Are Access Control Key Cards Necessary For Retail Businesses?

by Mary Jezioro

Nov 7, 2017 11:45:11 AM

Access control key cards are a staple in most corporate office parks and large office environments.  These systems enhance safety, track the comings and goings of personnel, prevent unauthorized employees from entering off-limits areas and more. 

Now many retail business owners are finding access control systems are highly effective in helping secure their businesses, saving time and money when new keys are needed, limiting employee access to restricted areas and reducing annual inventory shrinkage.

These are just some of the reasons, small, medium, and large retail businesses are relying on access control systems and key cards to help their business become more profitable.

How Do Access Control Systems Work?

access control systems buffalo new yorkAt the most basic level, access control systems do exactly what the name implies they control who has access to a building, or a specific area of a building, at any given time.  The specifics vary from business to business and can be customized to fit the business owners needs or to address different risks. 

Features of a well-rounded access control system can include:

  • Keypad or digitally programmed key card entry allow or restrict access to  property gates, rooms, areas of a building, stock rooms, storage closets, etc.
  • The ability to use both general or personalized entry codes
  • Monitoring who enters and leaves a building
  • A date/time stamp record of entrances and egresses
  • Door status monitoring
  • Remote access to change, add and/or remove programmed codes or to unlock/lock specific doors at any time

The result is a more tightly secure building and transparency so you who know exactly who is coming and going at any time.

No More Lost Keys!

For some retail business owners, the implementation of a simple access control system pays for itself by saving time,  the costs of replacing/re-keying,  and worry because there is no way a physical key can be lost or stolen. 

If an employee loses a key card, the card is deactivated and a new one administered. It's that simple.  No more staying up at night worrying if a stranger has access to your hard-earned business.

Access Control Systems Customized to Your Needs

Access Control systems are not one-size-fits-all and your security company should review options based on your specific retail/office environment and needs. 

However, there are some standard pieces of equipment included in most systems such as access cards, card readers, keypads, electric lock hardware, access control field panels and a server or computer system to monitor activity and provide reports and readings.  How your system is set up depends entirely upon your needs.

Some examples include:

A basic access control system may be as simple as a key card reader outside building entrances.  Each employee has their own, digitally programmed key card, read by the mounted card reader.  Depending on the nature of your business, employees may also require a key card to exit the building.

In this basic system you can receive information about who entered the building based on date and time.  If an employee leaves the company the key card is turned and it can be reprogrammed for a new hire.   If the card is inaccessible, simply de-program it to prevent the key card from being used in the future

A moderately scaled access control system is the next level of security.  It may involve key card access to the building itself,  as well as certain areas such as accounting offices, storage areas, stock rooms, warehouse space or management offices.  With this level of security access can be programmed so certain employees may only be able to enter certain areas in the building during specifically scheduled hours.

More complex access control systems are specifically designed to protect a retail or business owner's interests.  Your security company should be willing to work with you to establish the best features for your company - including which ones might be overkill, while ensuring you get the best system for your needs and budget.

Access Control Systems Also Offer Alarm and Security Benefits

To avoid any loopholes, such as a propped open - or forced open - door, a good retail access control system also comes with alarms set to specific preferences. These alarms recognize items such as a door that has been forced open (DFO) versus one that has been propped open - or a door-open-too-long (OTL). The former would be set to automatically trigger a security alarm where the latter can be programmed for your daily operations and hours - all this means your system works better for you business.

For example, say your retail business receives a continuous supply of deliveries every Tuesday and Thursday between the hours of 10am and 4pm.  In this case you can choose to silence the OTL alarm for this time frame to avoid false alarms and unnecessary calls from your security monitoring company. 

During those hours, the system will not trigger an alarm when the door is left open for delivery personnel. If a door is propped open outside the normal time frame, however, without a code entered to bypass the alarm - the alarm system will sound.

Similarly, these systems offer monitored door options. These could be an attic hatch, roof access, or a rarely used janitorial closet. While doors like these may not require key card access, a "monitored door" sends an alarm to key management or the business owner whenever they're opened, providing peace of mind and the ability to investigate if the activity is suspicious.

Interested In Access Control For Your Buffalo Business?

Contact the experts SHIELD Security Systems.  We'll be happy to answer questions or provide a no-obligation security and access control consultation.  We can walk through your business, ask the right questions and listen to your concerns before establishing the best access controls system features for you.

Our team has been securing Buffalo area homes and businesses for more than 30 years.

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blog author

Mary Jezioro

Mary Jezioro is the Vice President of SHIELD Security Systems. As the Marketing and Sales lead at SHIELD, she is focused on strategic planning and company growth. Mary is involved with the UB School of Management as former CELAA's Vice Chair, SCORE, WPO (Women President's Organization) and is also coached youth soccer. She and her husband, Ken, are proud parents of five children.