The use of electronic access control is gaining popularity as an approach to aid businesses in securing their facilities. Access control has been in place since the invention of the mechanical key to keep people secured or locked out of areas. Just like everything else, technology now plays a large role in today’s access control by eliminating the need to deploy physical metal keys through the use of electronic locking solutions. Today’s systems allow detailed control over the physical security of the business by controlling who has access to the building, which doors they have access to, and at what times they can access that door.
We have all been on a family vacation or business trip and stayed in a hotel where they have issued a card to access your room. Yhis is electronic access control in its simplest form. It effectively allows the guest to enter only their assigned room during the duration of their reservation, while keeping other guests out. Systems come in many different shapes and sizes to fit almost every need for your business, ranging from single door applications to enterprise applications, with thousands of doors spread out over multiple locations.
Why should a business implement electronic access control vs continuing use of metal keys?
- Metal keys can be duplicated and used at any time
- Rigid access control structures reduce flexibility: are you going to issue master keys to everyone or limit access to keys?
- Rekeying on a regular basis can be expensive and a real headache.
- Electronic access control keeps an audit trail of who entered the business – keys do not.
- Key sharing. Employees could be sharing keys to access areas they are not assigned to.
- Human error. Human error is often the cause of doors being left unlocked and businesses left unsecured.
- Even push button lock codes can be shared and used at any time without any audit trail.
An electronic access control system can greatly reduce the stress of these issues by assigning a non-duplicable credential “key” to the employee. Using software, the employees credential can be assigned to allow/deny access to any door on the system, as well as time ranges in which they can access the area.
Need to allow the employee to enter another door on the system? It’s simple with just a few clicks of the mouse, they will have access to that door.
Employee termination is no longer a problem. A few clicks and their credential is no longer valid in the system, effectively keeping them from entering without the worry of duplicated metal keys.
Do you need to see what time someone entered the building? Reviewing the audit trail is made simple through automatic reports delivered to your inbox or through the web interface.
Do you have a potential security risk outside of your business? Deploying a lockdown mode overrides the normal door schedule preventing potential security risks to your clients, staff or students.
Programming of time zones, automatic locking schedules and holiday schedules. These are easily maintained through the software. The software can be embedded within the door controller requiring no additional hardware, or in certain instances, can run on a server and communicate with door controllers via a network connection.
Much like car manufacturers, there are many manufacturers and models of hardware available to fit the needs of any business. Credentials come in all shapes and sizes ranging from traditional cards, key fobs, wristbands, jewelry, and your mobile phones. Readers alike come in many form factors with the ability to read varying card formats or combinations of proximity, pin-pad combos, NFC (Near Field Communication), or Bluetooth. Electronic locks come in hundreds of styles to fit the needs of most doors. Electronic strikes or latches can be placed in door jams, mag locks to door headers, electric solenoids to panic crash bars, and there are even wire free options that replace cylinders on aluminum frame doors and cylindrical latches for steel and wood doors. Door controllers also have many different options. Traditional door controllers are large cabinets with the ability to support many doors. Power over Ethernet (PoE) door controllers are smaller compact controllers with a 1 to 1 controller/door ratio, typically placed above the door. Wire free doors utilize a smart card to make the decision at the door without the need of running wires to each door.
At this point, you may be thinking this sounds very complex. While it may seem like these systems are complex, they are actually simple to implement and even simpler to use. Choosing the right system for your business is important and so is choosing a company to install it. The initial design, installation and implementation are some of the most important aspects to ensure you can forget those metal keys for years to come. Let the experts at Nex-Tech assist you in taking the next step in securing your business with an electronic access control system designed for your operation.
Nate Rohleder, Security Specialist. Contact Nate at 800-588-6649 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don't forget to register for our upcoming webinar on access control on September, 21.