Access Control Systems

Pick a good lock system before your locks get picked

You already have an access control system in place at your facility. It's called the locks on your doors. Locks are simple to use and everyone is accustomed to them. But they have weaknesses like the ability to be picked, or the problem that everyone's keys have to be replaced if a disgruntled employee leaves with a key … I could go on but if you're reading this, you've probably already realized that a key system is not enough. Enter the world of access control systems. These range from pretty simple, standalone locks to corporate-campus-wide applications that will astound you with their features. The systems to know are:
  1. Standalone units that control one door and simply replace a key system. These may still be mechanical in nature, or they can use electronic devices to control access.
  2. Simple systems that can control a dozen or two doors using electronics.
  3. Enterprise-wide access control systems that can keep track of every door and entry point, who used the door, and whether the door's been propped open. These systems can be programmed to do a number of things, like unlock every door in the case of a fire alarm.

Devise an access control plan

This is when you figure out what are the most sensitive areas of the building and deal with questions like "Should everyone have the same level of access?" Unless your facility is pretty small and you have a good handle on what you want, it's a good idea to hire a consultant who understands local safety codes, how to give access to the disabled, and other important details.

Upgrade your mechanical locks

Whether you just want better locks for your doors or a system like a push-button lock where you can change the codes easily, you can upgrade from the standard hardware store locks that are, frankly, pretty easy for a thief to defeat.

Add some electronic access control systems

A card reading system will record who came in and out of your doors. Readers come from a variety of companies. Most systems will have a computer-managed interface that can show you a graphic floor plan of your business to show the system's status, so you don't have to remember that door 14 is the one next to the loading dock.

Tie it in with your company databases

One of the great things about an electronic access control system is that you can delete a user when they leave or are let go. You even can set parameters such that if employee John Doe is in Asia for two weeks monitoring the manufacturing plants, his card can't be used here in Topeka. Connect the system to the HR database too, so that former employees are automatically removed from the access control roster.

Link it up with your security cameras

You don't have to "silo" your security systems, with one system for access control and one system for video. If you're doing more than just access control, then why not link all of your door control, alarm monitoring, badging, and surveillance video needs in one system.
  • Going high-tech with systems like electronic access control can be a challenge. Start by contacting other business owners and ask what they like and dislike about their system. Compare your needs to a similar-sized company. Secondly, bring in your IT staff on this installation. Many of today's systems can interface directly with your IT databases.

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