What Is Access Control and Why Is It Vital?

At a very basic level, access control is a means of controlling who enters a location and when. Those entering may be employees, contractors, or visitors. For example, the location they enter may be a site, a building, or a room.

We tend to call it physical access control to distinguish it from access control that prevents people from entering a virtual space—for example, when logging on to a computer network. And, although one of its main uses is to improve security, physical access control systems can also provide many other benefits. Including improving the efficiency of your business processes and site or building management.

What is an access control system?

When we talk about physical access control systems, we usually mean electronic security systems. They usually use identifiers such as access key to authorize people to enter certain areas. And, because they can record who visited when and where they can provide valuable data to help you track the usage of buildings and sites.

Why use an access control system instead of a mechanical key?

Mechanical keys are the simplest form of physical access control and are used by many small organizations. However, even for small companies, the use of mechanical keys has some shortcomings and limitations—especially as the organization grows. The following are just some of the problems that arise when using the key.

Key lost

If someone loses the key, you need to replace the lock to ensure that the lost key will not be abused. Then you need to distribute the new key to everyone who needs to enter the door.

The key will not leave an audit trail

You can’t see if and when someone used the key, so you don’t know who or when it was entered.

The keys are difficult to manage

If someone needs to enter many different buildings and rooms, they will need a large number of keys, which is inconvenient to carry and use. It may be difficult to remember which key belongs to which door, but the security risk of labeling them is too great.

Strengthen control and security

By using an electronic access control system, you can avoid the disadvantages of using mechanical keys and gain more control.

  • Who has access. For example, you may only want to allow automatic access for employees. And you want visitors and contractors to report to the reception when they arrive.
  • Which doors they can enter. You may only want certain people to enter certain areas. For example, you only want to allow technicians to enter your laboratory.
  • When can they enter. Contractors and junior employees can only be allowed in in their standard shift mode, while senior employees can enter the building at any time.
  • What gives you more control is that a good access control system allows you to set these parameters for everyone. You can update them quickly and easily when needed.It will also show you who has been visited, when and where, so that it is easier to determine who might be involved when an incident occurs.

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