Securing Your Small Business: The Importance of Access Control

As a small business owner, ensuring the safety and security of your employees and property is of the utmost importance. But with so many other responsibilities to manage, it can be challenging to know where to start. This is where access control systems come in.

These powerful tools are essential for small businesses looking to protect their assets, employees, and customers while keeping their operations running smoothly. But why exactly do small businesses need access control? In this article, we will explore the importance of access control and the many benefits that it can provide.

What Is an Access Control System?

An access control system is a type of security system that controls and monitors entry to a building and the rooms within. It typically uses identification methods, such as a card or biometric data, to grant or deny access to a person. The goal is to ensure that only authorized people can enter restricted areas and keep track of who enters and exits.

There are several types of access control systems available, each with unique features and capabilities. Here are some common types of access control systems.

Proximity Card Systems

These systems use cards or key fobs with a proximity chip to grant access to a building or area. Users simply hold the card or key fob near a reader, and the system will either grant or deny entry based on the user's access credentials.

Proximity cards are a budget-friendly access control system that offers basic security. They are relatively simple to use and maintain. They are often used in office buildings or gated communities.

Smart Card Systems

These systems use smart cards, which contain an embedded microprocessor, to grant access. On the outside, they look the same as proximity cards. But smart cards are used for purposes other than access control, such as time and attendance tracking. They are also more secure.

Because of these more advanced features, it is no surprise that they are more expensive than regular proximity cards. They are more common in large organizations with many employees and complex security needs. But small businesses can also benefit from using them.

Biometric Systems

This type of system grants building access to employees based on physical characteristics, such as fingerprints, facial recognition, or iris scans. It is more secure than traditional card-based systems, as it is based on an individual's unique and unchangeable characteristics.

It is also very convenient because your employees don't need keys, pin codes, or cards they might forget. They only need to bring themselves. Biometric access control systems are commonly used in high-security environments such as government buildings or financial institutions.

Keypad Systems

A keypad system requires users to enter a PIN code on a keypad to gain access to a building or area. It is relatively simple and can be easily integrated with other security systems. You can set different PIN codes for different parts of the building. This ensures that only authorized personnel are allowed in restricted areas.

This type of system can be used in different environments, including office buildings and retail stores. It is very convenient because you only need to set one code for each keypad once. Of course, you may need to change it every time an employee resigns.  

Mobile Access Systems

With the rising popularity of smartphones, more business owners prefer using a mobile access control system.

This type of system uses smartphones or other mobile devices to grant access. Employees must log in to an app and scan their QR code at the door to enter or exit a building. Some mobile access systems make use of Bluetooth technology. Employees only need to wave their mobile devices in front of a sensor to access controlled areas.

Another advantage of mobile access control systems is that they aren't just used for physical access. You also get to control which employees have access to sensitive digital data. With the help of cloud-based technology, you can easily send the right identification code to the right person straight to their phone.

Eight Access Control Considerations

When choosing an access control system for a building, there are plenty of factors to consider to ensure that the system is the best choice for your needs. These include the following.

1. Type of Building

The type of building where your business is located plays a key role when choosing an access control system. For example, a business located in a single-story building with only a few entry and exit points may only require a simple keypad or card reader system. These systems are relatively inexpensive and easy to install and can be programmed to grant access only to authorized individuals.

On the other hand, if your company is in a multi-story building with many entry and exit points, a more advanced method may be necessary. An example would be a system that uses biometrics as entry credentials for better security.

2. Number of Users

It is always nice to have the latest and greatest technology, but it isn't always needed. Smaller companies with a limited number of employees can make do with a simple keypad or proximity card. These systems are easy to manage and maintain, as the administrator can easily add or remove users as needed.

A more advanced system with a larger capacity may be necessary as the number of users increases. For example, a system that uses biometrics can provide a higher level of security and handle a large number of users at the same time.

3. Security Requirements

Different types of access control systems provide different levels of security. Some are used for controlling access to specific areas within a building. Others may be better for monitoring employee attendance or restricting access to sensitive information or equipment. So, think about what exactly you need to help you choose the right system.

4. Scalability

The system should be able to grow and change with the business, and it is essential to choose a system that can be easily scaled up or down as needed. A scalable system will be able to accommodate an increasing number of users and devices as the business grows without requiring major upgrades or additional hardware.

It also allows for the seamless integration of new technologies as they become available. This means the system can be upgraded to include new features such as biometric authentication and mobile access without replacing the entire system.

