Access control systems are as integral to the security of a premise as surveillance cameras are. However, having an entry management system will not be useful if you are not able to take the right steps to ensure its proper functioning. Atin Chhabra, Global Director of Digital Customer Experience for Schneider Electric recently laid out five steps to take the most advantage of your access control systems.
Too often, access control solutions are considered as a straightforward system that does not require much thought before installation. Writing in a blog post, Chhabra points out that to ensure the safety and security of occupants in a residential or commercial building, systems integrators must consider the following points.
Define the purpose of your system
A comprehensive security system should be able to define a reason for the use of different devices. Knowing why a particular access control system needs to be installed at a specific place will help you decide what kind of technology
to use and how the environment should be tailored.
“First and foremost, one should inspect what the fundamental purpose of their system is and whether the current system is effectively providing that,” Chhabra said. “A significant factor to consider is the location of your control systems and whether it protects the individuals and assets which genuinely require it.”
Check entry privileges
Without a proper, frequent check on who has entry privileges to where security managers may lose track of how many people enter or leave a premise. This is when admins should consider giving an expiry date to entry privileges.
“Some systems are faced with an issue where the number of active cards controlling the system exceeds the number of employees or residents actually requiring it,” Chhabra said. “Such errors can be expected across organizations, although this can be avoided by setting features to timeout the cards.”
He added that such situations can be as follows:
- If the card is not used for a predetermined amount of time at the control facility, access is shut off.
- After a certain period of inactivity, cards must be renewed.
- Connect the card to human resources databases.
Upgrade and update
This is an obvious point that many organizations fail to note. Often due to financial factors, implementation issues, or the sheer lack of will to go through overhauling a system, old and outdated access control solutions remain in use. Unfortunately, this leaves an easy way for intruders to exploit technology and enter the premises.
“It is suggested that a 125-kilohertz technology system is now outdated & should be updated,” Chhabra said. “Building security managers should start installing encrypted technology instead. Ideally, an access control system should be updated every ten years and not treated as a one-time investment.”
Periodic tests are often enforced well in the safety industry. Fire drills, for instance, are held religiously in many commercial buildings. Security, on the other hand, is not considered something that requires frequent testing, much to the peril of the occupants.
“A building management system’s functionality should be tested on a monthly or quarterly basis,” Chhabra says. “Periodic testing will ensure proper functionality and allows security managers to plan any possible changes required well in advance.”
Be alert to tailgaters
Security administrators should be alert to people who might appear to be just holding the door open for another person but are actually letting unauthorized people in. This is an easy way to beat the technology without the use of sophisticated hacking tools.
“Politely holding open the door when requested is a common practice but can lead to potential risks,” Chhabra pointed out. “Employees should be educated to observe strictly who they are opening the door for. A frequent assumption is that bypassing an established security system is challenging, leading to complacency and casualness – which is why multiple layers of security should be enforced to deal with the problem of tailgating.”