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As a security professional, identifying the ideal access control system for your customers requires part customer service and part an understanding of their unique security needs. Within the modern security industry, home and business owners are given a variety of access control systems geared toward different levels of security. To help identify the ideal system, it’s imperative to hold an understanding of modern offerings.

Purpose of the Access Control System

HID ProxPro with Keypad Grey 5355AGK09The most important element to uncover when narrowing the best options for your customer is determining the purpose of the access control system. This conclusion helps accurately identify the ideal system capable of serving the customer needs without over or under-securing the building.

In the most fundamental sense, an access control system inhibits entry to unauthorized persons. This means an ACS (Access Control Service) may be found at the front door, at the entrance of a parking garage or any other sensitive area within a home or business. After determining the purpose and location of the security system, you must then determine the level of security needed. A basic access control system typically features a swipe card or keypad for entry while entry timestamps are recorded and sent to the security administrator. However, certain businesses or residences may require a higher degree of security. For example, along with a swipe card the customer may require thumbprint identification. The system may need to be connected to other alarm systems, such as a CCTV or monitored alarm system.

Size and Scope of the Access Control System

Just as the security levels of an access control system will vary based upon customer, so will the size and scope of the entire system. To help streamline this process, answer the following questions:

  • Are there entrances/exits designed specifically for certain persons? For example, customer entrance and employee entrance.
  • Are there any designated fire doors within the building?
  • Does the building need to secure garage or parking lot gates?
  • Are there multiple buildings within a single property that need to be monitored?

By answering these questions, you’ll have a more solid understanding of what your customers ultimately require, which helps streamline the selection and installation process.

Selecting the Ideal Entry Devices

There are three primary entry devices used in the modern security industry. Although the basic function of each device is universal, the methods in which access is granted slightly varies.

  • Stand-Alone Locks – Much as its name suggests, these devices act as an all-inclusive access control system. The advantages of these locks are they can be installed in a matter of minutes and its operational costs are quite low. The primary disadvantage of such a configuration is they are, in-fact, standalone and are not connected to a larger network.
  • Proximity Readers – This is the most popular configuration for commercial properties as they are simple to use and may be expanded for greater security, such as requiring a photo identification for access. They are referred to as proximity readers as it works by being close to the access pad; there is no physical contact required.
  • Biometric Systems – These are, by far, the most technologically advanced access control systems. Entry is only granted based upon unique physical characteristics of users, such as fingerprints, facial scans or retinal scans. Although they offer the greatest level of security, it’s also the most expensive option and some employees feel as if it’s a highly invasive process. They also do not work well on exterior entrances. Many security professionals recommend a biometric system for high-security access to sensitive internal spaces; not to simply access common areas of a building.