Defining Security for Access Control

By focusing on assessment, specification and implementation, managers can streamline installation and enhance the safety of facilities

By James Piper, P.E.DOORS & HARDWARE

No matter the type of access control system a manager specifies, a number of issues must be addressed before the project can begin. For each employee in the organization, managers need to define the areas of the facility they will have access to and when. Managers also need to identify the hours of operation for each door in the facility.

They also need to define the way the system will handle visitors. Will they receive temporary cards, fobs or smartphone access? How will the system handle one-time, short term, and reoccurring visitors? Do they get temporary access, or must they be accompanied by an employee?

Who is responsible for keeping the system up to date? All facilities have churn. New employees come aboard, others leave. Managers need to be sure that the database controlling access is up to date, or else the system becomes unmanageable.

They also need to perform periodic reviews to ensure that occupants and visitors are getting access to areas as needed without granting blanket access. The system cannot hinder work, nor should it compromise security.

Managers also need to pay attention to system inspection, testing and maintenance. The system will require periodic software updates to enhance features and fix security holes. Technicians also should test card readers regularly and test each door for proper closing and latching. They also need to inspect hardware for abuse and wear. The world’s best access control system is of little value if the doors do not function properly.

James Piper, P.E., is a national facilities consultant based in Bowie, Md. He has more than 35 years of experience with facilities maintenance, engineering and management issues.

This article was first published in Facilitiesnet.