The actual cost of owning and operating an integrated access control system involves a combination of costs that go well beyond initial acquisition costs. When evaluating access control systems, end users, system integrators, dealers, and security consultants would be well advised to look at the entire spectrum of acquisition, operating, upgrade, maintenance, training, travel, and other costs when evaluating total cost of ownership (TCO) of an access control system.
This white paper examines a number of components of the TCO equation, and discusses how the TCO concept can be effectively applied in the decision-making process involving the choice of an access control system supplier. This paper does not provide an absolute quantitative model for side-by-side cost comparison of competing access control systems. Rather, it looks at the four major cost components of access control system ownership and provides a list of questions that decision-makers should ask potential vendors. The reader is then encouraged to apply the TCO concept to his/her next access control system purchase decision.