It is crystal clear that building owners and facility managers have many types of security products to choose from to secure their building. It is also evident that security distributors and system providers have a plethora of exceptional products and services that will satisfy most, if not all, of the security objectives and specific requirements for any type of access control system. The challenge today is being able to identify the various requirements and security objectives that need to be met within a system.
Due to the addition of specific regulations, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability law (HIPPA), Homeland Security, or the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), it is becoming increasingly difficult for building owners to meet all their security objectives with just one type of locking or monitoring device. Not only are building owners looking for various levels of authorized access control for individual stand-alone doors, they are also looking for systems that provide multiple locking and monitoring devices to secure, monitor and report activities for multiple doors at a monitored centralized location either by a hard-wired method or via a wireless format. Trying to define what goes where to meet each security objective is not an easy task without a plan or a checklist.
A checklist can be as simple as an excel spreadsheet, or as elaborate as a custom designed program identifying each door and its hardware, its locking device, and selected options that satisfy an objective. Regardless of the sophistication of the chosen list style, the list must contain the overall requirements of the total door opening. The days of just providing an access control reader, electric strike, or magnetic locking device are diminishing.
Considerations that should be identified for any security system today include, but are not limited to:
- Is the door’s intent only to allow authorized persons or personnel accessibility to the other side via an issued credential?
- Are there specific times established to only allow access during set time periods?
- Will there be a requirement to identify who and when access or in some cases both access and egress occurred?
- Does the locking system or component require an alarm license or any electrical knowledge, or will the locking device or system component require specially trained technicians who have been certified to service it (which leaves the facilities maintenance personnel unable to service their own system)?
- Does the cylinder provide patented protection against picking or drilling? Are the keys patented, controlled, inventoried, and audited? We can’t forget the one component of an access control system that probably causes the building owner the most grief; yes, it’s the locking device cylinder(s) that provide the mechanical key override.
Today, it is evident that a building owner or facility manager needs the services of a licensed, accredited security specialist to assist them in designing a security system that ties everything together, and will be there to assist them when changes have to be made (as there will always be upgrades). These steps can guide a security professional to ensure they meet all of the objectives while designing a functional and reliable security system.