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Keeping The Workplace Secure With Access ID Cards

Sep 6, 2008
All businesses and facilities need to accept visitors at some time during the day - otherwise you would be working in a top security area, and even prisons accept visitors. It is vitally important to manage visitors in a secure way, but it is also important to process visitors quickly and simply. If it is too difficult to accept a visitor, reception staff will be tempted to ignore or bend the systems to make their life easier, and it is at that time that a security breach will happen.

From the smallest business to the largest, most companies still use a "signing in" system at the main reception desk. This typically works something along these lines:

1. The visitor arrives at the main entrance, and possibly has to pass a security point
2. The visitor approaches the main receptionist and anounnces who they are and who they are visiting
3. The receptionist gets them to sign into a visitors book, including car registration details and the time of arrival
4. The receptionist hands over a "visitors" card and points them in the right direction.

Sadly, this system is all to easy to beat. One story I know to be true is of a sales person arriving at a secure facility to which he had been several times before. Although there was a secured carpark, a simple wave and smile at the guard and the gates opened. The same was true at reception - the sales man simply looked like he know where he was going and went straight up to the department he was selling to. To get there he even had to pass through secure doors, which was simply accomplished by timing the approach carefully and smiling nicely at the person coming the other way. Security was breached and nobody knew anything about it.

If you value the security of your business more than that of the one above (and that was a real example from a high security company), then it is important to stop and look at the entrance procedures again, but from a modern technology perspective...

If your entrance gates are controlled by an electronic proximity sensor system, the gates can be automatically opened for authorised vehicles, and security alerted for visitors. Unwanted visitors are stopped even entering the site.

At reception, the receptionist can be warned when a visitor is approaching because they will not have a valid identification card. All staff can be monitored as they enter the building, including timing their entry and exit, and anyone without a card will have no choice but to approach the receptionist.

Once their identity is gathered, they can then be issued a temporary printed visitors card, which will contain the technology to allow them access only to the parts of the building to which they should visit, and to no other areas. The use of radio frequency access cards or identification cards is actually very straightforward, and the cost is not prohibitive, even for visitors.

As with any security system, secure doors are only as secure as the staff who use them. Staff policy should actively discourage the propping open of doors, and there should be a severe warning to staff who let people who they do not actually know or trust through any secure door. If an unwanted visitor cannot travel from one area to another without being detected by members of staff, any likelihood of a security breach is dramatically reduced.

Additional security can be added by using a different coloured security card for each day of the week - any intruders will stick out like a sore thumb!

Only by looking at your security system from the point of view of a determined and confident individual will you be able to prevent breaches and promote confidence in your systems to your customers.
About the Author
Mr Bradfield is a copy writer and web designer who works for 'The Cardnetwork' (http://www.thecardnetwork.co.uk), the most popular manufacturer of ID Cards, ID card printers and card supplies in the UK.
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