Access control system planning is essential for modern commercial buildings, offering not only physical security but also data management and integration functionality. From doors to parking lots, these systems come in various forms, like keypad devices and biometric scanners. However, each building’s security needs are unique, making a comprehensive access control plan crucial.

Key Considerations in Access Control System Planning

  1. Defining Security Goals: Tailor access control designs based on the location and specific security requirements. Consider both physical and cybersecurity aspects to safeguard against external threats and internal breaches.
  1. Identifying Internal and External Threats: Address internal security issues by managing access credentials actively. For organizations handling sensitive data, mobile and cloud-based access control offer robust physical and cybersecurity protections.
  1. Environmental Considerations: Account for extreme weather conditions that might affect security features. Install devices designed for specific environments, ensuring functionality in various conditions.
  1. Crime Prevention through Environmental Design: Implement natural security principles, including territorial reinforcement, natural surveillance, environmental access control, and property maintenance, to deter physical access crimes.

Crucial Elements of an Access Control Plan

  1. Scope of the System: Consider the number of users, access levels, and secure doors or entrances. Tailor plans based on the building’s unique requirements, whether it’s a school campus or a small office.
  1. Authentication Methods: Choose appropriate credentials such as keypad, proximity cards, RFID fobs, mobile credentials, or biometrics. Balance ease of use, security, and future scalability when selecting authentication methods.
  1. Monitoring and Testing: Define entry activity monitoring procedures and incident response protocols. Regular testing and audits are essential to ensure the system’s effectiveness.
  1. Project Costs: Set a budget and prioritize areas that need access control. Balance costs with security needs, considering factors like the types of readers and hardware.

Access Control Examples and Use Cases

  1. Office Buildings: Implement contactless readers and cloud-based functionality for efficient daily access. Integrate touchless access with video security cameras and alarms for comprehensive security.
  1. Residential Properties: Utilize mobile credentials to reduce operational costs related to physical key cards. Issue virtual credentials to residents’ mobile devices for easy management and integration with cloud-based security functions.
  1. High-Security Buildings: Employ advanced credentials like biometrics or multi-factor authentication. Balance high-security options with more basic methods for different areas within the building.

Architectural Considerations

  1. Review Building Blueprints: Examine blueprints to plan device placement efficiently and utilize existing infrastructure. Clearly define the project scope and confirm details in writing to avoid misunderstandings.
  1. Consult Local Officials: Ensure compliance with local building and fire codes by consulting local authorities. Consider regulations and guidelines during the access control planning process.

Installation and Maintenance

  1. Cloud-Based vs. On-Premise Systems: Choose between on-premise servers or cloud-base d platforms based on functionality, scalability, and maintenance needs. Cloud-based systems offer flexibility and easier scalability.
  1. Assessing Installation Needs: Hire professionals for installation to avoid costly mistakes. Ensure compatibility with existing systems and consider backup power sources for internet-connected control hubs.
  1. Recurring Maintenance: Plan for regular maintenance, including software updates and hardware checks. Cloud-based systems often provide automatic updates, while on-premise systems require manual maintenance.

Access Control Plan Template

A comprehensive access control planning document should include:

  1. Introduction
  2. Physical Security Protocols
  3. Installation and Power Supply
  4. Infrastructure Details

Key Takeaways

Understanding the building’s security needs, budgeting effectively, and planning for recurring maintenance are vital in access control system planning. Consider factors like environmental conditions, authentication methods, and architectural features to create a robust and efficient access control plan tailored to your commercial property’s unique requirements.