Systems Integration Brings Efficient, Enhanced Security to University

Manual key management is a daunting challenge on any university campus. Providing appropriate access to facilities while maintaining security can be difficult. Complicating matters are constantly changing student course loads and housing assignments, as well as changes in faculty and staff composition and contractors.

Roger Williams University, an independent liberal-arts university located on 140 acres of New England coastline in Bristol, R.I., faced a need for a more efficient and cost-effective way to manage physical keys and security-access assignments.

Integrated Security Operations

The university had recently undergone significant capital projects. The new construction drove information-technology (IT) and security managers to take a fresh look at the university’s business practices.

Disparate systems required manual programming of access assignments. Student courses and housing assignments were recorded in the university’s enterprise-resource-planning (ERP) system. These credentials then had to be manually programmed into a Johnson Controls P2000 security-management system, a laborious process for security personnel.

Physical security-access assignments were automated using a role-based policy engine. Quantum Secure SAFE software serves as an interface between the P2000 and ERP systems. Now, when students register for a class, the P2000 system is updated automatically to allow appropriate access. Similarly, the system is updated automatically when changes to the databases housing access assignments for faculty and staff are made.

Forty percent of the security operations at the university are automated, improving cycle time for physical-change requests and eliminating 95 percent of potential manual-processing errors. With the SAFE system in place, university administrators have more time for other ongoing tasks, such as alarm upgrades, securing additional entrances, and replacing or rekeying necessary physical lock hardware.

Installed in 2006, the P2000 system was expanded to new facilities and now provides access monitoring and control for all 65 buildings on campus. More than 500 card readers and 50 surveillance cameras are integrated with the system.

The Johnson Controls Metasys building-management system provides monitoring and control of HVAC equipment across the campus.

Secure, Efficient Access Control That Meets Student Needs

The identity-management solution helped the university improve internal policies and procedures for the physical security of personnel, property, and assets.

The university implemented a five-swipe student-housing-access policy. To gain access to their rooms, students must swipe their card first to access the building. A second swipe allows them to access their floor, a third swipe their wing, a fourth swipe their suite, and a fifth swipe their room.

When students opt to change housing, their housing assignments can be updated quickly and accurately. For example, when students move from one dorm room to another, security personnel can enable access to both dorm rooms for a limited time during their move.

Academic buildings are controlled electronically for enhanced security. Facilities that experience high usage, such as computer laboratories and video-editing suites, are controlled efficiently. The identity-management system provides electronic access automatically based on enrollment records, eliminating the need to manually program the security system.

A Future-Ready Educational Institution

University IT and security managers see potential for further database integrations, such as human resources, accounting, and housing, and additional enhancements, such as event management.

The systems integration at Roger Williams University helps administrators meet the security challenges of a higher-education institution. Students, as well as faculty and staff members, are able to get to where they need to be without the inconveniences associated with manual processes and human error. Efficient processes are critical to both maintaining security and providing customer satisfaction.

Information courtesy of Johnson Controls.

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