Does your business have lots of people coming and going throughout the day? If your company holds private or sensitive data or information, valuable merchandise or equipment or has concerns about unauthorized entry, an access control system might be worth consideration. Schools, hospitals, government facilities and business that have sensitive data need to take special measures to protect themselves against unauthorized access. Access control systems can help facility managers get a better hold on who is coming and going, as well as when and where. This article offers information to help people decide if access control is right for their facility and provides a few tips for those with an existing access control system.
Is Access Control Right for My Business?
Access control systems aren’t right for every business. Every business should evaluate their unique needs with a professional, because some businesses may not have the budget to install and maintain an access control system, or the establishment may not be the right fit for an access control system. A small retail shop with a handful of employees might be able to go without an access control system. If your business doesn’t have the budget for an access control system, but you still want to know who is coming and going outside of normal business hours, use your burglar alarm panel like an access control system. Give each employee a unique code that locks and unlocks the alarm system.
Benefits of Having an Access Control System
Access control systems allow businesses to secure every single area with minimal disturbance to employees. If needed, an unsecure reception area can be set up to welcome clients and visitors. Access control systems are also a great way to restrict access within a business to certain employees or departments. The CEO or president might need access to every room in the building, while another employee may only need access to the floor and area in which they work. HR might need a secure room to store sensitive paperwork, while the facilities department may want a secure supply room that prevents employees from helping themselves to office supplies. Many businesses located downtown, where parking is a challenge, use their access control system to open up the executive parking lot to every single employee in the company during after afterhours and the weekends.
Don’t Put Your Company Logo on Your Keycard
For those that already have an access control system, it’s important to evaluate any possible weaknesses your system might have. The first concern addressed is usually keycards falling into the wrong hands. Keycards can be lost, stolen, fall out of an employee’s pocket, or find a way into the hands of a criminal, despite everyone’s best efforts. The easiest way to defend against a lost keycard coming back to cause trouble is to leave it untraceable and have a strict policy that requires all lost or stolen cards be reported within 24 hours. Making sure that any keycards issued have no distinguishing marks, like the name of your business, address, name of employee or any logos, ensures a random person that happens on the card won’t know what facility or business the card accesses.
Even with a completely untraceable access card, it’s not uncommon for employees to keep their access card in a wallet, right alongside a health insurance card that includes their employer’s name. If that wallet falls into the wrong hands, a criminal could easily figure out what business the card accesses. This is one of many reasons that adding an extra level of verification is useful, even if it’s only required for afterhours access. A criminal walking into the building in the middle of the day has been known to happen, but it is a risky move and doesn’t happen very often. If a criminal that’s gained control of a keycard is going to strike, it will likely happen afterhours. An easy way to defend against this vulnerability is to require a key code be used in conjunction with a keycard during off-hours entry.
If your business is considering an access control system, we recommend consulting with a professional to make sure you pick a system that fits your company’s needs and budget. The goal of any access control system should be to protect employees, customers, sensitive data and valuable equipment while minimizing any inconvenience to staff, clients and visitors. Reach out to an expert at Butler Durrell to learn more about setting up an access control system at your business.