Ask the Experts: John Krumme and Jack VanDenBerg

This month’s experts discuss managed service, a new option for access control

An unmanned utility site located 50 miles from company headquarters, a small office for a sole law practitioner located in the middle of a downtown block and a medical facilities warehouse that employs 200 people have one thing in common: they need access control.

ISSUE: What are some of the newest options for facilities needing access control?

SOLUTION: Instead of a traditional access control system in which the end user is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the system, many organizations are now realizing the value of outsourcing, known as hosted access control. Rather than dedicate their own time, or that of employees, those charged with protecting businesses are choosing managed access services.

In this arrangement, a third-party vendor—usually a system integrator —installs readers and control panels, provides cards and populates the database with employee information. System servers and software reside offsite at the vendor's location. The vendor monitors and maintains the system while providing customized daily, weekly or monthly reports to meet the end user's needs.

By outsourcing their access control needs, many organizations can get a more robust system that often costs no more than a traditional user-operated system.

Another major benefit of hosted services is the provider's ability to offer remote diagnostics. Through constant monitoring of the system, the provider can immediately spot hardware or software problems and make corrections remotely. This can be very valuable when remote sites require significant travel time.

Hosted systems also can integrate with cameras to provide video of alarms and can remotely lock and unlock doors at times defined by the end user. During an emergency situation, especially at a college or university, this can help with an immediate lockdown of campus buildings.

ISSUE: In what other ways is hosted access control useful?

SOLUTION: Those end users with the staff to handle day-to-day database maintenance may choose a slight variation of managed access services. The provider installs onsite equipment and maintains the server and software at its location, but the end user is responsible for card additions and deletions as employees are hired and terminated.

In both case, end users are able to make use of new access technologies such as biometrics, wireless readers and edge reader/controllers. And hosted systems allow for end users to check in on the operation of the system, either onsite or remotely over a secured Internet connection at any time.

These access control options may not be the right choice for every end user. Organizations with fully staffed physical security departments may opt for a traditional system in which the user retains full responsibility for operation and maintenance.

READER QUESTION: My wife and I recently opened a 12-room bed-and-breakfast inn and spent a lot of money on remodeling. Now we want to add some security equipment—maybe a small camera system—to cover our parking lot, lobby and dining area. Can that be done without significantly demolishing our beautifully restored inn or inconveniencing our guests?

SOLUTION: Consider the layout of your inn, the type of memory storage and DVR access you're looking for, the location of the DVR and monitor, and the view you want from your cameras.

Consider a DVR with remote Internet access and plenty of storage capacity, as well as the ease to store captured images to an external memory stick or CD. The remote access will allow you to view a current or recorded image from a different location without having to be on site. Choosing the suitable amount of storage depends on how many days of storage you want and at what frame rate. The frame rate refers to fluidity of motion that you want to view; the more fluid the motion, the more storage it requires.

When choosing a camera, you need to decide on a few things: How will it be connected to the DVR? What view do you want, based on the location of the camera and what you want to see? What quality of picture do you desire?

The camera can be connected to the DVR either by hardwire or a wireless connection. Hardwiring requires some drilling through walls with exposed wire mounted with clips or in conduit. If you use a wireless connection, you have to take into consideration the building structure. Also keep in mind that wireless connections tend to be more expensive than hardwired.

The location of the camera may determine the quality of camera you choose. Also, consider what type of resolution, signal—either an analog or digital—and lens you desire.

You also may want to consider a stand-alone locking system for each door. SALTO Systems provides a wireless access control system at an affordable price for this type of application.

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    April 2021


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