Many people enter places of business – employees, customers, business partners, or government officials who check on how the company follows government-mandated rules. And some people can be considered security risks for the business – and for that reason, all businesses need an access control system.
What is Access Control System?
“Access control system” is the technical term for managing who can enter a facility or a network and use its resources. The person may be a team member, a visitor, a business partner – basically anyone. They may be driving, walking, or accessing a computer network, and the location they are entering may be a building, a drawer, or even a virtual space.
Essentially, an access control system regulates who has access to an organization’s resources. Its only purpose is to ensure that whoever enters a part of the business is authorized to be there.
How Does Access control system Work?
In this electronically modern age, an access control system usually uses an electronic security system. The electronic security system replaced the standard lock and key security system of the past. But the access control system does so much more than replace the lock and key.
The disadvantages of locks and keys are too many to number. One is that anyone can easily lose his key – or the key can get stolen. Another problem is that locks can be easily picked or broken.
But with an access control system, you have a better method of managing who gets into the premises or networks of your business.
The system can keep a log of who accessed what and when – essentially giving you valuable data.
Unlike a lock and key system, an access control system is easier to manage for both the people accessing facilities and the person regulating their access. A lock needs a particular key; if a person needs to enter multiple parts of the office, they need to carry multiple keys. Another advantage of an access control system over a lock and key system is that keys don’t leave a data trail.
What it can Help You Manage?
An access control system can help you manage these four areas:
- Who has access – you can regulate which people can access which parts of your business. For example, you may want automatic access to employees, but visitors need to first register in the reception area before gaining access.
- What areas people can access – with an access control system, you can limit the places people can access. For example, you may want the marketing team only to have access to the marketing department’s office and not the accounting department’s office.
- When can they gain access – you may want some employees to access the business building only during their shift.
- Special conditions – you may want visitors to first present documents before gaining access.
A sound access control system gives you the capability to control these things. With a system like this, there’s less risk of damage to your business. Additionally, if any damage is done, you can quickly narrow down the potential perpetrators. In our opinion, an access control system is as essential as a fire suppression system.
Identifiers of an Access Control System
There are three main identifiers an access control system can use. They are:
- An item such as an access card, a badge, or an identification tag.
- A mental item like a password or a pin.
- Biometric parts like a fingerprint or an iris
To increase your security standards, you may even combine two or more identifiers.
Components of Access Control Systems
An access control system has four components.
The tag is the identifier a person uses to access a location, a virtual network, or any resource. It can be a card, badge, or biometric tag.
The reader is the mechanism that identifies the tag and allows access if the tag is authorized.
The lock can either be an electro-mechanical device, a fail-safe, or a fail-secure. It either opens if the tag is authorized or remains closed if the tag is unauthorized. In some cases, the lock may reinforce itself if the controller perceives the unauthorized tag as a threat.
The controller is the core of the system. It stores the security data and controls the lock’s response depending on what the reader receives from the tag.
The Different Types of Access Control System
There are four types of access control systems – discretionary access control (DAC), mandatory access control (MAC), role-based access control (RBAC), and rule-based access control.
Discretionary Access Control (DAC)
With a discretionary access control system, the manager can assign access to locations or virtual networks. Every time a tag is presented to the reader, the system checks the tag against the list of authorized tags and either allows or denies access based on the manager’s assigned allowances.
DAC is the most flexible access control system because of its high number of allowances. Therefore, it is also the least secure. The primary concern about DAC is that one person has control over the entire system.
Mandatory Access Control (MAC)
MAC is the strictest and safest access control system type. Instead of creating a list of authorized tags on each entry point, a MAC system categorizes users and grants them access based on the system’s programming. Each user has to create user permission set up in the system for MAC to work.
To change which locations or networks a user has access to, the administrator has to reprogram the user’s access information.
Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)
Role-based access control gives access based on the job title instead of individually assigning access to each user. This system is fast becoming the most popular type of access control system.
If you have 30 people separated into four job titles – 20 salespeople, five accountants, four interns, and one manager – you only need to create four accounts based on job titles instead of 30.
Rule-Based Access Control
Rule-based access control systems are an access control system type that you can add to another type. It allows you to create specific rules to limit access. For example, it can allow you to restrict access to the office building for anyone who wants to enter after business hours. After all, no one needs to be in the office after business hours.
Get the Appropriate Access Control System for Your Business
For Protek Fire & Systems, safety is a top priority for any business. We highly recommend taking all necessary steps to protect your business and all involved in it. Whether those steps are installing the best fire suppression system or the top-of-the-line access control system, we emphatically suggest you take it. Connect us