Access control is a system, which enables you to control authority of who has access to certain areas to your building. Within the field of physical security, an access control system in the physical structure of security is normally seen as the second layer. Every business and organization in the world has assets and information that require protection. Another key issue is the protection of business' staff and property. A lock on a car door or a PIN on an ATM system is various forms of access control. The inconvenience and expense of changing locks if keys get lost means a waste of time and money.
You will never have to change a lock again when installing an access control system
This can also create even more security risks as keys can be copied very easily. Locks secure many buildings and keys, which mean that doors are left, unlocked for most of the day. This can lead to possible theft or crime and the cause of malicious damage, but with the use of an access control system, these theft possibilities can be restricted and will also provide a safer working environment.
It provides the most efficient way of securing your building and assets. The use of tokens, cards or fobs will enable a business to give access to staff through controlled doors. If a token, card or fob is lost, stolen, or not returned, and then these can all be barred therefore maintaining the level of security. The access control system will automatically lock all the doors controlled by the system, once the system has been installed. Only people with a PIN or token will be able to enter through controlled doors within the access control system. Flexible control over users' access rights is a method of restricting access to staff that doesn't require access to certain areas of the building. Also, access may be restricted by time, only allowing access to particular users at certain times of day or night. This is also useful for contractors as an expiry date can be set so that the fob will not work after a certain time period.
There are two main types of access control systems, which have different features and benefits suited for different organizations.
Standalone Access Control
A stand-alone system may be used for controlling access on one or many individual doors in a building. People can gain access of these doors by using a numeric code, a PIN with a keypad, biometric reader or by presenting a proximity or magistrate token. This will depend on which type of reader has been fitted. Each door will have a programmed system to enable the door to be controlled by the access control system. Some systems such as Paxton have easy to use programming tokens to ensure the individual in charge of controlling the manual database has a simple task when issuing and barring fobs.
Online Access Control
Online Access Control is sometimes known as PC Based Access Control or Networked Access Control. This type of access control system can control one or many doors within a building. People can gain access of these doors by using a numeric code, a PIN with a keypad, by presenting a proximity or magstripe token, a hands free token or by using biometrics.
This will depend on which type of reader has been fitted. Online access control offers central control via a network. Any commands that are given are sent to each door within the access control system. Any token can be barred from all of the doors in an instance.
Flexible control is a benefit of online access control, as it enables you to create different permissions for any individuals or groups of users. This type of system can generate reports to see which individuals went where within the building, and also reports the time these events happened. This type of system via an existing LAN/WAN can control additional buildings. Other services within buildings, for example fire doors, are increasingly being controlled by networked systems.
Readers & Tokens
The proximity reader works by the user presenting a token and holding it within close proximity to the reader. The control unit looks up the access permissions of that user once the token has been read. If access is granted, normally a green LED will flash to inform the user access has been granted. If access is denied, normally a red LED will flash to inform the user access has been denied.
The magstripe reader works by the user swiping their card through the reader. The control unit looks up the access permissions of that user once the card has been read. If access is granted, normally a green LED will flash to inform the user access has been granted. If access is denied, normally a red LED will flash to inform the user access has been denied.
Coded Lock Reader
The coded lock reader works by the user entering a code using the keypad. The validity of the code is checked by the control unit, which if is valid then normally a green LED will flash to inform the user access has been granted. If not valid, normally a red LED will flash to inform the user access has been denied.
There are two main types of biometric readers, which are the fingerprint reader and the iris recognition. A biometric reader eliminates the requirements for PINs, keys, or cards to gain access to secure areas. The fingerprint reader works by the user placing their finger on the reader. The reader will check the database of authorized fingerprints, where it will grant or deny access based on this database. The iris recognition reader works by the user placing their eye in front of the scanner, where it will capture an image of the iris. With pre-memorized records, the reader checks the image of the iris against these records and generates a signal to open the door if a match is found.
There are two types of cards used as tokens for a user to present when looking to gain access in a secure area. The proximity cards will be required where there is a proximity reader. The user presents the proximity card and holds it within close proximity to gain access. The magstripe cards will be require where there is a magstripe reader. The user swipes the magstripe card through the reader to gain access.
Fobs can be used when there are proximity readers within the access control system. The user presents the proximity fob and holds it within close proximity to gain access.
Hands Free Token
These tokens are particularly useful for loading doors and where disabled or elderly people require access. The user doesn't require to get the token out as the reader reads the token from a certain range, normally between 0.85 and 2.5mts, or even up to 5mts with longer range readers available.
The software used in access control systems is designed to feel familiar to any Windows user. Access control privileges and reports on users are some of the features that the access control software offer. Different permission levels are available to select to restrict access to certain areas. A login and password must be entered to be able to use the software to manage the access control. Access control software is designed to be intuitive to use and all but the most complex functions can be performed easily and without training.