Can access control reduce costs?

In an economic climate where capex is often restricted and with many businesses still operating on low margins, building owners and facilities managers want a security solution that is convenient and cost-effective. Here, Damian Marsh draws on his experience with Access Control, a division of ASSA ABLOY UK, the global leader in door opening solutions, to offer an insight into how access control systems can both improve security and reduce costs.

All public and private facilities present unique security challenges. Not only does it mean controlling physical access to buildings, but also includes logical access to networks and sensitive information. While trying to control operational costs and serve the diverse needs of establishments.

Finance constraints have a big impact on security purchasing decisions. If an organisation is looking to overhaul, renew or extend an existing security system, the investment is competing with many other priorities. However, facilities managers would be unwise to ignore the financial impact that would be inevitable in the case of a serious security breach.

To find a suitable access control solution, Access Control would recommend going back to basics in security, to understand the initial security requirements. Then work to create a scaleable solution that can be installed in a rolling works programme, to accommodate budgets and limit disruption to the day-to-day operations of buildings.

One way to choose between the different access control options available is to use one simple planning tool in business, the ‘hurdle rate’. This is where specifiers and estate managers work together to answer a series of questions. How many hurdles or barriers do you need to erect to deter or prevent a risk to security? How long do you need each hurdle to deter? What is the likelihood of detection and what is the response time on alarm? What are the consequences of failure?

Answering these questions determines critical areas, where it is appropriate to invest in several barriers to entry and identifies other zones that will not require anywhere near the same hurdle rate to provide an adequate balance between security, risk and cost.

By taking this approach when assessing security requirements, the need to purchase additional security systems can be justified as necessary. At a time when every expense must result in a Return On Investment this can be a particularly valuable method of specification.

Effective access control systems can improve costs in a number of ways. Unauthorised copies of keys and an unknown number of keys distributed to people, both within and outside organisations, are common problems for organisations with large numbers of personnel and a high staff turnover.

A copied or lost key is an immediate security threat, and replacing lock cylinders and keys combined with administrative work can be highly resource-intensive, as well as expensive.

Access Control would recommend a combined solution such as Aperio® wireless locking technology. Aperio ® enables mechanical locks to be wireless linked to a new or existing access control system, without any need to modify the door.

Cost effective and easy to install and operate, Aperio® can update room access authorisations online and in real time. It thus creates an intelligent access control solution, which can discreetly monitor employees’ attendance without the need to encroach on civil liberties or freedom of movement.

Systems like this allow organisations to update authorisations, quickly, without having to be concerned about the cost of an organisation being disrupted, if physical lock changes had to take place.

For facilities managers and building owners it is necessary to strike a balance between creating a welcoming environment, and a secure environment – all the while factoring in budgeting restrictions. Security planning is concerned with protecting three things: people, assets and data. Access control can deliver this in a cost effective manner, while addressing the specific security requirements of building owners or managers.

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