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Security continues to remain a challenge for businesses across all commercial sectors, with theft, arson, burglary and vandalism continuing to cost companies billions annually. According to an FBI report, property crimes cost companies $17.2 billion in losses annually. In such an environment, commercial access control systems are becoming essential for businesses of any size and industry.
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A commercial access control system helps businesses securely manage who can enter their premises. Commercial building access control systems allow only authorized personnel to enter an area or building using credentials such as cards, keypads, biometric data and other authentication methods.
Access control for office or commercial buildings also provides an audit trail that businesses can use to track who entered at what time. Entry data from commercial door access control systems is helpful in detecting any suspicious activity, as each unlock attempt is logged and recorded. Access control systems can also be integrated with other security systems such as CCTV video surveillance systems, intrusion alarms and fire safety systems.
Commercial door access control systems consist of a series of components that work together to enable or restrict access. Every office access control system should have these basic components:
Systems to manage access control for office and commercial buildings come with varying levels of complexity depending on the types of components installed, how software is managed and the configuration of the system.
Traditional commercial access systems are built around a central control panel connected to door readers and locking mechanisms via hardwired cables. They are often considered more secure, but do have limitations. For example, a single control panel can only support a set number of access points. So, a building with multiple entrances that exceed the capacity of one control panel would either have to install multiple control panels or limit the access points.
In IP-based door access systems, the components of the office access control system connect via networks such as Ethernet or Wi-Fi. This type of system is more versatile than traditional systems, as it allows for expansion without installing extra control panels. However, hacking and cyber attacks are potential issues with IP-based systems since the components typically connect to the internet.
It’s important to choose a commercial access control configuration that makes sense for the number of users, levels of access and types of roles in an organization. Simple discretionary access control models for commercial settings gives all users the same access rights and privileges, while rule- and role-based access control for offices assigns different permissions depending on a user’s title, department or other factors.
On-premise access control systems are hosted on a server located on the property and use the local network for connectivity. This type of system requires physical access to the server for any changes to be made, which may be preferred for high-security organizations that need greater oversight of their systems. However, on-premise systems can be expensive to maintain and cumbersome to upgrade, especially with multiple sites and locations to manage.
Cloud-based access control systems are hosted on a remote server and connect via the internet. This system can be more cost-effective than an on-premise commercial access system because it eliminates investing in expensive servers, and instead requires a subscription with a third-party hosting company. Cloud-native access control for offices is also easy to scale and manage from anywhere. However, cloud-based systems can be vulnerable to hacking and misuse without strong cybersecurity policies in place.
Companies can choose from a variety of commercial access control systems, with readers that support a wide range of credential types. Some of the most popular office access control readers will support:
Commercial door security access control systems offer a variety of benefits to businesses. When making the decision to invest in new security systems, it’s important to keep in mind how access control for offices and commercial properties can affect overall operations, performance and safety.
When choosing a commercial and office access control system, businesses should consider the following factors:
Security requirements vary depending on the application and will influence the type of office access control system required.
For example, a business developing and manufacturing new products may have more stringent security requirements and a more complex commercial access control system to protect their intellectual property. This could include features such as two-factor authentication, or deploying multi-level access control for office areas with different authorization levels.
Conversely, a landscaping business or retail store may have very different security requirements that a simpler access control system can meet. Commercial access systems can be configured to keep main entrances open to the public during business hours, while restricting store rooms and back offices to employees only.
The number of entry points required for a commercial building or office will also determine the type of commercial security access control system needed.
For example, access control systems for an office commercial building hosting multiple businesses and access points will be more complex than a small office with only one or two doors. Commercial access systems can also be used to restrict access for parking lots or garages, turnstiles and elevators.
Similarly, if a business has multiple locations, a access control system installer will add a commercial access system at each location. Investing in a networked system is a smart choice here, as all sites can be controlled and monitored from a single dashboard.
The number of users needing access should also be considered when selecting a system. The more users, the more complex the system must be.
For example, businesses with hundreds of employees and a high level of foot traffic, such as visitors and contractors, need a system that can handle multiple user profiles with different access privileges. Other features might include the ability to easily add and delete users and support for multiple credential types on a single office access control system.
Another factor to consider is whether the access control system for office and commercial buildings is compatible with any other security components already in place. Integrating all the security systems will enable data sharing, process automation and efficient management across all hardware, software and devices.
By connecting commercial access control systems to video security cameras, the system can be set up to automatically associate timestamped video when somebody attempts to unlock the door. A business would then have a visual record of access activity on the premises.
As a business grows, their commercial security access control systems must be able to scale with it. This includes the ability to add more access points, additional users and custom functions.
A small business might start with a basic access control system, but as it grows and the security requirements become more complex, the system should be able to accommodate this growth. Otherwise, the business runs the risk of having to replace the system down the road — which could be a costly mistake.
It’s also important for commercial building access control systems to protect against known security threats. Because the security landscape is always changing, investing in office access control systems that can support automatic feature rollouts and software updates will help protect businesses from the latest vulnerabilities as they are identified.
The reliability of the access control system should not be overlooked. When selecting a solution, businesses should look for a commercial access system that offers fast response times and maximized uptime. It is critical for the system to function correctly and not cause delays when users enter or exit a building, so technology that ensures a fast unlock is crucial.
If a business’s access control system is unreliable, it could also lead to serious security issues. For example, a door that doesn’t lock properly could lead to increases in theft or data breaches. Similarly, devices that have unreliable connectivity could leave doors unintentionally unlocked during power or internet outages, or cause accidental lockouts and interrupt business operations.
Businesses should also assess how easy the access control system is to use. The easier it is to set up, configure and manage the user profiles, the better. This is especially important in applications with many users, as all those profiles will have to be managed quickly and easily.
The user interface should be intuitive, with clear instructions on how to configure the system, add or delete users, set access privileges, and monitor access activities. If the system is too complicated or takes hours of training, it could lead to user errors and security breaches.
Take a large medical facility as an example. With hundreds of staff, visitors and patients coming in and out each day, a reliable and easy-to-use access control system is essential for ensuring staff and patient safety. However, if the system is too complicated or unreliable, it could lead to serious security issues. Even for an office access control system, getting in the building shouldn’t be complicated. A good commercial access control system will prioritize convenience, without sacrificing security.
Working with a reputable provider with expertise and experience in commercial access control is also essential for a successful deployment. They should be able to provide a comprehensive solution that meets the unique needs of the business and its security requirements.
The provider should have a good understanding of the industry, as well as the latest technology and commercial access control trends so that they can provide guidance on the best door access system for the application. Additionally, the company should provide excellent customer service and technical support if any issues arise.
A commercial access control system costs can vary widely, and a good solution is not a small investment. Businesses need to determine their budget, research the various systems available, and select one that meets their requirements and fits within their price range. Also, ongoing costs such as maintenance and support should be factored in when setting a security budget.
However, companies should not compromise security due to budget constraints. Investing in a quality access control system can ensure the safety and security of the premises, personnel and confidential documents.
Commercial building access control systems are essential to any business’s security strategy. Selecting access control for office buildings includes finding one that is reliable, easy to use and compatible with existing security systems. Working with an experienced provider who understands the latest commercial access control technology trends is also vital. By investing in a quality office access control system, businesses can ensure the safety and security of their premises and personnel.
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