These days, instead of mechanical locks and keys, technologically-advanced access control keep buildings safe from intruders and sticky fingers. These systems rely on RFID keycards, electromagnetic locking mechanisms, smartphone credentials—and even fingerprint and facial scanners—to keep property safe.

But when you’re planning an access control system for your building or workplace, how do you identify all the features and technology you require? Consider these questions to get a better chance of creating an access control and security strategy that is suitable for your needs.

1. How Safe Is the Neighborhood?


Different areas of the United States are “safer” than others—as this crime map from 2014 clearly indicates. The same is true for different neighborhoods in your city. The strength of your access control system should be influenced by the safety of your neighborhood.

Most business owners have a natural sense for local crime levels, but you may want to reach out to your local police department and nearby businesses to ask:

  • Are nearby companies getting robbed?

  • What do police recommend for building security in your area?

  • Should you lock the door to reception during business hours?

  • Do the windows need bars?

  • How do criminals break into facilities when crimes occur?

  • Are physical attacks and muggings in parking lots common?

When you know how police and neighboring businesses answer these questions, you can measure the level of “criminal threat” to your business. This will reveal: (1) whether a basic access control system with a minimum of security features is sufficient; or (2) whether you should invest in stronger tech, heavier-duty locks, on-premises security guards and take other measures to safeguard your facility. 

2. Could Other Factors Degrade Your Access Control System?

In addition to the criminal threats, consider other external and environmental factors that could compromise the utility of your access control system over time:

  • Could severe weather conditions—like ice, snow, rain, flooding or hurricanes—be a concern in your area?

    Your access control system needs to endure these severe conditions.

  • Do high and low temperatures threaten your access control components?

    Extremely high and low temperatures could render certain access control systems inoperable.

  • Are vandals a concern?

    Some areas have a high rate of vandalism. Vandals won’t break into your property, but they’ll destroy anything that’s publicly accessible on the outside of your building.

3. Can You Improve Security With Environmental Design?

Beyond your access control system, you may want to consider the principles of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED). CPTED thwarts crimes on your property by focusing on the following four security areas:

  • Natural surveillance:

    Natural surveillance relates to whether your external grounds are free of areas where would-be muggers and burglars can hide. By increasing visibility with lighting, and clearing away bushes, mounds of dirt, trees and potential hiding spots, criminals will feel less welcome on your property.

  • Natural access control:

    Natural access control uses lighting, pathways, boundaries and landscaping techniques to direct foot traffic along specific paths. This keeps people in designated areas and traffic flows, which you can monitor with cameras. Also, anyone walking through the middle of a field alone will draw more attention.

  • Territorial reinforcement:

    Territorial reinforcement sets up clear boundaries with high shrubs and fences to distinguish between public and private access areas. When someone crosses one of these boundaries inappropriately, it’s clearer that the intruder is up to no good.

  • Maintenance:

    A poorly maintained property invites criminal activity. It sends a loud and clear message that no one is paying attention, and a crime will go unnoticed. By keeping the grounds and property well-maintained, criminals will look for another victim.

4. Can You Do More to Stop Employee Theft?

Sometimes, the most serious security concerns for a business come from the inside. Internal theft by employees caused 30 percent of inventory shrink in 2018. Larger corporations do a lot to combat internal theft threats, but smaller companies with fewer than 150 employees don’t tend to invest enough resources to stop the problem.


When employee theft is a concern, businesses can benefit from the most advanced access control solutions that we provide at Openpath—like using fingerprint scanners and facial recognition software with a smartphone-based, access control system.

Smartphone access control solutions help business owners monitor, lock down and control who is accessing specific areas of their premises. They also prevent employees from passing around or stealing the access control cards of others.

5. Do You Need Help Evaluating Your Access Control Requirements?

At Openpath, we’re the experts on “keeping honest people honest” (the high-tech way). We know it’s difficult for the average person to identify all the security vulnerabilities of their properties. That’s why our team is here to help you determine the exact access control features your building requires. We can design your new mobile access control system from the ground up, or we can upgrade your existing setup. Contact us to speak with an expert about your security infrastructure questions and access control costs.

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