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The value of access control for small businesses

By J. Matthew Ladd

As technology has evolved over the years to become smarter and less expensive, the security industry has begun to see more smaller businesses moving away from using a key and lockset to secure their property to implementing small-scale access control solutions.

The reason is that business owners and property managers want to implement solutions that are not only cost effective, but easy to manage.  The introduction of IP and wireless-based access control solutions have made both a reality, supporting both connectivity and remote management capabilities that previously were available only on a limited basis or was too expensive to implement.

In the past, even the smallest and most cost-effective door entry systems – such as a keypad entry system – would need to be hardwired in order to communicate with the lockset to tell the door to unlock and permit someone enter. These devices would also need to be programmed to give each user a unique code, enabling the property manager or business to track each time an individual enters the building using the keypad entry system.

Today, technological advancements now include wireless keypad entry system options with devices that can communicate wirelessly with the door lockset to permit a person to enter and cloud based access control systems. The benefit here is twofold, impacting both installation time and management.

With a cloud-based system, small businesses can now remotely manage users themselves and add or remove a person’s access control privileges by using either a mobile application or desktop dashboard to make changes. The installation time is also significantly reduced thanks to the introduction of newer technology that doesn’t necessarily require the system to be hardwired. This reduced installation times translates into less money spent on the overall cost of the system.

Mobile credentialing technology is gaining popularity amongst small property owners, as this technology turns a person’s smart phone into the actual credential. This eliminates the need for someone to have to carry a smart card with them at all times, as many people always have their smart phones with them.

Small businesses, especially small retail operations, like these options because it can allow them to let employees have access to several locations while also cutting down on the re-keying costs when an employee leaves or misplaces a key. The newer, IP-based systems can also provide a host of data on open and close times and also reports on how frequently an employee is entering a space.

Perhaps the single largest factor that small businesses and property owners should take into consideration is whether the technology is easy to use. Small business owners want to implement systems that are easy to use across the board for both those looking to gain entrance into a building and those on the back end managing the system.