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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Integrating Your Access Control System with Your Intrusion Alarm System

I often get asked to integrate the alarm system with the access control system such that employees don’t have to arm and disarm the alarm system. They want this to be automated and they want their employees to be able enter and exit the facility as needed with their access control card.

This request can be driven by a number of factors. Sometimes it is the shear size and layout of the facility. If the facility is large or the layout is complex they find their employees unwilling to walk the facility prior to arming the alarm system, thus the employees either don’t activate the alarm system or they activate the alarm system with employees still in the facility.

Sometimes this is driven by the number of employees. The more employees the less likely the alarm system will be activated, unless you task this to a specific group of employees. If your policy is the last one out arm the alarm system; then the larger the organization the less likely this will get done. If your policy is the facilities (security, custodial, etc.) department to arm the alarm system then it is more likely to be accomplished.

The integration of these two systems starts with the system design. Depending on the products we are using we can accomplish this in two different ways.

Perimeter Alarm with Local Door Alarms

This method will work with any access control system. It requires an intrusion alarm system that can be programmed to automatically arm and disarm.

The alarm system is designed with perimeter protection only. All the perimeter doors are contacted and all the perimeter glass is monitored. The system is programmed to automatically arm and disarm based on a provided schedule.

At each of the perimeter access controlled doors we install a local door alarm. This local door alarm ties into the access control system and the intrusion alarm system. This unit allows employees to enter and to exit without triggering the alarm system. After-hours when the alarm system is active your employees can enter with their access control card and freely exit the building even when the alarm system is active.

The local door alarm serves a secondary purpose as well. It alerts employees of door prop open conditions prior to alarm activation. If the access control door is left in an open position the local door alarm will sound a pre-alarm warning. If the door is shut during this pre-alarm then no alarm is generated. However, if the door remains open for an extended period of time then an alarm will be generated at the local door alarm and if the building intrusion alarm system is active this same alarm will be transmitted to the monitoring station.

This is a great solution for companies that may have personnel working all hours of the day or night. We find this solution works well with our high tech customers that may have engineers or software development personnel that tend to work long hours or off hours.

The downside to this type of system is that it is providing only building perimeter protection. If an intruder can get inside your facility without forcing a door open or breaking the glass then they will be undetected.

S2 Security Access Control + Intrusion Alarm System

S2 Security has an innovative interface for integrating the intrusion alarm system with their access control system.

With the S2 Security system the access control system monitors the status of the intrusion alarm system and based on a schedule and the alarm system in a normal condition will activate the alarm system.

This allows for an intrusion alarm system that includes not only door contacts and glassbreak detectors but also interior motion detectors. Providing a greater level of security to the facility; the motion detectors are designed to detect the interior presence of an intruder.

This system does not require the local door alarms, because it is never active when employees are inside the facility, unlike the perimeter alarm system. Based on a schedule and when there a no faults on the alarm system the S2 Security system will arm the intrusion alarm system. Once armed the first authorized employee to present their access control card will disarm the system prior to gaining entry into the facility.