What is Access Control?
An Introduction to Access Control
Access control systems let authorised employees enter and exit various parts of your business site while keeping unauthorised people out. They can range from simple electronic keypads that secure a single door to large networked systems for multiple buildings that can include parking lot gates, integration with time and attendance systems and multiple levels of security for each user group.
The increased security provided by a modern access control system is important to many types of businesses – and for businesses working with government contracts, it’s often a requirement. However, they also greatly simplify management of your facility: no need to replace lost keys, hunt down old keys from terminated employees, or wonder who has access to which areas. We are able to offer a wide range of access control systems, using a range of technologies, to suit each business from the multinational to small family business.
Choosing an access control vendor
As with any major business purchase, it’s worth taking the time to ask a lot of questions when choosing an access control vendor. Flexibility is important: the vendor should be able to adjust to your specific requirements. Access Control UK have been designing, manufacturing, supplying and installing across control system since 1991 and due to our unique position, we are able to create a bespoke access control system based upon your requirements.
The size and stability of the vendor is also an important feature of which access control company you choose. You want a vendor who is large enough to be stable and provide timely customer support when you need it, yet small enough to be responsive to your needs. Access Control UK have regional offices to deal with your local situation, yet, we still operate nationally from multi-million pound roll-outs to small local businesses.
The best vendors will ask you questions as well. They’ll walk you through the specification process and help you find the solution that best fits your needs. We are able to supply you with software downloads, CDs or we can come to you and offer a demonstration of our products and how they can be built into your requirements for a secure and scalable access control solution.
Access Control UK work with a wide range of customers and have vast experience in a wide range of industries. We also provide maintenance and support contracts and provide on site training or training at our centre for each of our products. Contact us to find out more about Access Control UK.
Choosing the Right Access Control System
Before you start investigating access control systems, the first question to answer is to determine the purpose that the system will serve. The basic role of an access control system is to deny access to anyone who is not supposed to enter an area. This can be the front door, a parking garage, a server room, a personnel records room, or any other sensitive area.
All of our computerised access control systems keep records of when doors where opened and by whom. However, you may want one that functions as part of a time tracking system, to automatically punch workers in and out for payroll purposes by linking to a time and attendance system.
The system will still only grant access users with the appropriate privileges, the system can both incorporate a time clocking and reliable security system. For this application, you’ll need an access control system that is compatible with your time and attendance software. Access Control UK is in the outstanding position of being manufacturer, supplier and installer, therefore enabling us to uniquely customise your access control system to your requirements.
Another point to consider: how secure do you need the system to be? A basic system may feature a keypad or swipe card. However, we also supply higher security systems which may require Smart Card, biometric or multiple means of authentication (a card and thumbprint) and include more redundancy.
Finally, consider what other systems need to connect to your access control system. Monitored alarm systems and CCTV systems are two good examples. To find out how we can create a bespoke system built around your access control requirements contact us today for an informal discussion or demonstration.
Choosing the Size and Specifications of your Access Control System
If you plan ahead a little when purchasing your system, you’ll find it fairly easy to expand later. The smallest systems, designed for one or two doors, are not very expandable, but many four and eight door systems can be linked together when you need to expand. Once you know the number of doors you’ll be securing, gather information on each one: the physical make-up and use of your doors will impact the type of locks and entry systems you need. Are some doors for customers, and some only for employees? Are the doors wood, steel, or aluminium and glass? Are any designated as fire doors? Do you have any garage doors or car parking barriers to control?
Once you understand the basic role the access control system will serve, think about the number of doors you need to secure. Smaller installations may include just one: a server room with an electronic keypad lock is a common example of a very small access control system. Remember that not every door has to have access control – you can simply leave some locked and only give keys to appropriate personnel.
Another key distinction in access control systems is the difference between free exit and controlled exit systems. In a free exit system, there is no requirement for leaving a secure area. The system either detects someone approaching an exit (usually with motion sensors) and unlocks the door, or has a release button or bar that allows people to leave.
Controlled exit systems use the same security for travel in both directions: employees have to enter the code or wave their card to get in or out of the secure area. By law, access control systems have to be set up to allow people to exit if the system fails or power goes out. Controlled exit systems increase both security and your overall costs.
Larger installations may include more than one site. An access control system that can be operated over a network lets you manage the security at all your locations from a central point. At Access Control UK, we have been designing, manufacturing, supplying and installing Access Control Systems since 1991 and have a history of providing excellent access control solutions for our customers, giving specialised advice and service alongside our first class security solutions.
Identification Within Access Control Systems
There are several components to a secure access control system. Firstly you need a way for authorised users to identify themselves and/or unlock the door. Access Control UK utilise a range of technologies with varying levels of price and security for every occasion and solution:
- Keypads are common for single door security access and less expensive systems. They’re easy to use but less secure, since users have a tendency to write down the entry code or to “lend” it to others. They also don’t provide detailed audit trails unless you provide each employee with an individual code.
- Proximity cards, which can work from one inch to three feet from a sensor, are the most common. Because there’s no contact between the card and reader, they’re very reliable and suffer little wear and tear. They’re also inexpensive. A specialized type of proximity card is the vehicle tag, which allows access to a parking facility without requiring the driver to open their window or get out of the car.
- Smart Cards carry larger amounts information on the card itself, such as employee records or spending account balances, instead of just an ID number that references a database.
- Biometric systems rely on physical characteristics of the users for identification such as fingerprints or facial recognition. They are by far the most secure methods of access control. However, they are also considerably more expensive and can seem invasive to employees forced to use them constantly.