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What Is Access Control? By Jonathan Elder

There are a huge range of Access Control options available and although most are used for security reasons some are used for timekeeping or to manage the flow of people into or around buildings.

Access Control Provides Flexible Control To Buildings, Security and More Access control technology provides flexible control over access to your building and benefits organisations of all sizes as a low cost, easily maintained solution to managing exit and entry at one or more entrances. However, it is more than just a means to improve security at entrances and exits.

Most organisations, not just those with security concerns, require only authorised persons to be granted access to their premises. Access control systems provide greater control over buildings and protect assets from theft, nuisance and vandalism but that is only part of the story.

Although these systems are most commonly seen controlling the access of individuals into areas in a building the electronic solutions enable organisations to monitor the location of people within a building and to manage user permissions and so look after the flow of people around a building.

Different Access Control Systems from Single Door to Multi Site Basic systems typically protect a single door usually with audio entry or keypad/PIN devices, although video entry systems are also used fairly frequently. These are commonly used by smaller businesses and premises.

Larger premises more typically need one or two doors monitored and so use card readers controlled by local door controllers to achieve control over authorisation. These systems are more commonly favoured by schools, retail units and small offices.


Multi-door and multi-site installations for large offices, industrial units, warehouses, hospitals and universities use a front-end computer which connects to a network of door controllers and enables access to be controlled by card readers.

Access control has embraced biometric technology, with fingerprints, which are unique and difficult to duplicate being used for even tighter security and in some instances they use an iris scanner instead of fingerprints. Smartcard technology is also popular especially on door entry systems and logging systems. It can be used more flexibly than some other access control systems; it is not limited to just controlling access through doors and into buildings. Smartcard technology enables secure logins onto computers and to purchase goods, without the need for money.

Access control is used by some organisations to monitor time keeping and can be integrated with payroll systems or used to monitor the reliability of suppliers. However, more commonly the technology is integrated with CCTV and used for security purposes than for monitoring staff and suppliers.

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What Is Access Control