The purpose of access control is to grant entrance to a building or office only to those who are authorized to be there. The deadbolt lock, along with its matching brass key, was the gold standard of access control for many years; however, modern businesses want more. Yes, they want to control who passes through their doors, but they also want a way to monitor and manage access. Keys have now passed the baton to computer-based electronic access control systems that provide quick, convenient access to authorized persons while denying access to unauthorized ones.
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Today, instead of keys, we carry access cards or ID badges to gain entry to secured areas. Access control systems can also be used to restrict access to workstations, file rooms housing sensitive data, printers, as well as entry doors. In larger buildings, exterior door access is usually managed by a landlord, or management agency, while interior office door access is controlled by the tenant company.
People new to access control may think the system is made up only of the card and the card reader mounted on the wall next to the door. There are a few more parts behind the scenes, all working together to make the magic of granting access to the right person. That’s what this guide is about. Reading it will give you a full and comprehensive understanding of how access control systems work and the language required to communicate with vendors.
Is it absolutely necessary that you learn about access control yourself? No, definitely not. But it will save you time if, in the middle of your project, a problem arises or an important choice must be made. You can seek advice from the installers but they'll likely answer in access control language; however, you don’t have to take a crash course or call a security-control consultant just yet. But when you do, it helps to have a basic grasp on the subject and your education is free when an online search turns up a resource like this.
Access cards, card reader and access control keypad.
Access management dashboard, integrations or API.
Electric door lock hardware, access control panels, and access control servers.
In addition to locally-hosted access control systems, where the server is onsite (as explained in the previous section), you have three other options:
The easiest way to explain these modern types of access control is to compare them to Google Mail, where your email is stored on the cloud rather than on your computer. The cloud, of course, is another way to say a remote server hosted by a service provider. This gives you the convenience of accessing your emails from any browser, as long as you have the correct login credentials.
In the world of access control the access permissions are not stored on a local server, but in the cloud. This means that the administrator can manage the permissions from home, or while on vacation anywhere, simply by using a browser. This appeals to security managers charged with overseeing multi-location facilities.Continue Reading
In our world of on-demand availability, access is extremely important and often assumed. While it’s easy to say, “I’d like to restrict and control access, that’s why I’m looking at access control,” the question should actually be, “How should we set up access control to least interfere with user behavior, yet provide the secure controls our business needs?” The answer is Kisi’s on-demand access. It gets everyone through the door while maintaining control.
It's also important to make sure the quote includes a Certificate of Insurance (COI). Many landlords and building management companies require this because it ensures that any possible damages incurred in installation will be covered.
And lastly, for those who want to go one step further with their access control education, we've provided a cheat sheet.