Access control is finally getting futuristic, with more options available today for small to medium-sized businesses, as well as a multitude of high-tech options for industrial buildings or businesses that have multiple locations or highly secure areas. And with the advent of smart locks, mobile access, and biometrics, the days of worrying about keys, for both employers and employees, are over.
All told, the many access control solutions out there today keep the wrong people out while letting the right people in, as well as providing asset protection, incident control, operational efficiencies, sustainability, business continuity, and convenience, to name just a few.
Let’s take a look at some of the main considerations when deciding on an access control system for your business.
Size of Business
Ultimately, the size and type of business will dictate the level of access control you need. Obviously, a small business will have different requirements than a larger operation or even a business or company that is looking to provide an access control solution for several buildings/locations.
What is great about security technology today, though, is its scalability. So, based on the size of a building, the number of doors, and areas that need to be secured, an access control solution can be tailored to meet any need and scaled up as budgets allow. Working with a security professional can help determine what access points need higher security, as well as options available for areas where that higher level of access control is not needed.
For example, locks and readers can be added first to doors and entrance points in critical areas, such as data centers, hospital rooms, medicine cabinets, high-value inventory, HVAC and electrical control rooms/centers, etc. Newer technology, such as fingerprint and iris biometric technology, which is also coming down in price, can be added when ready, for example, providing that additional layer of dual authentication for access to certain highly critical areas.
Another key consideration is whether or not you want to manage your access control, such as with employees, deliveries, visitors, workers, etc. Being able to control things remotely from a mobile device also allows a manager to grant and revoke access easily, or check on things remotely when needed. Remote access control also allows for savings in energy, especially when integrated with HVAC, such as syncing lights and thermostats with access control sensors.
Managing access remotely also alerts a business owner or facility manager when an area has been breached or accessed by an unauthorized person, allowing for a swift response and remediation. Knowing who is coming in and out of certain areas of the building—and when—also provides protection against fraud, theft and shrink, which most businesses deal with on a continual basis.
When deciding on an access control system, it is also important to determine the number of access control areas that need to be under video surveillance. In addition to the main entrance and exit points, you also need to factor in other critical areas, such as where money is being handled or where valuable inventory is being stored and accessed, for example.
Pairing up your video surveillance and access control systems gives a business owner the ability the verify and respond to events in real time, potentially lowering false alarms, as well as opening opportunities for operational efficiencies and business intelligence.
All told, today’s access control and video surveillance systems offer more than just security, providing opportunities for a higher ROI based on the type of system and setup used.
As discussed above, one of the greatest advantages of an access control system is pairing it up with a video surveillance system. High cost and low quality, factors which may have deterred a small business owner from adding cameras in the past, are no longer major barriers.
Improvements in resolution and image quality in low light and other less than ideal environments, even outdoors in bad weather, also increase the options available for improving video surveillance and access control in and around areas that are critical to operations.
As the quality and price of cameras continue to improve, tech innovations are also reducing the total number of cameras needed for a building or business, so it is important to work with a security professional to determine how to cover the area needed given the budget available.
If you are planning a new facility, renovating a building or adding to an existing facility, this is an ideal opportunity to design and plan for the future. Having the ability to incorporate the latest access control readers and sensors throughout all of the critical doors and areas of the building will provide incredible savings down the road, eliminating the need to retrofit later.
If you are creating a high-security building or one that will have highly secure areas such as in a hospital or government building, make sure you are considering the latest proven technologies, such as iris biometrics and touchless and other mobile access options. Although you may not be using all of this new technology today, you can begin to take advantage of it gradually over time as budgets allow and real efficiencies have been realized over time.
Consult with IT
With everything going IP, including video surveillance and access control systems, it is important to involve your IT person when considering these types of systems. Cybersecurity is a real and ever-increasing issue for businesses today, and access to your network can come from any IP device that is connected to the network. In fact, recent statistics show that cyber attacks cost U.S. enterprises $1.3 million annually with attacks on small to medium-sized businesses on the rise. So don’t overlook this important aspect of your overall security plan.
Contact Butler Durrell Security to learn more about access control and other commercial security solutions.