BVLog Bryan Voss’ mental synchronization point

29Dec/060

This is a high security facility…

We recently had electromagnetic locks installed on our department doors. We were also issued new ID tags with passive RF chips in them that will unlock the doors when passed near the readers outside the doors. The locks are programmed to unlock in the morning and lock in the afternoon. That's nice, but there's a problem. There's no way to override the locks and manually lock the doors.

My director just asked me if I am going to be around for a few minutes so he can go to the cafeteria and get some lunch. We're running on a skeleton crew this week with everybody trying to burn their remaining vacation time before they lose it at the end of the year. I was the only person left in the department to fend off rabid users with a broomstick until he gets back. (Actually, it's been a quiet week. Apparently a lot of people are taking off.)

When we have department meetings downstairs, the department Administrative Assistant has to stay behind to act as security guard. The Security department controls the locks. If we call them in advance, they can lock the doors, but what happened to good old-fashioned deadbolts? Apparently we were so enamored with the woohoo technology of the new system that we failed to consider the fact that there is no way to manually override.

We have also had problems with the keypad on our datacenter door. We have to scan our ID tag, then enter a super secret code on the keypad. Several numbers on the keypad began sticking the other day and we were unable to unlock the door. We can manually unlock with a key, but in the interests of limiting the number of keys in circulation, only the managers have one. That meant that every time anybody needed to get in the datacenter, they had to borrow a key, unlock the door and then return the key to the manager. As a result, the datacenter door was often left unlocked while people were coming and going. Since the datacenter door opens on a publicly-accessible hallway, this is quite a concern.

There's probably some lesson to be learned here, but my director just got back from the cafeteria and I'm going to eat lunch now...

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