Brian Sims

Smarter way to run key-based access control devised by ASSA ABLOY

INTELLIGENT, PROGRAMMABLE keys put the powerful features of electronic access control into a convenient technology. They have the advantages of traditional lock-and-key security in that they’re familiar and user-friendly, but they’ve also evolved. An electronic locking solution minimises security risks when keys go missing. Facility managers can manage everyone’s access from anywhere at any time: electronically, securely and cable-free.

Based on ASSA ABLOY’s CLIQ access control technology, an eCLIQ system is built around precision-engineered locks with high-end microelectronics. A standard battery inside each programmable electronic key powers the eCLIQ cylinder or padlock — and secures data transfer between lock, key and system.

Thanks to multiple software options, security staff manage users’ access rights in a way that suits them best and from a single interface. Staff no longer waste time running electronic and mechanical systems in parallel or entering information manually into multiple databases.

Authorised keyholders also enjoy the convenience: everyone carries a single, battery-powered key programmed with only their cleared access permissions. They no longer have to carry bulging keyrings or waste time hunting down the right key for the job.

The eCLIQ lock range can filter authorised entry through doors and many other openings. Robust, durable cylinders and padlocks with eCLIQ technology can protect lifts, server racks, furniture, gates, mailboxes, cabinets and more with the same level of control as sensitive doors. Certified and available in multiple sizes and formats, eCLIQ cylinders make sure that organisations are compliant with the current regulations.

Extending electronic access control

Due to the fact that eCLIQ keys are powered by standard batteries, they extend electronic access control anywhere and far beyond the reach of wired locking. Cylinders are available with an optional dust and rain protection cap for weather resistance. They operate safely between temperatures ranging between -25°C and 85°C. Waterproof padlocks work outdoors in almost every environment, however harsh the environment may be.

The keys are durable, compact and waterproof (being rated to IP67). They’re easy to program, enabling temporary and time-limited access permissions for every employee or contractor. AES encryption, rapid processing and efficient energy management are built into the chip. When a key’s standard battery runs low, it’s easily replaced without the necessity for any tools.

Managing eCLIQ is straightforward and flexible. Keys are programmed with easy-to-use software, offering a choice between a local software installation (ie CLIQ Local Manager) or secure web-based software (ie CLIQ Web Manager) which manages access rights from anywhere in the cloud. 

CLIQ Web Manager can run in a self-hosted IT environment or completely free of local software installation with two different Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings (namely Shared SaaS or Dedicated SaaS). Hosting and maintenance schedules are dedicated to a single customer. CLIQ Web Manager also offers an optional integration capability with many kinds of business management software, helping to automate tedious operations and processes in a bid to boost efficiency.

However an eCLIQ system is managed, missing keys are quickly de-authorised, cutting risks associated with key loss or theft. At any time, facility managers can generate a full audit trail to discover who has accessed which locks and when.

Minimising disruption

“Unlike other electronic access systems, eCLIQ uses no mains electricity,” explained Stephan Schulz, CLIQ Product Manager at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions EMEA. “Relying on energy efficient battery power minimises disruption when making the switch to eCLIQ. As no cabling is required around the door, there’s no need to schedule or pay for invasive electrical wiring at the installation stage.”

For hospital managers, a programmable key solution enables them to create personalised access schedules – even for temporary contractors – and collect audit trails for doors or keyholders automatically. Staff travel into, out of and through the hospital is based on rules programmed into their keys.

At University Hospital in Frankfurt, some 1,100 eCLIQ cylinders secure doors in a new building. CLIQ Web Manager software makes it easy to program, reprogram and audit every key, cylinder or padlock. The interface is accessible from anywhere with an Internet connection (via multifactor login over a secure connection) so members of staff manage the eCLIQ system whenever and from wherever they choose. Its architecture supports multiple administrators or sites.

SaaS is another important feature for hospital managers. It ensures security software is always up-to-date. That’s a major benefit in the healthcare setting, where confidentiality makes cyber attack resistance absolutely critical.

Public institutions

In delivering services fit for the 2020s, public institutions need more than just innovation and accountability. They require flexibility and agility, too, including in terms of how they approach security. The security challenges for public services and public spaces do not stand still, either. Here, filtering access intelligently and dynamically has become part of security’s job description.

Museums benefit from multi-layered security wherein access control plays a key role alongside CCTV and alarms in preventing theft and break-ins. In a heritage property where there’s historic architecture to maintain, or in a modern building where contemporary security blends in, it’s it’s fair to state that discreet, cable-free locking ensures such sites remain as their designers intended. 

The Thiepval Museums needed trusted secure entry and exit control for a twin-site operation in northern France. User-friendly management of access rights was essential for both internal and external users. A solution with no need to change all cylinders when an employee loses a key was required. 

Now, the Historical and Thiepval Museums are equipped with eCLIQ locking cylinders across their two locations. Of 40 durable, compact and waterproof eCLIQ keys, 19 are allocated to regular users. These Bluetooth-enabled keys are available to both employees and contractors, helping the latter to improve their responsiveness.

The eCLIQ system allows security staff to better monitor service providers and their movements around and between the two sites. It’s straightforward for museum managers to limit contractor access rights to the duration of a task, whether a recurring job or a one-off. 

“I’m very happy with the eCLIQ solution,” explained M Guyot, technical and security manager at the Historical and Thiepval Museums. “I promote the solution to those around me. I’ve also given a demonstration to the Somme General Council to show the effectiveness and simplicity of the eCLIQ solution.”

Security for critical sites

Retail banking combines high security with complex workflows. Staff need efficient access. Facility managers need the flexibility to design access permissions around individual clearances. ‘Access all areas’ locking is not appropriate.

In this sector, a single, integrated eCLIQ locking system can protect assets in banking halls, at ATMs and for Cash-in-Transit operations, with eCLIQ devices tailored to different locking points. Multiple layers of eCLIQ physical and electronic security work together to provide a safety net should a key go missing. Any lost key’s access rights are removed instantly via system software. On completion of that process, the lost key will no longer open any door, vault or ATM, thereby maintaining high security at the bank.

At one bank in Italy’s Lombardy region, Creval, doors are now locked with eCLIQ cylinders, putting managers in total control of entrance security. In the unlikely event a key is misplaced, Creval administrators simply de-authorise it.

Utilities and infrastructure operations have similarly stringent security. For nine hydroelectric plants, plus 130 km of pipelines with 45 transformer stations, K&F Drack (KFD) in Austria required a new locking solution. At the commissioning stage, KFD managers focused on flexibility in both installation and use, specifying a system which should demand as little maintenance as possible. Technology would also match the KFD ethos of cautious and respectful interaction with nature, people and the environment.

The decision was taken to use eCLIQ key-powered electronic access control. “The great flexibility of the system convinced us,” stated KFD’s CEO Stefan Drack. “We’re also planning to use eCLIQ in other areas and for further properties.”

*Further information is available online at

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