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Access Control System Service

Access control refers to a type of electronic security system that gives you control over who can access your property, open a door, or enter a specific area.

They are commonly used in commercial properties such as offices and financial institutions and are now becoming a common sight in residential properties as well.

There are several types of access control systems, from simple ones that use intercoms and electronic locks, to more technologically advanced biometric systems.

They protect your assets and property from unauthorised access and, in order to gain entry, a person must possess the correct access control credentials in the form of a key code, access card, or proximity card.

When used with other security systems such as CCTV cameras and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR), you can enjoy added benefits of dual-factor authorisation and vehicle access control.

Although incredibly advanced, these systems, just as any other electronic system or device, need regular servicing and maintenance to keep working properly.

Just as it is important to maintain your electric wiring and installations, it is equally important to get your access control system serviced as well for proper function and reliability.

Read on to find out more about access control system services, what is involved, their typical costs, and much more:

WHAT IS AN ACCESS CONTROL SYSTEM?

Access control systems consist of several components that include:

Credentials

Credentials are the basis of whether or not a user will be granted access through an entry point and can either be a tangible object, a piece of information, or a part of the user’s physical being.

Typically, they can be a code, number, or pin, an access card or token, a biometric feature, or a combination of these.

Codes are normally 4, 5, or 6 characters long and shared with authorised individuals. Special care must be taken to not share them with unauthorised people since they can easily be misused.

Access cards or tokens vary in terms of both their characteristics and price. These hold identification data and are used by either swiping or inserting into a reader, through active or passive proximity, RFID, mobile devices, or biometric verification.

Readers

Readers and scanners allow the credentials to be communicated with the system where they are authenticated based on their permissions.

They are an important component of access control systems and offer the necessary security and control to secure your property.

There are several different types of readers based on the functions they are able to perform. They include standalone readers, system readers, combined readers, and online and offline readers.

Control panel

The control panel of an access control system is the “mind” of the system and does all the heavy lifting in terms of how the system should work and the functions to perform.

Often controlled by a software, it decides whether or not to grant access to a user based on the credentials and access permissions fed into the system.

The most common types of access control software are server-based, web-based, and cloud-based software.

Server-based access control systems are where local servers are used to host and run the software and are commonly found in many businesses and large organisations.

Web-based access control systems use a web browser application to operate the software and connect over the LAN so that any device on the same network can easily access it.

Cloud-based access control systems, unlike the other two options, are hosted on a decentralised server that is often managed by a third party.

Door locks

There is a clear connection between how effective and secure an access control system is and the quality of its doors and locks.

Since doors are your first line of defence against intrusions and unauthorised access, they need to be made with strong material, must be reinforced with good quality locks, and have a high enough holding strength to withstand force.

When it comes to the lock types, precautions must be taken to install high-quality locks that can either be fail-safe, where the voltage is applied to the lock, or fail-secure, where the voltage is removed to lock.

For high-security areas and properties, you may opt for multi-point locking mechanisms that usually have a three-point configuration; locks at the top of the door, the bottom, and its non-hinge side.

WHAT IS INVOLVED IN ACCESS CONTROL SYSTEM SERVICE?

Access control system service refers to the regular upkeep and maintenance required to keep the system up and running. Since these systems control the locking mechanism on your property, any issues with them could potentially put your entire property at risk.

As discussed above, access control systems are made up of several components that need to be managed properly. The doors, locks, door readers, control panel, and software are all susceptible to general wear and tear and errors and, therefore, need to be maintained regularly.

Preventive maintenance helps identify vulnerabilities in the system, fix all minor and major problems, and protect against any major breakdowns. It also extends the life of the hardware and ensures sustainability and reliability.

While basic everyday checks can be performed by the property owners and system administrators, detailed servicing is performed by a professional security company with knowledge and expertise on access control systems.

You may also draw a maintenance contract with your security company that outlines the frequency of the checks, the cost of servicing, the installations included in the checks, exclusions to the service, and ways of getting in touch outside of working hours and in case of an emergency.

Following are some of the basic things included in access control system servicing:

Visual inspection

A visual inspection, which refers to simply looking at the system’s mechanisms, is the first step of access control maintenance.

This doesn’t mean a quick peek at the system every time you use it, but rather a detailed inspection of the devices to make sure there aren’t any exposed wires, rust or debris on the locks, issues with the door readers, or anything that could potentially hamper the system’s performance.

These inspections must be carried out on a weekly basis by the system administrators, and every couple of months by a professional to ensure smooth operation.

It may be helpful to create a checklist of all the components you need to cover and inspect them one by one to ensure you don’t miss out on anything. Also, it would immensely help to keep a maintenance schedule that you must strictly follow.

Cleaning components

There’s hardly anything in the world that doesn’t require regular cleaning, whether it’s your house, your car, your dog, or even yourself!

As with everything else, your access control system also requires a good clean-up every now and then to make sure nothing gets in the way of its smooth operation.

Dust and debris may get lodged into the circuits, especially if the systems are installed outdoors. Regular use may result in dust and smudges on the readers, particularly those that need to be touched, such as keypads and biometric readers.

These small things can hinder the operation of the system, especially if left unattended for long and can cause the system to slow down or cease to function entirely.

