.

Ignoring this issue will only exacerbate the problem – exposing your organization to the very risks physical access control systems were designed to prevent.

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Sources of Access Chaos

By nature, organizations are constantly undergoing personnel changes. During the onboarding process, a new employee needs to be provided with the proper credentials to enter their workspace. If this person is terminated or resigns, their access should be revoked. If a full-time employee begins to work part time, their access rights will need to change accordingly.

Because most physical access control systems operate in isolation, disconnected from both people and processes, security teams must manually update identity records and maintain permission changes within the access control system. Security teams may struggle to keep up with the sheer number and frequency of staff changes, resulting in a backlog of requested permission changes. Once this happens, it can be difficult to tell what requests are still outstanding within a system and which are expired – leading to Access Chaos.

Manual tasks also introduce the opportunity for human error. Perhaps a missed email requesting an access change or wrong keyboard stroke results in an individual having inappropriate access. Whatever the reason, it is impossible to expect security systems and the teams that manage them to accurately keep up with frequently changing workforce and access rights.

Such issues have only been exacerbated by recent workforce trends. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a huge shift in employees working part-time, remotely, or a combination of the two. This hybrid workforce sees some employees working in the office some days but not others, on a set schedule or as they please.

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How to control Access Chaos

Whether you are dealing with diagnosed access chaos or looking to prevent it, there is a variety of innovative tools available at your disposal to help you.

Through a thoughtful combination of software solutions, you can ensure that every worker, vendor, contractor and visitor has exactly the right physical access, every day, at every location, every time.

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User Access

1. Map It – Start with Visibility of Physical Access

Advanced analytics software can connect from disparate systems, including Human Resources (HR), Active Directory (AD), Learning Management System (LMS) and Access Control Systems (PACS) solutions, and visualize them through one pane of glass.

The software wraps all relevant contextual data around each identity. What access does a given person have across all facilities? Which AD groups does that person belong to? What training courses did that person successfully pass? This is the foundation needed to accurately validate whether identities are in sync and access rights are set correctly.

2. Measure It – Identify Unauthorized Access

Translate safety, security and compliance policies into simple daily policy checks. Whether it is essential security controls like ensuring that no past employees still have active access, or internal safety policies that require certain certifications to access high-risk areas, you need this type of software to automate the identification of access compliance and security risks across your organization.

Daily notifications alert your personnel to outdated physical access data, unused badges, training requirements, potential compliance infractions and more. Access Chaos starts to disappear as you address these findings.

Measuring User Access Rights
Monitor User Access

3. Monitor It – Proactively Review Access

User access reviews are the best practice method to remove unnecessary access and to avoid access creep. Many organizations have implemented this best practice through manual spreadsheets. While better than nothing, this highly manual way of doing user access reviews is cumbersome and expensive.

Modern software solutions not only automate this process, but also improve it by providing the reviewer with the right set of information to make an informed decision.

The best way to eliminate Access Chaos

Take the first step now and put an end to out-of-control access permissions. RightCrowd Access Analytics makes it easy.

eliminate access chaos
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