For centuries, the best way for a business to secure its building was with a lock and key. Unfortunately, this method could not deter anyone who was determined to circumvent the company’s attempt at security. Locks could be picked with some rudimentary tools, a little knowledge, and the necessary level of patience. Keys could be lost, loaned or given away, and if the business owner became aware that a key was no longer in the hands of an authorized person, he would have to replace the locks to restore some measure of security. As technology advanced, however, new methods for controlling access were developed. Modern access control is now more likely to involve a reader, a keypad or a combination of both.
Determining the Appropriate Access Control Method for Your Business
There is no single method of access control that is appropriate for all types of businesses. Therefore, before selecting a method, you should ask yourself the following questions.
- To what do you need to restrict access? If you just need to control who can enter through your front door, a keypad that will accept a universal code may be a solution. This method can work well for day care centers and apartment buildings having a central lobby with all areas beyond the lobby secured separately. If you want to restrict employee access to just the front door and the area in which they work, you might prefer to use a reader so that you will have an accurate record of who entered and when. If you need to secure highly sensitive areas, including your research and development lab, your medical practice’s files, or your personnel files, your best choice is probably to use both a reader and a keypad.
- Does your business need to comply with any legal regulations? Health care providers and insurance companies selling health care policies or processing claims are strictly regulated. Companies that collect and store personally identifiable information, including staffing agencies and lenders who routinely collect Social Security Numbers from applicants, might also need a strong access control method. These types of businesses may need to use a combination of keypads and readers to provide the necessary level of security.
- Do you have a high rate of employee turnover? Perhaps your business employs a number of seasonal employees or simply has a high attrition rate. A reader might be appropriate for your business. If an employee leaves or loses his card, the access card can be deactivated with just a few keystrokes. With a keypad, you could be forced to change the codes every time an employee terminates.
- Do you need to provide certain employees with access to multiple sites or multiple areas? For example, do your maintenance technicians need to be able to access your stores in towns across the state? Do you want your sales manager to have access to order entry, customer service and shipping, but you do not want to grant him automatic access to accounting or human resources? A reader might be the appropriate choice. You can set permissions and easily change them if it becomes necessary. Otherwise, your maintenance technicians and your sales manager may need to remember an unwieldy number of codes, and the danger there is that they might choose to write them down in a tablet that could be stolen or lost.
- How many doors do you need to secure? Count all doors to the outside as well as interior doors that you need to secure. If you only need to secure a few points of access, a keypad may be a viable option as it eliminates the additional expenses involved to purchase and replace access cards.
- Do you need more than just rudimentary access control? For example, do you need to integrate your payroll functions, maintain detailed logs of who enters the building after normal working hours, have the ability to control access from a remote location, or integrate your access control system with a surveillance system? The additional features you need will determine the best solution, but you will likely need to use both a reader and a keypad for all or some of your access points.
As you can see, a careful evaluation of your needs is required before you can select the best solution for your company. Fortunately, you do not have to face uncharted waters alone. At Low Volt, we have made it our mission to help customers choose the right technology solutions for their particular needs. Contact us at 702-458-2121 or through our website to arrange a free consultation.