What is Physical access control and why is it important?

Managing a business is difficult enough without adding security issues into the mix. Monitoring who has access to assets and keys within your organisation is important. As a company, you have a responsibility to keep your staff safe, as well as the need to protect your business from the risks unauthorised entry can create.

Physical access control assists in keeping your organisation’s premises secure.

What is Physical Access Control?

Physical access control is an electronic system allowing organisations to restrict and regulate who can gain entry to different locations or assets. It’s a way of identifying users and employees, authenticating who they are through different methods and authorising them access to items or areas.

Sometimes used throughout a building to monitor and control passage into certain locations, it’s also used to integrate with secure key cabinets for the same effect. One benefit of this is that you don’t need to install an extensive access control system through the whole building, but receive the same advantages as if you had.

The ability to pair the two together is especially useful when it comes to things like fleet management.

As well as allowing or preventing entry to different locations and assets, good access control means that companies can track who goes where, when, and assist in preventing unwanted intrusions.

How does access control work?

Once upon a time, access control was as simple as a lock and key. Now, regulating the passage in or out of an area is generally managed by a remote electronic system which handles the different permissions linked to each individual. This is done either by technology placed at each door or monitored access to a secure cabinet where keys are stored. Users are generally authenticated by identifiers such as:

  • Prox cards.
  • Pins.
  • Biometric scanners.
  • A mixture of the above for additional security.

Where, or what, each individual is allowed access to depends on the set criteria you’ve entered into the system. You should expect your access control software to handle complex permissions and allocations, allowing you to modify where individual users are able to go, or which keys they can use, to match their specific needs.

physical-access-controlWith access control you can assign your employees a specific pin that allows them entry according to their permissions.

The advantages of pairing your key cabinet with access control

There are multiple benefits to having access control for your business’s key cabinets, no matter what industry you’re in. Here are some common advantages you can expect, whether you’re in healthcare, hospitality, transport or education.

Protect your employees

It’s important that you provide your employees with a safe working environment. If anyone can enter a building, this security is compromised. With access control, only those with express permission can get hold of the keys needed to enter the premise. This limits the ability of anyone external from the organisation to enter the workplace and potentially threaten the safety of your employees.

Access control helps create accountability within your staff around use of assets and resources.

Track visitor and employee access use

Actively monitoring who has the keys to come in and out of different areas of your organisation means you can track any unusual behaviour. This can prove invaluable if a prox card is stolen and used before you have the chance to notice it’s gone, or if you have a security issue. Instead of facing the impossible task of trying to figure out who came through your building on a particular day, access control means you have all the information there, ready to go. Having the history of who had which key and when, makes resolving a security issue much simpler.

Additionally, it creates accountability within your staff. For example, knowing which keys they’ve accessed within a high-security cabinet is tracked and time-stamped means they are much more aware of how they use the resources associated to them and discourages theft. It also allows managers to confirm hours worked by employees or any overtime that’s been clocked if they have doubt over their staff’s timekeeping, as they can check against the logs kept by the key cabinet’s access control.

Protect your assets

Every business has valuable resources that it needs to keep safe. For example, you might need to protect:

  • Lab equipment.
  • Technology, such as computers or other specialised gear.
  • Industrial equipment.
  • Data banks, which hold private customer and employee information or vital business information.
  • Vehicles.

Controlling who has access to these resources is a vital part of ensuring they remain secure. For example, within a university you might have different departments with specialised and potentially dangerous assets, such as hazardous chemicals. For this, you want to know your business has role-based access. Ensuring only people with the right skills and authority can get hold of keys related to specialised assets helps protect both your employees and the organisation’s property.

Access control can create a more efficient system than keys provide companies. Access control can create a more efficient system for managing and monitoring your company keys.

Provide access schedules

Sometimes it’s useful being able to control when people can access a business’s key cabinets. For example, if you contract in cleaners, you might want to limit what times they can get the keys needed for certain areas of the building to work around your business’s schedule. Or you may want employees to only access lab equipment during work hours when there are other staff around, in case something goes wrong.

The right system allows you to dictate when people can gain entry to a key cabinet using individual permissions, giving you complete control over who can access what asset and when.

Remote control of permissions

Sometimes time is of the utmost importance when it comes to managing who can gain entrance to the assets kept safe by a key cabinet, or for being notified of unauthorised access. With an electronic system in place, you have the ability to remotely manage the permissions as well as receive instant alerts about any unusual behaviour that occurs.

If an employee leaves or you change which business your cleaning contract is with, you can simply cancel any relevant permissions from wherever you are.

Or, if an old prox card is used to try and gain access to your secure key cabinet, the system can immediately alert you, allowing you act on the information before it’s too late.

Physical access control provides your business with an efficient way to manage the security and safety of your premises. If you’d like to know more about how CIC Technology can assist you with protecting your company, reach out to the friendly team today.

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