Pitfalls to Avoid When Planning Access Control

  September 3, 2015

Research by Markets and Markets shows the global market for electronic access control systems growing by 7 percent between 2012 and 2017, reaching $16.3 billion by 2017. Facility managers charged with implementing these new systems will want to do all they can to avoid mistakes, because mistakes in this area are so visible. "With access control, people touch it every day; they use their cards to get in,” says Patrick Wood, principal and senior consultant with Security Options and Solutions."

The new system needs to secure the building, yet still allow occupants to move about as needed. Here is the first of five pitfalls that facilities managers will want to avoid as they work to choose, design, and install access control systems.

Neglecting to properly assess current and future needs, and technical capabilities. When replacing an older system with an updated one, it becomes tempting to simply remove the current system and replace it with newer devices, retaining the same general configuration. While that might suffice, it also means foregoing the opportunity to re-assess a facility's security needs, as well as missing out on the features that might not have been possible even a few years ago, says Harold Gillens, president of Quintech Security Consultants.

He provides an example: Some of today's systems can link a facility's security cameras to the floor plan. That can be valuable if, for instance, emergency responders need to track a dangerous individual as he or she moves within a facility.

Another mistake is overlooking the benefits of technology that works with both the existing components of a system and new technology as it emerges, says Frank Pisciotta, president of Business Protection Specialists. That is, a new system that can read both existing and new access cards eliminates the need to "re-badge" all employees. "It's not that much different in costs, but it provides tremendous flexibility" when migrating to the newer credentials, he says.

Remember that access cards are evolving, from bar code and magnetic stripe technology to smart cards and, in some cases, near-field communication. So a facility manager considering an upgrade will want to install a reader that works with new technology as it emerges, Pisciotta says.

Today’s tip comes from Karen Kroll.

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