Sidebar: Access Control and Maintenance Issues
Part four of a four-part article on access control
Advances in access control systems have made them increasingly popular with managers and system administrators, who can reschedule access operations, from time of building opening and closing to who may use any given door at a particular 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 people allowed access at specified locations. It is critical to system operation that administrators keep this database current. If an employee leaves the company but fails to turn in the access cards, administrators must delete them from the system as soon as possible so he or she cannot gain access to the facility. System administrators also must make those modifications to the database if a facility’s functions move or if an employee’s responsibilities change.
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 with authorization to be in specified areas of a facility. The process must include a review of a employees with the human resources department to ensure the access database includes only current employees. Failing to perform any of these basic tasks presents a significant risk. System administrators also need to regularly back up databases for access control systems. For smaller systems that do not have a large turnover in employees or assigned spaces, administrators might only have to perform a monthly backup, but for larger organizations or those with a higher turnover rates, backups might have to occur weekly.
If a system crash or other failure damages the current database, managers do not want to have to assign staff to re-enter data for all employees. Even if the administrator makes occasional backups, someone still will need to enter a large amount of data.
— Thomas A. Westerkamp