Make Access Control Selection Easy by Asking These Questions

Stay Informed

Security professionals know that there is an almost endless supply of market-available access control solutions. The ensuing headaches that come from selecting the wrong system can be avoided by doing a little homework and asking the right questions. Having all the facts guarantees that you’ll choose a solution ideally suited to your customers' needs.

Here are top considerations every security professional should understand when selecting an access control system.

Where’s the best place to start?

Price shouldn’t be the only factor when selecting a system. System features, capabilities, integration and expansion ease should be priorities when selecting the most appropriate system for the job. Research the manufacturer’s reputation in the market. How many years has this manufacturer been creating access control hardware and/or software? Experience is always a good measure of expertise.

Have you researched other systems deployed by end users?

Many access control solutions haven’t withstood the test of time. Examine different solutions to see if they have proven results. What do others have to say about this solution? And remember this age-old maxim: tried, tested and true. The newest solution is not always the best.

Will you be able to upgrade the system, and at what cost?

End-user customers require a solution that satisfies their immediate and future system needs. The access control system you select may function well when it’s first installed, but as business needs grow and change, so do access control needs. You may find the system you choose isn’t conducive to future expansion. Perhaps the software has limiting governors. In this case, you may need to purchase new hardware and upgrade your software.

What third-party systems integrate with your current system?

This question could be the single most important aspect of selecting the right access control system. Intrusion systems, video management systems, visitor management and wireless locks all integrate with access control systems to provide a complete security solution. Some access control manufacturers offer great integration options with third-party vendors. Integration options are a good indicator of how seriously they take their business (and how seriously you should take them).

Is price a good determinant of value?

The least expensive solution is often that way for a reason. Making a decision on price alone can result in an incorrect choice. Think long term. You may get only basic software with upgrade fees for service, add-on modules, or system expansion. Perhaps the hardware is only suited for some installation scenarios and will not allow for desired expansion. You may find it costly to perform even the most basic upgrades or expansion. Price is an important factor, but don’t make it the only factor you take into consideration when selecting a system. 

What is the manufacturer’s reputation for technical support?

With any electronic system, there’s always the possibility that you’ll need support. When investigating a possible solution, see if the manufacturer offers technical support. Some support may be available, but at an additional cost. If there is a cost, is it reasonable?

Who is available to service your system?

Before choosing a solution, make sure your service expectations will be met. Consider if there are dealers and integrators in your area who can service your system when you need it. Having timely, convenient service is a priority your manufacturer should be able to fulfill.  

An Educational Decision

As you delve into the access control system selection process, you will find a multitude of options and considerations. Asking the right questions at the right time can save you a lot of work. Being informed will ensure that you make the right decisions for your customers' access control system investment.

The opinions expressed in this piece are solely Keyscan's. They do not necessarily represent WESCO’s views.

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