5 Things to Know Before Selecting an Access Control System

Your corporate facility needs to control unauthorized entry into employee workspace, cash handling areas, stock/distribution, critical infrastructure, and other sensitive environments. There are a variety of Electronic Access Control System (EACS) solutions available ranging from basic to robust. These include physical key systems, standalone access control systems, and full-featured enterprise level systems. So, how do you determine which one is right for your business?

Since no two facilities are exactly alike, access control requirements will vary from business to business. It is important to consider your unique business environment (size, occupancy, and complexity), organizational culture, and required level of confidentiality.

Ask These 5 Questions Before Selecting an Access Control System

Other questions you’ll want to review with your preferred access control supplier are as follows.

1. Who controls configuration?

System configuration management should be restricted to identifiable users with unique login privileges and permissions within the system.

2. Is the system easily scalable (or dynamic)?

Your business will not be the same five years from now. For that reason, your EACS should provide the ability to adjust the number of areas that are access controlled in order to meet changing needs over time. Access customization should include the ability to create specific areas of admittance for specific individuals. Be certain the system control panels and Intelligent Controllers are capable of supporting expansion on an enterprise level.

3. How are credentials programmed, assigned, disabled, and updated?

The device used to gain access (i.e., Wiegand, RFID, etc.) should be uniquely programmed for the individual to which the device is assigned and preferably not replicated within the range of credentials issued (i.e., device number and specific site code). Your EACS should have the capacity to concurrently accommodate more than one format of the access device to allow for seamless migration to updated credentials and system expansion.

4. Does the system support dual authentication for specific entry points?

If your business has critical infrastructure or high-value areas, your system should have the capability to require multi-factor authentication (e.g., credential plus pin code, credential plus biometric).

5. What are the reporting/auditing capabilities?

Verification and alarm events that occur within the EACS (access granted, access denied, disabled credentials, door forced, door held open, and changes to system configuration) should be logged to an archival record that can be retrieved and examined for system performance, potential breaches, support for investigations, and to verify assigned access levels. Additionally, your EACS should produce easy-to-read reports of access activity, access level approval, and changes made to system configurations for the purpose of routine audits.

While not exhaustive, the above list of questions will help guide you in selecting the right access control system. However, sometimes a fresh perspective can make all the difference. Contact the access control system specialists at Hudson Physical Security Consulting for valuable insight and objective advice to help you get the right business outcome.