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As access control and security systems become more complicated and technical, it becomes increasingly important to ensure that all parties who can contribute to the selection are included, says Harold Gillens, president of Quintech Security Consultants.
Often, that means including representatives from human resources, as they usually are the ones in charge of bringing new employees into the system. The IT department also needs to be involved, so they can assess the interface between the access control and IT systems.
Outside expertise may also be needed to provide input to the design and installation of the access control system. Bringing in an expert typically does carry a cost. However, trying to get by without such input can backfire, as potential stumbling blocks often aren't caught until later in the process. At that point, any flaws become more expensive to correct. Not only that, the mistakes and their correction — say, prohibiting occupants from using a particular entrance because it's not properly secured — often become more visible than a facility manager or owner might want.
In some organizations, even marketing may have a role to play. For instance, the marketing department may want to manage the design of the key cards to ensure the company's brand is appropriately used.
These individuals may also be able to help obtain funding for the investment required, Gillens notes. "If you share the costs across emergency management, human resources, and IT, there may be more dollars available."
In addition, considering input from a range of individuals increases the likelihood that the final access control system more closely matches the corporate culture. This is key, as trying to impose a highly restrictive system on a freewheeling corporate culture may mean that the system isn't used.