Power check

Access control systems are electronic systems that need a constant power supply to work. Without power, they are nothing but a wall decoration. Therefore, it is very important during the inspection to check if all the components have power.

In the case of wired access control systems, the electricity supply is checked to make sure all the connections are tight and secure. If there is one, the battery backup system is also checked.

In the case of a wireless access control system, all the batteries are checked to see if they are adequately charged and those that aren’t are replaced immediately.

Software maintenance

An access control system is made up of hardware and software components, both of which need to work properly for the system to be operational.

During the maintenance checks, make sure the access control system software is up to date. Most systems have auto-updates on, but it is always better to double-check.

It is very easy for the system to get outdated and disorganised with the access permissions being constantly changed and updated.

With employees leaving and new ones coming, properly scheduled maintenance is extremely important to make sure all the users have the appropriate access permissions.

Also, forgetting to remove a user’s access permissions is a quick way to make the system susceptible to attacks.

Professional inspections

Regardless of how strict and thorough you are with the system checks, a professional check will always be more thorough.

Because of their skills, expertise, and experience, a security professional will be able to better identify any issues within the system that you may have missed.

It is recommended that you have a security professional service your access control system at least once a year. It may include a visual inspection, system analysis, battery supply checks, main power supply inspection, component clean-up, checking the network connection, checking integrated devices such as alarm systems and smoke detectors, and logging the test results.

Once the checks are completed, a report is issued that details all the findings of the inspection, including any and all issues, and suggestions to have them fixed accordingly.

ADVANTAGES OF ACCESS CONTROL SYSTEM SERVICE

Access control systems not only provide added security and convenience but can also be used as a way to reduce costs and ensure compliance with regulations. Having them properly and regularly serviced will make sure you keep enjoying all their benefits.

Here are all the reasons why access control system service is an integral part of a property’s safety, security, and efficiency and why it is so important to have the systems working uninterruptedly and without fail:

Security

An access control system is a security solution that works round-the-clock and provides both physical and operational security, despite whether your property is open or closed.

It acts as a physical deterrent by reducing walk-in theft and attacks and is a means of restricting access to a property’s data and assets.

Health, safety, and environment

In addition to providing unparalleled security benefits, access control systems offer health, safety, and environmental benefits as well.

You can limit access to unauthorised and unsafe areas to only trained users and the lighting and heating systems can be managed by controlling energy use and consumption based on the building’s occupancy.

Better management

Access control systems allow better management and can integrate with other systems to provide you with a more holistic approach.

You can integrate it with a variety of systems such as intruder alarms, CCTV cameras, fire alarms, lift control, elevator dispatch, HR and business management systems, visitor management systems, and car park systems.

They can be used to control and monitor multiple remote locations from a centralised point and can help increase efficiency and punctuality by removing manual timesheets.

Reduce losses

Access control systems should be considered an investment that helps you save money and reduce losses by securing your assets and minimising potential safety and security hazards.

They provide a more secure environment that results in improved staff productivity, morale, and efficiency, along with a return on investment by reducing the risk of losses and claims.

In addition to that, the systems can identify building usage to reduce costs and monitor contractor hours on site.

Compliance and audit

The best access control systems are fully automated and provide detailed reports that help with compliance and audit requirements.

They automatically log which areas are accessed by which users, in addition to any denied attempts, and record the working time for each user.

This can be extremely beneficial for audit purposes, especially for instances such as break-ins, theft, fraud, vandalism, and other similar incidents.

ACCESS CONTROL SYSTEM SERVICE TYPICAL COSTS

When it comes to the cost of access control system service, you can expect to pay around £75 to £125 per visit. In case of any repairs needed, it would cost you £92 on average, although it is dependent on the type of repair and access control system in question.

These costs are not definitive and are affected by several factors such as:

  • The type of access control system
  • The quality and brand of the system
  • The complexity of the system
  • The size of the system
  • The authentication method
  • The level of security required

CONTACT CALDER SECURITY

Calder Security provides complete access control system services for homes and businesses that include professional installation, maintenance, and repair.

We’ve been working in the security industry since 1976 and partner with only the best brands. Our MLA approved locksmiths can advise you on the best type of system for your property by helping you assess your security needs and requirements.

Because an access control system operates the locking and unlocking mechanism of your door, installation must be completed properly by someone with detailed knowledge of how these systems work.

We are SSAIB approved installers and can work with all types of access control systems including intercom, proximity fob, card swipe, and keypad. We also offer biometric systems that use fingerprints or retina scans.

Access control systems are very reliable and will last a long time. But like any technology, they require periodic maintenance to continue working as they should.

We conduct annual servicing to keep your system working well and give it a full check including checking the battery strength, power supply, and connections. That way you won’t get any nasty surprises further down the line.

While generally very reliable, sometimes problems may occur with access control systems that can potentially compromise the security of your property.

Common issues include simple wear and tear or faults with the power supply or batteries, and to preserve the security of your property, you need to get the problems fixed ASAP.

We operate a 24-hour emergency service run by qualified security specialist engineers who understand access systems and can resolve issues efficiently and effectively.

Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 9799 for a quick consultation and quote for our state-of-the-art access control systems that are right for your property!

Photo by Michal Matlon on Unsplash