Access control: Residential Cloud
Cloud Based Access Control Technology Takes up Residence At Ealing Council
The London Borough of Ealing comprises seven major towns – Ealing, Acton, Greenford, Hanwell, Northolt, Perivale and Southall – and Ealing Council’s task is to provide a diverse range of services to 350,000 residents across the area. It is committed to improving its performance, while ensuring value for money, and a key part of this is the provision of good quality housing that meets the highest possible standards.
In addition to carrying out property allocation, repairs, rent collection, homelessness services and estate management, Ealing Council is responsible for ensuring the security and safety of the tenants living in its 300+ housing blocks.
Daljit Gill is electrical services manager at Ealing Council and comments, ‘When it comes to administering our multi-site housing portfolio, Ealing Council recognises the advantages that access control technology brings in terms of our ability to effectively access information, issue and configure key fobs and check occupancy status. As a longstanding PAC customer, we chose the PAC Residential Cloud as the central hub of our access control system, which currently comprises around 1,100 doors and 500 controllers.’
Over the last few years the cloud has proven to be a game changer in the way access control technology is designed, configured and used. The PAC Residential Cloud leads the way in allowing organisations to remotely manage and monitor their access control systems. Meanwhile, the PAC controllers used as part of the Ealing Council system utilise the general packet radio service (GPRS) platform, which is a faster and cost effective means of connecting remote sites via a mobile network.
Sam Flowers, regional sales manager at PAC, explains, ‘Daljit and his team can address technical issues, deal with key fob management, examine diagnostics, view system status, set and unset a system, and gain access to event logs and reports – all from a remote location. Without the cloud any problems and issues would need to be dealt with by office-based individuals, which is obviously restrictive and can lead to a delayed response. We also provide a full online training programme to help customers get the best out of their systems and provide full technical support.’
Asked how the PAC Residential Cloud makes his day to day working life easier, Daljit Gill responds, ‘I can address connection issues, manage the system and troubleshoot from wherever I happen to be, using my PC, tablet or smartphone. Not only is this convenient, it also saves me a huge amount of time, as I don’t have to go into the office to log-in. Two of my colleagues also have permission to use the system remotely – although we could share access with up to 15 administrators if required – with each person only given access to information that relates directly to their role. One of the main features of the system is that it is fully auditable, meaning that any activity can be monitored in real time and traced directly back to a specific user via their unique password.’
Ealing Council strictly adheres to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and has implemented a strong data protection policy. PAC Residential Cloud is hosted with The Bunker, a trusted PAC partner, whose UK data centres are located in former nuclear bunkers and certified to the ISO 27001 standard for information security management.
PAC Residential Cloud also offers Ealing Council some less obvious benefits. Sam Flowers comments, ‘The data collected by the access control system can be used to issue an alert if a resident’s key fob hasn‘t been used during a specific period, identify patterns of behaviour that could suggest illegal activity, flag-up if someone is subletting a property or even detect if a tenant is using a cloned key fob. If an alert is activated, measures can then be taken to deactivate a specific key fob. Furthermore, the PAC Residential Cloud has also helped Ealing Council adopt a business as usual approach during the coronavirus pandemic by limiting physical interaction, while still enabling a prompt and effective response.’
As well as enjoying the operational advantages of the PAC Residential Cloud, Ealing Council is also planning to advance its transition to a fully internet protocol (IP) based access control system by upgrading to PAC’s 512DCi digital networkable access controllers. Daljit Gill concludes, ‘Installing the PAC 512DCi’s will allow us to maximise operational effectiveness through our investment in the PAC Residential Cloud. We will also be able to utilise PAC’s high frequency OPS Mifare Desfire EV1 readers, which have been tested to meet Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 128 bit compliance. This will further reduce the risk of key fob cloning and ensure that our tenants benefit from improved levels of security.’
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