What is Access Control?
There are many types of access control, ranging from an open door to very elaborate bio-metric control devices.
Mechanical key-operated lock hardware is a common access control. If you have a key you can gain access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
There is no capability for an audit trail, you cannot track who accessed on opening or when. This would be an example of dumb access control. If the key is lost or duplicated you no longer have access control.
From there you could go to a full time guard. A full time guard would also be access control, you could have all of the benefits of an electronic access control system.
- Accountability - Audit trails
- Convenience - no need to rekey
- Security - no enters without permission
- Control of time and people who can access - who can enter and when, commonly called time zone capability
- Time and Attendance - no need for the old time clock
This solution would be expensive.
Stand alone battery powered digital locks are the next step up. The stand alone battery powered digital locks are evolving at a rapid pace. Stand alone battery powered digital locks have many useful features and are becoming popular. The latest stand alone fingerprint lock KGB Security sells now has up to 30 users.
Combination Transponder keys are the latest development for the humble pin tumbler lock which allow a keyholder access to non critical doors using the standard mechanical function and also access to the other areas based upon the Transponder head of the key.
Electronic keys are another new development which can give the benefits of a high level access control system to a gate padlock, filing cabinet lock or cam lock (such as a vending machine).
Some benefits of a stand alone system are:
- No hardwiring, which can significantly reduce cost
- Range from single to multiple user, some allow groups and management levels.
- Some can learn existing controls.
- Audit trails can be downloaded via a PDA etc.
- The ability to easily move or reuse locks and doors
The range of fully integrated access control systems is broad. Listed below are some of the features the range of fully integrated access control systems offer.
- Can integrate with alarm systems, fire alarm systems and CCTV systems
- Can be remotely controlled - ie via modem and computer
- If a card or control is lost - no need to rekey, you just delete the lost control and issue a new one
- Some systems can be managed by the users IT department etc
The type of system that will be right for your needs will depend on many factors including:
- Fire and Building codes
- Inspection by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ)
- Can wires be run
- Does your system need to integrate with your alarm or fire system
- How many openings, or buildings are involved
- How many users
- Types of controls
- What type of egress control can be used