Access control is the management of who goes where and when. It allows the movement of authorized personnel in and out of areas, while detecting and delaying the movement of unauthorized personnel. Effective access control combines physical barrier hardware and software to provide a simple means to manage access and produce reports. In its simplest form, an Access Control System consists of an electronic door lock, a Card reader/Keypad or Biometric Reader and an electronic controller with a management system.
The choices that are available to provide this level of electronic access control vary from intelligent key Smart cards that are read by a smart-card reader attached to a computer system.
The smart card reader is also connected to the door’s lock, once the card is authenticated the door will be unlocked and the user can enter. Smart cards resemble credit cards in size and shape and they contain an embedded microprocessor which replaces the magnetic stripe usually found on a credit card or debit card.
The microprocessor provides the security as it contains information about the identity and access rites of the user. These access rites may permit access to some areas but restrict access to others.
Proximity or Swipe access cards and buttons can also be used to identify individuals and allow access and egress to a pre-defined area by simply scanning the access card or button in front of a reader. The reader then analyses the data stored in the access card or button and determines whether the user has authorised entry based on access level, date and/or time.
Biometric readers are another method of providing secure electronic
access control. Biometrics use unique human characteristics to identify the person seeking entry to a controlled area. For example, a finger can be placed on a reader and the biometric system can identify the unique characteristics of the fingerprint.
The reader can then regulate entry permitting only authorised users access to the controlled area. Other physical features that can be used include placing the palm of one hand on a special reader or scanning the iris of one eye. Biometric control is much more secure than other forms of electronic access control as it is unlikely that a physical feature can be reproduced for use by another person.
An Electronic Access control system delivers a secure, convenient, flexible and cost effective way of controlling who has access to your building and when that access is allowed. Access control gives organisations the security they need.