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Why access control is important in the workplace

Helen Irias
By Helen Irias Product Marketer

A workplace is more than just a building. Sure, it has four walls and a ceiling. But at the heart of it lies all the people and ideas that define a company. Protecting these invaluable assets requires more than physical security.

Companies need to keep intellectual property out of the wrong hands, and prevent unauthorized people from wandering into the wrong areas of the workplace. At the same time, they need to make it easy for the people who belong there to get where they need to go. That’s why many workplaces invest in electronic access control systems.

What is access control?

In its simplest form, access control is a physical security method that controls or limits access to a space. In other words, it’s a way to make sure everyone who walks through the door is meant to be there.

Consider a basic form of access control we’re all familiar with: a house key. You might make copies of your key. Maybe just for yourself, or for a few specific people: family members, close friends, trusted neighbors. Those without a key aren’t necessarily welcome inside. If they tried to get in, it would be pretty difficult. 

The same general principle applies to the workplace. Many companies have restrictions around who’s allowed in their building. Or even who can enter certain floors or rooms. These are normal, necessary precautions to ensure no one is accidentally exposed to dangerous equipment or confidential information.

However, unlike a house, the workplace is regularly accessed by a high volume and variety of people. Often this includes folks from outside the company. At a grander scale, traditional methods of access control (like physical keys) don’t cut it. Even with a security desk, you’d have to verify that every visitor is who they say they are. By now, most companies have become frustrated with how time-consuming and unreliable paper and pen sign-in is. That’s why more companies have switched to electronic access control systems for their workplace. Common forms include:

  • Pin pad passwords
  • Mobile QR codes
  • Name badges
  • Security apps
  • Facial or fingerprint recognition

Benefits of an electronic access control system

An electronic access control system helps your workplace, employees, and bottom line thrive in many ways. Here are some of the top benefits of electronic access control in the workplace.

  • Protect your people, property, and network

Prevent theft, safety risks, and compliance breaches by requiring visitors to sign NDAs and watch safety videos before your access control system allows them in. Some workplace platforms also let you restrict workplace access based on health status. For example, you can make it so that visitors can only enter after an admin verifies their required health documents.

  • Know who’s on site at any given time 

Track who arrives and leaves and when they do so. A good solution automatically logs everyone who’s expected onsite, when they’re expected, and whether they’ve checked in. This is crucial in the event of an emergency. By automatically maintaining an up-to-date visitor log via your access control system, you can make sure everyone is accounted for without piling more work on your front desk admins.

  • Cut down on operational costs 

With electronic access control, there’s no longer a need to supply or replace keys, install or change locks, or employ as many security personnel. It’s all managed automatically. This kind of efficiency is especially impactful for large companies with multiple buildings and floors. Even more so for property owners of multi-tenant buildings. In those cases, companies can potentially save tens of thousands by integrating their access control system with their electronic equipment. Bring down energy bills by only powering floors and suites that are occupied that day. 

  • Improve employee experience and productivity

Access control can also streamline workplace experience for employees. Perhaps employees have slightly different entry criteria from visitors, but they can still automatically be granted or denied access to specific buildings, floors, or rooms. Not only will employees feel safer onsite, they will also appreciate having easy access to relevant areas of the workplace. They can get where they need to go without security personnel, and remain confident that everyone around them has approval to be there.

  • Verify identities faster with integrations 

Electronic access control systems have the uniquely convenient ability to connect to other workplace systems. The more tools you have integrated, the more routine tasks you can automate. Integrate with directory services like Azure or Active Directory to track and verify people faster. Or plug your access control solution into other tools you use to run your building, like HVAC, lighting, or parking systems. One efficient way to do this is by integrating with a visitor management system (VMS). The VMS sends the appropriate credentials to guests once an admin verifies them to come onsite. These systems can communicate and work together for comprehensive, seamless security.

It’s never too late to upgrade your workplace’s security standards. Start a free trial of Envoy Visitors and see how you can keep your company’s people and ideas safe.

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Helen Irias
Author Bio Helen Irias

Helen is a marketer at Envoy who loves helping customers create great experiences throughout the workplace and discover new features to make their lives easier. Outside of work, you can find Helen knitting oddly-sized blankets, going to hot yoga at the crack of dawn, or finding new hiking spots with her Frenchie.