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What is An Access Control System?

What is An Access Control System?

Long gone are the days when a caretaker carried a huge set of keys and opened and closed all the doors in a building. These days there are access control systems used to get in and out of buildings. So, this week we are looking at what is an Access Control System?

Access Control Systems

An access control system is basically a computer based system that allows authorised people to gain access to building or areas, usually using a card, key fob or biometric entry.

Different Types Of Access Control Systems

There are two main types of access control system.

User Facing

These are the most commonly used access control system, access is gained by holding up a card, a fob, or a smart phone, a thumb print, to a card reader.

The card reader looks at the details on the card or fob and if authorised it sends a signal to the main control system that activates the unlocking of the door.

Customer Facing

These are the access control systems that are usually seen in the reception area of a building. Manned by either a security guard or admin worker, they would usually have a dashboard or portal connected to a database that is programmed to allow certain people access.

So, they will check the credentials of any visitors and if the dashboard says they are authorised, then will let them gain access to the required area.

They are the parts of access control systems that people see. But behind all that is the…

Access Control Panel

This is the head office of the access control system. All the locks on doors and areas are connected to the control panel.

When it receives a signal from a card reader or an access portal, it instantly checks the details and if the credentials are correct then it releases the lock on the particular door.

Because of how vital it is for a building’s security; it is usually kept in a secure area such as an I.T server room and shouldn’t be visible to people entering or leaving a property.

The access control panel is connected to a server, either based somewhere in the building or located in head office.

Advances in technology have meant that more and more access control servers are cloud based.

One of the benefits of cloud based servers is that they can be amended or updated from any location that has good 4G or WIFI.

The server is effectively a database of all the secure areas in a building or buildings and a list of who is authorised to which area

The server is kept up to date usually by a security admin employee or human resources. If somebody leaves or there are new employees, they will amend the system accordingly.

Some servers are updated by customer facing security staff or receptionists. For example, allowing visitors to gain access for a limited period.

access control system image of padlocks forming a network....

New Technology in Access Control

You may have seen on the news, stories about biometric data breaches and facial recognition software possibly being used in Kings Cross Station in London.

In fact, China has already implemented the use of facial recognition software in various ways already.

There is a really good article on how they are using facial recognition technology by here.

You can see just how quickly the world of access control moves, and with every advance, along with obvious benefits, come many questions around privacy and human rights.

Also, that these days hackers are just as quick as the software developers and find flaws in seemingly fool proof smart technology.
You wouldn’t get that with the caretaker and his huge set of keys, would you?

Mind you, now we are thinking about it, if the caretaker was off sick then nobody could get in, or out, of a building…


Access Control Systems Maintenance

Like all hardware and software, bits can break, suddenly not work or software can crash. If a business deicides to use a reliable and established company such as us here at Mayfair security, they will have all of the components of an access control system inspected regularly.

So, a business can have peace of mind that their premises are kept safe and secure at all times.

You can see the services that Mayfair Security can provide on the access control system page on our website.

Get In Touch

We are sure that we have only just skimmed the surface of all the information about access control systems so if you would like to find out more, then please do not hesitate to call us.

Our team of experts will be more than happy to give you all the help you need.

You can telephone us on 0808 1780748, or get in touch using our online contact form here.


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