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Securing a coworking space

The concept of physical office space is changing rapidly. The global pandemic resulted in severe lockdowns worldwide, forcing organizations to employ containment measures. As businesses move back to traditional workplaces, there is growing interest in the cost-effective option of sharing workspaces called coworking spaces. Commercial real estate has picked up on this trend and the coworking space market is expected to have a CAGR of 18.9% by 2026.

The rise of coworking

Many businesses are reconsidering their office work culture, and the convenience of coworking spaces is attractive. The rental fee for coworking spaces typically includes office space, office furniture, wireless internet connection, hardware, software, and other amenities. 

The growing number of startups is the primary catalyst for the rise of coworking spaces as they present an economically feasible model of shared workspaces that are eco-friendly and sustainable, and landlords are interested in converting their properties into commercial coworking spaces. Industry-specific coworking spaces encourage different organizations in the same field to be productive and collaborative.

Access control challenges in coworking spaces

Multiple organizations sharing a coworking space may have different security policies. The people who share the coworking space will never remain constant, especially when property owners offer daily rental services for office workspaces. This means that different working professionals will be visiting the workspace, and not all of them require permanent access. It is difficult to store the details of workers who use the shared offices given the dynamic nature of coworking spaces. All these considerations give rise to the security risks described below.

Internet and Data Security

Organizations in a shared workspace share the amenities, including internet access. Data breaches and malware attacks threaten the security of coworking spaces. The property manager must deploy controlled access to the networking resources. Some entrepreneurs may rent the space longer, while freelancers may use a daily pass. Therefore, a small loophole in access control is all that a hacker needs for a data breach.

Privacy risk

Unlike traditional office spaces, coworking spaces are shared by multiple organizations. Some companies may rent a space close to their competitors for potential data theft. Coworking spaces must have multiple levels of security and access control to ensure that only authorized personnel enters critical areas. 

Physical security

All the gates, doors, and pathways must be armed with physical access control systems (PACS). Mobile access control is becoming the new standard for coworking spaces as it allows authorized individuals to use their smartphone credentials to gain access. Given the risks of COVID-19, no one wants to touch surfaces frequented by other people, so touchless access control is increasingly important. Multiple access control methods have to be employed to ensure physical security.

Lockable and protected space

Ensuring the physical safety of equipment and data within coworking spaces is critical. Organizations that rent coworking spaces for long term expect lockable, private storage for their equipment and data. Access to these protected areas or vaults must be restricted to only authorized people. Commercial property owners must employ strong security policies and strategies to mitigate safety and security risks.  

Physical security in coworking spaces

AI and cloud-based access control provide a safer workspace for multiple organizations sharing facilities and working together. The quick tracking feature of intelligent access control enables easy tracking of people entering and leaving the facility. One of the best features of any intelligent access control system is the ability to provide conditional and time-bound access.

It is also good to have a wireless access control system that is flexible and scalable. A centralized access control system allows granting or revoking access to specific doors, providing conference room access to a small group of people, switching workspaces to a different floor, and more. 

Using mobile access control system is another way to provide a secure and seamless access experience. Organizations using coworking spaces are mostly tech-savvy, and their employees do not have any problem using their smartphones to authenticate themselves to gain access.

Below are some of the ways to ensure physical security in a coworking space:

Cardless and Contactless Access Control

Users accessing the space can use their smartphones and other smart devices to gain access without carrying a physical card. Depending on the terms under which the space is rented, unrestricted or restricted access can be provided for a specific period.

Monetized And Rule-Based Access Control

Property owners can set up their access control system to generate revenue based on usage. Meeting rooms and conference rooms can be provided on an as-needed basis for a fixed price, with 24/7 access available as an add-on feature. The property owner has complete control to revoke access permissions for non-paying renters.

Temporary Access Control

Visitors can enter a coworking space for meetings and other official work using temporary access. Unlocks can be scheduled for conferences that are already paid for. Rapid access is one of the key benefits of modern access control solutions.

Seamless Membership Tiers

You can customize the access control system and provide access permissions based on the membership plan and agreed level of clearance. Different workspace areas (e.g., hot desks, private offices, conference rooms) on any floor can be managed through a single solution.

Quick Onboarding

New members with access privileges can be onboarded quickly after gathering basic details. They can then download the innovative access application to their mobile devices to gain access to the workspace.

Tracking

Access events can be tracked and exported quickly for security audits and incident investigations. Emergency access enables locking or unlocking the entire building in emergencies.

While most access control systems installed at these coworking spaces cover these points, some may not have all these features to ensure foolproof security. In order to have all the security measures in place without replacing the existing PACS, one can use retrofit access solutions. OLOID provides a retrofit mobile access control solution for hybrid workspaces and other commercial real estate buildings. OLOID integrates seamlessly with most of the popular RFID badge readers and PACS (without any rewiring and hardware r to enable mobile access and other features.

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