Access Control Recommends Fully Automated Process For Campus Spaces

In order to improve the process by which faculty, staff and student employees request and receive access to campus buildings and spaces, last fall the Office of Operational Excellence created the Access Control Initiative. Led by George Finney, Chief Security Office, the team contacted peer institutions to identify best practices and surveyed SMU employees with responsibilities for building scheduling, authorizing access and managing keys.

The team determined that the most efficient and effective way to manage a unified workflow for granting access would be to deploy a fully automated process. The recommendations for implementation are in three phases and would be complete in two and a half years.

Phase 1 – The first phase of the automation process, projected to take six months, includes the creation of a single workflow for both keys and cards, enforcement of manager/liaison approvals, elimination of the use of codes on doors and updating the key and access control policies and procedures. The current University policy on access control was written in 1994, before the use of electronic card access and prior to Facilities taking on responsibilities for the campus locksmiths. These new workflows and a clearly defined and web-accessible process that accounts for technological advances will help employees who are unsure of how to request the permissions they need.

Phase 2 – In the year that follows the first phase, the initiative team will aim to establish service –level agreements for key issuance, conduct a key inventory assessment and amnesty program for returning orphan keys, create a storage area for returned keys and implement an annual audit for keys and cards. To manage these recommendations, the team endorses the creation of a Key Manager position to expedite key requests, create and maintain an inventory in PeopleSoft, assist in the exit process and conduct an annual review of key assignments.

Phase 3 – In the final year the PeopleSoft Asset Control system created for keys would be expanded to include all University assets. To help managers track what SMU-owned assets have been assigned to their employees throughout their tenure at the University, the initiative recommends adding modules to an online inventory system to include uniforms, tablets, laptops, vehicles, tools and more. Similar to keys, these assignments should also be reviewed annually to determine condition and whether or not the property is still needed.

By Nick Rallo