Access Control Installation: Before Starting
By now, you’ve probably heard of access control and explored its benefits and applications in the modern office or facility. However, choosing to implement one can be quite a difficult decision, especially considering how many options there are when it comes to hardware, software, manufacturers, installers, and management systems. It can be daunting even for the most seasoned security expert. That’s why it’s important to consider the impact of an access control system before going all-in on one.
Defining Goals and System Type
The purpose of installing your access control system should be clear from the get-go based on the security level that you require for your facility. For instance, high-value assets like servers, communication equipment, and mission-critical data should be safeguarded at every access point to keep it safe from harm, while amenities like bathrooms and vending machines can have security that is a little less robust. Consider the sensitivity of the assets within your facility and plan to protect them accordingly. Protected behind a locked door, they become much harder to steal or compromise.
When it comes to system types, there are many different access control options, which can make the selection process somewhat difficult. You don’t need to know all of the ins and outs of every method, but you should narrow it down to your top one or two types. For example, systems can be standalone, integrated, mobile-based, or cloud-based, plus any other customized solution that you might want to explore. We suggest you start by choosing whether you want to have a legacy or cloud-based solution. You can learn more about the differences between the two types of access control in our dedicated article.
Authentication Credentials and Technology
Choosing the most powerful and most suitable types of authentication — biometric data, key fobs, electromagnetic cards, keypads, signatures, touchscreen, or any combination of two or more — is a big factor to consider for a good access control installation. Powerful authentication like biometric data should be used for high-security assets, and it is often combined with another form of authentication. This is more expensive, so make sure you plan accordingly, especially if you don’t actually need that level of protection. Simpler forms of authentication include cards and keypads, which can protect less sensitive areas. If you want to have a broader idea of what types of credentials are available out there, check out our overview.
The next step would be to choose your devices. Choosing the right device is a very important factor of this process, considering that even one manufacturer can offer dozens of different types of access control devices. A professional-level assessment of the features and capabilities of the locking system, controllers, and card readers should be done, either by you or by a third-party expert, to choose the most suitable and simple devices available in the marketplace. While you can add more of them, it can be disruptive to switch them out, so choose wisely when you’re making your final selections.
Choosing a specific device will also influence your installation cost and timeline as more systems are more time-consuming and expensive to install. For example, choosing a legacy system over a cloud-based one will make sure you have a much higher upfront cost. That's because you will need to create a server room specifically for your system so this will also influence the timeline of the project. Keep on reading for more info about costs and timelines.
Installers and Projected Costs
Once you’ve decided on the best system for your space, the hardware still needs to be placed by professional access control installers. While it might be tempting to go with the quickest or cheapest option, consider the fact that this system, when installed properly, will deliver years of performance and safety. Even if the most trustworthy installer is a little more expensive or takes a bit more time, the end result is more than worth the extra fuss in the beginning. Kisi already puts you in contact with professional installers that know what to do with our product. This reduces drastically the chances that something goes wrong during installation. Also, keep in mind that a longer installation implies a higher risk of error. For this reason, installing a legacy system takes a longer time.
Let's finally dive into the cost of the whole operation. The cost of the entire system is a critical component of the selection process. There’s a kind of Goldilocks situation here; spend too little and you might end up with a subpar system, but spend too much and you could end up paying off the debt for years to come. Make a realistic budget and stick to it, factoring in the cost of installation and a management system as well as the hardware. And don’t worry — you can always add more to your system. Kisi allows you, for example, to choose two different plans and eventually upgrade in the future. You can also decide to add more readers or controllers in a second moment and start small.
We've created a dedicated article that breaks down the costs of installing a starting out with access control. You can find the article here.
Access Control Installation Checklist
Now that we've covered all the steps required to install access control, let's recap everything with a checklist:
- Start with asking yourself which areas in your facility require which security level.
- Decide which access control system is the more suitable for your needs, whether it is legacy or cloud-based (dedicated guide).
- Decide which unlock methods you need (keyfobs? cards? maybe none of the two?) and do not hesitate to ask an expert in case you have any doubt.
- Ask for a quote from an access control provider.
- Choose a suitable installer.
- You're all set!
- Extra step: eventually you can add more features to your plan in the future.
The process of choosing an access control system is one with plenty of moving parts, which can be difficult for anyone who wants to get started. Thankfully, the right research can make it easier, especially when starting with a clear objective and budget. Every facility’s ideal access control system will be a little different, so don’t be afraid to try something new, especially for unusual spaces or ideas. And be sure to check out Kisi’s line of access control products, which can streamline everything and last for years to come.
Are you evaluating which access control solution works best for your business? Take a look at what make Kisi's platform a game-changer in the industry.