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Access Control

What is Access Control?

Access control restricts how and when people enter and/or exit an area. Your particular needs will determine how that is accomplished. Access Control Systems allow people or vehicles into a restricted area via identification through coded keys, magnetic cards, or biometric readers such as hand, face, voice, finger of retina readers. These systems are used in many businesses, hotels and apartment complexes.

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Why Should We Use Access Control?

Access control systems allow you to control who goes where, to document where and when they went into each area, to automatically lock or unlock doors at certain times and restrict access to those visitors, residents and/or employees who are supposed to be there.

Access control is the only technology that proactively attempts to keep unauthorized individuals out of a building or areas within a facility, and is a perfect complement to video surveillance, burglar and fire systems in a comprehensive security solution.

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What Are Some Common Features of Access Control Systems?

  • Limit access- Systems can be programmed to allow certain users to enter specific areas only at certain times. Other users can be allowed to enter all locations at all times.
  • Automating Systems can automatically lock a door or gate each evening at a certain time and unlock it automatically at another time.
  • Replace the Key- Managing keys can be a nightmare. If you use a different key for each of several doors it can be cumbersome to carry them all and time consuming to stand at an entrance wading through the set for the right one. Keys are easily lost or duplicated, and terminated employees often do not return keys. Access control systems eliminate this concern because if a user leaves without returning their access credential, it can be easily deleted to deny the former user access. In some systems that access can even be changed from an off site location. In many cases the annual cost of re-keying a facility alone will justify the cost of an electronic access control system.
  • Track Access- One of the biggest advantages of an electronic access control system is the ability to document and report access activity. This can provide you with critical information before and after an incident.
  • Visual Verification- By including color coded distinctive badges access systems can readily identify visitors, temporary employees, contractors and regular full time employees. By including a photo of the user on the credential you can help building occupants know the card user is the person to whom it was issued.
  • Integration and Coordination- Your Access Control System can be connected and coordinated with other systems including burglar and fire alarms, closed circuit television, time and attendance recording, and control of your heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

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What are the Common Parts of an Access Control System?

Each system will have a lock or a barrier, a credential and a credential reader. Many systems will also record the activity of who went where and when.

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How Does An Access Control System Work?

First we need a barrier to prevent someone from entering or exiting, such as a locked door or gate. Next we need a way to determine who is trying to enter. A credential reader is used to read the information on a key or card, to register a combination of numbers entered on a pad or to identify some characteristic that the user has, such as a fingerprint the shape of a hand, a pattern in the eye, etc. This identifier is sent to a controller that has stored a record of those identifiers that are authorized to enter the area. If the credential holder is authorized the controller unlocks the gate or door and the credential holder is allowed to enter. In many systems a record of all authorized and unauthorized credentials is stored in the system for future reference.


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How Are Access Control Systems Coordinated with other Systems?

Anything that can be controlled with electricity can be coordinated or controlled with an access control system. Doors can be unlocked automatically in the event of a fire to allow all occupants to exit as fast as possible. Cameras can zoom in on a door when people enter or exit. An alert can sound in a guard office when a certain person enters. Heat or air conditioning can be turned off after the last person leaves or turned on if a person enters after hours.

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How Do You Handle Visitors if all Your Doors are Locked?

If you know when a visitor will be coming you may be able to arrange to get them a temporary credential before or when they arrive. If you have a guard or reception desk where visitors can report this may be a simple solution. If a visitor arrives unexpectedly, intercoms or phones can be used at a central entry point to allow the visitor to communicate with someone so they can be taken care of. Some systems will allow the person that the visitor calls to unlock a door through the phone. Visito management software is also available to handle different scenarios that may arise.

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What is Time and Attendance?

The same credential that is used to open a door can be used to record when a person enters a job site to start work for the day and when they leave. Reports can be generated to help in tabulating payroll.  Please visit our partner Interboro Systems at for further infomation about Time & Attendance products.

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