What do I need from an access control system?

Many businesses put off spending the money on an access control system, believing they can make do with traditional keys and written security protocols that employees are expected to follow, but in reality we know that there will always be employees who break the rules. Having a lot of keys on a key-ring can lead to a lot of wasted time trying to find the right key – this may not seem like a lot, but five minutes every day means that over an average month each employee with lots of keys is wasting two hours fiddling about for the right key. Another thing to consider is the security risk of lost keys – an RFID key or fob can be disabled on a central system if lost, but a lost physical key means actually changing the lock, getting new keys cut and then distributed to employees. Have you really got the time for that?

Making the decision to invest in an access control system is a wise one, but where do you start with the specification process? The first step should be to make some internal decisions about the budget, the time frame and who will take responsibility for the project, both at the specification and installation stages; going forward who will be responsible for co-ordinating maintenance, system tests and making changes (i.e. adding users, disabling access cards). It is also incredibly important to choose a reputable supplier, like P&R Alarms. We have NSI/NACOSS Gold Standard accreditation and years of experience in the industry, and we continually keep abreast of developments in the security sector, testing new products to ensure what we offer our customers meets our high standards.

The person responsible for dealing with the specification and ordering process will need to find out a lot of information in order to make sound choices, especially when there is a budget to be considered. The following checklist should help start this process:

• What are the doors made of? This can affect the type of system that is used, and if aesthetics are a concern then this needs to be flagged up.
• How many doors should be protected? Will the access control system be only for external doors, or will internal doors also need protecting?
• How many floors are to be incorporated in the access control system? Are some areas more confidential than others?
• How many people will be using the system? Are you expecting growth in the near future where you will need to add new staff to the system?
• How many levels of access will be needed? Can this be defined by job role or is it more complex than just keeping junior or temporary staff out of certain areas?
• Do you need a PC based system giving you control over the users and their access? Will reports of access be useful for the business?
• Will a standalone system do the job? If there is just one or two rooms in the office that need to be restricted then a standalone system may suffice, but you have less control over these systems.

These questions are all valuable ones to ask at the outset, and while you go through the discussions and specification process you will uncover more questions related to your specific requirements from an NSI approved access control system. We are always happy to answer any questions you have and advise on the type of system you have, the installation methods and how to manage the system in the future, so call us with a list of questions and we’ll be happy to help.