Access Control Systems: Everything You Need to Know
What are Access Control Systems?
Access control systems are a type of security system that manages and controls predominantly the entrances to a system, environment or facility. This can be as simple as a single door with a 4-digit password on a key pad or as complex as a 1000 door system with various access methods such as proximity readers or vein pattern recognition.
Access control systems are a useful security measure for many industries as they provide quick and convenient access to those with permission while simultaneously blocking unauthorised access. Whether you need to restrict access for high-security areas or simply want to control who goes in and out of your building, your business can benefit from access control systems.
Access control systems can be used alongside other security measures to make the most out of your system. For example, integrating your system with an automatic door allows for electric locking and enhanced security. They can also work in conjunction with your fire detection systems as a roll call register in instances of evacuations and CCTV systems to have a visual of individual who walk through an access controlled door and even time and attendance for colleague rotas.
How do Access Control Systems Work?
Access control systems work by authorising access through restricted areas by various methods such as proximity card readers, bio metric readers or digital keypads, it can even be a combination of both. The proximity reader will authorise access once confirmation has been received via the system database, this can be standalone, held within the local controller or on a comprehensive software database.
There are 2 main types of access control; Mandatory Access Control (MAC) and Discretionary Access Control (DAC). In a MAC system, access rights are usually governed by a central authority and is based on multiple levels of security. This type of system is most commonly used by government and military organisations.
DAC systems are better placed for industries with less stringent security measures as access is controlled by an in-house access control administrator, such as the owner of the company. DAC systems give the company more control and flexibility when determining who can gain access.
Access control systems use a range of technologies to identify the individual trying to gain access. More traditional methods include keypad passwords or proximity cards however with the rise of fingerprint scanning and facial recognition technology, biometric measures are becoming ever more popular.
How do Biometric Access Control Systems Work?
A biometric access control system measures and analyses biological data to determine if the individual is allowed to gain access. Common biometric access control systems use finger print and facial recognition, in the same way as on your smartphone. However, as the technology develops, more advanced measures are being used, such as DNA matching and infra-red vein mapping.
While many people believe biometric systems take and store a picture to compare the individual’s data with, the systems are actually based on mapping. For example, in fingerprint scanning, the access control system will compare the patterns in your fingerprint to an encrypted code that contains information about the people who have access. As everyone has an individual fingerprint only the individuals with a match to the database will be granted access.
Biometric measures are usually chosen over traditional methods as they are more reliable and therefore more secure. With traditional methods it is possible for an intruder to crack a password or steal a key fob. As an individual’s biometrics are unique to only them, it is much more difficult for unauthorized personnel to gain access.
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