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Company Access Control

by Ron Kurtus (revised 29 January 2012)

Companies want to control the access to their buildings and certain areas from unauthorized people. This includes preventing access, monitoring access and responding to illegal entry. Control is achieved by the use of locks, guards and special equipment.

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Access control needed

Companies and other organizations often need to protect the equipment and information in in their buildings from theft or damage. This is achieved by controlling who has access to the buildings and areas.

Outsider theft

There are external people who may want to steal equipment from your company. Unethical competitors may want to steal information or critical files from your company.

Vandals

There are vandals who may want to break in an do some damage, just for kicks. Also, some criminal elements may do damage as part of an extortion scheme.

Employees

Employees sometimes will break into a building or area to steal or do damage. Sometimes such activities are done for revenge, but mostly they are in attempt to profit by the crime.

Types of control

The types of access control used include preventing access to a building or work area, monitoring access of a given area, and responding to illegal entry.

Preventing access

Part of controlling the access concerns the obvious of keeping strangers from the building at midnight. But it also includes making sure that people entering during working hours have authorization and need to be in certain areas. Sometimes areas must still be monitored to protect from internal sabotage or theft.

Monitoring

It may be desirable to monitor who goes into a critical area, as well as what the person is doing there. Even a apparently trusted employee may do mischief or even accidentally cause harm to the company.

Some monitoring may be to record access, while other monitoring may be to keep track of what the person is doing in an area.

Response

If a building or area is illegally entered, there must be a rapid and appropriate response. Perhaps an alarm goes off, calling the police. The biggest problem with response by the police is the number of false alarms, due to careless company personnel.

Control methods

There are a number common methods to control access to buildings or areas.

Lock and key

Controlling the access to a building or special area in the building is most often done by simply locking the door. Although it is the least expensive solution, a problem with this method is stolen or copied keys. Also, company personnel may be careless and not lock the door.

Security guards

Many companies employ security guards to police an area in off-hours and to control the entry during working hours. Hiring or contracting responsible guards can be expensive for a company.

Alarm systems

Alarm systems may be installed to notify the police, a security company or security guards of an illegal entry to a building or area. Some alarms are as simple as a buzzer to indicate a door or window is open. Complex alarm systems may be installed by an outside security company that is automatically notified when something is amiss.

Surveillance equipment

Surveillance equipment is often used to monitor areas at night and during working hours. A common type is the closed circuit TV system (CCTV), which is monitored by security personnel.

A major problem with monitoring areas with surveillance equipment is the requirement of having alert security personnel on the job.

Computerized systems

Computerized systems can control access to buildings and areas and keep track of who enters and exists. A database keeps track of who has what clearance for the different areas, as well as keeping records of entry and exit times. Automatic control at entry point can be done with readers. Doors may be opened or locked automatically.

This type of system is often combined with those mentioned above.

Summary

Companies need to control the access to their buildings and certain areas from people who want to steal or do damage. Preventing access to unauthorized people, monitoring the activities of the person in the area, and quickly responding to illegal entry are important issues. Control is achieved by the use of locks, security guards and special equipment.


Be alert at all times


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