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Access Control: Friend Or Foe Of Small Business Budgets

March 26, 2012

access-control-systemsSmall business owners have many concerns to debate in any given work day, from inventory levels to resolving customer complaints. In addition to the everyday company routine, owners are commonly targets of solicitors looking to sell their wares; many items are legitimate sales that should be considered, such as an alarm system. However, modern technology has progressed to the point that business owners are being offered access control systems in place of the basic alarm system. Is an access control system truly necessary? Could it even be considered as overkill?

Let’s take a look at the reasons to NOT have an access control system.


Access control systems provide a way of controlling employee movement throughout a building; only certain team members with a specifically coded card can enter and exit certain sensitive areas. Many large companies must have these forms of control since the building and employee quantity is just too big to control otherwise, such as a 300 person corporation.

Now consider the small business owner; he or she does not have 300 people to regulate. In fact, the company can be as small as 10 or 20 people. The square footage of the company’s office could be as small as a large apartment unit. In these cases, access control points are certainly not necessary. Employees have a limited area to work within and most workers are within visible range of one another.

Expense of an access control system is another concern. These units require professional installation, maintenance, and possible daily monitoring by the access control company. Unlike a basic alarm system, access control configurations can be extremely expensive upon the initial purchase, as well as monthly servicing and monitoring fees. Small businesses trying to hold onto their profit margins will see them slip significantly.

Many small businesses open with one or two employees covering the store to cater to early rising customers. Taking care of the customers is key; being available before a standard 9AM opening is cause to stay loyal to that small business. However, what if an access control system is put into place and the early morning workers cannot access portions of the business, such as the cash register box? Workers and customers alike will be stranded until the owner can provide an access key. Not only does this frustrate customers, they may not return for more sales and support from the delay.

Here are some reasons to have access control.

However, there are plenty of reasons you would want access control. It offers great convenience. You can restrict access based on time, whether or not a supervisor has checked in and certain rooms or areas. You never have to give out keys and you never need to get locks replaced or rekeyed.

Practical situations to have access control:

  • Nursing homes
  • 24 hour gyms
  • Construction areas
  • Elevator restriction
  • Restaurant liquor and meat coolers
  • Call centers

Access control is also very pragmatic for any business with a high turnover rate. You will want to be able to lock somebody out of the system if they are fired and be able to give out simple key fobs instead of keys.

In the end, small businesses need to ask themselves if it is applicable before purchasing. They need to know that it is not as cheap as getting regular locks in the beginning. If they have a lot of employees in and out then they need to consider it. If they have areas that are important to keep secure they may need it. It is really up to the individual to use his judgement while considering all these factors.

Dylan Johnson does photography, SEO and web design at Security Options and as a freelancer. Security Options does installation and service in relation to access control

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