Commercial Office Building Access Control

One of the primary concerns that a business moving into an existing office space or building has, is security, or in other words, commercial office building access control.  Each business entity is unique in its security requirements – controlling access to restricted or sensitive areas, having areas accessible both to employees and visitors or granting access to cleaning crews or contractors.

An efficient, dependable and flexible electronic access control solution should be able to address these concerns, manage entry, and increase business security. However, a pre-existing access control system in the building your company is moving into may not be able to meet your security needs adequately.

Action 1st carries a wide range of access control products. We offer alternatives that can work with an existing system or can suggest an upgrade that will perfectly address your particular needs.

What is Electronic Access Control?

Not too long ago, the norm for commercial office buildings was to control access through the traditional lock and master key system. Though this can still work for small operations involving just a few doors, it is not the most practical solution for buildings with multiple floors and entries.

This is largely due to the difficulty in tracking physical keys, and the impracticality of changing locks if there is employee turnover.  Further, with traditional locks and master key systems,  there is no entry and exit audit trail.

Electronic access control systems replace physical locks and keys with keyless access control locks. People are granted or denied access to restricted areas – office suites, storage facilities or parking garages using entry devices such a keypads, card readers or biometric scanners. These will be discussed in more detail later.

Access control systems do more than control entry to restricted areas. They allow for audit trails by keeping electronic records of entries and exits through doors. These help in identifying who used a particular door at any given time. The audit trails also provide additional information on all people in the building at a given time, what areas they are in, how long they stayed and when they left.

How is this a useful security tool?  If and when an incident happens, it becomes possible to pinpoint who was in the building or even in a particular area in the building when it happened.  The audit trail provides valuable information during an investigation.

Access Control System Advantages

The Advantages of an Electronic Access Control System

Each business has different security requirements with varying degrees of access control required. The main advantage of an electronic access control system is flexibility. The system allows for different levels of access and can be customized for each user requiring entry into the building.

What are some of the practical applications?

Public and “Employees Only” Areas. With an electronic access control system, it becomes possible for public visitors to enter the premises but they can be kept from getting past restricted points where only employees are allowed.

For Employees. Employees can be coded with access to specific areas depending on their need, department affiliation, or any number of factors. Access can even be restricted for employees based on day, date or time. An example – employees may not be able to enter the building after regular office hours, or on a Saturday when offices are closed without prior authorization.

Sensitive Areas. For areas requiring extra security where only a select number of employees may gain access (eg laboratories, IT rooms, supply rooms), an electronic access control system can program individual privileges.  The privileges can be further controlled so they expire on a given date. Or an extra layer of security can be installed using keypads, keypad/card combinations or biometric scanning devices to control access.

Service Providers. Having an electronic access control system in place even before a business moves into a building is important.  As part of the move-in process, it is inevitable that spaces will be retrofitted to meet a particular business’ requirements. During a renovation, the building plays host to a number of people including construction workers, architects, inspectors, etc. At the same, deliveries for materials may need to be kept in a secure area.

Having an electronic access control system in place at the onset will make it possible to control movement of people within the building so security is not compromised.

Once the building is operational, access will need to be granted to cleaning and maintenance crews. With much of the work in buildings performed at night, electronic access control is an essential security measure. Access credentials will allow service and maintenance people to enter only at certain times and access only defined spaces. And because of the audit trail created, each user’s comings and goings are recorded.

Cost Effectiveness: Aside from offering flexibility, an electronic access control system is cost effective due to less lock changing as compared to a traditional lock and master key system. Use of swipe card, key fobs and biometric access negates the need to change the locks in the event of a lost or stolen card or if a card is not returned by a resigned or dismissed employee. The system allows for easy deletion of a particular card or access credential  from the system while causing no inconvenience to other users.

Types of Electronic or Keyless Access Control Systems

In deciding on the type of keyless access control system to use, it is important to consider specific business security needs. There are 3 basic types:

  • Access Control Keypads. Users enter an assigned code into a keypad in order to obtain entry. The devices are reprogrammable in the event that a code is compromised and needs to be changed. Each user is given a unique code so it becomes possible to create an audit trail for each person.
  • Access Control Keycard Reader. Users are issued smartcards or keyfobs that have magnetic strips or microchips that contain the information about the card holder in terms of access permissions or restrictions. These are presented to the card reader which allows or denies entry.
  • Biometric Access Control. These are increasingly being used in buildings as advances in technology have made them cheaper to make and install. Human characteristics such as a person’s retina, finger print or hand print is used to verify identity using a small screen or scanner. This can be used on its own or can sometimes be used in addition to an access card as added security. Since a fingerprint or a person’s retina is unique to each individual,  it gets very difficult to forge and are thus considered more secure than swipe or proximity cards or keyfobs.

Action 1st Offers the Best Commercial Access Control Solutions for Businesses

Action 1st Loss Prevention specializes in providing access control solutions that address the security requirements of businesses moving into an existing building.  We will help you select the product that best meets your needs and budget, install it, and provide training to ensure your organization gets the most out of its investment.

Call us today at 800-675-3015 for a free onsite review and estimate.

Tags: access control system, keyless entry, commercial building access control, office building access control, office building security, building security, moving offices, building card key system