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Access Control Systems: The High-Tech Security Option

Access control systems are a high-tech method of ensuring that only authorized employees are allowed gain entry to certain areas of a building. The premise is simple but the technology is sophisticated. Organizations usually have areas of restricted access. This makes it easier to keep secure information safe. If all employees had access to all areas, it would be very difficult to make security arrangements for sensitive information and it would also be hard to find the culprit if the aforementioned data was compromised.

Access control systems are usually made up of electronic keypads located at selected areas with monitor doors that block the way forward. The door is connected to networked security systems that have employees monitoring the area at all times. The increased level of security afforded by access control systems is often a requirement for companies who do business with the government. For all other businesses, these systems simplify matters as there is no need to worry about old-fashioned keys which are easily lost and duplicated.

The best access control systems should also record the time when a door was opened as well as identifying the person who opened it. Another reason to have this system in place is to track the movements of employees for the purposes of the payroll. It can also be a guard against tardy workers. You will require time and attendance software to utilize this type of system. This feature is not necessary for companies who have salaried employees however.

Types Of System

Companies also need to decide how secure their access control system must be. Usually, it will consist of a swipe card or keypad. Businesses with sensitive data may seek to increase security by purchasing a system which needs an extra card or a thumbprint. Naturally, such access control systems are more expensive. Systems it can connect to include CCTV and Monitored Alarm systems.

The next step involves taking note of the number of doors that need to be secured. Some businesses may only require a server room door to be secured with an electronic keypad lock. This is the smallest possible access control system you can purchase. It is worth noting that access control is not a requirement for every door that needs to be secured. Small businesses in particular could save money if they leave the necessary doors locked and only allow authorized employees access to the keys.

Medium and large organizations are urged to plan ahead when considering access control systems. If you buy a one or two door system, you are not leaving any room for expansion. In contrast, if you were to purchase a system with four or more doors, it is easy to expand it later on by linking doors. It is also likely that not every door will require the same level of security. Decide what each door will be used for and how many employees (and customers) will use the door in order to decide on the different locks and entry system required.


It is virtually impossible to budget for access control systems until you have a good idea of the type of system your company will be using. This is because the majority of sellers will not even give a rough estimate until they receive a reasonable account of your organization’s needs. There are some industry standard prices however such as a swipe card or keypad system which will cost a minimum of $1,500 per door. Do not purchase any door unless the price includes the installation, hardware and software. You may have to pay extra for the cards however. Bear in mind that the more doors you buy, the lower the cost per unit. If you have the ability to install everything yourself, expect the price to fall by $1,000 per door.

Of course, there are a host of other options. Integrated locks that have keypads will set you back approximately $400. Businesses in need of a supremely high level of security may be interested in iris scanning systems but they need to be high revenue organizations because each scanning system costs around $10,000. There are other costs to be considered such as photo ID printers, locks with higher security and door prop alarms. All of these can add substantially to the cost.

Other Considerations

Access control systems may seem overly expensive but for companies in real need of airtight security, they are a necessity. Resist the temptation to install the equipment yourself. Saving a few dollars is senseless if the system fails to work due to improper installation. Ensure a professional contractor does the job for better piece of mind. Resist the temptation to purchase residential equipment as commercial grade merchandise is far more reliable.

Access control systems should come with 12 month’s worth of telephone and email support. Look for a seller that offers a lifetime guarantee. A large percentage of dealers also offer maintenance contracts and extended warranties but you really only require a basic manufacturer’s warranty. This is because these systems are not prone to breakdowns due to the fact they have few moving parts. Finally, if your company is part of a larger building, make sure you inform the management because certain forms of installation require permission.