10 Tips for Better Building Access Control
Photo by Maria Ziegler
According to the Nashville police department, 3,637 homes and businesses were burglarized in 2018. That includes unlawful and forcible entry rates too.
Thanks to reliable office access control systems, break-ins in Nashville have gone down slightly over the years. However, that doesn’t mean that you should loosen up the security measures on your company premises yet.
Is your office building as secure as it could be? If you’re unsure, you need these ten tips for better building access control.
1. Analyze Your Building Access Control Features
Does your current set up have an access control system?
Don’t make the mistake that most facility managers make when they base a security system’s effectiveness on its looks. You won’t be able to dive into its distinctive features if you can’t understand the everyday challenges that these systems face.
For those of you who are still feeling clueless, follow these guidelines next time that you pick out your access control system. For instance, it might be a good idea to think about where you will place your access control system.
On top of this, consider the number of times that your building access control system will be used to enter your premises. Another vital factor to mull over is how many employees will use separate levels of security access.
The last thing to rack your brains about is how your new building access control system meshes with equipment that you already have. Keep in mind that unlawful access is all about convenience. That being said, the most secure route isn’t necessarily the most convenient one.
Bottom line: be sure to authenticate the proper people at the appropriate time.
2. Check Your Building Security Access Levels
Let’s face it: you don’t have to give everyone complete control of your office building. Before you can decide who has access and who doesn’t, take a look at your office building to see which areas need varying degrees of security access.
If you don’t know where to begin, find an official map of your office building. Next, break it all down by sectioning specific zones off with different colors. This will let you know the level of security or access that each area requires.
At this point, you can figure out which access levels are necessary. Not to mention that you can determine if any time or date actions are needed as well. In case you didn’t know, the outside of your office building is your first line of defense.
That means that it’s the best place to spot people accessing the building at all times. Make sure that most employees exit or enter through one primary door. Not only will this make monitoring your building easy, but it will also help you to find out which areas different staff members need to access.
3. Audit Who Can Access Your Building
If you want to strengthen your access control plan, then we highly recommend that you start auditing who can enter your building. You might be surprised to find out that some businesses have more active entry cards than they have staff members. To prevent this security risk, ask your facility manager to either set features to time out the cards or audit the system.
For example, your facility manager can help you to shut off access to cards that aren’t used within a certain amount of time. Meanwhile, you can have the card self-expire, automatically turning off after a long period of inaction. Besides this, connecting entry cards to human resources databases or contractors is a smart idea too.
Getting more control over your building access system is as simple as having employees swipe entry cards as they come into the building. That way, tracking where, when, and who is in your building will be stress-free.
4. Update Your Facility Access Control Technology
Fun fact: companies that are still using outdated technology like proximity readers need a serious upgrade. For those of you who are unaware, this kind of security technology is super vulnerable to attacks. As if that’s not enough, entry cards can easily be copied as well.
To avoid dangerous situations, business owners should look into downloading encrypted technology. Our general rule of thumb is to buy a new building access system every decade. As you may already know, security technology can become outdated faster than ever, replaced by more efficient versions.
As soon as you install a new system, we suggest that you start saving money for the next one. Although this might sound crazy, access control systems are not a “one and done” investment.
5. Periodically Test Your Access Control Systems
If technology isn’t your thing, then the least that you can do this regularly test your access control systems to see if they still work. Similar to testing smoke alarms inside of your home, make sure that your access control systems are functioning when you need them to.
The goal is to have all of your security devices working at optimum levels. Pro tip: take another look at the door alarms that are located at the perimeter of your building. By testing these areas quarterly or monthly, you’ll be 100 percent certain that everything is in running order.
6. Back up Your Security Guards
News flash: gone are the days when keeping a door open for someone else was merely a polite gesture.
This act has become straight-up risky recently. Also known as tailgating, following another person into a building has become a big issue for office building security.
The hardest part is that it’s challenging to control too. As the most prominent security weakness for your office, teach employees to avoid holding the door open for others as often as possible.
This might sound harsh, but cutting down on tailgating is as straightforward as adding several layers of access points. Beware that buildings with more secure entry measures often lack interior security measures as well. Don’t say that we didn’t warn you!
