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You may be debating about the pros and cons of physical access control. Yet it’s not a new concept. Chances are, unless you leave your business or campus buildings unlocked, you’ve already been using a form of access control for years.

The Limits of Lock & Key

Locks and the keys that open them are the oldest form of physical access control, with the possible exception of posting guards. Proprietary locks and keys demand that someone have a key that can only be distributed by the business they work for. The business usually doesn’t make the keys, but they do decide who gets the keys, how many are made, and they control the blank from which any new keys would be made. Yet is this still enough for most businesses?

It’s a simple approach, and effective to keep wayward or curious customers out of certain areas or buildings. Yet the disadvantage is that anyone determined to bypass the lock can get past it fairly easily. Essentially, this means anyone who’s planned ahead and has a basic knowledge of lock picking.

This means that locks like this are really only effective for securing items and information of low value. They may not even meet certain legal standards if what you’re keeping behind the door is personal information.

Physical Access Control

There are two ways to secure against this. The first is catching up to modern physical access control: keycards are much more difficult to duplicate, and their locks are much more complex meaning you can’t break them easily. It’s not like the movies or TV where someone plugs in a smart phone and cracks a keycard in 20 seconds. That’s not a real technology burglars possess. Keycard access is a real, functional of deflecting the vast majority of burglars who can break a regular lock.

The other part to this is CCTV cameras. This can act as a deterrent to most burglars. Seeing a camera monitoring them lets them know that if they commit a crime, they’re much, much more likely to be caught. If someone does commit a crime, it CCTV cameras vastly increases your chances of getting what was stolen back, and providing evidence for insurance purposes. In fact, both physical access control and CCTV can lower your insurance rates.