What is electronic access control? The simple answer is that its an electronic system designed to control access in to a specific area...Oh but it's so much more that that! Imagine this, you're on vacation sitting on the beach in Tahiti and you get a call from your office, they desperately need to gain access to the computer room, you log on to the internet, sign in to your access control system and unlock the door or maybe your company experiences a theft and you want to know who was the last person in that area, or someone was terminated and you need to immediately remove their privileges from the system. Electronic access control systems puts you in charge of your environment, you decide who is allowed in and who goes where and at what time and what day...you set the rules and its all monitored with an audit trail. There is an access control system for just about every budget. From the standalone single door system to the more elaborate PC or Web based systems; its all available today! An electronic access control system is an area where its best to get a professional involved as soon as possible to discuss your needs, because doing so will help you better define the system that is right for you. It is easy to overbuy because there are many options available. Remember when VCRs came out and you bought the top of the line because it had all the bells and whistles you thought you wanted. In reality all you really just needed was to play movies and rarely used all of the features you paid for. A professional can help you navigate through all the options and capabilities of an access control system to design a system that accomplishes your goals, both needs and budget.
Some Capabilities of an Access Control System.
1. Controls access into all or specific areas of a facility whether it's a single building or campus.
2. Access can be set up for groups of people or individuals.
3. Access can be limited to times of the day, or days of the week.
4. System can be preprogrammed to remained locked during
holidays or days when your business is closed.
5. You can assign one time user codes; once the code is used
it cannot be used again to gain entry.
6. System can be designed to work with your elevator controls.
7. System can be set up where it takes two credentials to open a
door. This way no one person is ever alone in an area.
8. System can notify you when someone enters a specific area
you want to monitor.
9. System can be controlled remotely.
10.System can be integrated with an alarm system, camera system,
Benefits of an Access Control System
1. Add or remove employees quickly.
2. Reduce the need for physical keys to your business.
3. Reduce the need to re-key your facility.
4. You can assign cleaning crews access to your facility
during specific days and times and restrict their movement in
5. Get reports of employee movement
in the building. Know who attempted
to gain access into a restricted
6. The system can be used for time
& attendance with the proper
software. It can also be used for
7. Lock down the building in seconds
in an emergency situation.
8. Remotely make changes or view activity reports.
9. Easily expand your system as needed.
10. Quickly Respond to potential or immediate security threats.
Web based access control systems are quickly becoming popular among large companies for several reasons. Software resides on the host's system instead of locally. This allows timely and consistent software updates and support from the manufacturer that is always available. Real-time incident information is delivered via email, phone, or pager, and a digital record of each facility's system activity is updated in real-time.
Standalone access control systems or single door systems typically rely on a battery operated lock that is installed on the door in place of the existing lock. The cost of these locks are typically 3 to 4 times less than their more expensive counterparts and they come packed with the popular features of the larger access control system. The big difference between the two systems is how they are controlled. The larger more elaborate systems can be controlled from your desktop PC or laptop from just about anywhere in the world where you can get a internet connection. The standalone system is controlled at the door the where the lock was installed. So to make any changes you need to go to the door and make the changes on the lock itself through the use of its keypad. If you have multiple standalone locks in your building you would need to go to every lock in the system to make the changes. Depending on the lock manufacturer, to make programming a little more efficient you can purchase a data module as an option and program it at your desk then take it to the lock locations to up load the information to the lock.
Several types of readers are available. Readers are the devices that read the information presented via a credential and sends it to the control panel to determine if the door will be unlocked. Some readers are proprietary to a manufacturer and are required for use with their system while others can be used with most systems. The types of access credentials a person carries varies as well; card, key fob, number to enter onto a keypad, and biometric credentials
A badging system is a great add on
to your access control system.
via their body parts like finger, eye, and palm. Access control cards can also be used as company photo ID's. A badging system can be a beneficial add-on to an access control system. You have control as to the design of the badges. Photos, company logo, colors, dates, temporary cards, visitor cards, vendor cards whatever you need you can design.
Another nice add-on to your access control system is the door prop function; it will alert you when a door is not in the closed position after a programmed time period.
One very important component of an access control system that is often overlooked or forgotten about is the door closer or the lack of one. A door with access control without a door closer or one in poor working order becomes useless. Once someone passes through the door the door needs to return to its closed position before it can be relocked. Relying on a person to manually close a door defeats the purpose of the system. A door closer insures that the door will return to the closed and latched position so it can be locked. This holds true for any type of access control system.
When comparing bids make sure those bids include the locking hardware. Too many times an unsuspecting customer signs a contract just to find out the locking hardware is not included costing them additional expense not planned for. If you find discrepancies among bids, avoid taking the lowest bid without questioning the differences. Lock hardware is oftentimes a component of an access system that gets overlooked. Often another company will install the locking hardware because the access control company lacks the skills necessary to properly install the locks. Generally speaking having two companies deal with an installation is not a problem until something goes wrong, then each company involved points to the other as the culprit thus generating poor customer service. Work with a company that can do both with their own technicians.
When looking for a company to work with, consider these things:
1. Find a company that offers more than one type of access control
system but not so many that they are not proficient in any one of
2. Provide service work should your system require it.
3. Provides training to all users on the new system.
4. Provides phone support.
5. Has been established in the community.
6. Use a company that is licensed and insured.
7. Avoid using a one or two man mobile only company. Access control systems require a team of qualified people to provide a successful end result for the customer. A smaller company can mean more vulnerability due to a minimal or no support, technical expertise, timely repairs, and may lack the ability to adjust to your needs. Attractive pricing today can come at a higher unrealized cost tomorrow. Do your homework and research the type of system being proposed on the internet. If you cant find anything out about it...walk away.
Get the right Access Control System
for your business!
If you would like to speak to one of our access control experts, please call us at 714 633-1499. We are here to help and as always and do not charge for a survey.