Access control solutions for building security

Submitted by Avi Ben David of Mullholland Security

Traffic, services, assets and location are but a few of the factors that go into determining a facility’s uniqueness and, subsequently, its security needs. Whether a security system is being designed for a 1,000 door building or a corner grocery store, a level of access control is required to assure that employees and visitors are protected when at the facility.

Today, it is possible to affordably increase the level of protection of any facility while, at the same time, assuring an acceptable freedom of movement by all. Facilities, large and small, can now have systems that are visible, secure, effective and easy to use.

Security design
Case studies have shown that facilities that implement an access control system – in addition to offline/standalone locks and and key-based systems – have not only increased the security in the facility but have also made management of openings and credentials more efficient. Other benefits include an increased sense of security and more efficient movement through the environment for both visitors and tenants.

Homeowner associations that seek an access control system but are concerned about cost should keep in mind that not every opening and access point in the facility needs to be included on the networked system. Facilities should start by prioritizing which openings need to be protected with access control, starting with the perimeter and security sensitive areas. Other areas that are not as critical can be protected by other solutions that aren’t tied into the networked access control system, but still provide excellent security.

When designing a system, facilities should also look for solutions that make expanding the system easy at a later date when needed or the budget allows. Look for modular offline electronic locks that can be easily upgraded with new credentials or brought online at a later date. In many cases, multi-technology readers will make migrating to different credential technologies in the future a more cost-effective, smoother process.

System software
Due to advancements in security technology, facilities can implement an effective access control system with software that is easy to use and affordable. These systems specifically address the needs of facilities that require access control on fewer than 32 doors. They let administrators manage credentials and access rights instantly and quickly implement an emergency management plan, including lockdown, when needed.

Also available are access control systems that can be accessed via the web. These systems are just as secure and effective as traditional systems but don’t require a dedicated computer, complicated software installations and best of all, can be accessed from any computer on the network, whether in the facility or not. This gives system administrators the freedom to control the system from anywhere.

When selecting door hardware for your access control system, you’ll want to take a few things into consideration, including functionality, ease of installation and maintenance and the role that this device may play in future expansion of the system.

At the time access control systems first became popular, facilities had to be hardwired in order to add electronic locks and readers. In addition, dedicated computers had to be put in place to manage the system. This is no longer the only option.

With web-based access control systems and wireless electronic locks, implementation has not only become more affordable but quicker and safer for the facility. For instance, wireless electronic locks are popular, primarily because of their installation benefits. They offer the same security and functionality of hardwired devices but make installation easier and less intrusive.

Because no wires are being run to the door, there’s no drilling through walls and no running cables throughout the facility. This reduces the downtime in the area and doesn’t affect the workplace. Wireless electronic locks will work with a number of different credential technologies, including those that your facility may already use, such as magnetic stripe, proximity or smart card, and are available with or without the added option of a keypad.

New systems provide new solutions. By using access control software on high priority openings, facilities will increase the control, security and efficiency of the entire facility.

Mulholland Security Centers Inc. is located in Studio City, Calif. As of Nov. 4, 2011, this service provider was highly rated on Angie’s List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie’s List.

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