When we design the implementation of an access control system, we must consider several key aspects to guarantee the proper development of the project, its functionality, and stability over time. In this note, we share ten important aspects to take into account in this process.
1. Determine the intention to implement end customer access control:
End users are often unaware of the multiple access control options and applications. That is why, as designers, consultants, or advisers, it is our responsibility to involve all stakeholders in such an implementation. This will prevent future rework and headaches.
Involve stakeholders. For example: in an organization that manages production processes. It will be important for the leader of the production area to control the time worked by the operating personnel. Likewise, the technology leader needs to limit access to all personnel not related to the IT process (Information Technology) to the data center. In the same way for the logistics leader, it is crucial to limit the entrance to the Warehouse other than logistics. At the same time, it is required to control visitor access to the company’s offices.
In this case, the leaders of the different processes involved in the solution should be taken into account and made part of the implementation from the perspective of each process. This will make the implementation more bearable for the integrator of the solution since, unlike finding detractors. They will have allies within the organization for the implementation and start-up process.
2. Determine safe areas:
Once the needs for each area have been established, it is important to validate the evacuation routes in case of an emergency. For example, the processes carried out in each area, the number of people, and the physical structure of the site, as well as the release mechanisms or free passage for a possible evacuation. And in the same way, the traceability and monitoring of emergencies are guaranteed. For example, integration with fire detection systems and CCTV is increasingly common in corporate, clinical, educational environments.
3. Typical doors with access control:
The number of access points must be clear; these will be through gates for people, turnstiles or vehicular accesses, etc. Whether input and output validation is required, or input only, or output only. This is very important in areas with an application with antipassback function, a characteristic present in most access control systems. It motivates users to generate entry and exit dialing, and both entry and exit readers are implemented. If both markings are not generated, the system will not validate the access and exit. In the same way, it is essential to validate, especially with these functions, if for the entry/exit of a certain area, there will be more than one entry/exit point.
As well as the type of access will determine the control elements to be used, for example, electromagnets and their retention force, turnstiles and what kind, lockers, etc. We must also consider the form of verification of access if it is done with proximity cards, biometrics, personal identification number or PIN, facial recognition, etc.
It is vital to identify and validate aspects such as proximity technology and the implementation of antipassback, which requires both input and output validation.
4. What technology is used to validate access
Once the form, quantity, and aspects of the previous point have been defined, the technology to be used for each control point must be specified. Consider the variables that affect certain technologies. For example, biometric systems with fingerprint reading are not the most appropriate in sites or control points with high traffic of people and operational personnel who work with greasy, corrosive substances, extreme environments such as mines, tunnels, workshops, etc. But they are appropriate for access to high-security sites, generally restricted as control rooms or data centers, vaults, electrical substations, monitoring centers, etc. Likewise, for facial recognition technologies, certain space and lighting conditions must be ensured.
5. What will be the blocking or retention elements for circulation to restricted areas:
At this point, we define the elements of blocking or restriction of passage, be it electroplates, electromagnets for doors which vary according to the type, weight, and size of the door and are generally specified in their retention force in pounds-force. On the other hand, the passage of vehicles, turnstiles for constant entry of people. Generally specified by several cycles of use per unit of time, pneumatic or hydraulic bollards applied or embedded on vehicular access roads, etc.
6. What other elements are required at each control point to restricted areas:
Each door, gate, turnstile, etc., generally includes more elements such as opening contacts, brackets, fixing accessories for electromagnets and hydraulic arms in the case of doors, vehicle sensors on the road, or ground loops in the case of gate gates. Signage, emergency release buttons used on gates and turnstiles. Multiple additional elements must be considered for the correct implementation at each control point. Not implementing them or not taking them into account can make the difference between an efficient system and a poorly implemented system, leading to customer non-compliance, inadvertent entrapment, and ultimately customer mistrust.
7. What will be the communication or network topology of the access control system and the use of the correct cable:
Identifying from the design stage and according to the end-users needs are the distance and connectivity requirements for the system. That we specify will determine the possible options in brands and references of the systems to be implemented.
Several forms and communication protocols are used in access control systems, and the manufacturer determines it for their equipment. For example, many manufacturers use the RS-485 Fieldbus communication standard for data transmission between controllers thanks to this standard’s benefits in transmission distance of 1,200 meters. And attenuation to electromagnetic noise because the conditioned medium is by twisted pair cable. Another means of communication between control systems is by connecting to Ethernet data networks through RJ45 ports. Each controller is part of the LAN / WAN data network that the client has, as one more element of this.
Using the correct cable is crucial in the system’s good performance and the quality of the communications that flow through it. Most manufacturers of both control equipment and peripherals and readers specify the type of cable to be implemented. Which should always be the starting point for implementing the system infrastructure. We can supply the best access control system on the market. To our clients, but if we use the type of cabling not recommended or specified by the factory. We will have a system susceptible to failures and erratic operation, even affecting the quality of signal and data, reducing the distance transmission capacities specified by the factory. Which will lead to warranty and generally costly reprocesses with a negative impact on the end-user.
8. How the system will be managed, hardware, software, and people requirements:
In any access control implementation, the human factor is key to the long-term success of the implemented system. As here, people will be responsible for its use and management. They have access, and the basic knowledge of management and programming of functions will make the end-user detach from the administration of the same. The access control system without management or administration practically loses the sense of implementing it. So it will be very important to define how the system will be administered and that the client’s end-user feels supported by his solution provider. So that he knows the benefits and functions of the system and does not depend on the provider for its use or administration. But that, for technical level support and new additions, it has the respective support.
Among the basic management functions that the end-user must have control and management are: creation/editing of users, a configuration of schedules, determining permissions or access attributes to users in certain areas or control points, generation of reports according to their needs. The above is the first attribute of our solution that is user-friendly and intuitive.
Regarding more specific functions oriented to the configuration of equipment and database structure. The recommendation is that the end-user has our support with certified and qualified personnel according to each brand and product. Considering that a bad procedure at this technical level can lead to the system collapse, cause access blockages.
9. What will be the quick actions in the event of crashes or failures:
It is very important that access control solutions, after the implementation phase, are complemented with technical support or assistance services that are generally configured under the figure of maintenance and technical support contracts. However, when we talk about access control. We must consider the possibility (even if it is a low probability) that equipment failures produce uncontrolled physical access blocks. In these situations, we must inform the client, from the start of the system. What the main steps or actions to follow in case of failure are and that the user can carry them out even before requesting a technical service.
10. Define maintenance policies for both software and hardware:
Consistent with the previous point, all electronic security systems require maintenance, and access control systems are no exception. Since these systems are hardware and software, maintenance policies must be oriented in both aspects. The databases must be managed according to the engine you have. For example, with SQL, the most common basic maintenance tasks are:
- Check database integrity.
- Reduce the size of the database.
- Rearrange the index.
- Update statistics.
- Take a full backup of the database.
Regarding the hardware, special care must be taken with the state of the release mechanisms in case of an emergency. Also, carry out activation routines to guarantee their functionality and review voltage and current levels in the controllers’ power sources. The status of batteries, door opening sensors, hydraulic door arm adjustments, turnstile mechanisms, etc. The periodicity of the maintenance will be given according to the number of elements, installation environment, and conditions of use.
The specification and design of the implementation of access control systems require special care in critical details for the good performance of the solution. We have in our projects, together with the follow-up of good practices for installing cabling and infrastructure. In addition to the guidelines and recommendations of the manufacturers, All in one locksmith in Tampa will have stable long-term solutions at the same time that our clients will have reliable solutions that contribute to their control, safety, and productivity scheme.