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How An Access Control System Works

Access Control System

If you’re looking to safeguard your business, then a security setup that includes, among other things, an access control system is something you need to seriously consider. Protecting your employees and business assets often means controlling and monitoring access to your facility — and that’s exactly what electronic access control systems do. They allow you to keep on top of who enters or exits your facility, and since workers can be granted unique credentials to enter or exit, you’ll know exactly who entered, when they entered, and where they entered.

But how exactly does this sort of system work, and what is it composed of? This primer will focus on the four primary components, namely the locking mechanisms, the access control card reader, access reader controller, and the access control software.

Electronic Locks & Mag Locks 

The physical entry points in your facility must have a way to lock and unlock the door to allow entry to valid users of the system. . With access control systems, these entryways are equipped with electronic locking mechanisms that are electronically controlled and monitored. Magnetic sensors embedded into the door or the lock will monitor movement, which means that you’ll be able to keep on top of who goes and comes. Typically, electric strikes or electromagnetic locks will be installed to provide this control, however in more sophisticated access control solutions, turnstiles and barriers can be used.

Access Card Reader

Also at the doorway, there is the card reader. The reader permits access to people with valid security cards and provide authorization after the card is swiped. While access control systems often rely on users swiping cards to gain entry, they can also have keypads so that users simply key in their assigned passwords, or even using biometric signatures like fingerprints .

Reader Controller

Each card reader is typically tied back to a controller which is the actual “brains” of the access control system. The controller can typically control 1, 2 or 4 doors, but this varies depending on the manufacturer of the product. Some products carry the controller within the reader itself. The controller is what keeps the information entered into the access control software (next) and differentiates between valid and non-valid cards.

Access Control Software

Most access control systems will also have a piece of software which allows you the manage cards, users and doors. This software is normally stored on a server located somewhere in the facility, however newer systems allow you to stored this information in the cloud. Most access control software is easy to use, with a simple graphical user interface which allows you to add and remove users, set locking schedules for the doors, remotely open and close door and much more, depending on the software you provide. Often, this is all the end-user sees of the software, so choosing the right piece of access control software is very important.

Access control systems will definitely give you an extra layer of protection as far as controlling and monitoring access to your business. The four components — electronic locks, card reader, access control reader controller and access control software — combine to create a solution that will protect your business interests.

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