I’m always amazed at how many of my colleagues still rely on a significant amount of manual data entry to their access control systems. Often, a large amount of employee information is entered at the badging station or after-the-fact at the security office. At the risk of sounding like a 1980’s PC salesman insisting that you need a computer and a spreadsheet to balance your checkbook, is it prudent to pay someone to manually enter hundreds or thousands of records into a 21st century database – your access control system? I say no.

Many access control software solutions incorporate, or have as optional additions, methods to import data from other databases, such as employee records from human resources, for example. Other offerings include the ability to exchange data to and from other databases – some schedule based, others in real time. If there isn’t an off-the-shelf solution for your organization it may be possible for an applications developer to create one for you. Consult your integrator first, of course. If it is impossible to exchange data electronically, well, there’s still paper printouts and data entry…for now.

There are other opportunities to automate whether using imported data or the data already contained within your system internally. Are you using your system to its fullest potential? You may be surprised to find existing, yet unused, automation solutions to assign access to areas based on employees’ department, shift and/or position. Remove all access privileges for fixed term employees on employment end date. Allow extended door open times for employees who self-identify as needing this option.

Is your database more useful to other departments in your organization than their database is to you? Your database may contain employee information more current than others.