Enhance building security with integrated access control solutions

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When looking to install an access control solution, it is advisable to review the wider business requirements. Tyco Integrated Fire and Security Pacific’s Christian Dorau outlines three main types of systems to consider.

Building owners and security managers are constantly challenged with the task of managing their buildings securely, efficiently and cost-effectively. While the humble lock is still an important feature in protecting building facilities, many of today’s locks can be operated using key cards or keypads.

Access control systems allow complete control over who enters and exits a building and are also able to restrict access to specific zones to authorised people. So there can be no late-night intruder or an unauthorised guest wandering into the executive offices. A business may also require a public entrance to be kept open all day, while maintaining lock systems on other exterior doors. Other important interior areas such as computer rooms, warehouses and storage areas may also require restricted access.

A business can effectively control its security requirements using an access control system. According to ADT Security, when looking to install an access control system, there are three main types of systems to consider:

Traditional access control

An access control system provides employees and regular vendors with badges that act like keys to open both interior and exterior doors, but, unlike keys, they can be quickly and inexpensively replaced if lost or stolen. Cards can be added or subtracted in minutes as employees are added and terminated. Each card can be programmed with individual restrictions, giving the holder access only to specific doors on certain days and times. In a traditional system, a business purchases the required control panel, card readers, servers and software. The business also maintains the employee database. These systems aren’t inexpensive, but they provide a very valuable extra layer of security that can start by protecting a single door and easily be added to as business security requirements grow.

Video intercom

Video intercoms allow employees to communicate with visitors on the other side of a locked door or gate. These units are ideal for front entries, loading docks and executive offices. If the visitor is approved for entry, the door/gate will open with the push of a button. Video intercoms are relatively inexpensive, easy to use and provide tighter security at critical entries.

Hosted access control

Many business owners prefer the option of hosted access control where a security vendor provides a web portal and not only installs the system, but also monitors and carries out maintenance of the control panel and card readers. Cards are created and deleted as employees are hired or terminated. Having a professional security vendor to provide a full service access control solution makes sense for business owners who are looking for a more robust security system.

While access control has been around for several decades, access control technology can now be used beyond security, allowing a business to increase its operational efficiencies and reduce costs. It can even be used to enforce policies; for example, it can restrict the operation of certain equipment to trained operators. Using access control to switch machinery on and off can also, depending on the size of the machine, help reduce energy costs.

When looking to install an access control solution, it is advisable to review the wider business requirements, so as to ensure access control is being used to its full potential.

Christian Dorau is director of Tyco Integrated Fire and Security Pacific.

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