How to Choose a Right Access Control System
For the security team, choosing a physical access control system has never been an easy task. Because the security team needs to understand the functions and advantages of the system and evaluate the functions necessary for them.
Not all access control systems are the same. Although they are built for the same purpose, each system has different levels of access policies and restrictions. The security team needs to select the appropriate access control system according to the needs of the organization.
Ironing out the fundamentals
The first thing that needs to be clear is what kind of access control strategies, models, and mechanisms are important to the organization? This determines the basic structure of the access control system.
Access control models
Models can be divided into three main types:
- Discretionary access control (DAC): as a means of restricting access to objects based on the identity of subjects and/or groups to which they belong.
- Role and/or rule-based access control (RBAC): Users can be grouped into roles based on their responsibilities within an organization as this generally determines their system access needs. Access is then granted to each user based on the access requirements established for each role.
- Mandatory access control (MAC): a type of access control by which the operating system or database constrains the ability of a subject or initiator to access or generally perform some sort of operation on an object or target.
The security team needs to be clear about the type that the organization needs most.
Access control mechanisms
Access control involves the management of access to the entire site or any area within it. So the issues that the security team needs to consider are:
- External threats: mainly for visitors whose whereabouts are unknown or those with malicious intentions
- Insider threats: there may be employees being followed or ID stolen, causing unrelated personnel to enter the relevant area
- Key assets: Are there any places in the organization that store important information such as documents and servers? If they exist, they need to be protected
The security team needs to consider what is best for their building. Is it a biometric lock, a card reader, or a passive electronic lock? In addition, security professionals should also avoid a large number of reorganization or refurbishment of hardware systems in the organization’s premises, because this will seriously affect the normal activities of the organization. In this regard, passive electronic locks may be the best choice.
What is your security strategy?
The security level required by the office determines the hardware and its corresponding ACS. For example, pharmaceutical companies have higher requirements, especially research departments; in accounting firms, the area where customer files are located is the most secure area; in IT companies, the server room is the most important place. These places can use biometrics, such as fingerprint ACS.
For ordinary offices, or objects or offices that do not need to process a large amount of sensitive data, ordinary access systems can be used, based on cards, passwords or ordinary keys.
Where to find the right fit
You need to be cautious when selecting suppliers. The first thing you need to check is the supplier’s age, and choose a supplier that has a long-term business and has an upgraded product range. They should be proficient in the latest technological developments.
Another important point is that the security team needs to consider after-sales issues. If there is a problem with the product settings, or the product is damaged, the supplier should be able to provide timely help or provide corresponding solutions. The supplier’s timely response can solve a lot of losses and troubles.
How adaptable is the ACS?
It is the moment of rapid technological development, and new security solutions are constantly emerging. If a few years later, the organization decides to upgrade their ACS, will their current framework allow it? Will the upgrade continue? Does it support integration?
What would it cost?
This is also an important indicator for the security team to choose an access control system for the organization. Because they need to spend a lot of time to evaluate the budget requirements of the enterprise. And in the long run, discussing maintenance and upgrade costs with suppliers is also very important.
Buying an access control system is a huge investment because this system will become an indispensable part of daily operations. Therefore, it is recommended not to seek the lowest option for the price, but to consider the long-term and find the option that can provide the greatest investment for the prevention.