Access Control Photo

Access Control Systems

What is Access Control?

Access Control Systems are electronic security systems designed and installed to provide protection against unwanted visitors into a property and allow free movement and entry for authorised users where there is frequent personnel traffic. Installing the correct Access Control solution for you will help provide protection to your employees, visitors, stock and your property.

In very simple terms, Access control Systems provide control of entry (or exit) through nominated doors via a control panel and some form of electric locking facility. Access Control Systems can be as simple or as complicated as you desire, but in each case the solution will always provide an easy passage for permitted persons around the building.

Door Entry or Access Control

In truth these are one in the same thing, although door entry is commonly associated with a single door or gate, and the term Access Control is used more to describe multiple doors or entry points.

Access Control Systems can also provide a host of other features that may be found useful in other areas of the business like, time and attendance functions, integration with payroll systems, car park management and maybe even vending machine applications. Access Control/Door Entry Technology

How does a permitted user open the door that has a system fitted to it?

PIN code entry:

One of the most common types of Access Control is the keypad system. This could be a Mechanical Pushbutton Lock or an electronic keypad with a series of numbered push buttons, or a touch-sensitive pad, connected to the lock release mechanism via a control unit inside the entrance.

‘Magstripe’ Readers:

The user has an encoded card, a bit like a “credit card” sometimes worn on a chain around the neck, each entry point will have an associated card reader through which the user simply “swipes” the card through to gain entry.

Proximity Readers:

As before the user of the system carries a card or a tag, but instead of having to swipe the card, the user simply presents the card or tag up to a reader, which typically will see the card at about 100mm distance, making this a non-contact and faster method of entry.

Smartcard Readers:

In each of the above methods, the user carries a card or similar, these cards have the ability to carry additional information which can be used for other building services such as vending machines.

Biometric Readers:

The methods above require a card or tag to be carried by the user, these of course can get stolen or lost by the user and unless you remove that card from the system immediately you have a potential security breach.

There is a system which will allow you to use the human characteristics of an individual to clearly identify permitted access.

Biometric readers can store different geometric patterns such as finger prints or a retina scan both of which are unique to that one individual who you are giving access permission to.

This type of system does significantly increase the level of security and unfortunately the price.

Long-Range Readers:

Using active cards, with long range proximity readers, you can automatically unlock or open a door when the reader detects the card.

This makes it ideal in respect of the Disability Discrimination ACT (DDA), as no action is required by the card bearer.

What about Visitors?

You may need to provide some way of allowing visitors to attract attention and open the door for them.

There are three common methods;

  • A simple door bell system will alert your staff to the fact that there is someone waiting outside.
  • An audio intercom panel can be provided at the door allowing the visitor to have a direct conversation with a member of your staff, and if appropriate the door can be remotely released.
  • As above but with the inclusion of a camera facility to allow the operator to see who wants to enter the building.

Once you have permitted the visitor access into your building you could issue a card or pin number for their use allowing them entry to the areas they require access to.

When planning an access control system, think about the following:

  • How many and where are the entry/exit points
  • The desired level of security
  • The movement of staff around the building
  • A method of operation
  • Future growth of the building
  • The turnover of employees
  • Access for the disabled
  • Interface with other systems e.g. Fire alarm or intruder alarm