Jan 22, 2019 Last Updated 4:27 PM, Jan 21, 2019

The key to heightened leisure centre security

Published in Leisure
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Leisure centres are a hive of activity, with a vast range of visitors and staff requiring different levels of access. Security can be critical and complex at these facilities, so why is it that security specification is often an afterthought? Suresh Peri, Commercial & Technical Manager for Mul-T-Lock UK, looks at the changing face of security, and how today’s solutions can drastically improve the efficiency and reputation of our leisure facilities.

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In today’s day and age, we strive for more information, more knowledge and more control. The advancement of technology has moved security to a new level, and rightly so. The needs of businesses are constantly changing, so technology needs to offer flexibility and simplicity to reflect this.

Leisure centres, in particular, have very complex access and security requirements, with constant deliveries, 24-hour shift patterns for staff, and contractors needing one-time access. Plus, the management of visitors and their flow around a building needs to be non-intrusive yet secure and reassuring, especially considering the schools, community and charitable groups that may use these premises.

Even though keys provide physical access to critical assets within gyms and health clubs, including areas that house servers holding customer data, and to offices where customers’ accounts are managed, we often see end-users unsure of how many keys they have in circulation, or where they are at any given time. More worryingly, often when staff leave, there is no system to revoke access or monitor if they return the keys.

Electronic key solutions that feature web-based management can be integrated with existing telemetry systems to help control and manage operations. This offers a high level of both physical and data protection – given they only use accredited software and infrastructure providers.

For example, some systems boast an electronic key system where all the power is retained by the key or locks themselves. This means no wiring is required, whether the system uses door cylinders, cabinet locks or padlocks, offering an easy-to-install and low-maintenance solution for leisure centre facilities managers.

Users have secure access to an online management application from anywhere in the world and can change key access permissions, profiles, schedules and validity, even revoking their use, virtually at the click of a button. Keys can be validated daily, weekly or monthly keeping them continuously secure.

This enables facilities managers to comprehensively track and audit who has access to which locations, when they had access, and how often.

Access can be granted only at the exact moment it is required, mitigating the risk associated with lost or stolen keys. This is an important benefit to leisure centres where they may need to grant limited or one-time access to external contractors, allowing them to securely manage planned maintenance work or urgent repair work, vital to the ongoing running of the business.

At the same time, leisure centre managers have to guarantee staff are given the right permission levels to access rooms conveniently and provide the best service for customers. For example, within a 24-hour gym where members of staff are coming and going at various times of the day or where spaces within the centre are hired out to third-party suppliers, such as specialist trainers or community groups.

Equally important is to make sure administrators (those who manage the security system) can promptly respond to key and card losses, replacing keys and fobs as quickly as possible, and giving all parties involved access to the new credentials.

Mul-T-Lock’s new eCLIQ access control system allows end-users to both grant and remove access permissions remotely. This includes the ability to schedule individual access permissions for each key, as well as to provide time-limited access. If a key is lost, access can be also be revoked using the eCLIQ software, all managed from a cloud-based system.

The safety and security of visitors and staff is paramount for any customer-facing business, but in such a competitive industry the smooth running and ongoing service can be vital to its success and profitability. Security and access systems, such as eCLIQ from Mul-T-Lock, not only improves safety and mitigates risk but also helps with business continuity, which is a valuable asset to the leisure industry.

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