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Operations Affect Security With Access Control Systems
March 27, 2014 - Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »
Advances in the operation of access control systems have made them 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.
Access-control systems are not independent, standalone systems. While they might operate independently from other building automation systems, they piggyback on top of existing building components. The most important of these components are the facility's doors and door hardware. No matter how well designed the access-control system is, it is only as secure as the components it operates.
Consider the facility's exterior doors. Access-control systems might be designed to limit access through particular doors, but if a door and its hardware do not operate properly and allow the door to fully close, an unwanted visitor can easily defeat the access-control system. To ensure the facility’s doors do not hamper security, managers can implement a comprehensive program for inspecting, testing, and maintaining exterior doors, as well as secure interior doors.
One common problem area, particularly for heavier exterior doors, is the door hinge. Stresses on the hinges from frequent use and wear can cause the door to sag. If the sagging becomes pronounced enough, the door will bind or fail to fully close, compromising security. Managers can reduce the extent of door sagging by scheduling frequent inspections of the operation, adjustment and lubrication of door hinges.
To enable doors requiring an unusually high level maintenance to close properly, managers also can consider the use of continuous, geared hinges. This type of hinge essentially eliminates sagging issues by spreading stresses experienced by standard door hinges over the full height of the door.