What is in this article?:
- Controlled Viewing
- On the Web
- St. John's High School: A Web-based system maintained onsite
If you are looking to install an access-control system or replace an existing system, it is important to understand the new options in electronic access control (EAC). The case for replacing lock-and-key systems, particularly in an education environment, is clear-cut: lost and stolen keys present a risk; there are no records of user access or unauthorized attempts to access; there is no control over when users can enter and no lock-down capability;and re-keying can be expensive. By using an electronic access-control system, schools have more control over the physical security of buildings and campuses, and can save a significant amount of money over the life of the system.
Understanding the features and functions provided by new technologies in physical security is key to selecting the best option.
A “traditional” electronic access-control system entails software installed on a dedicated computer situated within the building being controlled. This is a common setup, but it is outdated; trying to maintain the integrity of a security program can lead to disastrous problems.
Why? Operating systems get upgraded, and the original software may no longer work or be supported. Computers are stolen, and schools can lose the ability to administer the system, but even worse, the user database can be compromised. Software is licensed, and if schools want to install the software on another computer, they may need to buy another license. New features are added to later versions of software, and institutions often need to buy and install upgrades to get full system benefits.
Many traditional electronic access-control systems aren't very network-friendly; they were not designed to reside on a network. Instead, these systems have been forced onto the network with the use of third-party serial-to-IP converters. This often results in IT administrators requiring separate networks for physical security in order to keep their core network and applications from being affected by devices and applications that make it difficult or impossible to carry out system policies.