Should You Buy Smart Locks for Your Office?
Smart locks are all the rage right now, but in case you have not heard, these are locks that you can open with your smartphone, or other smart device. This is either done through a Bluetooth or WiFi signal. Bluetooth will allow you to open the lock when your device is in a close proximity to the physical lock. WiFi based communication between devices allows the user to open or lock their smart lock from anywhere in the world (as long as both devices have internet access). These smart locks have been gaining popularity in homes across the country, but how effective are they for office buildings?
Workplace Security Vs. Home Security
Home security and business security have some very important differences. The key contrasting factor is daily operation. A working environment is the structured. The building has people inside it on a set schedule. It has items used for business, most of which must remain in the workplace at times when no one is using them. Compare this to the daily operation of a home. As an individual, you can make choices that fall outside of your normal routine. You can be away from your residence for a week, or stay home on a seemingly insignificant Wednesday. This difference is very important to how you build your security. Because of the restrictions that you have in the workplace, you actually have more control. The well thought out routine of a business can be secured much easier than the chaos of personal decisions.
On the other side of this coin, disruptions to the routine can lead to an excess of security flaws. When the security does not account for a contingency, then your protection is at the discretion of luck and the hope for the involved parties to use their better judgment. But that is true of all security. Other important factors are mainly based on the size, and type, of business that operates out of the office. We will explore the different types of offices once we understand a little more about what smart locks offer business owners.
The biggest asset that smart locks can offer to businesses is access control. Access control academically described as, “A mechanism that allows or denies entry or access to property, information, or the ability to perform an action.” An easier definition is, “It keeps the wrong people from doing what they are not supposed to”. Traditional access control is achieved when you give someone a key or take a key away from a person. These keys are physical objects. Most often they are pieces of metal with cuts and grooves. These physical keys can be copied, and if they are lost they require a change to every lock that key opened. Electronic locks make it easier to revoke access to codes or tokens. The system can just be updated to no longer accept codes/tokens which have been compromised. Smart locks take this to another level of ease and control. With app-based control, the user can revoke access from certain users, track who is using what lock, know when the lock is being used, etc. The key is also a smartphone, which ensures a base level of care and protection which your employee already offers their phone.
- Easy control over individual access.
- Information about the usage of each lock.
- The key is already valued by the user.
- Updates can be sent to the business owner in real time.
- More intuitive display and usage than most standard electronic locks.
- Remotely opening doors while offsite.
- All employees need a smartphone/smart device.
- The device must have the proper OS to run the app.
- Relying on the safety of the software and hardware.
- Relying on a functioning internet signal for some features.
- The key can run out of battery power.
We will say, for this circumstance, that a small office is one with under 50 employees. The physical office also will have no more than 10 doors that need to be secured, and as many as 20 or so employees that need access to multiple doors. The fewer employees you have the easier it will be to make sure that they have the proper smartphone. At the same time, it may not be worth it to keep track of who is open a door and at what time. The smaller the business, the easier it is to stay informed. Smart locks will still easily solve the problem of key control if you have a high turnover rate for your employees. Revoking access with a click of a button, and assuring that a key cannot be copied, may come in handy.
A large office will exceed all of the parameters for a small office. Essentially, there are more points of access, and more people that need to gain entry. It will be more difficult to enforce the usage of smartphones, let alone a particular brand. The use of security footage and security guards may also solve the problem of lock user anonymity. It is also likely that multiple people will need access to how keys are used and distributed. The less personal your business has the ability to be, the greater the inconvenience smart locks will offer your staff.
For a home office, there may be more of a need to keep track of the people who visit. You may also need to give remote access to someone who would not otherwise need/have access to your home. These could be couriers or even assistants. The frequency of these visits could lead you to set up limited access, or you could continue to let these people in remotely. If you do not have anyone delivering items that would need to be left inside the home, or do not need people accessing your physical documents without your presence, then there is little reason for smart locks.
A smart lock offers convenience for personal control. Their specific tie to smartphones can make them impractical for some industries, and a perfect fit for others. It comes down to your workforce. Who they are, and how many of them there are. It is also up to the personal preference of the boss to determine how much of a hand they want in their business’ security. Consider your own workers. What do you need from them? How much can you afford to trust them? How much time can you afford to spend on managing this security? What are your risks, and how does installing a smart lock affect your risk? In order to determine whether you should buy smart locks for your office, you need to assess your business. Compare your particular situation to the pros and cons of using smart locks. In the end, you should always take the path of greatest security.
The guest post was written by Ralph Goodman, a professional writer and the resident expert on locks and security over at the Lock Blog. The Lock Blog is a great resource to learn about keys, locks and safety, and find out more about locksmith services. They offer tips, advice and how-to’s for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals.