Access Control: 5 Best Practices

Proper security requires more than having the right set of tools – you also need to use them the right way. It doesn’t matter if you have unbreakable encryption if the user keeps their password set as “password.” The same goes for access control. If your gated community, apartment building, or office complex uses access control to manage how people get in, you’ll want to make it as easy as possible for your residents and employees to employ best practices and keep the area safe.

Limit PRIVILEGES based on need

limit access control

This is one of the most key points for employing effective access control but gets looked over too often – not everyone needs to have all of the privileges. The way most administrators manage this is to give each person the minimum access required and nothing more. For example, if your gated community has multiple developments in the property with their own gates, residents should only be able to access their sub-development. In an office setting, maybe the marketing department doesn’t need access to accounting and vice versa. It is always easier to add more privileges than to revoke them.

keep Access control list up to date

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Having top-notch access control is easily undermined by not keeping your approved access list up to date. As soon as an employee leaves the company or a resident moves out, they should be taken off the approved list. If the management is not proactively monitoring this, it is easy for the list to get out of hand.

Rotate access codes

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If your gated community uses a 4-digit code for both residents and visitors, do you know how many people have that code at the end of the month, or the end of the year? How often you change the code will depend on how large your community is, and whether or not you can create unique codes for each visitor (although this poses another problem as giving out dozens or hundreds of variations of codes makes it easier for someone to randomly guess one of them). Many communities and office buildings are moving away from codes altogether, in favor of solutions like RFID and smartphone access.

maintain a secure Visitor log

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When someone opens your gate or accesses the building, do you know who it was and when? If you’re using a generic visitor code, it’s impossible to tell who actually used the code (without crosschecking with security footage). Maintaining a secure visitor log requires having the right procedures in place to be able to even capture the necessary information. If your building or community doesn’t use RFID or smartphone access, you will want to give each resident or employee a unique visitor code to share so at least the usage can be somewhat tracked. However, it’s better to go with a system that can generate a different ID for each visitor.

Balance security and convenience

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Despite all of the recent advances in technology, there is a core truth about security that cannot be innovated around – the more secure an area is, the less convenient it will be to access. Think about the most extreme example. A room with no doors or windows is the safest possible, but it is pretty inconvenient. Each layer of security you add to your access control is another layer getting in the way of convenience, so it is important to find a reasonable balance between the two that works for your needs.

These are a few of the best practices for access control for your community or office to take into consideration. Are there any that we missed? Let us know!

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