Not something that you typically associate with business coaching and consulting, physical plant (facility) management and company technology infrastructure are an essential and frequently overlooked part of running a successful business. It is not the most glamorous part of running a business, but something that we have spent a lot of time working on over the years with our own companies and our clients, and its importance cannot be emphasized enough.
It is important to recognize that most companies have different levels of security needs. A defense contractor needs to be more secure than a bank, which needs to be more secure than a coffee shop, all of which have different needs than your home office. While there are many security needs, there are a few situations that apply to virtually every type of business.
If you have a physical location, you need to manage and monitor who accesses your business. If you have a retail business, you most likely have openers, closers, managers, and owners with keys to the facility. During the day, the door is open for customers to come and go; outside of business hours, it is locked. Simple keyed door locks are cheap and effective, but there are some pitfalls with this system.
- Lots of keys, possible to lose track of how many have been issued and who has them
- No log of who accesses the building and when
- No ability to “remove access” from a keyholder without changing the locks
Thankfully some simple systems can solve these problems. One option is to change the door lock to a keypad lock designed for residential applications, like these from Schlage, or change the locks to a quick change core traditional lock, like these from Kwikset. Even commercially available smart locks like August can work well in a simple access control world.
If you have a slightly more complicated or more extensive facility with more than one door and people that need different access levels, an option is to build a master key system. A trained locksmith should have no issue creating a hierarchical keyset plan for your facility. While this is an improved level of security, it is still based on a traditional key system and suffers from the same issues listed above.
A better option that can be managed as a standalone tool is a door access system using proxy cards or similar technologies. Most people think that those systems are hugely expensive and complex, and while they are more costly than traditional lock and key systems, they can be obtained within price points that most businesses can afford. A great option is the Access System by UniFi, which offers enterprise-level access control using phone tokens, proxy cards, and remote door opening controls, available in a starter kit for $499. There are additional hardware expenses beyond the initial $499, including installing the system, electric strikes or magnetic door locks, and a controller, but they are relatively minimal for the additional tools they provide. In addition to running the access system, the controller can also run your network, manage and record security cameras, and provide a VoIP phone system.
This is not intended to be an exhaustive list, but we hope it will make you stop and think about your current setup and bring some necessary attention to access control for your business.