A successful business is a swarm of moving parts—often quite literally. The more successful a business becomes, the likelihood increases that a higher volume of employees, vendors, and other visitors will move through its doors every day, making securing the building increasingly difficult. Ensuring employees access only the areas of the building there supposed to—and keeping visitors out of sensitive areas—can seem downright impossible without hiring costly security staff to stand guard.
Of course, there’s a simpler answer to this common problem. Card access, or access control, systems have become commonplace in a variety of industries to both control the traffic through a business on any given day and add a layer of protection as part of a comprehensive security solution. With a card access system’s ability to grant access only to cardholders—and its ability to identify said cardholders and allow them access only to appropriate areas—businesses are afforded more flexibility and security than those operating under outdated lock-and-key setups.
As ubiquitous as card access systems are, surprisingly few people understand how the technology works—and how it can help protect their business and help to alleviate some of the logistical stress that running a business creates. We’ve taken the time to identify the basic components of a card access system and illuminate how a customized EPS card access system can take your business security to the next level.
How does a card access system work?
In the most basic sense, a card access system is a smart “lock and key” system for your business. Electronic card readers and magnetic locks are installed at doors throughout your facility. Schedules are set for each individual door through a computer program, and the magnetic locks remain engaged for the times dictated by the schedule. For instance, if your business is open 8am to 5pm, you can schedule your front doors to remain locked from 5pm to 8am every night.
The electronic card readers allow for verified users to scan a card or fob to gain access to an otherwise locked door. Because each card can be programmed individually, a card access administrator can determine which employees can have access to certain areas. The customization options inherent to a card access system allow for a business owner to be granted access to every location within their business but a warehouse worker to be restricted strictly to the warehouse.
EPS Security card access systems use radio frequency identification technology, more commonly known as RFID. Unique identification data is programmed to a card, and the card shares that data when it is near a card reader via electromagnetic waves. Depending on the design and device, RFID readers can pick up a card or fob from several inches to several feet away. The data is then run through the card access database, and if that card has been programmed to access that specific door, the magnetic lock disengages, granting access to the cardholder.
The unique identification data can be encoded to a variety of small objects. Most commonly, the data is stored on credit card-sized cards and kept in wallets or on a lanyard. Key fobs are also widely used so employees can keep their fobs on their keychains. Even tags and stickers can be encoded with RFID data, allowing for “cards” to be attached to windshields and enabling card access scanning for vehicles at dock gates and other checkpoints.
The variety of options available for encoding allows EPS to engineer a solution specific to our customers’ business needs. That being said, wallet cards are overwhelmingly the most popular card option for businesses. For those looking at encoding cards onsite, card printers can be purchased and data can be encoded to “printable” cards made of PVC or other materials. This allows for an onsite card administrator to print cards for new employees or even create temporary day passes for visitors.
Why does my business need a card access system?
Card access systems are designed to provide intuitive, customizable, and secure protection for businesses in ways that traditional “brick and mortar” locks and keys cannot. Not only can a card access system keep your building locked down when you need it to, but it can also control the flow of traffic throughout your business and keep both visitors and employees in the area they should be. Benefits of a card access system include:
Card access systems are highly customizable when it comes to setting door schedules. If your front door needs to lock at a different time than your employee door, you can set separate schedules for individual doors. Need to shut down for Christmas? Your doors can be set to a holiday schedule for unique business hours. You can even grant individual users access to individual doors for unique time frames, which means your employees will always be only where they should be.
Because each cardholder has their own unique electronic signature, you can determine exactly when an employee accessed any door on any given day. This can be used to ensure employees are arriving in a timely manner or check to see who accessed a specific area during a time frame in which an incident occurred.
Limit access to restricted areas of a building
You don’t want employees accessing personnel files or other sensitive data, so don’t let them. Card access systems give you the flexibility to determine who gets to access what door and when. This is also handy for keeping visitors in common spaces and out of hazardous or otherwise private areas of your business.
Grant visitor passes
Do you have a vendor coming in for the day, or a spouse visiting an employee for lunch? Creating a temporary card for them is a breeze, and if they forget to bring the card back, you can simply turn off their access, ensuring that the card cannot be used to gain access to your building and maintaining security integrity.
Control multiple buildings from a single hub
Large complexes or campuses may contain multiple buildings and can be a headache to secure. Card access systems make the task simpler by consolidating controls to a single interface, allowing one person to manage the doors for multiple buildings.
Initiate emergency lockdowns
In the event of an emergency, every magnetic lock on the system can be engaged, securing all of the doors and preventing access to the facility from the outside or preventing movement within the building.
The benefits of a card access system are evident, but there’s something to be said for having a system installed, managed, and maintained by an authority in the field of business security. At EPS Security, we’ve engineered unique card access solutions for small businesses, college campuses, large industrial complexes, and more, and we’ve been at it for more than sixty years. While we choose top-of-the-line brands for our hardware and software, our knowledge base includes a wide variety of more niche systems, allowing us to help new customers with existing systems or giving us an advantage when it comes to replacing archaic devices with superior equipment. Finally, an EPS-installed card access system is highly customizable long after installation. If you add on to your business or simply want more readers on more doors, engineering an expansion of your existing system is typically a breeze.
Unlike many other security providers, we also offer the option of EPS Managed Card Access. We have a team of highly-trained card access specialists dedicated to managing our customers’ card programming so they don’t have to. Our specialized management benefits include:
Code and permission management
Having a dedicated person committed to managing a business’ (or multiple businesses’) card access can be time consuming—and expensive. Our card access specialists can commit code changes, add and remove employees, and change employee access permissions quickly. There’s no need for you or anyone on your team to spend timing learning the card access software or process untold numbers of changes. All you need to do is submit the request to the EPS Managed Card Access team and you’re all set to go.
Can manage multiple sites
As aforementioned, managing multiple sites can be stressful and downright unwieldy—but we’re used to it. We can change door schedules, employee permissions, and make code changes for multiple sites. We manage thousands of our customers’ systems every day, so you could say we’re pretty good at it by now.
Emergency schedule/code changes
Sometimes you need a holiday schedule processed or an employee’s card deleted ASAP. No worries—just submit an emergency request our way and we’ll process it post-haste.
Unique business solutions for your unique business
The protection of your employees and property is of the utmost importance, so investing in a comprehensive card access system pays dividends in the future. Trust in EPS Security and our nearly 65 years of industry experience to provide you with the security and peace of mind of an EPS system. Let our experienced security consultants and Engineers evaluate your business’s unique needs and develop a card access system that both protects your business and provides you with the convenience you deserve. Whether you’re looking to install a card access system for the first time or needing to replace your current outdated devices, find out why more and more people are turning to EPS Security for their card access management solutions—and discover the EPS Advantage firsthand.