Guest Column | August 11, 2014

Top 5 Mistakes To Avoid When Selecting An Access Control Solution

By Jeremy Krinitt, General Manager of Frontier Systems

Selecting An Access Control Solution

An effective access control system is one of the most important elements of any comprehensive security solution. For a broad range of facilities, security begins at the perimeter. Finding the right access control system for your customer is the first step toward achieving a safe and secure environment.

Of course, with the sheer number of solutions available today, choosing an access control platform can seem like a daunting task. End users require a solution that is right-sized for their facility, can grow over time, and includes all the features they need to adequately protect their employees and assets.

Remember, not all access control technology is created equally. Stay on the lookout for the most common pitfalls of access control deployments, and be sure to avoid these top six mistakes when selecting an access control system:

1. Losing sight of the end goal.

The biggest mistake also is the most common. It’s surprisingly easy to get caught up in all the bells and whistles of new access control technology and lose sight of the ultimate goal. From the start, it’s important to fully understand the problems you want to solve. Ask yourself the following: What security gaps or inefficiencies is this access control system addressing at the facility? What do you want the security landscape to look like? How will security “work” at the facility on a day-to-day basis? Answer these questions at the beginning of your search and use them to help guide the process.

2. Choosing a solution sight unseen.

Just like test-driving a car before buying it, you must see an access control system in action before making a decision. Meet with the manufacturer, ask questions, and focus on the features that your customer will use regularly. You want to make sure that the system actually fits your customer’s needs.

3. Skipping the chance to standardize.

Implementing a new access control solution creates a unique opportunity to standardize technology across an organization. You can explain to your customer that doing so now will make things easier down the road when the time comes to add onto the system.

While you’re at it, this also is a good time for your customer to standardize procedures and conventions, such as naming doors or facilities, creating groups of users, responding to certain events and more. Creating these standards streamlines incident response, making it more efficient.

4. Making training an afterthought.

Any new technology should be accompanied by at least a little training, both on the access control solution and on the system. It’s important that employees understand how the solution has been implemented in their unique environment and how it will be used on a day-to-day basis. Depending on the size and complexity of the access control system, new user training might last a matter of minutes or a full day. Either way, it’s vital that training is a priority so the system is being used correctly, effectively, and to its full potential. 

5. Not planning for the future.

More likely than not, your customer’s access control needs will change over the next decade. Meanwhile, technology evolves every year. For these reasons, your customer needs a solution that can evolve and grow easily—without breaking the bank. Thinking about the system’s flexibility will carry significant impacts for the future. Select a solution that is extensible and a manufacturer that can work with you to extend it. To remain as future-proof as possible, consider technologies like IP and OSDP.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you’re more likely to hone in on an access control solution that meets your customer’s unique needs.