Companies all over the world, such as importers, exporters, manufacturers, wholesalers, customs, etc, depend on warehouses to store valuable stock, usually amounting to a very high-value.
This makes them a very lucrative target for external threats, such as burglars, who are on the lookout for big money. In recent news, burglars stole £117,000 worth of electronics after breaking into a Yorkshire warehouse.
Such threats to warehouses can result in huge financial losses for the business, which is why warehouse security is one of the most important aspects of many commercial businesses.
The first step towards warehouse security is installing physical barriers and security control and deterrents such as access control systems that protect against unauthorized access.
In addition to external threats such as burglaries, warehouses face an additional challenge in the form of monitoring the workers constantly on the go. It is good practice to have strict policies in place that restrict their access to only areas that they are authorized to be in.
This results in ensuring that the workers are always in their designated areas and not wandering here and there. Warehouses usually have heavy machinery that not all workers are trained to use. Access control systems restrict them from entering such areas, preventing injuries.
Internal/Employee theft is also a very real issue that many warehouse managers have to deal with. Strict access control helps curb such activities, promoting a healthier working environment.
Relying on manual data entry isn’t sufficient anymore and all warehouse inventory must be protected using the latest state-of-the-art security solutions.
Read on to find out all about the best access control systems for warehouses.
ACCESS CONTROL SYSTEMS FOR WAREHOUSES
Access control systems are keyless door entry systems that control and manage access along with establishing access permissions for different areas of the property. These permissions not only determine the areas the user can be granted access, but can also include specifically permitted hours of access as well.
They are an efficient way to provide access authorisation to employees of a warehouse, whose identity is authenticated via identification credentials entered into the system, which is then checked against an access control database saved in the server.
This is a step-by-step process on how access control systems for warehouses work:
- The identification credentials are presented to a reader present on the system. The credentials can be in the form of card, pin, or biometrics.
- The credentials are forwarded to the access control panel to be verified.
- The request is processed by the control panel by comparing the credentials against predefined access permissions in the database.
- If the credentials do not have access permission for the area, access is denied and the door remains locked.
- If the credentials have access permission for the area, access is granted and the control panel sends a relay to the system to unlock the door.
- Both the access rejections and acceptances are logged into the system.
There are various types of authentication methods that warehouse access control systems can use to grant or deny access through their entry points. The most common ones are:
- Access cards
These are portable cards, usually the size of a credit card, that are distributed among the warehouse workers. Each employee carries their access card with their specific access permissions.
These cards can be inserted into the system, swiped, or scanned using RFID technology, to grant access through electrically-locked doors.
RFID is especially convenient since it allows for contactless interaction with the security interface. Allowing you to access any area without any hassle or wait.
- Keypad/Pin code
Instead of using physical cards to gain access, this type of authentication makes use of pin codes given to the employees in the warehouse. A numeric keypad, much like the one found on calculators, is fixed on the system, which is used to enter the pin code.
This works exactly like the pin codes used for ATM services. Entering the correct pin gives the user access of the account and the money inside it. The incorrect pin code shows an error and denies access into the account.
The system may also be rigged in a way where it can be disabled for a certain time when there are enough incorrect attempts while using the keypad. Alternatively, the system can also alert the relevant authorities when “suspicious” activity is detected on the keypad such as the removal of the pad from its housing (tampering) or even in the case of significant incorrect attempts.
This is one of the safest and most secure authentication methods available. While both cards and pins can be lost or shared, biometrics eliminates all such issues since it uses your unique biological features such as fingerprints, retina scans, and facial recognition to grant access.
The system checks the unique identifiers with an earlier saved version of the data and if they match, the system verifies the user’s identity permitting them to enter. If the data doesn’t match, the entry points remain locked and access is denied.
This type of system may also auto-disable when a certain number of incorrect attempts are made. The system may also be capable of alerting the relevant authorities in the case of tampering.
- Remote access/Smart locks
Remote access or smart locks give users the ability to control the locks from a remote location. Instead of being near the locking mechanism, they can use their smartphone, tablet, or computer to lock or unlock a door.
The system also enables notifications and updates to be sent when a door is opened, locked, or unlocked, along with restricting access to certain times of the day, and allows users to change the user credentials within seconds.
TYPES OF WAREHOUSE ACCESS CONTROL SYSTEMS
There are different types of access systems used in warehouses that determine how and which employees will gain access to which secure areas, down to each file cabinet or drawer containing sensitive information.
- Discretionary Access Control (DAC)
Discretionary Access Control (DAC) is the least restrictive, giving the end-users complete control over access permissions throughout the system.
The extreme control and flexibility make it suitable for very small warehouses, with only one or two doors. It might not be suitable for larger warehouses with valuable assets and sensitive information to protect.
The benefit to the DAC system is that the flexibility enables the users to easily manage access permissions, based on what they feel is right.
The drawback is that it can sometimes lead to the end-users, knowingly or unknowingly, granting access to the wrong people.
- Mandatory Access Control (MAC)
Mandatory Access Control (MAC) is the complete opposite of DAC and the most restrictive system. In a MAC system, a centralized system administrator will designate access permissions to the employees based on strict warehouse guidelines.
All the users are categorized according to their access permissions and can gain access only according to their specified category level.
In case of the system owner wanting to change the access permissions of a certain employee, they would have to create a new profile for them, since their old classification wouldn’t permit any access not already specified in their profile.
The MAC system is most suitable for high-security warehouses that require maximum protection and restrictions. It is mostly used in military and government-owned facilities.
- Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)
Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) is the most popular type of access control used in businesses and warehouses, where access permissions are determined according to the roles the users have within the warehouse.
Instead of assigning access permissions to specific users, the permissions are assigned to their roles. For example, all managers might receive the same level of access and the general employees of the warehouse another.
The permissions might also be granted according to the departments. For instance, all the employees under logistics will receive the same level of access.
Assigning permissions to job roles instead of individuals means the system administrators can control access for a group of people, streamlining the process, making it more user-friendly and efficient.
- Rule-Based Access Control
Rule-Based Access Control is another common type of access control that allows the system owners and administrators to set rules and restrictions on access permissions, such as limiting access to only certain times of the day and using only certain doors to gain access.
Warehouses are huge and usually have multiple doors through which users can access the secure area. Rule-Based Access Control systems are specifically useful for such multi-door access areas where users can be restricted to certain doors only.
This is a particularly good choice for large warehouses with high-value goods, where enforcing such control and accountability is necessary.
- Door Entry
Door Entry systems are a very common access control method used to let visitors, with no identification credentials to show, pass through an access control system.
These systems have an entry panel installed at the entrance, where users can either press a button to request access or call the security team, which can communicate with the user and decide whether or not to grant them access.
IMPORTANCE OF ACCESS CONTROL FOR WAREHOUSES
Here are all the reasons why every warehouse needs an access control system:
- Preventing external threats
High-value warehouses are like gold mines for burglars. They look for every opportunity to break in and a simple deadbolt is not going to keep them away.
Like other security systems such as burglar alarms and CCTV, access control systems also act as a huge deterrent against such threats since breaking into an access-controlled warehouse is much more difficult than through a traditionally locked door.
The higher the security risk, which can be easily determined by warehouse risk assessment, the higher the level of access authorization is used. Biometrics provide the safest and most secure form of identification since they are unique and cannot be stolen, unlike keys, which can also be easily copied and duplicated.
- Managing internal threats
When dealing with such high-value inventory, it is always a good idea for the warehouse owners and managers to keep an eye on their employees’ activities because internal/employee theft is a real, sad reality that affects a majority of the warehouses.
A warehouse can store a plethora of products, all very lucrative and valuable. The employees usually know where all the expensive inventory is stored, where the money is kept, and know how to access these things very easily.
Logically speaking, it is much easier for employees, who are familiar with the warehouse layout and activities, to steal products and money from inside than it is for an outside burglar.
As mentioned above, keys can easily be stolen, lost, or copied and without access control, there is no way for the warehouse owners to restrict access to such highly-protected areas.
Access control systems help boost internal warehouse security by limiting employee access based on permissions to certain areas of the warehouse, as well as giving and withdrawing access instantly. They simply won’t be allowed to enter high-security areas, such as where all the money is kept.
- Tracking and recordkeeping
Access control systems enable tracking and recordkeeping for all access-related activities. You cannot only control who enters which area of the warehouse, but you can also know when someone tried to gain unauthorized access, raising the alarm for a threat.
The log of events gives employers more control and knowledge on who is accessing the warehouse and at what times. This helps them know if an employee is habitually late to work, or is trying to gain access to a restricted area.
In the event of a security incident, such as inventory theft, the accurate records provided by the system help put together a timeline that helps trace who had access to the area where the incident occurred, along with precise timestamps.
- Remote access
Modern access control systems allow remote access with full functionality via a smart device such as a smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
This entails that warehouse owners and managers don’t have to be present on-site to keep an eye on access control. They can give or withdraw access from afar, lock or unlock the entire system, and track every movement back at the warehouse.
TOP TIPS FOR WAREHOUSE SECURITY
There are certain measures that warehouse owners must take to ensure maximum safety and security of their assets and employees.
- A proper risk assessment must be conducted throughout the warehouse to determine high-risk areas and activities and to device strict rules and policies
- The security procedures and policies must be strictly followed by all, with repercussions if not done.
- Implementation of state-of-the-art access control systems for restricting access to the warehouse.
- Proper burglar alarms and CCTV systems must be installed, integrated with the access control system, to boost the overall security and to be alerted of any threats or malicious activity.
- Fire alarms must be installed in all the right places to protect the employees and inventory from a fire hazard.
- The entire premises must be well-illuminated, preferably with smart lights integrated with the security systems, both inside and outside the warehouse.
- The employees and staff members must be properly assessed during recruitment to ensure only responsible people are hired.
- Visitors mustn’t be allowed to roam around the warehouse unattended. You never know when it might be a burglar in the guise of a visitor.
- The security systems must be regularly reviewed and maintained so that they work without any faults.
CONTACT CALDER SECURITY
Calder security provides a complete package for access control systems for both residential and commercial properties with professional installation, maintenance, and repair services.
We’ve been working in the security industry since 1976 and our MLA approved locksmiths can advise you on the best type of system for your warehouse.
We offer all types of access control systems including access cards, keypads, intercom, proximity fob, as well as biometric systems that work with fingerprints or retina scans for warehouses as well as businesses and homes.
We understand the importance of regular maintenance for your access control systems and can maintain and enhance door entry systems. We do this regardless of whoever installed the security system, providing a one-stop-shop for all your security needs.
Our team understands how a faulty access control system can compromise the security of your warehouse and can get systems repaired quickly and efficiently, operating a 24-hour emergency service for your need and convenience.
Contact us right away for our state-of-the-art access control systems to make your warehouse, and its assets and employees, safe and secure.