Access Control Systems
An Access Control system generally consists of:
- Electronic Locking Device: These can be a variety of magnetic, electronic strike, mortise, cylindrical, or automatic door activation depending on the application
- Reader: An electronic device installed at a secured opening to a building. An authorized user presents their credentials to a reader, and is then granted access or egress based off of authorization of their "key" credentials. Some applications will utilize a keypad rather than a reader, requiring a user to enter a multi-digit code
- Credentials: This is what a user presents to a reader to activate an electronic locking device. The most common types of credentials are proximity, magnetic stripe, bar code, smart cards, and biometric devices (fingerprint, facial, retinal)
- Controller: A controller processes data when credentials are presented at a reader, and allows or denies access based on the currently configured access rules. Controllers can be a single unit controlling multiple doors throughout a building/facility, but modern systems typically use distributed controllers that are installed near or at the controlled door.
There are many benefits of access control that go beyond security.
- Key Management: In the event that an employee loses a key, there is no need for expensive re-keying of locks throughout the facility. An administrator simply removes the card from the system. The same is true when an employee is terminated but is still in possession of a key.
- Time and Attendance: Access Control may also serve as an electronic time card for employees
- Safety and Accountability: Almost all systems store the history of entries and exits from secured areas, providing an audit trail in the event that a safety incident or theft occurs