Developing Support for Access Control from Top Executives and Administrators

Improved regulation compliance and cost savings are just a couple of reasons why access control upgrades will appeal to the top brass at your hospital, school or university.

Have you noticed that when it comes to purchasing capital equipment, the sales cycles never seems to end? There’s the phase that you go through to narrow your selection of vendors. Then, you have to review their differing proposals to determine which system will best meet your needs. Then, once you have made your decision, you have a whole new sales cycle to go through – convincing your top executives and administrators that your chosen solution is the best access control system to meet your campus’ security needs.

When making your sales pitch, however, you may discover that you have a major communication problem – executives don’t speak “security” and you don’t speak “business” or “education” or “healthcare.”

RELATED: How to Convince Your Bosses to Invest in Campus Security

As John LaFond, vice president for access control at Linear Corp., emphasizes, “You and your vendor need to be able to show management how you have solved business problems by tying them to security solutions. One way is to relate how the new access control system will reduce the cost of doing business. If your school or healthcare facility loses $100,000 per year to shrinkage and 25 percent of it gets recovered, the organization saves $25,000 per year, adding it all to the bottom line. Most access control systems should provide even better results.”

Access control solutions help track high-value equipment/products and prevent theft and tampering, as well as protect student, patient and employee privacy.

“Don’t forget to show how the new system helps meet compliance issues, such as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements or protecting student records,” LaFond adds. “The new system will also track people to assets, assuring that only authorized people use certain equipment, avoiding prospective liabilities and reducing insurance fees.”

The initial cost of an electronic access control (EAC) solution is just the beginning. Management and administrators know that ongoing maintenance, operating expenses and future upgrades all add to the final cost.

“Show top management that you have explored all aspects of the manufacturer of the system that you plan to purchase,” suggests Rick Caruthers, executive vice president of Galaxy Control Systems. “For instance, regarding cost of ownership, what will be the cost for things such as software and certified training in the second year of owning the system? Investigate if the products you are buying come directly from the manufacturer or are third party. Mergers, acquisitions and other situations with third party vendors could mean components of the system might not be supported in the future. What’s the vendor’s history or track record and how long have they been in business?”

Operational Solutions Help Sell Your New System
Don’t stop there. Start getting into actual business, administrative and operational solutions and benefits.

Explain how the new access control system, using contactless credentials such as proximity or smart cards, will reduce the manual labor of managing and replacing keys as well as re-keying door locks. Show how the new system lets you assign access privileges to certain areas only, revoking access privileges when an employee is reassigned or leaves the institution, thus eliminating the possibility of disgruntled ex-employees sabotaging equipment or procedures. Compared to using keys and locks, the computerization of the new access control system lets the organization prepare compliance and regulatory reports faster and easier, and often automatically to avoid fines or closures.

“Show these executives how others besides the security department can easily use the system now that operators will include campus police and other non-security, non-IT department personnel,” instructs Gary Staley, national sales manager at RS2. “Show them how your system can be integrated with other campus systems, such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning, food operations, residence halls, event coordination and more. Let them know that the system is completely scalable with the capacity for frequent expansion to meet future needs as your campus undergoes growth and construction. For schools and colleges especially, emphasize that work will be completed during periods when students are absent, such as during spring break or summer vacation.”

You could also explain how the new EAC system will keep visitors and specific employees/students out of restricted areas. The organization will no longer have to rely on manual or paper-based visitor management after the fact. With a visitor management system that is integrated with badging and access control systems, organizations can now control guests in the same way that they oversee employees. Access control privileges can be assigned to authorized guests, and guests can be tracked to specific locations. Additionally, the organization will now maintain a list of people who are not allowed into a facility, whether for security, guardianship/custodial rights, personnel restrictions or other reasons, including those of national security. If anyone on the list shows up, the new system will automatically “red light” them. 

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