User's basic guide to access control

October 2004 Access Control & Identity Management

The outcome of the risk assessment of your premises will determine the level of security you require and in turn influence your choice of access control system to be used.

1. Risk assessment: Carry out a comprehensive risk assessment of your premises and decide the level of security you require before planning your access control system. Take into account any special features you may require.

2. Appearance: Your access control system is often the first impression made on visitors to your premises. Consider environmental aspects and the aesthetics of your building.

3. Ease of access: Examine the layout of your system. Do your entry and exit procedures allow legitimate users to pass without undue effort and delay?

4. Ergonomics: Consider the physical aspects. Can PIN pads, card and token readers be accessed without difficulty? Can displays be readily observed?

5. Training: Are your staff fully aware of the role and operation of your access control system? Your installer should provide adequate system training.

6. System management: The integrity of your access control systems must be preserved. Are you fully conversant with correct system management and administration procedures? Request well defined written procedures from your installer.

7. Database management: Are you aware of the legal implications concerning personal data held on your database?

8. System maintenance: Your installer should supply all relevant system documentation, eg, log books and service schedules. Are you aware of the actions required on systems breakdown? Do you have a satisfactory system maintenance agreement in place?

9. Interaction: Your access control system may supplement other security measures. Consider system compatibility.

10. Compliance: Are you and your company compliant with: Promotion Of Access To Information Act; Regulation Of Interception Of Communications; Electronic Communication And Transactions (Critical Databases And Consumer Protection). Are you familiar with the basics of Data Privacy Law in South Africa?

11. Objectives: Are your desired objectives being satisfied? If necessary, carry out a further risk assessment and address any shortcomings accordingly.

Access control is only one important element of your overall security system.

Source: British Security Industry Association,

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