Are you afraid you may come back to your office or home one day and find your important equipment, data, and family heirlooms stolen?

The fact is you have to take deliberate steps to protect your business and home. But how do you do that? By hiring another security guard?

Adding human muscle to your security isn’t a terribly bad idea. But installing an electronic access control system at your business premises works way better.

Today you will learn what access control systems are and just how much they will beef up security at your business or home.

Let’s get started.

What Is An Electronic Access Control System?

An access control system manages entry to a property and its important installations. It is designed to prevent access for unwanted people and to grant entrance to those that have the right credentials.

A good access control system prevents intrusion and alerts owners to attempted security breaches. Such a system improves physical security without impeding the smooth movement of people through your entrance points.

For commercial property, all you have to do is assign permissions against the different credentials your staff will have to present on entry and the system will determine who gets in. All without your intervention.

A good example where an electronic access control system will be a worthwhile investment is a business that runs on a large computer network. This business will want to restrict access to their server room to only a few senior people within its IT department.

Some electronic access control systems even generate an audit trail that gives you a record of all the people who passed through your doors, as well as those that were refused entry.

How An Electronic Access Control System Works

A typical electronic access control system (EACS) has three basic components, namely the user-facing components, the electronic locking infrastructure, and the control panel and server.

Of course, you have the most basic systems that use a camera to verify people before someone inside the property electronically unlocks a gate to grant access. Those are typically used on residential properties. The ones we discuss below are ideal for commercial properties.

#01. What Users See And Engage With

When a person rocks up to the main entrance of your offices your EACS must authenticate their credentials and determine if they should be allowed entry. Different access control systems use different ‘credentials’ to grant access.

Some systems use access cards with a chip that can be read by a card reader. The obvious drawback with access cards is that they can be stolen. Other systems will ask the user to punch their system generated PIN into the access control keypad. Again the challenge here is some crafty criminals can find ways to steal your PIN.

But by some distance, the most secure systems are those that use biometric readers, which use some part of your body as your credential. Fingerprint readers are the most popular, while retinal scanners are preferred for the higher security installations. Highly programmable, smartphone apps are also proving quite popular.

So, the access card or key and the credential reader or access control keypad that’s normally fixed next to the lock are the only user-facing parts of the electronic access control system. The rest work in the background.

#02. The Locking Infrastructure

The electronic lock connects to the control panel via a wire. The lock unlocks only after the system has verified your credentials. These locks function in either of two ways; when supplied with power one type locks while the other will unlock.

#03. The Access Control Panel and Server

An important component of an EACS is the control panel through which all the doors in the building are wired. Together with the access control server, where all the permissions and system data are stored, the control panel is the brain of the whole system. These two components of the system are normally housed in a computer room where access is restricted.

Of course, someone has to operate the system in the background, inputting and updating credentials. This can be the owner of the business, the IT manager, or the head of security. How do they access the system itself? We will look at the options below:

Types of Access Control Systems And Their Modes of Administration

There are different types of access control systems distinguished mainly by how administrators can access their control dashboards. Such access can be for purposes of adding or updating credentials. Or, to check who has accessed which section of the facility or its systems during a particular period.

Here are your options:

  • Locally hosted server

Here the system administrator has to physically go to the server room to update credentials or make any changes to the system configurations. With this one, remote control of the system isn’t possible. Such a system would work for a single location business.

  • Cloud-based systems

These systems are hosted on a cloud-based server. They can be accessed from anywhere as long as the administrator has an active internet connection.

The benefit is your data isn’t housed in one physical location where it can be lost in the event of a fire or break-in. You can log in from home, or even from wherever you’re vacationing.

If yours is a multi-location business, this one will appeal to you. Because these ‘networked systems’ are scalable they are also a great fit for fast-growing businesses.

  • Smartphone enabled systems

This uses a smartphone app to access the system’s dashboard from a remote location. You will need an internet connection, but the benefit is it is a fully mobile option, which works great for those administrators who are constantly on the road.

What Type of Electronic Access Control System Is The Right Fit For You?

There is a lot to consider in your selection of the right EACS for your business. Do you even need an electronic access control system? Answering the following questions should clear things for you:

  1. Does your property have one door or several that you wish to control?
  2. Do you require an audit trail?
  3. What access control credentials provide the best security for your type of business?
  4. How much can you afford to invest in the EACS?

An electronic access control system has many benefits and is an absolute must for the modern business. It will make employees and clients feel safer. 

Besides the security an electronic access control system provides, which has the effect of lowering your insurance costs, it will improve your compliance for data security and privacy while presenting your business as modern and forward-looking.

Need further guidance on the right electronic access control system for your home or commercial property?

Jay360 is a trusted vendor and installer of access control systems in Ontario. We supply and install access control cameras, keypad and telephone entry systems, biometric verification hardware, and other components. Contact us for a free consultation and quote.

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