Buyer's Guide to Access Control Systems

Purchasing the best and most up-to-date device meant to safeguard your company or home from unwanted intruders or unauthorized admittance is vital to the security of classified information, financial assets or loved ones. With the many types of access control systems available, how do you know which one is right for your establishment and situation?

The most popular access control systems used by most companies and homeowners are:
  • Smart card (swipe card) entry systems
  • Electronic keypads requiring manual input of number, letters or passwords
  • Closed circuit television systems
  • Biometric access control
Installing the keypad form of security control is commonly used when access to one or two doors is restricted. Since this only requires entering a four or five digit code, keypads are frequently used for family residences which have a minimal amount of people entering the house at any given time.

Small and large New York City businesses find that smart card readers make excellent and affordable security devices with which to protect their interests. In addition to these cards being cheap to replace if lost, cards can be remotely deactivated by company officials who no longer want this particular individual to have access to the interior of a building protected by a card access control system. As an added security measure, smart cards are able to be imprinted with a photo of the person assigned a particular card.

CCTV (closed circuit television monitoring) provides any size building or exterior area with 24-hour surveillance in the form of cameras and remotely accessed monitors. CCTV systems can be single camera devices or consist of over a hundred cameras, digital recorders and many individuals constantly watching monitors for evidence of unwanted or illegal activity.

Generally reserved for governmental, military and establishments hosting highly restricted information, biometric access control systems require data concerning individual DNA, retinal configuration and fingerprint patterns. This information is then encoded on smart cards which are assigned to individuals as a means of identification. Access to areas using biometric security systems are then restricted only to those possessing such a card.

When deciding what sort of access control system would be best for your situation, ask yourself these questions:
  • How important is the information kept in your computer or network?
  • Does your insurance policy state that you should have a certain security system in place?
  • Will you require a certain level of security in the near future?
  • Do interior or exterior areas exist in your establishment that are remote and hard to monitor?
  • Do you live or operate a business in a high crime area?
  • Have you been a victim of criminal activity in the past?
Investing in a good access control system should also provide you with some of these conveniences as well:
  • Reduction in theft/shoplifting (CCTV's are excellent for this purpose)
  • Monitoring of cash flow (smart card and keypads allow only trusted employees to handle money)
  • Immediate identification and logging of employees and visitors (smart cards and biometric control)
  • Increase amount of security in exterior areas such as parking lots and grounds (CCTV)
  • Observation of hazardous work areas (CCTV)
  • Restrict access to vital information (smart cards and biometric control)
  • Allow entrance by those only living in a residence (keypad input device)
A professional access security systems control business can also provide you with expert advice regarding the type of security system that would best suit your needs.
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