Access Control – What Is It?

You might have heard this term and I have touched on the subject in previous articles. In this article I will expand on this subject.

At its basic, Access Control is controlling access into doors, gates and other areas. In past years this was done by controlling keys and who you gave them to. Most mechanical systems used locks that had patented keys so that they could be controlled. For higher and tighter access control locks were usually high quality and high security. Mechanical access control is still used today; however it is being phased out quickly by electronic type locks.

Electronic access control at one time was only available for high security government or military installations, however as the cost went down and the technology got better, this type of control went main stream. Electronic access control can be implemented by the following type locks:

  • Push button-both mechanical and electronic
  • Full electronic locks
  • Electronic locks with mechanical key backup
  • Bluetooth type locks
  • Biometric type locks

There are others but these are the main types. As you can imagine the more technology put into a lock the more expensive and secure it will be. For example, biometric type locks that use fingerprint or iris scans might be used in high security installations. Electronic locks will be used in everyday government and business installations.

In this type of access control, personnel that need access to a door are given an electronic key, card or some other type of “key”. These keys are programmed to the individual user and that user is given access into the door. Here are the benefits:

  • User access by day and time span (ie: Monday-Friday between 8:00 and 5:00)
  • Audit capabilities
  • Ability to shut off a user’s credentials
  • Limit access in a certain time period (ie: four times in a four hour period)
  • Management and Security reports (these will show you who had access through a door in a certain time period)
  • Ability to easily add, remove and edit users

If the door is hard wired or Wi-Fi capable the above items will happen as soon as the information is entered into the access control program. If it not then an electronic key will be programmed, when it touches the lock that lock will be reprogrammed.

There are many different access control setups that can be used it all depends on the security level of the door, where it is and what it is protecting.

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