August 22, 2013

5 Stages of an Access Control System Purchase

1. Have a locksmith do a free survey of your doors and door hardware

Ask your locksmith if they do free surveys (inspections) of your doors and door hardware. It only makes sense that you’d want to first ensure that the doors you’re about to invest in are structurally sound.

Pictured above is a Yale 51 Series door closer.

Some may just need a hinge replaced or you may decide you want to install a door closer on a door (or have a closer replaced). Safety issues may also exist such panic bars not working properly on other doors.

2. Making the decision to move away from keys

Are you still using keys? Save time by no longer needing an employee to unlock and lock all doors at the beginning and end of each day, and to be called throughout the day for let-ins. Have the doors auto-unlock and lock at certain times.

Also, when you convert to a card access system from keys, you save on cost of re-keying and lock changes every time an employee loses his or her key.

Speaking of saving money, if you are currently using badging for employee identification, you can use the badges for access control also. It is possible switch to an HID format badge, for instance, and print the necessary employee and company information on the card.

3. Choose a provider who can accommodate potential growth

If you’re at a site with only a few doors and you only want to install a reader on one for now, you can take that course and still have the capacity to install another card reader in the future on additional door(s) without having to purchase another panel.

Or a larger company may have not only several doors, but several locations—nationwide…all on the same system. And it can all be streamlined in terms of the software.

For example, the administrator may be located in California while the corporate server is located in Boston, MA. With sites all across the country, he only needs access to the Raleigh, NC office, so he simply accesses that site directly on the software instead of having to deal with a nationwide tree.

Make sure your security integrator can accommodate the particular part of this spectrum that your company happens to be on.

4. Learning about features that suit your needs

You most likely need to create areas of your premises that are accessible to certain levels of staff and administration, but not to others. This is easily achieved using software or web-based programming that comes along with access control systems.

You’ll also need to set time zones—specific times each day when a door or set of doors automatically lock and unlock. Having the ability to set holiday access parameters is a must also.

And very important is the ability to remove access, sometimes immediately, of an employee who may have just been terminated and is disgruntled.

Of course the inherent benefit of a constant audit trail exists if an event occurs anywhere, since you’ll be able to determine who gained access to that area and at what time.

5. Is biometrics right for you?

Biometrics is gaining in popularity and can be an effective part of your overall access control system.

For instance, your company could be predominately outfitted with traditional card readers, yet certain areas of high importance could have biometric readers applied to them.

The benefit? No one else can gain access except for the designated person so there is no need to worry about someone else using your card to gain entry to these areas if were misplaced.

This is because biometrics reads your fingerprints, iris, etc. and removes the above possibility.

So don’t just think about possible expansion of the building your in, but your company’s potential multi-site growth. There are plenty of security integrators who can walk hand in hand with your company along the way to a more secure facility.


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