Your office is an essential part of your business and needs to be kept secure. From computers and files to data storage, offices contain many valuable assets. Finding a balance between security and convenience is one of the most important parts of managing your workplace — but luckily access control is here to help. Many office access control systems include easy-to-use features that improve the experience of your clients, staff, and guests coming and going from the office without losing any of the security benefits.
The 5 Types of Access Control Systems
- Manual: When you employ staff like doormen and security guards to control access, it is called manual access control. However, if your office has multiple entrances then paying staff to manage many doors can get expensive quickly. Manual access control also doesn’t offer a good solution for security at individual units in a building. It is ideal for properties that only need to control access at a single entrance.
- Physical: Physical access control solutions include turnstiles and revolving doors, which may be useful at some office buildings. Because these systems are low-tech, they work well at industrial properties that don’t have internet access. But they’re also a good addition to a larger access control system when installed at high-traffic entrances like a lobby.
- Mechanical: Cylindrical lock and key systems are one of the most common types of access control. Traditional locks are still used in almost every building as a backup in case the electronic system ever fails. It’s a good idea to install locks at doors around your office especially when the door is only accessed by a few people. Cutting keys for high-traffic doors can be expensive, so other access control systems are better in that case.
- Electronic: Electronic access control systems can be standalone, with data stored locally on a server, or they may store data on the cloud so you can manage permissions from anywhere. Local storage takes up a lot of physical space and that real estate can often be used in more valuable ways. A digital, cloud-based system is a more efficient way to manage access.
- Mechatronic: These systems combine electronic and mechanical access such as having cylindrical locks at some doors and a digital access control system at main entrances. Mechanical locks can also be used to open doors when the electronic system is down for repairs or during emergencies, like power outages. Electronic systems are the most convenient because they also integrate with other property management software. That way you can easily manage many doors at once to let in staff, visitors, and more.
How to Choose a System for Your Office Building
Choosing any new technology for your property can be overwhelming. But access control doesn’t have to be. Most offices benefit from a combination of solutions which is why mechatronic access control has become so popular. When shopping for an access control system, first consider the unique needs of your office building and units.
Take note on the following details about your office to choose an access control system:
- Traffic: Consider how most people are coming and going from the office. Are employees driving in through a garage or walking up off the sidewalk? How about visitors and service workers? You’ll want to make sure your access control system can handle the right kinds of traffic to keep the office running smoothly.
- Schedule: Some offices only have employees coming and going during standard business hours while others have 24/7 activity. While a digital access control system works well for all schedules, hiring staff for manual security round the clock is expensive.
- Visitors: Not all access control systems allow visitors to request access from outside. If your offices have many visitors coming by, then it’s best to make sure your system can accommodate them. A video intercom is the best solution for visitor management because when visitors request access, the person on the other end can visually confirm who is at the door. This is a more secure and convenient way to manage visitors.
- Number of entrances: Single-entrance office buildings can make do with low-tech access control solutions better than multi-door offices. When there are many doors to manage, a cloud-based access control solution works the best because it can integrate with other software and be managed remotely from anywhere.
- Climate: Your access control system will most likely involve installing hardware outside at the entrance. So, you’ll want to make sure that the solution you choose is compatible with the climate in your area from handling heat to holding up under rain. It’s important to choose a well reviewed and reliable access control system so your office staff and visitors don’t get stuck outside in bad weather.
Features to Look for in an Office Access Control System
As discussed, you will want to consider the needs of your unique building before choosing the right system. However, some features are universally beneficial so make sure you look for them when shopping for your office access control system.
Top five features of an office access control system:
- Cloud-based: With a cloud-based system, your data is stored in the cloud so you can manage the entire system from anywhere, anytime. No need to go onsite and make manual updates. Cloud-based systems also have automatic software updates and data backups which saves you time. If your system also has a video camera, then the data will include records of every entry event, which makes your office even more secure.
- Mobile app: With a mobile app, authorized tenants can open doors from anywhere. You won’t have to deal with any more missed deliveries or visitors stuck outside in the cold. When everyone uses their smartphone to open doors, building staff also saves money on the costs of making and replacing physical keys.
- Visitor management: Many access control systems require key cards or fobs so only tenants and staff can enter. With an intercom, visitors can request access and avoid confusion for guests and delivery couriers. Instead of just a key card entry system, choose a solution that has visitor management features so your office guests have the best experience possible.
- Camera: Make sure to choose an office access control system with a video camera. That way, staff, and tenants can visually confirm who they’re letting into the property. Also, cameras can record every time someone enters the building and store that data in the cloud for easy reference.
- IP65 rating: Make sure that all outside hardware has an IP65 rating so you know it’s weather-proof. When your devices are waterproof and dust-resistant, the building saves money on repairs and replacements.
Desiree Macy is the Editorial Director of Security Forward which is frequented by security executives, corporate security officers, and private protection professionals each month. Desiree’s interests revolves around cyber-security, and business continuity.