With an investment upwards of five, six and or even seven figures, the selection of security entrances is one of the most highly visible and impactful aspects of a project you can accomplish. The goal is simple, prevent intrusion, but there are many pitfalls that can lead to failure. Failure as a spectrum could range from a bad six-month stretch of high stress to a loss of your good reputation, or even a breach at some point that could cost you your job.

In an attempt to help you avoid others’ failures, we’re going flip the usual format around and tell you how to really screw things up in order to get you thinking and to really instill these lessons in your future planning. Here are nine of the biggest mistakes we’ve seen in the field. Follow these leads at your peril!

Assume that optical turnstiles “stop” tailgating. Buy and install optical turnstiles and leave them in a lobby unsupervised. Assume people are fundamentally honest and won’t try to tailgate when the panels open. When someone tailgates and an alarm sounds, ignore it and assume the alarm is an employee who forgot his or her credentials. If you get too many alarms and they become a nuisance, get a technician to come and turn them off. Silence is golden!

Just guess your throughput needs. Select the number of entrances based on gut instinct alone. Don’t waste your time actually counting how many people enter that area of the building at the busiest times. It won’t be a problem if there are small traffic jams at the entrances from time to time. In fact, it will help your employees and clients to learn more patience.

Go for the lowest priced product. It’s all just metal and bolts, right? Rejoice in your ability to save on capital costs up front. Don’t worry about how good the phone support is, the service response rate, how fast you can get replacement parts, or if your nearest service provider is minutes or hours away or if they have been trained on how to service your product. When you’ve finished the install, you’re gone, and someone else will deal with all that stuff.

Surprise your staff with a construction zone. Schedule an entrance installation for 8:00 a.m. on Monday, and don’t bother telling your employees about it. How long have they worked there? Shouldn’t they be able to find another route to get to their work area? The chances of a fire or other emergency are slim to none, and this is just temporary. Change is a constant, and people need to get used to that.

Keep other stakeholders in the dark. The decision to implement security entrances belongs to the “security” team. Move forward without bothering the finance, human resources or facilities teams. Facilities in particular will figure out how to maintain the new equipment and deal with the service and maintenance in time. After all, isn’t that what they do?

Overlook building tie-ins. Install optical turnstiles and leave an 8- to 10-inch gap between the last cabinet and the wall. Put a nice, big potted plant there; that’s sure to prevent infiltration.

Ignore the user orientation materials. Disregard any information, training aids, signage, etc. that explains how to use your new security entrances properly and safely. Don’t learn how to use it yourself. Let people figure out how to use them on their own. Isn’t learning by doing the best way to do things?

Take on the project yourself. Save money and do the selection and installation yourself. There’s no possible way that, with your skills, you’d encounter unnecessary costs, lost time or added stress. What could go wrong?

Hire an unqualified contractor. Assume that all contractors know how to install and integrate security entrances with access control systems. Hire the cheapest one without asking any questions related to skill level or previous experience. Now, act surprised when the project’s timeline and budget increases.


There you have it! Nine ways to fail at selecting and implementing security entrances, because we’d like to think that people don’t actually have to make these rather serious mistakes in order to learn from them. Take these nine examples to heart and do NOT follow their example.