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What are the different types of Access Control?

pic_Access Control

Access control is what allows premises to choose who is authorised to enter, when they are permitted entry, and even which zones they are allowed to visit. Dependent on the number of authorised persons, and the number of zones, there are a wide variety of options available to suit any set of security requirements. 

Manual access control

For manual access control, people are used to secure specific access points, such as doormen, stewards or customer service agents. They identify people who want to enter the premises and decide based on predefined criteria whether or not they can – for example, a person presenting a ticket before entering a concert venue. This is often practised at highly frequented access points such as cinemas, theatres, zoos and theme parks where it is difficult to get information from people beforehand and identification isn’t required. 


Mechanical access control

For mechanical access control scenarios, mechanical technology is used to secure an access point. A common example of this would be a cylinder lock with a suitable key – so this would be used typically in homes or garages. 


Electronic access control

For buildings with advanced security requirements, electronic access control can be used to secure access points. For these types of access, a card, chip or other fob with the correct credentials must be presented to a reader in order for a person to pass through.  This will also keep a record of who has passed through the area and when. 

There are two types of Electronic access control: 

  1. Standalone systems 
    These are used for single access points. The access decision is made on the basis of access permissions locally in the standalone component. These systems are not wired, which means the installation requirements are less than wired controls, saving time onsite and allowing for easy retrofitting of components. 
    Using standalone access components vs wired online access control, for sites where access control would traditionally not be possible due to location or existing site infrastructure, a standalone component can be used to implement an access control solution more effectively. 
    Standalone components can also be integrated into a larger access control system with a combination of both online and standalone components. 
    In addition, it is easy to integrate offsite access points, and provides the possibility of integration into bigger systems. Examples of standalone components include Digital Cylinders, Mechatronic (Electronic and Mechanical combination) Cylinders and Electronic Door Locks.
     
  2. Online systems
    Used for larger sites with high access rates, these are wired and connected to the host system’s access control software. High security levels can be achieved with these systems due to the real-time message exchange between the components and the software. In addition, there are interfaces to many other systems that can be incorporated, such as an alarm system, elevator control, etc. 
     

Mechatronic access control

A combination of electronic and mechanical can also be used to offer further security. In this instance, the electronic system first checks the card/code/other media used, and only after passing this can a key be used on the mechanical lock to open the door. This sort of combination is typically used in offices with high security requirements, private residential buildings, and server rooms. 


Physical access systems

Physical access systems play an important role in access control and security – no matter how high quality a lock or access control system is, if the door or physical access system can be overpassed then it is of little importance. Thus, the physical access system must be viewed holistically and in line with safety requirements. Examples of physical access systems include: 

  • Sensor barriers 
  • Half-height turnstiles
  • Full-height turnstiles
  • Tripod turnstiles
  • Revolving doors
  • Security interlocks

Whether residential or commercial, access control systems are vital to protect premises from unauthorised persons. It is important to take a broad look at the security required, and consult with a leading manufacturer of access control solutions to ensure the safety of a place, its occupants and the items inside.