Skip to main content

Access Control – Best Practices

Some buildings and facilities on campus need to maintain a certain level of access control for safety and security purposes. Often this means using access control systems such as key cards in addition to other measures such as video surveillance as well as perimeter intrusion and panic alarms.

While using these systems can mitigate the risk of a crime occurring, it does not eliminate all possibility of crime. Personal responsibility and administrative support of security policies is a critical element to ensuring security and safety. Below are a few recommendations to better protect your site:

Pedestrian Traffic

Occupants of the facility should be directed to enter and exit the facility through an established main entrance. Using a central entry and exit point makes it less likely that side doors or fire exits will be left ajar. Establishing a main entry point staffed by trained personnel also provides good customer service as well as a deterrent for unauthorized individuals – staff can direct visitors and deliveries as needed and will also be able to challenge strangers who may have no business being there.

Key/Card Control

With the installation of an access control system, no physical keys should be provided to staff for entry into the main facility. The purpose of the system is to track, deny and authenticate authorized individuals. If physical keys have been issued, a list of key holders should be available as well as policies that clearly define how the keys should be used, expectations on physically securing the key and administrative standards and actions should authorized users fail to comply with policies and procedures.

Access to any building, facility and business must be approved by a department administrator or building representative who has been authorized to grant access by their vice chancellor or the vice chancellor’s designee. The proper documentation with the appropriate signatures should be provided to our dispatch center. If you have any changes or require updates, please notify us as soon as possible so we can update in a timely manner. 

Door Props

Every individual is responsible for ensuring that all doors are closed securely at all times. No exceptions.

Any object that could limit or stop the door from closing securely should be removed from the area surrounding the door. Any individual who observes a door being propped open by an object should immediately remove the object and notify their supervisor. Propping open a door not only allows unauthorized individuals to enter the facility but can result in recurring maintenance costs by altering the function of the door and access control mechanisms.


The administrator of the access control system can configure the system to generate an alert when doors are not closed securely or within a predetermined time limit (e.g., the door remains open for longer than 45 seconds). A daily review, or audit, of these “door prop” records can help identify problem areas, which the administrator can then report to responsible department managers. Using this information, managers can inform their staff of ongoing issues and address actions that may be allowing unauthorized individuals to enter the facility.

Violations of access control policy include:

  • Loaning keys/cards
  • Transfer of keys/cards without authorization
  • Unauthorized duplication of keys/card information
  • Altering keys, locks or mechanisms, installation of padlocks on university spaces without consent from Lock and Key Services through Facilities Management (i.e. offices, labs, etc.)
  • Damaging, tampering or vandalizing any university lock or hardware including keys/cards
  • Propping doors open
  • Admitting unauthorized person(s) into building
  • Failure to return a key when requested or upon leaving the employment of the university
  • Failure to report missing key(s) or card(s)


Contact Robert Meza, (858) 822-6667.