How to Choose the Best Access Control System for Your Self-Storage Property
Access control is a security concept that focuses on controlling who has access to an area or location. In its most simplistic form, this means a locked door to a building or a fenced area with a locked gate. For most private applications, a manual lock works great. But if you are in a situation needing to allow access to many users that often changes, like in self-storage properties, automated systems are essential.
Going automated may seem like overkill at first, but it comes with benefits like increased security tracking, accessibility for the differently-abled, and remote access if needed. Before we get into how to decide what system is suitable for your property, you need to know the types of gates and access control systems that are available.
1. Common Gate Types for Self-Storage
For most commercial and industrial settings, the cantilever, or slide gate, is the go-to choice. While they require a good amount of free space to slide parallel to the fence, this type of gate generally has lower maintenance, causes less noise, and is less likely to hit vehicles or pedestrians. Since it doesn’t move out of the fence line, putting access control points on this type of fence is easier to space.
The second most commonly used gate type is the swing gate. These can be either single or double-sided, depending on the width of the road that needs to be secured. For single gates over a short distance, these can be the most cost-efficient gate type to install. Do note that any access control systems need to be installed so that vehicles are far enough away not to be hit by the gate when opening.
While slide and swing gates are the most common, a few other options are available. A vertical lift gate provides the most compact solution available if you are short on space or flat area. But while space-efficient, vertical lifts get put under a lot of stress which means higher maintenance costs in the long run, especially if operated constantly throughout the day.
2. Automated Access Control Systems
The second part of installing access control to your property is the system that manages the security and credentials of those wanting access. Most forms of access control systems can be paired with any gate type. So whether you need to control access for vehicles or pedestrians, the most common and useful for a storage facility are:
- RFID Card Access
- Punch Codes
- Intercom Systems
- Camera Surveillance
- Remote Openers or Mobile Apps
Intercom and camera systems generally aren’t utilized on their own but can be used to enhance overall property security. But no matter if it is RFID, a punch code, or a remote opener, the installed gate won’t open unless the security system verifies proper credentials.
If you would like a little more information on each of these, check out our extended article on “The Ultimate Guide to Gates, Access Control, and Gate Operators.”
How to Choose Your Access Control System
There are a lot of best practices and recommendations for each type of access control, but deciding which is best for you can be difficult. Now that you have a good understanding of some of the options, go through what your property needs.
- Check the competition: You likely aren’t the only or first self-storage in the area, see what others are doing and use that as a baseline for needed security and customer convenience.
- Assess your location: The space you have to work with may limit the options available for the type of gate to install and your ability to place access control panels for customers. In constricted spaces, remote opening may be the only option to accommodate safe entry.
- Determine your security needs: Security access control systems come with different levels of protection and entry logging capabilities. More advanced systems may require additional camera installations and server maintenance.
- Integration is key: When making your selection, ensure that it works not only with the gate operator, but also with your existing suite of business tools.
- Ask your customers: If you are upgrading, one of the best things you can do is talk to your existing tenants. Understanding how they feel about the current system can inform what improvements to make and what to leave the same.
Any self-storage facility needs to have a well-thought-out access control system in place. Depending on your location, you may only need one entry and exit point or multiple. Always check your local ordinances to see if you need a gate specifically for emergency personnel and vehicles.
Gate Access Control Professionals
Contact a professional in your area once you have a general idea of what type of gate operator style and access control you are interested in. They will help double-check your decisions and ensure the gate you end up with fits your needs.
If you need residential or commercial access control, look no further than Asheville Fence. We have proudly served this area since 1966 with a team of professionals with expert product knowledge and good old-fashioned "know-how" to exceed our customers' expectations.
We are a full-service fence and gate company. We can help you from the ground up with commercial fencing and access control installation. Then after installation, we help protect your investment with repair and annual maintenance services. Call us at (828)665-8900 or talk to us online to find out why we are the "go-to" fence and guardrail contractor for the City of Asheville and NCDOT.