Access control, just as it clearly states, is a term that refers to the act of restricting entry into a building or particular room through technological means. It is a system that gives access to or controls who enters and exits. Giving access control assumes authorization to use. There are various types of Access control:
i. Physical Access control
ii. Electronic Access control
PHYSICAL ACCESS CONTROL
Physical access control is implemented through mechanical locks and keys. The limitations with mechanical locks, which make them not fully functional in this day, are as follows:
i. Mechanical locks do not restrict the key holder to specific dates and time.
ii. Mechanical locks and keys do not provide records of keys used, the user or the specific door that was accessed.
iii. Mechanical locks and keys can easily be duplicated and transferred to unauthorized persons
ELECTRONIC ACCESS CONTROL
Electronic access control uses technology and computers to solve the problems of mechanical locks and keys. Credentials which require verification are used in place of mechanical keys. The electronic system grants access based on the credentials submitted. When access is granted, the door is unlocked for an amount of time and activity is recorded. When access is denied, the door remains unlocked and attempted access is recorded. The system also monitors the door and alarm; it notes if the door is being forced open or held open for too long after being unlocked while access was granted.
ELEMENTS OF AN ACCESS CONTROL SYSTEM
Access control systems has three distinct elements that define how it works, they are; Identification, authentication and authorization.
IDENTIFICATION: The purpose of access control is to protect a building / property/ room. The system therefore has to be able to identify the individual attempting to gain access to secured areas.
AUTHENTICATION: After the system has identified the individual, it is vital that their identity is authenticated to ensure that the right person is granted access. The various methods by which authentication can be achieved include passwords, fingerprints encryption key, smartcards.
AUTHORIZATION: Once authentication is successful, access control systems are then able to grant individuals access to restricted areas, based on fulfilled criteria.
BENEFITS OF ACCESS CONTROL
Protects against unwanted guests: Operating a business/ organization can give visitors the opportunity to come and go undetected. The benefits of access control system are that unauthorized guests cannot get in, because the door needs credentials to grant them access.
Reduces risks of potential theft: Company’s assets, expensive equipment or office supplies are protected by controlling who accesses them. Since employees are also aware that access to the equipment are tracked, it serves as a deterrent to feel the need to steal.
Keeps track of who comes and goes: Access control systems provide data on who enters and exits a room, how long they had access and when they had access.
Prevents data breaches: Sensitive health information, financial records and client data are usually stored and secured at organizations and may be accessed by unauthorized individuals, restricting access to this information is vital for the organization.
Maintains electronic logs for review and future reference: The system records individual access and activities performed when access was granted.
Gets rid of traditional keys: The use of traditional keys has a few setbacks and disadvantage, the larger the building, the more locks you need and the bulkier the key ring. Traditional keys can also be easily duplicated and get in the hands of unauthorized individuals.
Saves money and energy: With access control systems, you save money on duplicating multiple keys and paying of security personnel, the system can authenticate and identify before granting access, without the need of a security personnel.
Provide employees the freedom to work when they need to: When employees have different shifts/ work time, access control systems enable them to come in and go conveniently. People can come in early and not have to wait for whoever has the keys, managers also do not have to stay late just to lock up the place.