When you start your own business, the list of unforeseen costs seems endless. Who knew office furniture was so expensive? Cleaning supplies? Cleaning supplies! It’s at this point when most people begin to rationalize what expenses are actually necessary. By the time everything is said and done and you feel like you’ve eliminated or reduced your startup costs down to the minimum, you realize there may be still more you should consider adding. Physical security is one of those things that is either overlooked or eliminated – and most people push this item down the list immediately.
Drawing the conclusion is relatively easy: All buildings have doors. Doors can have locks. Locks are opened with keys. Problem solved. Or is it? Who do you trust with a key? “Myself, of course… But what if I’m not able to be at my place of business? Who do I trust then? Do I give that responsibility to my employees?” Of course, when considering physical security measures, it doesn’t just come down to trust. There are other factors to consider; furthermore, access controls solutions provide other perks you may not know about. Before you stick to the old lock and key, you should consider all that access controls have to offer.
Access control systems are fairly straightforward: a locked door stays locked unless someone with an access card (we call them credentials) taps their card on a sensor (we call this a reader) and the door briefly unlocks, granting entry. This keeps unwanted people out and allows approved people in. You don’t have to hand out keys for locks. This is especially handy if you want all your locks to have the same key. That may not seem necessary to some businesses. Let’s take a closer look at the other benefits.
Explain the Benefits
In the second paragraph, I touched on the topic of trust. When it comes to employees, that can be a sensitive subject. You run the risk of inadvertently showing favoritism or distrust. Using access controls can take that burden off your plate. Everyone has credentials for entering the building. You have the power to dictate what doors employees can use and more importantly, when. Similarly, you may have employees in different roles who may need access in some areas but have no business being in others. Access control credentials can be set up to allow entry to specific areas and restrict access to others. With an access control system in place, you now have the ability to monitor who uses what doors and at what times. Employees who are frequently late or feel they can get away with leaving early will have no way of faking their time cards. The administrative features of most access control systems offer great monitoring features and control over your security.
Uh-oh Now, What?
I think most people would agree that letting an employee go is an unwanted situation. Some employees take things to the extreme. If you fire someone who has a key, do you just change the locks? What if your business is in an industry that has a higher turnover rate? When you have access controls in place, you can simply disable an employee’s credentials. In the event of an emergency, lockdown protocols are available to keep everyone from going in or out until the threat has passed and the lockdown is lifted. There are other administrative features that can be used to ensure the safety of you and your employees.
Some other notable mentions:
- Fire and safety alarm integration
- Schedules: lock and unlock specific doors at specific times
- Remote access: let someone in, like a repairman, even when you aren’t there
- Automation: trigger a camera when a door unlocks and other automated functions
There are many providers all with excellent systems. Access controls may be more affordable than you think. Most systems are scalable, meaning they can be as big, feature-rich, and expensive (or inexpensive) as your budget will allow. Personally, I have experience with Isonas and Vicon systems, but there are other options made by Kaba, Honeywell, Open Path, HID Global and more. Do the research and you would be surprised by what is available and what you can afford!