Choosing the right Access Control System

Leading straight on from our last topic, How to choose the right Door Entry System, Access Control can often be incorporated into the existing door entry system. Here we’ll discuss networked access control and standalone access control as separate from the existing or newly installed door entry systems. These systems can often stay in place for a long period of time so getting this right the first time can be vital for your customers.

Choosing the right access control system to install for your customers is an important decision, and there are many permutations to fit the exact need of the site and installation. The best starting point is to discuss with your customer the answers to a few basic questions:

  1. How many doors do you need to secure?
    • Will access to one door give access to all door or are there different security levels based on the area?
    • If networked, what software will give you the greatest visibility for the lowest expenditure?
    • Will the doors be secured by code or fob/token/card?
    • Will these doors need a single reader (read-in) or a reader for each side of the door (read-in, read-out)?
  2. How do you want to manage the site?
    • Do you want a security officer / team to assign fobs/tokens and that’s the end of the process?
    • Will the entire system be integrated with different security levels?
    • Will multiple people require access to a security log? Will these people be based at the same site or accessing from different locations?
  3. What reporting will you need?

Let’s take those questions in order and provide a solution tailored to each –

How many doors do you need to secure?

If your customer is looking to secure a low number of doors or to secure each door independently, a standalone access control system might be the best option, click here, for our DC260 Kits which can be used for securing individual doors with a choice of code or RFID, click here for DC60SS to secure individual doors with a keypad; or click here for DC90SS vandal resistant access control keypads with proximity reader.

Will the doors be secured by code or fob/token/card?

It’s possible to program your fob/token/card to access multiple readers even in a standalone system, so these can be used for multiple entrances and internal security. If there are different security levels required then it’s possible to program the fob for each door it requires access to, and not adding those that won’t have access – for a larger site this will be time consuming and it’s probably worth looking at a networked solution.

As I mentioned in my previous post, there are some problems with having a keypad securing the site, especially when there are different codes to access different areas. Codes are often written down or passed to people without the appropriate clearance and breaches can happen without accountability. Keypad security is therefore better placed for single entrance sites or where security is designed to keep out the public rather than employees or residents.

Will these doors need a single reader (read-in) or a reader for each side of the door (read-in, read-out)?

If you have selected a fob-controlled access system, you will need two readers and one controller per door.

What software will give you the greatest visibility and reporting for the lowest expenditure?

There are a huge number of access control products in the market and different software for managing these systems. Many of these are paid versions which can lock you into a long-term relationship with a supplier to continue managing your existing sites. Some of these software packages will cost £500 and will charge an ongoing subscription fee.

SRS Smart.Net can offer a huge array of reporting using a free software and is easy to learn and manage.

How does your customer want to manage and get reports from the site?

This will vary heavily between residential and commercial sites so choose the route that’s most applicable for you.

Let’s assume at this point that we’re working with a networked access control system rather than standalone as the ongoing maintenance will be heavier here. Finding a product that allows for multiple users to log-in and view the reporting as well as add/remove users and entrances

Reporting that your customers will ask you about can include:

Location & roll call reporting

Attendance reports for payroll support

Web browsing administration

Email notifications

If you and your customer are looking for any or all of these tools, then SRS Smart.Net could be your best option.

If you’d like to find out more about our range of access control products or arrange for a Smart.Net demonstration, get in touch today either by emailing Sam Stuart (sam.stuart@doorentrydirect.com) or calling one of our specialists on 0208 621 6210.