Access control systems enable businesses to control who has access to the entire building or some areas within the business, a technique used to control passage into or out of any area of the business. While the standard lock & key can be an example of an access control system, we will be referring to the electronic access control system in this context.
In most scenarios, access control systems are much better than standard locks and keys.
When keys are lost, or stolen, locks need to be changed to mitigate against unauthorised access and keys for all users need to be cut to suit. The cost of this can be quite significant especially for a large business with hundreds of users. Electronic Access control systems use credentials in the form of a card or fob. Credentials can be easily barred if they are lost or stolen, and a new credential can be programmed to replace it.
Almost all keys may be copied, which puts your business and assets at risk from a security point of view. Credentials however are unique to the user and the communication between the card and reader is encrypted to ensure credentials cannot be copied
To enhance the convenience and security, particular doors in the system can be programmed to allow access for some users only. The doors may also be restricted by time and day of the week. For elevators, you can choose which levels could be accessed, and during what times as well.
Access control systems may vary widely in type and complexity according to the clients' needs, but they usually have the following basic components:
Simply put, this is the key that the person will hold, but an electronic one that looks like a credit card, allowing specific access to certain areas through the card readers
If access cards are the electronic keys, card readers act as the lock that read the unique encoded access cards. These can have different types and sizes to suit the application, including the standard prox, Mifare or multifunction readers which can include a code pad for high security areas.
This is the equipment that will lock the door. They come in different shapes & types according to the door's condition; these include electric locks, electric strikes, electromagnetic locks, electric exit devices, and many others. This never restricts the option to exit a building to comply with emergency guidelines.
The “Intelligent Door Controllers” are the control panels that control access for each door at a building level.
This is the database and file manager for the access control system; it records the entire activity, and distributes the information to and from the access control field panels. It's the brain of the system, normally a standard computer with special software that works full-time.
This is where you can access the various types of system's activity or “transactions”.