How IMRON’s Fawzia Atcha Got Access Control Down to a Science

Dr. Atcha discusses her journey to the security industry and opportunities in Cloud-based access control in this month’s SECURE Perspectives.

SECURE Perspectives is a monthly column by the Security Industry Association (SIA) profiling women in the security industry. This column is part of SIA’s Women in Security Forum, an initiative to support the participation of women in the security field through programs, professional development and networking events.

For this edition of SECURE Perspectives, SIA spoke with Dr. Fawzia A. Atcha, vice president at IMRON Corp.

SIA: How did you get into the security industry?

Fawzia Atcha: I have been passionate about two very different things: science and business. With science, I have culminated 13 years of education with a doctorate degree focusing on molecular genetics. Throughout these years, I learned about brain function and the intricate dynamics regarding gene activation; however, the quest for science does not end there. As more research continues, we find that there is more that we don’t know than we do know. I commend all research scientists in their continued pursuit of knowledge. From that milestone, I then looked toward my other passion, business.

With that I turned to IMRON Corp., the brainchild of my husband. He was the first to write a fully integrated Windows-based application for this industry. I valued his expertise and his unique ability to foresee the emergent technology trends. Almost 20 years ago, I began at the very bottom of the pecking order at IMRON Corp. to garner an understanding of this industry, and the rest, as they say, is history!

How does your organization serve the industry?

IMRON Corp. provides a leading-edge Cloud-based physical security management solution. We are constantly working towards innovation to allow for an intuitive user experience. As a return back to school and the workplace is occurring, we continue to enhance features and functions that will help facilitate this process. Our goal is to provide a solution that is easy to use, with relevant features, that is cost-effective.

What types of job functions do women fill in your company?

We’ve had very strong women in our company who have fulfilled roles that were technical IT-centric, roles in accounting and marketing, without limitations.

With more and more data that shows diversity makes a better workforce, what opportunities do you see for women in the security industry?

Women can and should be able to obtain any opportunity in the security industry without limitations. One consideration is workplace perspective — for example, working at a vendor versus a manufacturer versus an integration company. Each provides a unique aspect of the industry.

What impediments do you see for achieving this? What could remedy some of these impediments?

Awareness and support. When I first arrived in this industry, I noticed a stark disparity in diversity, and this is changing, albeit at a slower pace. I believe organizations such as SIA are doing great things to create the awareness. We also need to reach out to other industries and convey the opportunities and support that are available, especially to those who would like to join but may be intimidated by this disparity.

What do you see as important trends in the industry?

The pandemic has accelerated the need for efficient, touch-free solutions for physical security that can be managed from anywhere. All roads are leading towards Cloud and IoT.

More specifically, what trends are you seeing in your company’s space of Cloud-based access control?

In Cloud-based access control, more and more users would like to have complete administration and control over physical security management remotely. Coupling this with mobile credentials allows administrators to instantly manage, process and revoke access privileges as needed. The current times have also made more comprehensive occupancy control, granular lockdowns and tracing reports immediate requirements.

What are the top challenges your company has faced in the last year?

As with most companies, working remotely last year became the norm for us. Considering whether this would be a more permanent operational environment was in question. But a fortuitous opportunity was presented to us, which allowed IMRON Corp. to relocate into a new facility and headquarters. At that juncture we made the decision that working at the office and face-to-face meetings will eventually resume. Fortunately, we see this possibility as a tangible reality today.

What are the biggest opportunities your company — and the industry — are seeing?

The biggest opportunities are coming from conversions of legacy Windows-based applications to Cloud-based access control.

What do you hope the SIA Women in Security Forum can achieve for the security industry?

The continued opportunity for networking, support and mentorship for all women in the industry.

What is your best advice for women in the industry?

To be current with the industry direction and charge on for growth opportunities.

Who or what was the strongest influence in your career?

When joining IMRON Corp., it was challenging to start in an industry of which I had no background. I believe this challenge was the impetus needed to move steadfast in my new career.

How do you define success?

Success is being in a state of dynamic growth and personal achievement.

What would you say to new upcoming women in the industry?

This industry contributes to the safety and security of people in every industry — that is a big deal. Try to familiarize yourself with the many aspects of these fundamentals. When possible, expand your experiences to determine what areas you really find fulfilling and worth pursuing.

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