5. Integration with Other Systems

When an access control system is integrated with other security systems, such as CCTV cameras, it allows for real-time monitoring and recording of who is entering and exiting the facility. This can provide valuable information in the event of a security breach or other incident. It also allows security personnel to identify and respond to potential threats quickly.

6. User-Friendliness

The access control system should be easy to use and understand. It should have a simple and intuitive interface, with clear and concise instructions and prompts. This will make it easier for employees and administrators to use and navigate.

A user-friendly system also allows for easy management and maintenance of the system. This makes it easier for admins to add or remove users, change access permissions, and troubleshoot any issues that may arise, which helps reduce the time and resources required to manage and maintain the system.

7. Cost

Access control systems can vary greatly in cost. So it is important to consider how much the system is and how it fits into your budget. Understanding the total cost can help you plan for ongoing expenses, such as maintenance and upgrades. This ensures you have the necessary funds to sustain the system over time. It is also essential to balance the cost with the level of security the system can provide.

8. Customer Support

Access control systems can be complex and may require ongoing maintenance and support. A good customer support team can assist with troubleshooting and resolving any issues that may arise. They can also provide guidance on best practices for maintaining and upgrading the system to ensure that it continues to meet your security needs. So when choosing a provider, make sure you consider the level of customer support they offer.

Reasons Why Your Small Business Needs Access Control

Security is an issue for businesses of all sizes. Even small companies can benefit from controlling access to their premises. Here are some reasons why you may want to install an access control system in your facility.

Increased Security

Small businesses, especially the ones with physical inventory, are a prime target for theft. Even office supplies and equipment can be stolen.

But it isn't other people you should be worried about. The ones meaning your business harm are closer than you think. Did you know that employee theft is more likely to happen in the workplace than an actual burglary?

A University of Cincinnati study found that 64% of surveyed businesses experienced some form of employee theft. The same study showed that many of these thefts were ongoing schemes that lasted from two weeks up to 20 years before they got caught.

Having an access control system helps increase workplace security. For starters, it prevents people who don't work there from entering the premises. Controlling access to specific areas of a building is one of the best ways to limit access. For example, a small retail store may only allow employees to enter certain areas, such as the stockroom or office, while keeping other areas, such as the sales floor, open to customers.

You can also integrate your access control system with your security cameras and alarm systems for a more comprehensive security solution. This way, if any unauthorized individual attempts to enter a building, an alarm can be triggered, and the security cameras can capture footage of the incident.

If it is an inside job, having a record of who entered which room at certain times can help you identify the person responsible. Or you can also set different access levels for different employees. For example, you can give managers access to certain areas while denying access to lower-level employees.

Auditing Features

Another key benefit of having an access control system is that it helps simplify employee attendance management. By requiring employees to use their access cards or biometrics to enter and exit the facility, you can easily track the times they arrive and leave. This can help monitor compliance with company policies and calculate employee hours worked for payroll purposes.

Multi-Location Access

Access control systems allow businesses with multiple locations to easily manage access to each one of them using a central management system. For example, a small retail chain with multiple stores can grant specific employees access to all locations. You can also easily revoke their access should they resign or get terminated.

Key Issues No More

Handing keys to employees isn't just a hassle. It is also hard to manage — both for you and your employees. Imagine having to sort through a bunch of keys whenever trying to access a room. It is also not practical to give everyone their own set of keys.  

But If you only give keys to a few employees, you will have to make sure that they are always the first people at the building every day, or else people will start lining up outside to wait for someone to open the door. If none of those with the keys shows up, that will be an even bigger problem for everyone.

And if someone loses their keys, you will need to rekey everything to be safe. Locksmith services costs range from $107 to $241. But keep in mind commercial locksmiths may charge more, especially if you have a whole building to rekey.

Access control systems remove the need for traditional keys and the numerous problems that come with them. Employees no longer need to carry physical keys that can easily get lost or stolen. By using a key fob or proximity card, there is no longer a need to change locks or reissue keys if an employee loses theirs or leaves the company.


As a small business owner, it is important to have access control to safeguard your operations and assets. An access control system can help you breathe easily, knowing that you have a reliable and effective security measure to protect your property, employees, and customers.

These systems help prevent unauthorized entry and provide a way to manage who has access to what. It also keeps track of who enters and exits the premises. And with the option to integrate with other security systems, you get a comprehensive security solution. Simply put, investing in an access control system can elevate your business's security to the next level.