Access control systems are an important part of your facility’s physical security. These security solutions help keep unauthorized people out of your building or even certain areas inside your building. In most cases, access control solutions rely on special door locks that only open for accepted credentials to keep your building safe and secure. Many types of buildings use these types of access control systems. For example, commercial buildings, schools, daycares, healthcare facilities, and industrial facilities. In this article, we will explain why you might need access control on exterior and interior doors in your building and some common options to tailor your system to your specific needs.
What are Access Control Systems?
Access control is essentially any way you control and manage who has access to your property. This applies to your facility as a whole or even specific rooms in your building. For instance, one of the oldest and most basic types of access control is using a key to enter locked doors. However, today’s access control systems are much more sophisticated.
Modern security systems often utilize access control technology. These technologies typically integrate with other building systems for easier monitoring and management. For business access control, most systems provide you the option to assign certain credentials to each and every person who might need to enter your building. For instance, customers, employees, vendors, and visitors. Each person uses these credentials to gain access to various parts of your property. Most of today’s systems utilize special software for managing users that integrate with access control hardware.
Door Locks are Essential for Access Control Systems
There are many areas where you can use access control, like entry gates, but doors are at the top of the list for most facilities. After all, doors are often the final barrier between a person and access to your facility.
As we mentioned, in the past most businesses used locks with keys. However, there are many disadvantages to this system. First, keys are easily misplaced, stolen, or even given to unauthorized people. In addition, it is fairly simple to copy a key, especially today. In fact, you can find key copying kiosks in many big box stores and supermarkets. Also, a major drawback of key locks is that the only way to secure your building after the keys may have been compromised is to replace all the locks. This is a huge hassle and expense. Yet, it’s also necessary every time someone loses a key, leaves the organization without returning a key, or otherwise compromises the security of your facility.
Instead, many modern access control systems rely on more updated lock technologies. Most facilities today use electronic or electromagnetic locks on doors to help with access control. These locks offer not only superior strength, but are compatible with many types of access control panels. We’ll discuss some common options for credentials a little later in this article, but one of the most common is a keycard swipe or tap option that sends a message to the electromagnetic lock to release. Just keep in mind that building code requires that doors with access control locks must have a panic option to release the locks in case of an emergency like a fire.
Using Access Control Systems on Exterior Doors
Most facilities have some type of access control on exterior doors. Entrances and exits are a primary area for defense, no matter your facility’s security needs. Even if you don’t need ultra-complex security systems for your building, having access control at all entrances and exits can help protect your organization. It’s also helpful to choose strong locks that sound a security alarm in case someone tampers with or tries to force entry from the door.
Generally these systems also integrate with your life safety systems for safe egress. For instance, if the system detects a fire or if the power goes out, generally the locks will automatically open to help with evacuation during emergencies. This gives you peace of mind that everyone can get out safely if they need to.
Access Control for Interior Doors
Of course, access control systems are also helpful on interior doors. Many facilities have certain areas or rooms that require more security than others. For instance, even if someone has the credentials to enter the building, that doesn’t mean they need access to your entire facility. This is where interior door access control comes in handy. Most organizations keep at least some sensitive information in the facility. For instance, financial records or personnel files. Other facilities, like hospitals and schools, may have even higher security needs inside the building. Access control on interior doors help separate certain areas for security, privacy, and protection. Then, you can give credentials only to those who might need to go into that room.
Options for Securing Interior and Exterior Doors
There are any number of ways to customize your access control systems and door locks. One of the first ways is to choose the type of “key” to give people for your facility. Unlike traditional keys, these are typically more technologically advanced and offer ease of use, higher security, and convenient integration with the access control software. As we mentioned briefly earlier, key cards are one of the most popular options on the market today. These are RFID cards that users typically either swipe or tap at each door with a lock to gain access. However, keep in mind there are many other options as well, including fobs, smartphone apps, smart watch apps, and even biometrics like fingerprints. Whatever you choose, the user’s credentials are tied to the certain “key.”
In addition, you will need to choose between single factor or two factor authentication. Single factor authentication involves something like tapping a keycard with the right credentials and the lock automatically opens. There is no need to verify the credentials beyond using the specific “key.” You might use these on exterior doors if you have medium security needs.
However, for higher security areas, such as more secure facilities or even to gain access to sensitive information or assets inside the facility itself, you might want to use two-factor authentication. This typically involves using the “key” that you choose for your facility and then also using additional information, like a PIN, password, or even a fingerprint. A common example of two factor authentication you likely have run into before is at the ATM. You need the card for the bank account and also need the PIN to complete a transaction. You can use a similar system for door access in your facility. This is another option to customize your system.
Security and Life Safety Systems at Wilson Fire Equipment
At Wilson Fire Equipment, we are your trusted source for fire safety, security, and life safety systems. We offer a wide range of solutions to suit your needs using equipment from top manufacturers. Our goal is to help you protect your people and property. We’ve been helping the Greater Houston community since 1916 and have been family owned and operated since our founding. We believe in providing high quality systems, friendly service, and affordable prices to help you protect your facility. Whether you need a brand new access control system installed, a fire suppression system retrofitted, or ongoing security systems monitoring in Houston, we have exactly what you need. Get in touch now to get a quote from our experts.