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In this day and age, having a commercial access control system is not only about preventing access to high-security areas, it’s about helping businesses run freely and effectively while protecting their employees and visitors, property, and company information.
Long gone are the days that valuables could be stashed in a safe in the corner office. Today’s constant security threats and volatile environments demand that business owners go beyond a locked door and a camera. Business owners need to be proactive in securing everything – and everyone – within their property. Thankfully, access control systems have come a long way. Today’s integrated systems are sophisticated and comprehensive, providing peace of mind without being intrusive.
If you Google “business security,” most of the top results will talk about cybersecurity. Although cybersecurity is a dangerous threat that every business should protect itself against, let’s not forget the importance of protecting brick and mortar businesses, corporations and other commercial organizations from intruders – and their own employees.
Throughout this article, we will discuss everything business owners should know about access control systems for their businesses. From what they should take into account when protecting the facility to the latest, cutting-edge intelligent access control solutions available in the market.
Do not leave your business’ security up to chance.
1. The ABCs of Access Control Systems
Every business owner has probably come across the term access control system. Everywhere from alarming TV ads to the security aisle at Home Depot, business owners are urged to invest in access control systems to enhance the security of their business. But, what exactly is access control? Do the benefits of access control systems outweigh their cost? And how do you figure out what you need for your specific needs so that money-hungry salespeople don’t push you towards things you don’t need?
What Is Access Control?
Both in the fields of physical security as well as information security, access control is the selective restriction of access to a place or other resource. Access in this context goes beyond opening a door or entering a room. Access can also mean consuming information, such as confidential or personal data, or using certain valuables or equipment.
In this eBook, we will focus on physical or geographical security. Plainly speaking, how to protect brick and mortar properties and the valuables and information, as well as employees and any other visitor, they house.
Understanding Your Unique Access Control Needs
There are as many types of access control systems as there are businesses. To understand your business’ access control needs and support you in making informed decisions to customize your system, we’ll outline the most instrumental elements of a sophisticated access control system.
An integrated suite of solutions can improve scalability, capability, and control. A comprehensive commercial security system is most effective and efficient when it’s fully interconnected — including the different aspects of your access control system. Some of the most popular access control systems that can be fully integrated include:
Badge and cardholder database management
With this system, organizations can manage and synchronize cardholders, cardholder groups, credentials, and badge templates across multiple systems.
Door lock scheduling management
Automating door lock schedules allow to control and limit door access during specific times and days of the week.
Activity and exception reporting
With this system, users receive automatic notifications of unusual activities and program recurring exceptions to minimize false alarms.
Intrusion and video systems surveillance integration
By integrating intrusion systems with video surveillance, users can automatically alert and activate high-resolution cameras creating video evidence in the case of a breach or other security event.
HR database integration
Automate access control for your personnel by integrating the system with your HR database. Once a new hire is activated or an employment concluded in the HR system, access technology will automatically stop working.
Visitor entry system management
This type of system allows visitors to self-authenticate, print a badge and control the areas they are granted access to.
Do Benefits Of Access Control System Outweigh The Costs?
Some business owners might be analyzing if the benefits of access control systems outweigh the costs. After all, savings obtained from capital investments of this nature can be difficult to quantify. Asides from securing and protecting your most valuable assets, people, and information, access control systems provide a few important business benefits that every decision-maker should consider.
Access control systems can:
- Eliminate disparate systems and interfaces — by integrating access, intrusion, video, and other critical security components, business owners eliminate the burden and extra costs associated with managing multiple systems, while at the same time improving incident resolution time.
- Reduce false alarms and increase situational awareness — with the ability to arm and disarm intrusion systems with access control readers, business owners can completely control their systems and eliminate unnecessary alarms.
- Protect businesses through the complete employee lifecycle and adjust to changing operational needs — This is monumental. Because you know that headcount fluctuates and structural needs evolve, easily adding and deleting the number of cardholders, system users, sites, access points, recorders, and video cameras will allow adapting security needs on an as-needed basis.
- Provide flexibility and adaptability for specific business needs — This type of system includes dynamic products that can be customized to the unique needs of a facility and are compatible with multiple products to so security is never compromised as needs evolve.
2. Risky Business
Let’s face it, the world is not what it used to be. To face cyber and physical threats that pop up daily, uncertain economies and rising crime rates, businesses – as well as the population in general – need to take additional safety precautions for their protection.
