I was responding to post on a professional networking site today and it got me thinking about how wireless access control door hardware is revolutionizing the access control industry. It’s an area of security that I doubt very many – unless you happen work for a manufacturer of these products – have given enough thought to. At first blush, wireless access control locking hardware is an obvious way of bringing down the “cost per opening” in an integrated system because; well… you don’t have to run wires to the door. Pretty simple concept, right?
Further consideration will reveal however that it goes much deeper. Wireless access control locking devices are just one part of a continuum of “at the door” security system components. This is important because the accepted cost per opening in the security industry for access control is from $3,000 to $5,000 per opening; once everything is said and done. These new wireless products – especially WiFi based products because they completely eliminate the need for additional hardware infrastructure – can cut that cost nearly in half. Certainly these new technologies are not appropriate for every opening, but if all the available technologies are deployed in the system design the security budget will purchase much more for the same price. So instead of putting access control on only the perimeter and/or high security or high use openings you can now, for the same price tag, deploy access control on many more openings. This revolutionizes how systems are to be designed.
System designers can no longer just say “this door will have access control and this one won’t” because the choices are now more complicated. The designer needs to look at each opening, consider the assets being protected, the threats and vulnerabilities associated with those assets and then apply the appropriate level of protection utilizing a whole host of available technologies and products. It only makes sense. We’ve been designing security programs and systems utilizing these criteria for years, but never applied them to access control because there were not very many options at the door.
The bottom line is that system design has become more complex but systems designed using the entire continuum of access control system components available today are much more affordable and more secure.