Regular Maintenance Critical to Access-Control System Performance

By James Piper, P.E.  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Technology Advances Improve Access-Control SystemsPt. 2: Door Inspections Recommended at Least Twice AnnuallyPt. 3: This PagePt. 4: Access-Control System Technicians Require Proper Training

Advances in the operation of access control systems have made them so successful with maintenance managers and system administrators, who can use them to reschedule access operations, from time of building opening and closing to whom may use what door at what time. As with card readers, however, performing regular maintenance is critical to the performance of the system and security of the facility it controls.

Central systems maintain a database of those people allowed access at specified locations. It is critical to the operation of the system that this database remains current. When employees leave, managers must delete them from the system as soon as possible so they cannot gain access to the facility, should they fail to turn in their access cards. If a facility’s functions move or if an employee’s responsibilities change, system administrators must make those modifications to the database.

Even with daily vigilance, some changes are likely to slip by. So it is important that managers conduct an annual review with department heads of people authorized in specified areas in a facility. That annual review also must include a review of current employees with the human resources department to make certain the access database includes only current employees. Failing to perform any of these basic tasks presents a significant risk.

Managers also must ensure system administrators regularly back up databases. For smaller systems that do not have a large turnover in employees or assigned spaces, administrators might only have to perform a monthly backup. For larger facilities or those with a higher turnover rates, backups might have to occur weekly.

If a system crash or other failure were to damage the current database, managers do not want to have to assign staff to reenter data for all employees. Even if the administrator makes occasional backups, someone still will need to enter a large amount of data.

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  posted on 11/16/2013   Article Use Policy

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