Simply running your business is hard enough, whether it’s a retail store or restaurant that’s beloved by locals in your town or a software company that provides services to clients around the globe. Amidst the daily hustle of taking care of your clientele, you’ve also got to keep your business secure. Commercial security starts with people, but technology is also a key part of a successful business security plan. Part of this means installing a comprehensive security system, but another part of it is minding your entrances and exits in a way that keeps your business secure but also provides convenience for your staff and visitors. Commercial access control systems can help you do this without the headache and worry of handing out physical keys to dozens of employees.
Commercial Access Control Systems: Choosing the Right Access Control Software
One of the best features of commercial access control systems is how they provide convenience and peace of mind through access control software.
Access control software allows business and property owners to monitor who comes and goes from the premises. Years ago, security systems would only log that someone entered the building and disarmed the alarm at 2:27 a.m. Today’s commercial access control systems can tell you that Jennifer, your assistant manager, opened the side door to your restaurant at 4:57 a.m. on Tuesday, which makes sense because you were waiting on a delivery that day. To easily see this information, you can create reports and audits. Even better, your access control system can work seamlessly with your video management software, allowing you to see the video of Jennifer disarming the alarm.
Your access control software also allows you to create schedules, access levels, as well as easily add and remove employees. This means you can allow certain people (management or those with special roles) in after-hours or give them access to offices and other secured areas of the property, like your inventory stockroom. Commercial access control systems are made to grow with your business whenever your employee or overall door counts increase.
Today’s software is accessible not only on your computer but also from the ease of an app on your cell phone or tablet. When business owners need to quickly edit — or terminate — someone’s access, those changes can be made from anywhere.
Access control devices create a world of options to allow people access to your business (or specific areas of it). These systems are infinitely customizable. You can design a setup that allows all employees to enter the property as a whole or only into specific areas of it. Businesses like pharmacies that handle controlled substances particularly are one example of organizations that can benefit from customizable access control systems. Access control devices can also be programmed to only allow certain employees in during specific times of the day or night.
Here are a few of the different access control devices that are available, as well as a rundown of how they work.
Access control locks equipped with card readers are a much more secure alternative than the traditional keyed lock. With these devices, a card or key fob can be issued to anyone approved for access to the building or a certain area. Then, they simply swipe or wave their key to get in. The reason business owners love these kinds of access control devices is if a key card or fob is lost, it can easily be deactivated so that it won’t work if an unauthorized person finds it and tries to use it.
The downside of key cards and access codes is that they can always be given to an unauthorized person to use. This isn’t the case when it comes to biometric access control devices. They use things such as fingerprints and retinal scanning to authorize access. In terms of commercial access control systems, these James Bond-like devices are truly the gold standard.
In addition to controlling entry to your business, commercial access control systems also give you options for allowing a safe and secure exit from the premises. These types of egress devices can help you customize the way employees and guests come and go from your building.
Push Button Exits
Even if you require an access code or card for someone to enter, you likely don’t want people to have to use a key to get out (as this could be dangerous in the event of an emergency). Push button egress devices keep your exits secure by preventing people from entering from the outside while allowing occupants to unlock the door and exit without the necessity of a fob or code.
Push bars are egress devices that keep the door firmly latched from the outside but engage and release the door when the bar (installed on the inside) is pushed. They provide an excellent solution for control of your exits.
Another category of egress devices is emergency exits. These allow occupants the ability to quickly exit the building in the event of a fire or another emergency, but don’t allow people to open the door from the outside.
Motion sensor exits are a particularly convenient feature of some commercial access control systems. They sense when someone in the building is approaching the exit door and unlock it for them to leave.
These devices keep the lock from opening for 15 to 30 seconds, after which the lock disengages. You can also program delayed egress devices to sound an alarm when they’re activated. This is particularly useful to prevent losses from occurring through emergency exits that aren’t easily seen from the rest of the property.
Commercial Access Control Systems: Creating a Physical Security Barrier
In addition to choosing what types of entry and exit devices to use for your commercial access control system, you’ll also need to customize each door with a physical security barrier. This refers to what type of lock will be installed within the door itself.
Your commercial security consulting team will be able to talk with you about what type of physical security barrier works best for different door types and applications, but a few to consider are:
Electric Latch Retraction
These types of exit devices are frequently found in offices, schools, department stores, and schools. When the push rail is moved, the latch is energized and retracts.
Electromagnetic locks feature a magnet and an armature plate. When the door is locked, it’s kept closed by a strong magnetic connection between these two pieces. As soon as someone opens the lock, the magnet is disengaged and the door can be opened.
This type of physical security barrier operates in the same way as an electromagnetic lock, only it uses a latch. Electric strikes can be opened and re-locked with a physical key, as well — a huge plus if a property loses power.
These devices provide the sturdy security of a deadbolt without the need of a physical key, as the bolt is moved by an electronic locking system.
Magnetic Shear Locks
An excellent option for swinging doors, magnetic shear locks use magnetic locking technology in an application that’s easily concealed. They look great and allow the door to move freely when the lock is disengaged, but provide a secure locking mechanism when the magnet is engaged and matched with the armature plate.
For business owners who need a physical security barrier that can be electronically locked and unlocked (but does not cause the latch to engage and disengage when doing so), an electrified lockset is an excellent commercial access control system strategy.
From ingress and egress devices to different types of locking mechanisms and access control software, commercial access control systems are amazingly customizable and will provide an excellent return on your investment. This makes them a great security strategy for convenience and peace of mind whether your business has ten employees or over a thousand.
At ProTech Security, we have a strong history of experience, innovation, and customer service. The ProTech Security Advantage is more than 30 years of service in Northeast Ohio and a strong commitment to providing quality, cost-effective protection for homes, businesses, educational institutions and government facilities. To see what ProTech Security can do for you, contact us today.