Access Control – What Is Access Control?

Access control, is a term taken from the linguistic world of security. It means, in general – the execution of constrictions and limitations on whoever tries to invade a certain protected property. These restrictions, or it you’d like – the access control elements, manifest physically in locks, keys, electronic and digital means. Ofcouse, a person guarding an entrance, is also practicing access control.

What are the common most types of access control?

I would take a very obvious guess and suggest that the reader of this article has several types of access control around him or her – let us take a quick survey around them. Starting off with the computer in front you. Large percentage of computer users have an antivirus running on their computer, a firewall, a pop-up blocker and other programs all with access control functions. All of these guard us from intruders of sorts. They inspect everything that sits on the computer or trying to enter it and smartly enough let it in or leave it out. Since computers have sophisticated access control capabilities – they can ask for authentication, look for digital signatures, encryption methods and so much.

Now, if you would leave your comfortable computer chair for a moment and go out the room – you would probably pass through a door. This door much like the windows close to it – is the most popular access control method in any basic home security. Taking it from the basic to the more complicated – take a look at the door’s handle. You have to twist or pull the handle in order to open the door, don’t you? This is access control at it’s very core. Without this handle and it’s inner mechanism, it would be swinging, and won’t stop anyone – not even a domestic kitten. Below the handle, we may find a lock of sorts (most probably a cylinder lock) and a keyhole. This lock will, hopefully stop anyone trying to get through the door – but hasn’t got the key. In the 21st Century we see more and more keypads, or if you’d like keyless entry systems. These will replace one day our ordinary set of keys.

In today’s world, these locks and keys are beginning to look differently. As technology progresses, the locks of today got smarter – they can recognize patterns of your physical features, your voice, fingerprint locks read your fingerprints. Access control has a fascinating ever progressing evolution, it’s a rapidly growing market – and in the near future may manifest it self in ways we cannot even imagine.

Why Use Access Control Systems?

In today’s tough economic times, crime rates tend to go up. Most of the time, one is not aware that his abode is already being targeted by people with bad motives. Although you could always try to be wary of your surroundings, there is a big difference if you would make sure that you and your whole family are always safe. One of the ways to do this is by using access control systems.

By the term itself, these systems provide you with much security when it comes to entering and leaving the premises of your home and place of business. With these systems, you are able to exercise full control over your entry and exit points.

For instance, you would be able to define and determine who will have access to the premises. You could make it a point that only family members could freely enter and exit through the gates. If you would be setting up access control systems in your place of business, you could also give permission to enter to employees that you trust. Other people who would like to enter would have to go through security.

Among the different kinds of these systems, access control gates are the most popular. The reason for this is quite obvious. People enter a certain location through the gates. Those who would not be using the gates would definitely be under suspicion. This is why the gates must always be secure.

Some of the best access control gates that are widely used are the keypads, remote controls, underground loop detection, intercom, and swipe cards. The latter is always used in apartments and commercial areas. The intercom system is popular with really big homes and the use of remote controls is much more common in middle class to some of the upper class families.

These systems provide family members the convenience and security whenever they would like to go in or out of their homes. Individuals don’t need to go out of their cars and unlock the gates themselves, which is actually very risky. All they have to do is to push a few buttons and the gates would be opened automatically for them.

So if you also like to give yourself the utmost security and convenience, you could opt for these access control systems. With the various types available, you could surely find the one that you feel perfectly fits your needs.

Choosing an Access Control System? What You Need To Know

When choosing an access control system, there are key points that need to be considered before you make your final decision. Cost is of course, a major consideration along with the type of security you need and who will be using the system to gain access.

Access control systems very a great deal in their complexity and ease of use. Some involve nothing more than entering a security code on the keypad while others use biometrics to gain access. Allowing your employees or the members of your household to gain access without inadvertently arming the system should be part of the decision-making process. A system that requires too many steps or confusion on the part of the person trying to gain access often results in false alarms or the inability to enter the building. A system that is intuitive and easy-to-use is probably your best bet.

When deciding on the type of access control system that you might need, the size of the premises will come into play. In businesses there are many locations with different levels of access to consider when designing an access control system. Mapping out who should have access to what portions of the business will help determine how many zones and how complex of a system you need. Typically, there are specific areas that require higher security levels with tighter access control. Data centers, safes, or other locations that house sensitive documents or information should have restricted entry for most people. This ensures that sensitive information is not accessed by those not authorized to do so.

Having different levels of access is usually determined and controlled by entries in a centralized database. Access to this database should be limited to only those personnel who would act as administrators for the system. Minimizing access to the database provides tighter security for the entire system. Since the database is integral to the control of the system, administrative functionality should only be granted to a select few.

Most security systems for home use involve the use of the keypad. Although economical, these types of systems are generally not recommended for businesses or organizations with a large number of people needing access. This is because the code required is often shared amongst employees or written down and left in obvious places. With a larger number of people knowing the access code it becomes more difficult to maintain security when employees leave the organization. Bio readers and card readers are a more viable solution for those businesses with a large number of employees.

Biometrics or bio readers use fingerprints, iris scans, or some other physical identification that is unique to each individual. They are very difficult to reproduce and when an associate leaves the organization they are simply removed from the system. Since no other employee has the same physical identity, there is no worry of access being shared with others.

Another option for business owners is a card reader. Each employee is given their own badge which either can be slid through the reader or waived over a proximity reader. The proximity reader does not require as much contact as the regular slide reader. The slide reader works in much the same way that you would swipe a credit card when making a purchase. Using a centralized database, each zone or reader allows access to specific users depending on database entries. Typically, these badges have the employee’s picture on the badge. This is useful for security personnel in identifying employees by matching the employee to the picture on the badge.

For smaller businesses, you could get away with the basic keypad that requires entry of a code for access to the building. This can be an economical and easy-to-use solution for those businesses that have a minimal number of employees. However, it’s always a good idea to change the code when an employee no longer works for the company. This same type of system is also useful for the home.

All access control systems work by releasing a locking mechanism when the badge is swiped, the bio reader recognizes the employee, or the proper code is entered. There are two types of locks that are typically used in access control systems. The first works with an electric strike that releases the lock when access is granted. This particular type of locking mechanism is usually cheaper and is suited for areas that do not require security verification upon exit.

Magnetic locks work best for areas that require security clearance for entering and exiting a secure area. This is done in many businesses where people are searched when leaving. This prevents someone from slipping through the exit with valuable items or sensitive data.

When shopping for an access control system, you need to consider the nature of your business and the sensitivity or value of the data and products that it contains. Understanding your security risks will largely determine the type of system you decide on and what is needed to implement it.