There are many benefits to getting electronic locks for your commercial property:
- Less expensive over the long term because you can manage your locks
- Less susceptible to physical attacks like glue or foreign materials being jammed into the keyway
- Higher security in case of emergencies – Immediate lockdown is possible
- There is a record of who came through each door and at what time (auditing)
- If somebody loses a fob you can remove it immediately at no cost. Contrast this with somebody losing a key to your property – you may have to rekey all exterior doors!
- With electronic locks that are networked you can remotely unlock a door securely
- All of these commercial electronic locks have the ability for scheduling – you can set them up to automatically lock or unlock at certain times of day or certain days
The future of locks is definitely electronic access control, issuing a fob or small plastic keyring or maybe a four to six digit code instead of keys. This allows the property owner to save money by removing individual codes or fobs from a lock rather than paying a locksmith to rekey their site each time there is a change in staff. It can be very expensive to have a locksmith come out every time a staff change occurs. Even with only one lock to change if there are a dozen employees it is going to cost over $100 for an on site visit. If your property has electronic locks the cost to remove a former user could be as low as $0-$10 depending on whether you use fobs or codes. The savings add up very quickly, especially if your business has a high turnover rate. Every time you delete a user code and add a new one you are saving $100, and it might only take a few minutes each time.
If you want to change what doors an employee has access to in a building with an electronic access control system you can roll these changes out very quickly compared to a traditional masterkey system where a locksmith must laboriously take each lock cylinder apart and change the pin configuration. Even better yet, there is no chance of accidental cross-keying, where keys work in locks they weren’t intended to because of the complexity of the masterkey system. This additional complexity also makes locks in a masterkey system more vulnerable to lockpicking.
I don’t think biometric locks are going to be common for building security in the future because they are weak as passwords. I won’t sell them.
Along with the savings is the speed advantage these systems confer to you. If you decide somebody should or should not have access, you yourself can make that happen very quickly without waiting for a locksmith to show up. It might take a few days to get a locksmith out to your property but you can remove a user at any time of day and night by yourself in a few minutes per lock for free.
A big selling point for these locks is that they can audit who comes and goes. That means you know who came at what time and can be useful in preventing criminal mischief by employees who know that the locks record their activities in conjunction with a video camera recording the same door.
These locks also afford the ability to remotely put your facility into immediate lockdown in case of impending catastrophes such as those seen frequently in the news all over the world, something that wasn’t possible with mechanical locks.
Both Schlage and Alarm Lock make locks that can be updated very quickly. If your property has five external doors you want to secure electronically then you don’t want to spend a lot of time programming each one by tediously entering various codes, and you don’t have to.
Alarm Lock is the standard for standalone commercial electronic access control. Alarm Lock offers free software to upload a spreadsheet of users and their codes or fobs. An example: on your laptop you can remove ten users and add three users from the comfort of your desk and then go to each door and connect your laptop to the lock and upload the changes. You’d be back in your office in ten minutes. You can also set up Alarm Lock locksets and modify them remotely over the internet if you buy their gateways. You can set up lockdown remotely in case of a catastrophic situation. See here for prices on Alarm Lock locksets installed on your property.
Schlage NDE locks use an app that works off of your phone. You can make the same changes outlined in the last paragraph and then go to each door and upload your changes with your phone. The nice thing about these locks is a key override of your choice along with the fact that they can be installed in a standard commercial door prep without drilling any large holes. This is a requirement for fire doors. See here for pricing to have these installed on your property.
Marks USA locks are a bit less expensive and also don’t have the capacity for uploading changes from a computer or a phone. They have to be programmed by the keypad. If you don’t have a lot of turnover and don’t need fobs they are a great choice and are very reliable. Most offices share one code for entry and change it when somebody leaves, and these locks will excel at this simple requirement. Marks IQ locks also have the ability to program hundreds of users along with scheduling and key override and all for a bargain price. See here for pricing to have these installed on your property.
There are a lot of reasons for getting electronic access control listed so far: auditing, ease of changing access privileges, remote lockdown, scheduling, and cost savings from reprogramming the lock yourself. For a commercial setting these locks are indispensable. Let me know if you have questions about the cost of installing them. I can also help with a service contract if you don’t want to maintain them yourself but want them updated on a monthly basis, for example.