We all have some level of exposure to access control systems. The most rudimentary of these systems are the metal keys we use to access our homes. In this sense, a basic understanding of these systems relates to controlling who enters an area. More recently, access control systems can also control at what time a person can enter an area. These areas may be a parking structure, complex, building, room, or other small spaces like closets and cabinets.
With technological advancements, our access control systems now mainly involve electronic security systems. A familiar example you may have experienced is the digital key cards used to swipe on door locks at hotels. But the world of access control systems is considerably broader and more complex.
A common means of access control systems involve a type of access card programmed specifically to authorized people’s requirements or restrictions to enter certain areas. These control systems can govern who and when people log into specific areas, and they can provide vital tracking data for your site, buildings, room, and more.
In this article, we identify a few examples and discuss how access control systems operate.
How Does an Access Control System Work?
First, let’s begin by first understanding how traditional access methods have shortcomings that can hinder your business operations and security. There is a tendency for conventional metal keys to get lost, or a former employee may fail to return a key. In these cases, locks must be replaced or professionally re-keyed. Stolen keys may end up being used for unauthorized access, and this poses significant security risks. There is also the issue of carrying a large diversity of keys to access various rooms, areas, or other spaces, becoming burdensome, confusing, and time-consuming.
However, there are numerous alternatives to access control systems that offer considerably more reliable security, flexibility, organization, and convenience. In contrast to the standard lock and key, entrances can be outfitted with access control systems that feature automatic, programmable sensors for door locks that permit entry to authorized persons with a simple scan.
Let’s examine a few types of access control systems:
Three types of access control systems
There are various types of access control systems for different kinds of environments and operations. Understanding the following types of systems can assist your organization in determining what system or combination of systems will be best suited to your requirements.
Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)
If you’re looking for the most popular type of access control system, the Role-Based Access Control is the option. The RBAC is very commonly used in households, but it is also quickly gaining popularity with businesses. These systems are less restrictive than Managed Access Control, but they offer more customization than Discretionary Access Control systems. Primary features offered by RBAC allow permissions to be assigned to roles and times of the day. For example, a manager can be given more access permissions than an assistant manager.
Managed Access Control (MAC)
Managed Access Control (MAC) systems provide a more rigid approach that is commonly useful for organizations dealing with highly confidential or classified data like military or government agencies. As the most restrictive option for access control, MAC only gives control and management to the system owner or administrator. But settings are programmed into the system. An administrator cannot go around these parameters, restricting the system administrator from permitting or denying access. These are accountability measures built into the MAC system. Every user in the MAC systems is categorized based on their permissions wholly relative to their role.
Discretionary Access Control (DAC)
The least restrictive access control system is the Discretionary Access Control (DAC). A great deal of flexibility in this system allows administrators to be changed to another person easily, and this administrator has full access to create permissions. DAC is simple and easy to use, but permissions cannot be assigned based on an employee’s role.
The primary components of access control systems
Access control systems are comprised of a few core functions that produce an integrated and automated set of security resources. The core components consist of the access control panel, lock, tag, and tag reader. Below is a more detailed explanation of each component.
Access control panel
This is the primary controller of an access system. The panel takes in data from the reader, translates the encryption, and verifies the data against what is loaded into the system. If the data received matches with the data in the system, a lock would open and grant access.
This is an electrical version of the traditional lock. It is operated by the access control panel to permit or deny entry.
A tag essentially replaces the mechanical key with a different physical item such as a fob, keycard, or a credential that can be programmed into a smartphone. Using radio frequency identification (RFID), the tags send digital signals to the access control panel. These tags offer an administrator a great deal of range to make alterations, granting the ability to change permissions from a remote position. In addition to the physical tags, a biometric signature can also be used, such as a hand, thumb, or face scan.
The reader is equipped with an antenna that can receive information from a tag and transmit it to the access control panel. Readers can be installed on either side of a door to regulate entry and exit.
Parting Words on Access Control Systems
Our team can guarantee that your installation is conducted with the utmost professionalism. We can also provide maintenance to ensure your systems keep you secure in the long run.