Here are some of the most common security threats businesses face and what you can do to protect your business.
Tailgating, or the act of following an authorized user through a door, is the most common security risk for businesses. Many times, employees even hold the door open for intruders, assuming they are visitors. Thankfully, tailgating can be easily mitigated.
Asides from training employees on security protocols, a visitor entry management system can help to manage the flow of visitors into a company’s facilities or other locations. By self-authenticating, a visitor can print their own name tag or visitor badge that will allow them access to any area the company determines.
Some companies still rely on a security vestibule or reception where visitors must identify themselves to gain access to other areas, but the cost of maintaining a headcount to be stationed at the entrance of the building doesn’t make a lot of sense for many smaller corporations or businesses.
Sophisticated and visible badge and cardholder system will also deter intruders since they know they will be easily identified if they do make it past the door. Nevertheless, relying on a system that integrates intrusion detection and video surveillance systems with a visitor entry management system is by far the best option for modern corporations.
Such an insignificant detail cannot be overlooked. Open doors are the second most common security risk for businesses. With people coming and going all the time, it’s almost impossible to secure multiple entries with traditional doors and locks. This is why a combination of self-closing door hinges, door lock scheduling management, and automated open door notifications are a must to secure the premises.
There’s always that one news story during a natural disaster that makes me gasp in amazement. The rain is pouring down, winds are over 100 mph. The reporter is braving the elements, usually somewhere downtown, with debris and tree branches flying behind him or her. And as you wonder what that reporter is still doing outside, a group of petty thieves runs by carrying the latest electronics and other goods stolen from an unsecured business.
Impact resistant windows, especially in areas prone to hurricanes and other natural disaster don’t only protect buildings from the elements. They also prevent burglars to break into a store that they know is empty. The same goes for strong partition walls in shared tenant spaces.
In these cases, activity and exception reporting – as well as intrusion and video systems surveillance integration alerting the local police department – are your best bets. If anything, to catch the intruders after the fact.
Proactive leaders should also adopt and implement an All Hazards Plan, or Incident Response Plan that includes Pre-incident planning, during incident actions, disaster recovery, and after action review.
3. Risks Within Access Control Systems
You might have implemented a comprehensive access control system and still be exposed to vulnerabilities. As with anything else, access control technology is not 100% hacker-proof. Spoofing locking hardware is fairly simple. Motor locks, more prevalent in Europe than in the US, are also susceptible to this attack using a doughnut-shaped magnet. Although most access control systems incorporate battery backup systems, it is also possible to manipulate the power to the lock either by manipulating the current.
Access cards and access control credentials also pose serious risks. With portable readers that capture access card numbers nearby, enterprise hackers are able to capture non-encrypted codes to gain entry without being detected. It’s also a good move to order access control credentials with random unique serial numbers to avoid risking sequential attacks, or when hackers increment or decrease a known serial number until they find another credential that is authorized in the system.
This is why a comprehensive commercial security system is most effective and efficient when it’s fully interconnected, so if one system fails or is compromised, the rest are still actively working for your security.
4. Access Control Systems That Work
To minimize common risks and hazards related to faulty access control systems, you want to make sure to get the most advanced security technology with innovative networking capabilities. Don’t be misled into believing that your business is too small or complex to implement a comprehensive access control system – full-featured security solutions are available for facilities of all sizes.
Ask your vendor if their access control solutions include IT platform design and deployments such as security system programming, software updates, maintenance, remote desk support, report and interface development.
At the core, your business security systems are only as good as the data they can capture and transmit. At Source 1 Solutions, we manage vast amounts of data produced with access controls systems through a database — analyzing and reporting on the information you need to secure your business, assets, operations, and people. With years of experience as industry-leading global IT service providers, we think about the issues you may not consider, tackling vulnerabilities in access control systems that could jeopardize your security.
Always remember that businesses across industries have unique needs in regards to access control. The capabilities and configurations of the system will depend on day-to-day operations, outside regulations or requirements, perimeter, and internal security variables, among other core differences.
Source 1 Solutions offers a myriad of business security systems and solutions, including access control solutions, to target the architecture of your facilities and your particular security needs in alignment with your budget. Contact us today for an on-site security review.