With the advent of emerging network technologies and the heightened need for tighter security strategies, Access Control Systems (ACS) are becoming incredibly important to many organizations. Carrying around a growing set of keys is cumbersome and unnecessary with the right technology. In addition, there’s the expense to consider. One DGI customer reported that they spend more than $20,000 issuing new keys every few months because of staff changes, lost keys and other vulnerabilities. Remember: when one key is lost, goes home with a former employee or is compromised, you have to change locks and keys for every single person. ACS makes a lot of sense for organizations, providing solutions for everything from enhanced security to increased profits to better traffic flow through your facility. But there are also several considerations that many access control vendors don’t explain.
Here Are Three Things Your Access Control System Vendors Won’t Tell You1. Most Vendors Don’t Own the Entire Solution
Typically, vendors will specialize in one area of ACS. There are actually six aspects of access control: hardware, low-voltage cabling, high-voltage cabling, IT integration, door hardware, and badge creation and policy. When implemented correctly, these six disciplines create a delicate ecosystem of security, convenience, and reliability. When you use vendors that only handle one or two aspects, that ecosystem is all but impossible to create. We’ve literally seen situations where one vendor will install the hardware but they won’t connect it to the doors, because that’s not their specialty. This makes installation a nightmare and makes maintenance an inevitable exercise in finger-pointing. The best option is to find a vendor who actually manages all facets of ACS.
2. It’s a Big Investment
While it can certainly solve financial liabilities in the long run, and can even be used to increase profitability, there’s a pretty high cost of entry with most ACS vendors. We’ve seen many situations where it turns into a multimillion dollar investment. When you consider the hardware, cabling and infrastructure, controllers, peripheral equipment, labor, and management costs, it’s a pretty big undertaking for most organizations. Now, there are many benefits to ACS, but you need to work with a partner who’s willing to shoulder most of the up-front capital expenditures to help alleviate the burden on your organization.
3. It Is Not a Stand-Alone Solution
As we mentioned before, your ACS solution should be a part of your security eco-system. It should address the business objectives you are trying to achieve, and all key stakeholders need to provide input to ensure that there is a clear understanding of what those objectives are. This is very difficult to accomplish when you have a vendor who is only interested in coming in, installing access pads, and leaving. You need a vendor who will look first at the goals you are trying to achieve, take the time to discuss your overall security strategy, then determine how ACS can contribute to that strategy. In addition, it’s important to partner with an organization that can help you measure the efficacy of your ACS solution. Again, this is incredibly difficult with a typical vendor who doesn’t get into the details of your organization and what you are trying to accomplish, so be sure to keep these things in mind as you’re vetting potential access control providers.