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Electronic Access Control versus Lock and Key Systems

Electronic Access Control versus Lock and Key Systems

Most modern companies store valuable client information that could hold owners legally liable if not kept confidential, and thousands of dollars worth of valuable equipment and finances. To stay secure, certain employees have clearance to high-value areas, while others have not yet earned that access. In traditional lock and key facilities, employees will have to be given numerous keys for access to these areas and the building. Keys can be easily lost, stolen, or duplicated. When an employee leaves, how can you be sure he didn’t take a key with him?  If an important key is lost, every lock that uses it will need to be changed for security purposes. Rekeying dozens to hundreds of doors and distributing new keys is a cost that can easily climb into the thousands. Electronic access control systems are a solution to these problems and many more. Here we look into the various differences and benefits between traditional key and lock systems and electronic access control.

What is an Electronic Access Control System and Why Would a Business Use One?

“Simply defined, the term ‘access control’ describes any technique used to control passage into or out of any area. The standard lock that uses a brass key may be thought of as a simple form of an ‘access control system’. Over the years, access control systems have become more and more sophisticated. Today, the term ‘access control system’ most often refers to a computer-based, electronic card access control system. The electronic card access control system uses a special ‘access card’, rather than a brass key, to permit access into the secured area.”

Lock and key systems were useful in the past, but with modern technology businesses have far more choice in their security. Organizations today hold thousands of dollars in technology and equipment, along with customer and employee information stored on hard drives or servers. Keeping these systems safe is more integral than ever. Burglars can easily steal or duplicate keys, and once inside have simple access to just about every room with a lock and key system. And if an employee leaves the company or a key is discovered missing, every door will need to be refitted and new keys distributed. Businesses just can’t take these risks and their associated costs. These issues coupled with advancements in technology led to the development of electronic access control systems.

The Benefits of Electronic Access

Access control’s first major benefit is its cost. While fitting locks and keys for a typical business can run anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, electronic locks systems run about $3000-5000. This may seem like a large amount at first glance, but these systems will never have to be replaced, they require no keys other than cards if selected as the access method, and they contain very advanced software that allows you more control and security for your business. Doors can be programmed to lock and unlock automatically on a schedule, ensuring your business is always secure and employees do not have to remember to lock the business at closing. Visitor logging and audit trails are also beneficial to companies. A receptionist can give visitors temporary access, and the system will track which doors they enter through and when along with keeping an easily-searched log of all visitors. It can even alert the receptionist of a guest who isn’t approved to enter the building. “Electronic access control systems are also commonly used to monitor building doors and other types of alarm inputs, such as power failure, high or low temperature alarms, or water level alarms. Card-reader-controlled doors are installed with a door position switch that sends a signal if the door is unsecure. This can be important not only for security, but for environmental reasons, too.” Also helping to keep your business secure is the fact that when an access card or fob is stolen or goes missing, it can be deactivated almost instantly. And making a new card is both quick and very inexpensive. Many systems can use fingerprints for entry as well, eliminating any sort of device replacement cost.

Electronic access control systems offer numerous advantages over lock and key systems, such as convenience, heightened security, and cost savings. They are a great choice for any business owner looking to secure what matters and keep their company safe.

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