Audit Trails: Everything You Need to Know

audit trailsLet’s take a minute to think about a situation. You’re coming up short on inventory and you’re in a mad dash to figure out who’s responsible. Unfortunately, your current access control system has no record of who was in the facility or what time they were there. You could take the time to interview all of your employees and see if you can find the culprit but would it be worth it? You may not have a choice but to chalk the missing inventory up as a loss, which will also cost you in the long run.

You wouldn’t believe how common this exact scenario is. But I have good news!

In the world of doors and locks, nothing impresses me more than audit trails. This could easily be because I’m a nosy person and I really like knowing what everyone is doing. It could be because they store so much useful information. It’s a toss up. Both reasons are totally logical.

Regardless of what my underlying reason for loving audit trails so much, it’s a fact they are incredibly helpful. Many people don’t really understand the extent of what locks with audit trails can do, but that’s OK. That’s why I’m here!

Audit Trails: The Basics

Audit trails happen to be one of loss prevention’s greatest benefits, in my humble opinion.

There are several locks that come with audit trails and differ greatly based on their capabilities. These locks collect information about who has passed through through a particular entryway. The information can vary from just a time stamp, all the way to identifying the person via a badge number or entry code.

Of course, there’s a bit of a flaw when it comes to employee identification via badge or entry code. Codes can be given out and badges can be borrowed so if you’re using the audit trail for loss prevention, you have to be careful with the information you do get.

If you need a tighter grasp on your employees who enter and exit your building, you may want to look into something that offers a more extensive rundown of things.

But if you don’t need a very extensive compilation of information, a basic audit trail would work great for your facility. The facility manager (or whoever is in charge of running the audit) will get a list of who was in the building and at what time.

Locks with Audit Trail Capabilities

There are a few electronic locks such as the E-Plex, the iQwik by Marks and the Trilogy that hold audit trails and are standalone locks. You have to have a code or a badge to gain entry and they all store very basic information.

You do have the option for more advanced audit trails if you need more information. These come in the form of electronic access control with a lock that works with a hub. This requires a computer (or laptop) to be connected to the lock to pull the data from the lock. This allows the data to be much more detailed. These are used in high security facilities and facilities that house confidential or expensive items.

Locks that gather more than just the basic information on their audit trails usually include software that records who was in the building, what time they entered, what time they left, and which doors they used while inside the facility.

Some of these even have the option of a REX (request to exit) switch on the inside portion of the door. This only allows patrons to exit through one particular door and their request is noted in the audit trail.

It’s no secret that almost everything in the door and lock industry has many options and you can get overwhelmed if you’re only partly informed on the subject. You can easily end up spending too much money or not enough when it comes to hardware only to realize you need more or less security, depending on the situation.

With audit trails, because they have a wide range on the information they collect, it’s best to sit down and take it one step at a time.

First, write down the average day-to-day routines of your facility. This will give you an idea of how many people exit through through which door, who needs access, and more.

Next, determine what level of security you need. If you’re not dealing with confidential information, you may only need a lock with the basic audit trail capabilities. For example, if Bob is running a small ice cream store, he probably only wants to know when his employees arrive and leave. Sure, he opens himself up to the ability to steal badges and codes, but when you weigh that against the cost of a lock that collects much more extensive information, he’s probably going to come to the realization that he doesn’t need to spend the type of money on a lock that collects that much information.

Now, if Joe over here is running an insurance agency with people’s social security numbers and other sensitive information and he has more than 100 employees, it might not be a bad idea for Joe to invest in a lock that collects a great deal of information. It’s all cost versus benefits and it’s much easier to see if you take a step back and write down what you need.

Once you have a general idea of what you believe your facility needs, the audit trail system decision will be much easier.

Audit trail systems are an excellent defense against theft and simply telling your employees what information is being collected is enough to keep them on the path of the straight and narrow. If you’re interested in seeing if audit trail systems would be right for you, feel free to contact us here at LockNet. We have people on hand who can give you as much information you need and can help you get set up.

About Whitney Danhauer

Whitney Fay is the Content Manager at LockNet, handling content creation, presentation development and manages all of the social media for LockNet. She has a ridiculous amount of pop culture knowledge that has yet to make her rich and famous. You want to know that one actress in that one movie? Ask Whitney.

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