The top 5 key risks facing security managers today

What might keep you up at night – and how to fix it!  

Is the security of your business in your hands? Do you lie awake at night worrying that unauthorised access to your organisation’s premises, data or vehicles could inflict financial and reputational damage? 

We asked Security Managers what key security risks they face in today’s challenging security environment. Understanding these top security issues is crucial to mitigating these risks with a simple solution: S-Key.  

Risk 1: Security cards in the wrong hands – how long do you have? 

Lost or stolen security credentials can easily allow access to unauthorised individuals. Whether your access control system uses physical keys, cards, fobs or other devices, they all present a security risk in the wrong hands. 

A lost card can easily be picked up on your premises and used immediately to gain access. If lost outside the premises, or stolen, it might bear sufficient detail to allow another person to locate and enter the private physical or logical domain.  

In either case, the risk of a security breach is immediate, but it may be hours or days before the authorised user realises and informs you that they no longer have their access key so you can disable their badge or card. 

How to mitigate this risk 

Two-factor authentication, such as via PIN, is critical to protecting your organisation from this risk. By adding an extra security layer, you improve the chances that only the authorised user will be able to gain access. The stronger this authentication, the better the security protection.  

Risk 2: How secure is 2-Factor authentication by PIN or password? 

Requiring authorised individuals to authenticate their presence by providing an additional detail (such as a password or PIN) strengthens your access control. Another person would have to copy or guess these details to gain access. 

Unfortunately, human beings are not perfect. We write down our PINs to help us remember them; use a password that is easy to guess, or even write it on the card for safekeeping. It can be easy for a malign individual to find out this ‘private’ information, thus gaining access to what you thought was secure. 

How to mitigate this risk 

The solution is a robust second authentication factor. Today, we have the capability to positively identify any individual using biometric data. Facial features and fingerprints have been shown to provide unequivocable proof of identification, and biometric authentication can now be used for high quality access security. 

Freevolt’s S-Key access control cards use fingerprint authentication, which means that only if the authorised user is physically touching the right card, with the correct finger, will access be granted. S-Key cards can be used for physical or logical access control (e.g. for buildings or for digital access) and provide a smart, safe and secure solution. 

Risk 3: Your ‘helpful’ employees unwittingly increasing security risks 

Human beings are also friendly and helpful, willing to help each other out. In security terms this could be an access control nightmare! 

Your current access control system may only authorise trained individuals to use dangerous vehicles or equipment, or give specified groups higher levels of security clearance. However, staff might lend or share their security badge (and PIN) with a friend or colleague who has lost or forgotten their own, thinking they are being helpful.  

But what they are doing may expose the organisation to a huge security breach, or void insurance claims. Even a trusted worker accessing unauthorised areas might leave a confidential computer database open, or cause an accident with machinery they are not qualified to operate. The risks to the business can be far-reaching, especially when this means that the acts are uninsured. 

How to mitigate this risk 

The best way to ensure that staff do not share, lend or clone access control cards is to make them personal. By requiring positive ID every single time the card is used, access control cards using biometric authentication remove any pressure or option to share cards. 

Risk 4: The increased security challenges of hybrid working 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, when colleagues routinely worked in shared premises, they got to know each other. Security guards could recognise familiar faces, and even the cleaners would be recognised by fellow employees: the risk of an unauthorised visitor going unchallenged was low. 

But now that much of the workforce is based at home, or hybrid working, many may not ever have met new recruits, so there is a danger that an intruder could go unchallenged.  

How to mitigate this risk 

An access control system with strong two-factor authentication is vital in this situation. Not only does this provide clear evidence of authorisation, but it reduces the pressure on your security team to spot an unfamiliar face which could lead to a breach in access control. 

S-Key access control cards are versatile enough to authorise any number of visitors to access different locations, or at different security levels. Through a simple set-up, each user can be allocated specified security clearances, and will simply be denied access if they try to go further. So, there’s no need to rely on personal recognition or habit: the right person, with the right card, gets the right access. 

Risk 5: The operational and financial risk of a physical security breach 

The financial risks of a breach in access control are enormous. IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023 puts the average cost of a data breach in the UK at $4.21m.  

‘Stolen or compromised credentials’ is the second most prevalent attack vector in the report, responsible for 15% of the security breaches and ranking among the top four most costly type of incident. Breaches that started with stolen or compromised credentials also took the longest to resolve: on average nearly 11 months to identify and contain these data breaches. Compromised physical security (a breach in physical access control) accounted for 8% of data breaches, costing an average of $4.10m each. 

The financial costs of a breach in security are severe. Revenue and efficiency losses will accrue throughout the data breach lifecycle – the time elapsed between the first detection of the breach and its containment. Any breach in your access control can compromise personal or business data, including the exposure of private information for which you may have a legal liability to another party. A breach in physical access control may also breach Health & Safety regulations (for example through the unauthorised use of machinery) or infection control, further escalating costs and the risk of uninsured losses.  

On top of all this is the reputational damage and loss of goodwill that can have a lasting and often irreversible impact on your organisation. 

How to mitigate this risk 

There is a simple, cost-effective way to strengthen your physical access control: prioritise robust two-factor authentication. 

Knowing exactly who is entering your premises is vital for strong security. Require positive identification of every individual before they enter your physical space, and you eliminate the risk of anybody gaining access by borrowing or stealing a false ID. 

Freevolt Technology’s S-Key fingerprint access control cards provide strong 2FA that is quick and easy to set up, and delivers immediate, cost-effective and robust security. Not only can you limit precisely who goes where, you can also use the cards to track individual access, which helps quickly confirm movements in the event of any incidents. 

The Cost of a Data Breach report looked at the impact of 27 factors on the mean cost of a data breach. The biggest cost amplifiers were the complexity of the security system, and shortage of security skills. Yet S-Key fingerprint access control cards are simple to set up, easy to use and require no special security skills. 

Helping security managers sleep well 

Every single one of these Top 5 Security Risks can be effectively mitigated by adopting S-Key fingerprint authenticated access control cards.  

Whether you are a CEO, a Security Manager or Compliance Manager, IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report shares quantifiable evidence that helps you better manage your security investments, risk profile and strategic decision-making processes. The risks are clear, and can be mitigated through astute security control investment.  

S-Key biometric access control cards provide a cost-effective solution that is quick to adopt and work effectively with your existing 13.56 MHz card readers: invest today and you could be up and running with strong two-factor authentication across your premises within the week! 

Please get in touch if you would like to see S-Key fingerprint access control cards in action, or would like to set up a trial. Call us now to set up a trial on +44 (0) 203 176 2350 or email