Effective entrance security means managing access for employees and visitors whilst preventing entry to unauthorised individuals.
As architects, how do you go about selecting the best entrance control solution for your clients?
You will need to consider factors such as the level of security required, expected flow rates and methods of identification. And, as the reception area of an office creates that all important first impression, there is also the aesthetic aspect to consider. As you know, entrance gates should add to the overall look and feel of a site and create a welcome environment.
Here are nine tips for top office security for you to discuss with your clients:
Automated entrance control gates prevent non-authorised individuals from passing beyond the reception area.
Using a carefully placed array of sensors, entrance systems such as speed gates are able to detect many different types of entrance fraud. The system will then either reject passage or alert security staff that someone is attempting unauthorised entry.
Make sure that your entrance control gates can tackle the following types of entrance fraud:
Tailgating and piggybacking
Tailgating is an attempt to enter a restricted area by following closely behind
someone with the correct authorisation without their consent.
Piggybacking is the same as tailgating except that the authorised person is helping to give access to the unauthorised individual.
In both cases, sensors should detect when there is more than one person walking into the entrance system.
Lane intrusion time out
Standing in the entry area too long can also be an attempt at entry fraud,
with the person waiting for someone else to open the gates with a valid ID so that they can pass.
Attempting to pass through an entrance system from the opposite direction.
Most speed gates can be configured to allow passage in either direction but
they always clearly indicate where passage is allowed (green arrow) and where it is denied (red cross).
Sensors detect when there is someone entering the gate from the opposite direction without accreditation.
Climb over and crawl under
Attempting to jump or scale the entrance system or attempting to crawl under the flaps or panels of an entrance system. Sensors around the base of an entrance system detect the body of a person crawling.
Manually forcing open the flaps or panels of an entrance system.
Make sure there is an area where visitors can register and have their credentials checked before being given a pass to enter the building. This is very important during peak hours. Try and process visitors away from the main desk – or at just one end of it – to avoid partially blocking access to the entrance system during registration. This will prevent queues from forming unnecessarily. Also, make sure you provide clear directions for people who are new to the building.
Ensure the entrance gates are configurable to accept those methods of identification selected. Entrance security systems can be integrated with a range of access control readers and peripherals such as cameras, card readers, keypads, biometric identification, ticket validators, token collectors, barcode scanners and people counters.
The entrance system does not normally affect throughput, but the identification type will typically impact it enormously. For example, contactless forms of identification are much faster than using a card and a keypad.
It is also important to note that the speed of throughput largely depends on the human factor. If proxy cards are used, for example, and employees are asked to wear them around their neck, make sure the cord is long enough to reach the gate. Otherwise, they will remove the badge when they get to the entrance and slow things down.
Find out what the peak flow rate is for the site and select a system which can handle that level of throughput. The flow rate measures how many people can pass through an entrance system in one minute.
Meeting security and flow rate requirements is often a balancing act since the higher the security, the lower the throughput. So, analyse the flow patterns specific to the office building to ensure you get the right mix. Look at how the rate rises and falls during the day, for example.
Also, bear in mind that the speed of throughput is impacted by the type of identification method chosen and the ease with which individuals can authenticate themselves.
Finally, consider how you will provide extra space for disabled access and whether you will need to allow for bidirectional passage.
It is important that your entrance solution is safe for staff and visitors to use and meets all the required standards and local regulations. Consider how the entrance system will act in emergency situations such as evacuation and investigate anti-panic options.
Entrance control solutions must complement the architecture – it should add to the overall design, not detract from it. Look for a solution where the design can be customised. A 3D configurator is an excellent tool for giving you a real picture of the architectural impact an entrance system will have and will also allow you to test different options.
Return on investment
Ask the security provider for an ROI calculation. This takes into account the initial cost of the entrance system offset against potential savings from any of the following:
- Long product lifecycle
- Uptime and product reliability
- Energy efficiency
- Replacement or reduction of staff presence
Maintain a tidy reception area which is easy to search and where foreign items cannot be easily hidden from view. Make sure that there is enough space to control the entrance gates and to help visitors with access.
You should also minimise any design features in the reception area which block lines of sight.
Make sure all reception staff understand the procedures for security in that area and know how to act in the event of an emergency. Once installed, technical and operational training for staff on how the entrance system works is important for its successful use. Also ensure that the benefits of the system are clearly explained (safety, control, automation) as this will ease the change process.
This article was provided by Gunnebo, a global leader in providing security equipment and systems with an integrated approach covering design, manufacture and installation combining a customised maintenance and service package.