What is Access Control?

What is access control for businesses? We explain this in your blog.

At PSA Houston, one of the services we provide for our clients is access control.  Most of our customers have a passing familiarity with access control and realize that access control offers them a way to access their electronic systems remotely.  However, they may not fully understand everything access control can do for their businesses. 

In today’s blog, we want to give you some more information about access control systems to help you understand how access control interacts with your security systems and why we should be your choice of security and access companies in Houston. 

Electronic Access Control for Facility Management

An electronic access control (EAC) system can be so much more than just part of your security system.  If you utilize all of its functions, it turns into a full-scale facility management system.  From a single easy-to-use user interface, you can control multiple tasks.  These tasks include security, communications, video surveillance, fire safety, and even non-security systems like lighting or your HVAC system.  The user interface allows you to control your operation, even when you are off-site. 

What is an Electronic Access Control System? 

EACs are composed of both hard and soft elements.  EAC hardware consists of sensors, controlled devices, communication networks, interface terminals, and similar hardware.  The hardware lets people interact with the system and can track people on-site.  For example, a keycard and keycard scanner are both parts of an EAC’s hardware.  They also include software, which consists of the actual computer software that runs the system.  The people using the system are also an essential part of an EAC, and employee training is critical when you institute a new system.  Monitoring systems, we sometimes see employees attempting to bypass EACs, especially when they are new, by doing things like propping open doors or opening doors for others.

Restricting Access with EACs

The most basic use of an access control system is to restrict access to your place of business or restrict employee access to various business parts.   You can activate cards for new employees or grant access to restricted areas.  You can also easily deactivate cards if an employee leaves your company or no longer needs access to restricted areas.  Both applications have their uses and can be critical in helping you secure your business and use a standard key card for entry.  You have the option of using more challenging methods if that is what your business needs require. 

The Importance of Controlling Who Enters Your Business

Why is it important to control who accesses your business?  It depends on the industry.  If you own a customer-dependent company and require walk-in traffic, you need to be accessible during regular business hours.  However, you may still want to restrict access to the business during non-business hours or for employees working with cash or have other security needs.  Controlling access helps protect your employees from robberies.  It can also make it easier for you to secure the workplace if you need to terminate an employee and have safety concerns.

Establishing Different Security Levels

Your business needs dictate limited employee access to parts of your company.  While critical employees need access, other employees may not.  Maybe the area in question holds money, sensitive business information, or access to the company’s computers.  There are many reasons that business owners want to control access to those areas.  In Space City, there are also plenty of companies that handle sensitive or classified information.  Contract terms may designate that you only share information with employees who can pass security clearances or other enhanced background checks.  An access control system helps you keep employees in the areas they are allowed to access.  

Record-Keeping with EACs

Access control systems also do a great job helping with your record keeping. They can completely replace any time clock because they accurately record entry and exit times and are linked to specific individuals.  EACs can streamline your company’s process for tracking employees, especially hourly employees.  

Using Access Control Systems in Emergencies

If you have an emergency in your workplace and use internal access control, EAC can become an important tool for employee safety and even save employee lives.  They help you determine where in the building employees are located, letting you and emergency responders plan appropriate intervention. 

Access Control and Security Systems

EACs can be used as standalone security systems or integrated with other aspects of a company’s security.  For example, many companies expand their EACs into their computer networks, restricting discretionary access to specific files.  

How Access Control Systems Save Money

From a company’s perspective, while the initial investment in an EAC may be significant, it can easily result in long-term savings.  Before the days of electronic access, restricting employee access to certain areas required actual physical locks.  If an employee was terminated or had their access changed, it meant rekeying the locks to keep a room safe.  The same was true if the person lost their keys.  With an EAC, changing access can be done with a few keystrokes from an easy-to-use interface. 

Managers and Users

Deciding who will have control of your command center is one of the big questions that companies face.  Many businesses, especially small businesses, start with the idea that only a single person should have access to their security systems.  While this may work for some companies, it can create several problems if they are unavailable.  We can set up multiple layers of access, giving managers the ability to make real-time security decisions while preserving owners or upper managers’ ability to see detailed reports of those actions and even override them, if necessary. 

Modifying EACs for Your Company

You can make several additions to an EAC to increase security, depending on your business’s needs.  If you work in secure areas or have a cash business, you may want to consider a two-factor authorization system that requires you to present two types of credentials in a short period.  If you have concerns about multiple people using the same keycard or code, you can implement antipassback measures.  If you have many visitors to your company, you can issue temporary credentials to visitors or vendors.  The beauty of EACs is that they are easily modified to meet your business needs.  

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