Access Control Systems

Access Control Systems

Basics of door entry systems

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Choosing your secured assess system is easy if you take the time to think over what your requirements are and understand what security access entails. Having a plan, finding the right type of equipment, and executing the plan are all essential parts of installing the custom system that is right for your needs.

Here are a few pointers to help your access system be as secure, and functional as possible.

Controlled or free egress door entry systems

Typically, door entry systems will fall into one of two broad categories; those that control both the entry and exit from a controlled room, and those that only control the entry. The first is called a controlled egress system.

Egress systems are ideal for areas where both entry and exits must be monitored. Typically, these areas include stock rooms or other areas where there is the potential for theft or even for safety reasons; an idea of who might still be inside of an area quickly is advantageous in an emergency.

The second type of door entry system is called a free egress system. This type is commonly used in public buildings, such as restaurants or shopping malls. A free entry system ensures that people are not allowed entry after closing time though anyone can freely leave whenever they want. This is a very safe way to allow an emergency egress as well, as leaving does not require anything more than opening the door.

Keypads, Swipe Cards, or Biometric Access

Once you've decided on what general type of access you want to grant, you'll need to determine what type of system you want to install. There are four commonly used varieties of door entry systems. Each grants access in a similar overall manner yet uses four distinctly different ways of verifying authorized access.

Keypads: Keypads are exactly as they sound; a numbered pad is at each station where entry is to be accessed. Users are assigned individual pass codes which they will enter into the pad to gain access. Perhaps the biggest risk in this system involves those who have access giving their code to someone else.

Additionally, it is not recommended that a "one code for everyone" system be put into place. The idea behind access control is to know who is where and when they got there within your facility.

Swipe cards: Swipe cards are much more secure than keypad entry systems in that a physical card is needed to access the desired area. The system its self is not that much more price prohibitive than a keypad solution, but there are a couple of draw backs. The cards used for swiping are prone to be lost, so there is a bit more in the way of labor needed to manage, assign, unassign and reassign cards. Again, sharing access with unauthorized individuals can be a problem.

Non-contact proximity access: Non-contact proximity access requires another type of card (usually thicker than a swipe card) or fob. These cards or fobs only need to be near the sensor in order to trigger it, and are great for garages or high-traffic areas. The fob/card solution still have the same drawbacks that the swipe card system is prone to.

Biometric access: As the name implies the "bio" in biometric refers to something living, or in this case, a body part. Biometric access can be in the form of a fingerprint access system, a biometric scan (hand), or even optical scanner. These types of systems are very secure.

The fingerprint, bio scan, or iris scan must match the fingerprint on file for access to be granted. Of course, this is by far the most expensive door entry system. This is the preferred methodology for high security areas as there are no codes or key cards to be passed off to someone else.

Cost and comparison

Cost always factors in with any business decision. With a security system the return on investment (ROI) is not just measured in dollars and cents. Costs for an entire controlled access system can range from $49 per keypad to literally tens of thousands for upscale biometric systems. If any other type of solution is put into place other than a key card system, one must also take into account the long term expense of managing access as well as the costs of components such as swipe cards and fob.

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