What to do first if your physical access control system is obsolete
So your physical access control system is obsolete or no longer meets your needs? What steps should you take towards choosing a replacement? And what do you need to consider to ensure a smooth and successful migration?
Consult closely with other departments
The first step, and a crucial one, is to consult with the right people internally about their wants and needs in relation to physical access control. This should include departments such as IT, HR and facilities management, for example, as well as your security team. Let’s look at why.
As today’s advanced physical access control systems are powered by software and run on your IP network, it’s essential to involve your IT team in the planning and decision making. They can help you mitigate the risk of your new system being compromised, especially by cyber threats, while also protecting their wider IT network and other systems connected to it.
If your access control system integrates easily with your HR database, it offers various ways to increase security and efficiency. Authorisations can be automatically updated, for example, when roles change. And data doesn’t have to be entered into your access control system separately, which avoids wasted time and reduces the risk of errors. Your HR team can also support you in protecting the privacy of employee data.
When it comes to teams such as facilities management, the value of their input shouldn’t be overlooked. They can, for example, tell you the kind of access control data and integrations that would help them manage your buildings efficiently and safely.
You may also want to consult other departments, such as your legal team. They can help to increase your understanding of the growing number of regulations and laws businesses are subject to. So you can select an access control system that enables compliance with them, as well as your own security policies.
Appoint experienced external partners
As well as collaborating with the right people internally, you’ll also need to appoint the right external partners. Investing in a new physical access control system is an opportunity to reclarify or establish your goals, priorities and requirements. It’s a chance to significantly increase security, while also bringing a lot of added value.
When it comes to selecting, designing, rolling out and operating a new system, a security consultant can offer invaluable knowledge and experience, and an impartial viewpoint. It’s important, for example, that your new system’s design is based on current and future security issues and your evolving needs; it shouldn’t be limited by your existing system’s functionality. A consultant can also help you to consider how your existing hardware can be reused or replaced.
Your choice of vendor is vital too. Make sure they have a neutral market overview and can provide you with an open platform capable of the design and integrations you’re looking for.
Use a cast-iron procurement process
Ideally, it’s best to avoid a time-consuming tender process if you can. But if you do put out a tender to prospective vendors, it’s important it’s as specific as possible. This will enable you to compare like for like and assess how each vendor responds to your challenges and requirements.
Your tender should explain your business goals and clearly document your requirements in a performance-based specification. And your procurement process should involve several steps, including pre-qualification of integrators, to methodically narrow down your choices.
How to ensure a seamless switch to a new access control system
Once you’ve selected a new system and the integrator that will be installing it, you need to think about the best approach for making the switch. If you’ve chosen your integrator carefully, they’ll have the in-depth experience and system knowledge to advise you well, but here are some key things to think about.
To successfully migrate your data to a new access control system, it’s key to do the appropriate analysis and preparation – something an experienced installation partner can help with. Don’t miss the opportunity to cleanse and streamline your data and create a single, labour-saving source of truth in your new access control system.
Avoiding system downtime
Good quality vendors can build and configure your system in advance. They can then test and accept it off-site, which reduces on-site time and disruption for your business. A high-quality modern access control system can even run alongside your existing system, so the switch can be made slowly with no downtime.
Reusing hardware and infrastructure
Migrating to a new access control system doesn’t have to mean replacing all your hardware, cabling and linked systems. If you make the right choice, you may be able to keep many of your existing investments – even if it’s just in the short term to help you minimise disruption and spread the outlay.
Integrating access control with other systems
If you select a physical access control system, it should be able to integrate with a wide range of other systems, such as visitor management and CCTV. It’s important to check with your integrator before you migrate, however, that there are certified and tested integrations available for your new system.
How can you be sure your new system won’t quickly become obsolete itself? When you choose a future-proof and scalable access control system, such as AEOS, this shouldn’t be an issue. There’s no end-of-life with AEOS because it’s software-based, and the software for both the controllers and application is regularly updated and futureproofed.
Not sure whether or not your system is at the end of its life? Read part 1, which covers how to tell if your physical access control system is obsolete.
Are you faced with the task of migrating to a new access control system?
Switching to a new system can appear to be a major challenge. But, managed well, it’s a challenge that’s relatively easy to overcome. We’ve developed a clear 10-step plan, and outlined how you can minimise the impact of access control migration on your organisation.
Download our whitepaper to learn more.