How to Choose the Right Access Control System for Your Business

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Businesses that deal with personal information, intellectual property, and financial data need access control systems to keep unauthorized people out. These security systems also help business owners meet HIPPA, PCI, and industry regulations. When selecting from different types of access control, look for a manufacturer that offers customizable options to suit your organization’s needs. The right ACS can increase convenience while delivering on security.

Evaluate Your Needs

Purchasing an access control system is a major investment. It’s important to find the lowest-priced option that provides your organization with maximum value and security.

Assess your security needs to determine the right access control system for your business. This includes identifying the number of users and how many areas you want to secure. Some areas may require extra security, such as a stockroom that contains sensitive materials or a private office for high-ranking executives. Other areas might benefit from additional security features, such as visitor management that allows guests to be granted temporary access with a pass or background checks of those entering the building.

It would help if you also decided how to authorize people to enter the building. The most common access method is using key cards inserted into a reader or read by proximity. Consider two-factor authentication methods, such as combining an ID card with a biometric reading like a handprint or face scan.

It would help if you also considered whether your access control system could be integrated into other security measures, such as alarms or video surveillance, and how the access control solution will communicate with these systems. This is an important consideration as technology can change rapidly, and you will want a platform that can easily adapt to those changes.

Know Your Budget

The size of your building and the number of entrances will determine how expensive an access control system is. The cost of the equipment will also increase if you opt for features that deliver higher levels of protection, such as turnstile or door sensors with tamper alarms. Lastly, a security integrator will add to your system’s cost if you integrate it with other security measures such as fire alarms and video surveillance.

Other costs include the main database and software that manages your users (employees, vendors, visitors) and the periphery that supports the hardware, such as video monitoring, servers, monthly maintenance, reporting, etc. A reliable supplier will outline the full cost of a security system before you commit to it, so there are no surprises down the road.

You will also want to consider scalability and how your business will grow. If you have the budget, opt for a system that can be upgraded to meet your needs, such as the Bosch system. This will save you the trouble of replacing a whole system. Also, choose a vendor offering native integrations so your other systems can talk to your access control system. The resulting ecosystem can provide a seamless experience for your facility’s people.

Know Your Vendors

It’s also important for business leaders to determine how committed vendors are to managing updates and ensuring systems operate smoothly with existing IT frameworks. They should also be willing to offer their clients the best possible return on investment. This means negotiating a recurrent maintenance budget that’s fair, reasonable, and aligned with business standards and ideal timeframes.

Finally, businesses should consider how they plan to manage access credentials. Many systems allow users to choose from different options, including key cards, fobs, and mobile credentials, which can be easily combined with other security measures such as video surveillance or alarms. Some systems also require specialized badge printers, while others operate as open platforms that integrate seamlessly with other third-party hardware and software.

Whether looking for a system to protect offices or multi-location facilities, an advanced access control solution is a crucial safeguard against thefts, trespasses, and other unwanted activity. By leveraging features like remote video monitoring and entrance intercoms that verify visitors’ identities before granting access, an access control system can positively impact employee safety and building operations while helping organizations comply with local laws and industry-specific regulations.

Know Your Options

With hundreds of different solutions on the market, it’s important to take a frank look at your facility’s needs. By taking an unbiased view of your space, company goals, and budget, you can select the best access control system for your needs. For example, consider the number of openings you need to protect – both interior and exterior portals. And think about the types of lock solutions already in place, if any. For example, some older locks are incompatible with modern systems and may need replacing.

Some systems can integrate with other solutions, such as video surveillance, to create a comprehensive security network. This is especially helpful in campus settings like schools or hospitals with multiple buildings on a single land. Some systems also enable a single software platform to manage all aspects of building security, which is especially beneficial for large businesses.

Another factor to consider is whether your organization needs a MAC (Mandatory Access Control) or DAC (Discretionary Access Control) system. A MAC system requires a single administrator to establish and enforce user access guidelines and permissions. This model is a good option for organizations that require a high level of security and confidentiality. A DAC system gives several administrators the power to establish access permissions, which is useful for less restrictive environments.

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