If your company stores confidential or sensitive information on-site or owns valuable equipment, you need a reliable access control system. It helps protect your assets and customer information. Access control systems also allow you to grant permissions to employees and determine who can go where.
Access control systems are measures that a business or organisation puts uses to restrict access to information or physical location. Sometimes this is passwords, sometimes it is key cards, and other times it can even be a fingerprint or voice sample.
Electronically blocking access to any part of a building is the work of an access control system. It is an electronic form of security. Here’s how it works.
If an employee is trying to gain access to a part of your building, for example, a storage room, to get supplies, they need to show their credentials. These credentials can be a key card or passcode. Once the credentials are entered, a request to access the space is sent to an access control unit. This unit will authorise access and unlock the door.
Access control systems have manager dashboards or portals where you can oversee them. Here, you can set controls that determine who can access different areas. Settings can be adjusted for employees based on shifts, time of day, an employee’s position, etc. If you’re using key cards as credentials for your access control system, you’ll also have a card-programming machine.
The infrastructure of access control systems includes three main components:
1. Electric locks – There are two types of electric locks for access control systems. Fail-safe locks operate when they are supplied with power. Fail-secure locks unlock when they are supplied with power. These are vital for systems like emergency doors. Fail-safe locks are best for areas you want to be locked down in case of a power outage.
2. Access control panel – This panel is usually installed in a secure location, such as a janitorial or electrical room. A message is sent to the access control panel when someone attempts to access a controlled area using their credentials. Then a message will be sent from the panel to unlock the area and allow them access.
3. Access control server – The server is used to store and secure data and permissions of the system. It also tracks who is accessing controlled areas and when they do so. Servers can be cloud-based, computer-based, or even on a key card.
There are plenty of good reasons to implement an access control system for your company. And there are also some downsides. Whether you need to put an access control system in place or upgrade the one you already have, here are the pros and cons you should know about access control systems.
Organisations choose to use access control system benefits they offer, such as:
These systems are more secure than a traditional lock and key. Only people with the right credentials will be permitted access. It also allows you to restrict access to certain areas quickly. This means you’ll be able to confine any unauthorised individual or group trying to get into restricted areas. Having a strong safety feature can provide your employees and visitors with a sense of security.
Key cards may inevitably get lost. However, they are also easy and simple to replace. You can simply deactivate the lost card to prevent unauthorised access to your building. Compared to a lock and key system, if someone loses a key to your property, you’ll need to replace all the locks and have new keys cut for everyone.
Access control systems provide a level of public protection. They are contactless, so it’s less likely that germs will spread among employees and visitors. This has become a critical advantage as the world grapples with a pandemic.
Keep track of your staff with access control system reports. You can find out which employees are moving around your building and at what times. Information like this can be used to enhance employee productivity.
Key cards can be programmed with other information that allows you to offer employees some extra perks, such as cashless vending or employee benefits.
When you have a lock and key system in place, it means that those with the most access to your building will actually be burdened with a bulky key ring. However, with an access control system, everyone can use a single key card, and no one needs to be burdened with an excessive number of keys again.
Offer your workers more freedom by allowing them to come to work at flexible hours. There is no more waiting for others to unlock the doors with access control systems. It can also free up your managers as they won’t need to stay late to lock up. Having an access control system is also key technology for hybrid workplaces. Depending on the latest government restrictions, it allows you to adjust the number of employees inside the office.
Not every system is perfect, which holds true for access control systems. Here are some of the drawbacks:
The cost to install and set up an access control system can seem steep for some businesses. While this may be difficult to justify, consider it an investment into the security of your operations.
Because of the valuable data they contain, access control systems may be an attractive target for hackers. However, the resources and technology to hack the system are expensive. Most systems are built with encryption capabilities that protect against this type of attack.