Ask the Experts: John Krumme and Jack VanDenBerg
This month’s experts discuss managed service, a new option for access control
- By Security Products Staff
- Feb 03, 2010
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
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
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
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
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.