Atlanta Georgia – Business owners and facilities managers are constantly balancing two factors with their building:  life safety, and access control.

Life Safety requirements ensure your building provides a quick, functional, and clearly-marked means of egress to ensure everyone can evacuate during an emergency.  Life safety factors are documented clearly and inspected regularly by local authorities.  In simple terms, life safety means doors should be as simple and easy to use as possible when exiting.

Access Control, on the other hand, limits entry and flow through a building based on permissions assigned by the business.   Outside of ADA considerations, access control needs are generally unregulated and are the responsibility of the business to implement a properly-sized system.

Ultimately, you will need to consult multiple access control integrator to select the best system for your needs.  But prior to consultations, carefully understand the following access control tips to expedite and focus the selection process.

  1. Quantity. How many current users need access to your building?  How many users would you expect in 5 years?
  2. Levels. Do all users have identical access rights?  Or, are there secured interior areas limited to a subset of employees?
  3. Hours. Is your business on a fixed Monday-Friday schedule?  Or is there variable employee access day, night, and weekend?
  4. Credentials. Do you want access to be based on what you know (PIN code),  what you have (proximity card, magnetic stripe card), who you are (biometric readers) or a combination of these?  Note: Budgets do play a significant role with credentials.  Physical media such as prox cards provide many advantages, but they will mean ongoing costs as cards are lost or damaged.
  5. Variability. How often are changes required to user access rights?  Minimal variability can allow for a simple, fixed control station.   Significant variability might require cloud-based access control editing so that administrators can update rights from anywhere.
  6. Logging. What type of access records should be collected and stored?  How far back should data be maintained?
  7. Outage Performance. What access do you need if power is out, or if network connectivity is lost?   If access must be guaranteed, then battery-backed up hardware with local rights stored at the lock itself might be required.  Or, access rights must be stored on the physical credential, such as a prox card.
  8. Integration with Life Safety. If integrating access control hardware such as magnetic locks, then your Life Safety system and Access Control system must be integrated to allow egress in an emergency.

While this list is not all-inclusive of access control variables, defining these basic parameters first will narrow your focus and expedite the selection process.

Finally, no amount of equipment will replace the human element when securing your business.  Consider dedicated security professionals to manage your access system, and to be available for immediate response if an access control breach were to occur.  For complete assistance with your access and security needs, contact us today.

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