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Switching to Electronic Access Control? Things You Need to Know

First think about a question, under what circumstances you should consider electronic access control?

  • You need an audit trail
  • You need to control access to doors based on date and time
  • You need to quickly add and remove keys from your system

If the above three circumstances occur, then perhaps you need an electronic access control system.

While mechanical keys will keep a building secure, they lack the flexibility to adapt to your changing security needs. Standard physical keys are difficult to track without a key management system. And when a key goes missing, changing a standard mechanical lock, often expensive.

About Electronic Access Control

Yet the alternative, electronic access control, can seem daunting, over-technical, and potentially expensive. But this need not be the case if you choose the right access control system.

A basic electronic access control system consists of a reader, a controller, and an electric lock. Readers are mounted on the outside of doors and are the only part of the electronic access control system most people see. In a modern electronic access control system, the readers are designed to recognize codes (something you know), credentials (something you have), or biometrics (something you are). If the system uses a code reader, you enter a personal identification number into a keypad to identify yourself to the system. With a credential reader, you would present a card or key fob. A biometric reader must read a part of you.

Popular biometrics include fingerprints and hand geometry. Finger vein patterns are also becoming a popular form of biometric. Retinal scans have been used for some time. They are not very popular in business environments and are usually reserved for high-end systems. Finally, facial recognition is a developing technology. While this technology is useful for investigations, it has not yet gained wide acceptance as a method for access control.

Key-centric Access Control Systems

Wait, such electronic access control does not apply to all industries and environments. If the scenario is telecommunication stations, electric power, logistics and transportation, perhaps this is not an easily acceptable solution.

In parts of Europe, key-centric access control systems have changed the security of many important workplaces. It is based on three elements: smart keys, electronic lock cylinders, and software that provides traceable access control.

The electronic lock (lock cylinder) can be installed on almost any door, just like a mechanical lock, and does not require any wiring. The administrator can access the management software through the Web to update the access authority of the key. The system is highly flexible and adapted to suit any number of different business models and infrastructures, not just within public spaces.

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