7. Strengthen Access Control Techniques
Here’s the deal. Access control systems and doors that are left unsecured are the most serious vulnerabilities to your building. On the bright side, they are also the most fixable vulnerabilities.
Most business owners neglect to realize that there are several different kinds of locking hardware out there. Purchase locking hardware that is strong enough to keep intruders out for additional peace of mind.
The chances are that you’d be shocked to find out that digital codes don’t work as well as you’d think they would. Unfortunately, there are tons of online videos that can teach criminals to crack these digital codes. Some tutorials instruct robbers to open digital locks with paperclips in case the batteries die.
The point is this: even hardcore locks need to be maintained now and then. Although many people neglect this task, you might want to double up on your lock maintenance schedule. If you use a card reader to secure your premises, make sure that your card is highly encrypted.
So that you know, receiving and shipping areas like docks and mail rooms are enormous targets for forcible access too. Since employees often pass through this area, adding a camera or an intercom to your loading dock can add another layer of protection.
8. Replace Ineffective Security Cameras
Replacing ineffective security cameras is one of the wisest decisions that you could make right now. Surprisingly enough, it’s beyond easy to miss holes in your security camera storage and coverage. Also, purchasing a security camera isn’t sufficient to solve all of your security problems.
Take it to the next level by ensuring that your video is usable and clear. Additionally, be sure that your security camera covers your exits and entrances. Cameras that monitor your company parking lot should show clear license plate pictures as well.
Better yet, use automated license plate recognition technology to make your job much easier for you. Although your security cameras are visible, do they even work?
Believe it or not, intruders can record your security cameras to “case the joint,” too. Another common problem is that some cameras don’t store their pictures for a long time. That’s why it can be challenging to recognize if something has occurred in real-time or not.
Occasionally, security cameras are triggered by sudden motions rather than continuously recording everything. Since specific security cameras rely on light to use their motion sensor, having a well-lit property is a must-have.
9. Improve Credential and Key Management
Whether it’s too many key copies or poor credential management, access control systems can be easily undermined. To improve credential and key management, prevent unnecessary copies of your master key from being made. Ditch your standard keys and use biaxial ones instead.
For the uninitiated, biaxial keys have Do Not Duplicate imprinted on them. If you use key fobs or scannable credentials, encrypting reader communications is ultra-effective.
Sadly, low-priced technology lets criminals enter buildings by picking up its reader signal. By creating new credentials on the spot, robbers can mimic real IDs to gain entry to your premises quickly. Nevertheless, preventing this scenario is as uncomplicated as increasing your credential encryption technology.
Some of the most common anti-forgery techniques include adding ghosting and 3D holograms to employee IDs. This is your best defense against criminals who can copy IDs, which makes picking bad actors out of the crowd even easier than it was before.
10. Monitor All Internal Security Threats
We can’t emphasize this enough: monitor all internal security threats like your life (or business) depends on it. Instead of focusing on external security factors, review your internal security measures as well. In addition to this, plan a way to protect your assets and your office building from internal risks.
To make your access control system work for you, use its reporting functions to see who is misusing employee credentials. Also, be clear about where people should and shouldn’t be going too.
For example, think about which people need access to certain places at certain times. Your business security depends on giving the correct people the correct access. Otherwise, letting everyone access everything is a bad idea.
Yes, that means keeping an eye on your internal security guards. Even though they’re there to protect you, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Get Your Building Access Plan Under Control
Feeling confused about keeping your business property secure?
Although most people rely on security cameras, it’s not a bad idea to add a few more layers of protection to your company premises.
Making sure that your building is well-lit is the first security tactic that you should take. After that, testing out your system and auditing those who have access to your building is the next step.
Once you’ve checked your security access levels, update your facility technology. Don’t forget to back up your security guards by cutting down on tailgating. While it might seem a lot to replace all of your ineffective security cameras, we’re here to help you get your building access plan under control.
Need a hand encrypting key cards?
Thankfully for you, our guide has everything that it takes to keep your building under lock and key. For the rest of your questions, there’s nothing wrong with calling your local locksmith for extra help.
Besides, that’s what commercial locksmith companies are for. Remember: it’s better to phone your locksmith than to dial 9-1-1!
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