Basics of Access Control Systems UK
By Data Installations & Supplies ltd
What is Access Control?
In its simplest form, Access Control is a method used to control passage into or out of a location. Businesses typically use it to monitor who and when people are entering their premises such as employees, contractors and visitors. The location in which you want to control the access to could be anything, such as a small cabinet, a particular room, an entire building or multiple sites. This doesn’t have to be by foot either, with Access Control the possibilities can go as far as you want, as you have the ability to monitor people by foot, by vehicle or people trying to gain access by any other means of transport.
What are Access Control Systems?
An Access Control System is an electronic security solution that is typically monitored through an identification tag, such as access cards or a badge. These physical security objects identify and authorise people from entering a particular location or areas in a building. With Access Control Systems in place, you’ll have a log of information showing who accessed where and at what time and duration. Providing you with valuable data to see exactly how your locations are being used and by who.
3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Traditional Keys
Mechanical keys are still being used today, we use them every day personally, for our cars and our house, which serves its purpose. But this traditional method can pose great risks for companies with more than just a few members of staff, especially growing organisations or those that have a lot of people entering a location.
Replacing Locks and Keys
When someone loses a key, it could easily fall into the hands of someone else with questionable intentions. The same goes with stolen keys, they too have become a high risk of being misused. Both issues provide the same result, which is the need to replace the lock, or locks if many keys were lost or stolen. Replacing locks and issuing new keys every time someone loses a key can be costly, especially for a growing company or big organisations.
No Track and Trace
There’s no visibility on who used which key or at what time. So, you will never know when someone has even used a key, or who entered a restricted location on which day or what time or for how long. There is no track and trace on traditional keys, which is a security flaw in itself.
Managing multiple Keys
Multiple keys can be hard to manage, especially if someone needs to enter many different locations. Not only is it inconvenient to carry a number of keys around, but it can also be hard to remember which key is for what? And you can’t label them, as that is a security risk too.
That’s why many businesses use Electronic Access Control (EAC) which uses computers to better their security and prevent the issues of mechanical locks and keys.
Electronic Access Control (EAC)
Eliminating the security risks and flaws around mechanical keys and locks, EAC uses computers and credentials to grant access into locations.
Access Control Systems typically use an identification method which is presented to a reader, the reader then sends the credential information to a control panel, which then checks the numbers against an access control list. If those credentials are not found on a list, then access will be denied and if those credentials are found on the list then access is granted. Once access has been granted, the very clever thing about EAC, is that the transaction is recorded. You’ll know exactly how long that door was open, what time it opened and who entered it.
Access Control Identification Methods
When using Electronic Access Control, you have the availability of using a few different identifier options, from basic to advanced levels of security. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages of course, which all really depend on your requirements and challenges.
Something A User Has
E.G Access Card or FOB
There are a variety of identifiers for access control systems, but Access Cards are still the most common. Each person is given a registered card, which then needs to be presented to a card reader before they are allowed to enter. If all the credentials set up in the system are met, then access is granted. The same thing goes for a badge or FOB or any other type of physical object used to gain access.
Something A User Knows
E.G Password or Pin
We all know how a password or pin works; we use them every day when unlocking our phones and using our bank apps etc. However, this method is often used in a two-factor authentication process to provide an extra level of security. Often paired with an access card, just in case an access card falls into the wrong hands.
Something A User Is
E.G Fingerprint or Iris
One of the highest levels of identification methods is using biometric measures, often associated with high-security locations such as banks but it’s becoming increasingly popular with lower security levels such as offices and warehouse sites.
Combining identification methods is becoming a common practice now, as it helps improve security measures. Using a two-factor identification method creates a verification system which helps prove that it’s the correct person trying to gain access. For example, someone may use an access card to enter a location but then need to enter a pin or password to verify it is the correct person using that card.
5 Reasons to use Access Control Technology
1. Who? Regulate who has access to your premises or locations.
You may only want employees to have regular access but want guests such as visitors or contractors to sign in or request access when arriving.
2. What? Control what areas are accessible and to who.
A useful feature If you want a limited amount of people to have access to particular locations and restricting access to others.
3. When? Restrict access at particular times.
Great for ensuring no one enters the building out of hours, but particularly useful for visitors that only have access for a few hours or 1 day.
4. Where? See who goes where.
One of the best features is knowing who has been where, which is all tracked and logged providing valuation information for insurance purposes.
5. How? Ability to control how people gain access.
It may be through a code, a badge or an access card, it’s up to you. This is typical used for contractors when you want them to present certification or identification before gaining access.
Get Access Control Solutions
For more information on Access Control solutions, you can check out our IP Access Control service page or Contact DIS today for a free quote. With 35+ years’ experience, we pride ourselves in providing honest and professional advice while maintaining excellent customer satisfaction.
We are currently installing Axis Access Control for fully integrated solutions as their products don’t tie you to proprietary or pre-approved hardware and software. With Axis, we have the ability to mix and match the best-of-breed options for big and small organisations. However, Paxton Access Control is often our ‘go-to’ solution for smaller budgets as it is low cost and easy to implement.