Access control systems are used in a variety of commercial and communal settings as a way to restrict access to unauthorised personnel.
This security method can be found throughout a wide range of public and commercial buildings, where they help to deter intruders, limit access to secure areas, and monitor the movements of people within the building.
With an access control system, you can limit the hours that your building is open to the public, restrict access to authorised staff members, and keep a log of who has been inside your property and when. This makes it easy to identify suspects and provide data to the police if a crime is committed on your premises.
Access controls can also help to prevent uninformed members of the public from walking into rooms that may contain health and safety hazards, thereby protecting your business from potential litigation if an accident were to occur on your property.
There are multiple types of access control available according to your needs, and these systems can be operated using a Personal Identification Number (PIN code), or a key fob or ID card which is kept on your person.
What Are Access Controls?
Access control is a general term for a variety of systems that prevent unauthorised personnel from entering certain parts of a building, or which limit public access to certain hours.
Access controls determine whether entry to the premises should be accepted or denied – which they do by using personally identifiable data such as a passcode or ID card. With an access control system, you can choose who has access to your space and who will be refused entry - thereby greatly reducing the risk of intruders and unauthorised individuals entering secure areas.
There are 3 main types of access control:
• Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) - Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) grants or denies access to the premises based on the job role of the user, and users can only enter areas which they are granted access to as part of their professional duties.
For example, a manager would be able to enter all areas of the building, whereas front of house staff might only be able to enter the front of house and break rooms.
• Discretionary Access Control (DAC) - Discretionary Access Control (DAC) monitors access to each individual entry point, using separate readers with their own list of authorised users. This allows for greater flexibility and control over each area.
This type of access control is a good choice for premises that have multiple departments or organisations in the same building.
• Mandatory Access Control (MAC) - Mandatory Access Control (MAC) is the most secure of the access control types. The user sets rules for entry to limit the number of staff who have access to the secure area, keeping it highly protected and off-limits to most staff.
This is a good choice of access controls for particularly sensitive areas, such as a main office where important company data is stored.
These types of access controls can be operated by either traditional, or IP or Cloud-based systems.
Traditional Access Control Systems
Traditional Access Control Systems use a credential scanner and a control box which is usually positioned above the door. The credential scanner transfers the personally identifiable data found on the key fob or ID card to the computer that runs the system, which determines whether access should be granted or denied.
Then, the control box communicates with the door locking system to open or lock the door.
Traditional access control systems are reliable and have been proven to be highly efficient. As a hardwired system, traditional access controls are also more difficult to hack, which can make them a more secure option.
However, they are typically more difficult to integrate with other security systems, and they usually require multiple control boxes, which can make them more expensive than the alternatives.
IP Or Cloud-Based Access Control Systems
IP or Cloud-based access control systems use the internet to connect to a network that contains the authorisation information necessary to grant or deny access.
The credential scanner verifies the user by connecting to this network, where it can then determine whether the individual is authorised to access the premises.
IP systems can be either network-based or web-based:
• Network-based systems are connected to the organisation's network, using either a wireless connection or via hardwiring. The software that controls the system is stored on the organisation’s servers and computers.
• Web-based systems are controlled by software that is stored and maintained on the manufacturer's servers. The user can connect to the server through the internet, which allows them to manage their access control system remotely.
IP or Cloud-based systems offer the significant advantage of being able to open or lock a particular door from a remote location using the internet. Also, they are typically cheaper, but can be less secure in the event of a security breach.
Where Can I Use An Access Control System?
Access controls can be used at any entry point on your premises, including outdoor areas such as security gates and car parks.
This helps to ensure strong security at all points of your perimeter, keeping intruders out and allowing authorised staff members in.
The Benefits Of Using An Access Control System
• Have Improved Security - Access controls offer greater security to businesses by restricting access to trespassers, the public, and unauthorised members of staff. This helps to reduce your business’ vulnerability to crimes such as theft, vandalism, and sabotage.
• Resolve Security Issues Quicker - If a key goes missing from your business, you could be at risk of theft or serious offences occurring on your property. It can then be a long and laborious process to get all the locks in your building changed, which therefore gives potential intruders a window of opportunity to break and enter.
However, with modern access controls, you can quickly reprogramme the system to deny entry to a missing key card or fob, which allows you to change the access permissions of your premises almost instantly.
• Save Money - By using an access control system, you can easily reduce your business’ expenditure on security staff, as you will not need to spend money on hiring a member of staff to check the credentials of every person who enters.
This also has the additional benefit of reducing queues at entrance points, which can present potential dangers during emergency situations.
• Have Greater Control – By using an access control system, you will have complete control of who can enter which part of your building and when.
For example, this can mean that you allow staff access to certain areas during the working day, but restrict entry at night when there is an increased risk of criminal activity. Alternatively, you may wish to allow staff access to some parts of the building, but restrict their access to secure rooms.
• Collect Evidence - If a crime occurs on your property, you will have a complete log of who has entered which room and when. This allows you to easily identify suspects and pass relevant information on to the police.
Want to install access controls to keep your premises safe and well protected? Give our expert team a call!