Cody Horchak 4 min read

Retrofitting Access Control Part 8: Administrative Preservation

This is part 8 of a daily series on challenging conventions in the access control world and retrofitting our perspective on what’s best for people, businesses, buildings, and the world. Click here to start the series from the beginning. Stay tuned for part 9 on risk management coming tomorrow. 

There’s a lot of important and underappreciated work that goes into keeping an access control system running.  

Paperwork. Spreadsheets. Meetings. It’s not always the most exciting stuff, but it represents critically important informational and execution infrastructure that allows your system to function correctly. 

A new user needs to be logged and registered in the system with intake forms to get the necessary information. In some circumstances, a background check or other security verification has to be executed. A card or fob has to be activated and assigned to the user and if a physical credential gets lost or stolen, there has to be a process to get it deactivated and have a replacement issued. Sometimes this process comes at a cost that is charged to the user, so there’s a method that has to be put in place to receive payment. Credentials have to be ordered from specific compatible vendors, so there are order forms, procurement procedures, and established relationships to consider. The list goes on. 

On top of it all, if you get a new access control system, you’re looking at throwing that all out the window. So when the time comes to upgrade, think carefully about how to get all the perks of a new system with minimal disruption to your organization. 

Don’t Rock the Boat 

It can take up to 254 days for workplace change to take effect.  

You can institute new policies, hold training, and send out memos all you want. But shifting organizational momentum is always more cumbersome and time-consuming than you expect, especially when it involves entrenched administrative procedures.  

It’s likely you’ve had your existing access control infrastructure for a while now: possibly years or even decades. And during that time you and your organization have learned how to work with it. You’ve figured out its weird quirks, you know the ins and outs, you have all the tools and parts needed for routine maintenance. 

So if you choose to replace your existing access control system, you’re not just tearing out old hardware for new. You’re also tearing out all these administrative operations that have been built and streamlined. It could take an oppressively long time to rebuild that institutional mastery. 

Keep What You Have, Get What You Need 

We are creatures of habit. So when it comes to changing things in your organization, it’s important to choose your battles wisely.  

Instead of completely throwing everything out the window, you can retain your existing system (and all the established administrative foundation that supports it) with a simple retrofit. Update your access control to get all the modern necessities, without disruption. 

We live in a fast-paced world where rapid adaptation is necessary. Save your efforts, and your team’s tolerance for change, for the important things.