Access Control Glossary

Access control is a huge and complex topic -- that's why we've constructed a glossary for all the terms you might not be able to find in standard articles. 

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For quick viewing, a definition overview is written for each glossary term for quick viewing. But we've also delved deeper into each term with comprehensive explanations on their individual pages.

By design this list is a beta project and far from complete -- it will be updated continuously.

Alarm Filter

Definition:

A checklist from which alarm types can be chosen to monitor.


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What are Account Panels in my Access System?

Definition:

A panel that sends events to a receiver through a supported connection path in your network.

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Access Control and Identity Management

Definition:

Identity and Access Management, or briefly IAM is a system of security policies and tools that allows the right people to access the right resources for the right reason at the right time.

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Access Panels in Office Security

Definition:

A device that can control up to 64 card readers in a space.

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Active Badge in Access Control

Definition:

A card that is marked active in your security system.

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Active Directory Service Interfaces

Definition:

A set of COM interfaces which are used to access directory services from different networks.


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Advanced Encryption Standard

Definition:

A specification of electronic data encryption established by the U.S. government to protect sensitive information.


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Alarm Input

Definition:

A port on or an attachment to an alarm.

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Alarm Monitoring Module

Definition:

An application that displays incoming alarms and events as they occur.

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Alarm Output

Definition:

An output relay port on an alarm panel or any device attached to it.


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Alarm Panel

Definition:

A specialized circuit board containing alarm inputs and outputs that connects to an access panel.


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Area Access Manager

Definition:

System users who can assign, modify or remove access levels for active badges.


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Area Anti-passback in Access Control

Definition:

Anti passback is a security system feature that is used to prevent users from passing their credentials (such as access card or similar device) back to a second person to enter a security controlled area, such as a car park or employee building. 

It can also stop users to enter the controlled area by following or tailgating another person.

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Arm Alarm

Definition:

The process of turning on monitoring for a space.


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Arming Stay vs. Arming Away

Definition:

Either arming an alarm system to stay within it or to leave it.


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Automation Software

Definition:

A software package that handles reported events and displays them for monitoring purposes.

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CCD Camera Definition

Definition:

A video camera that contains a charged-coupled device, which is a transistorized light sensor on an integrated circuit.

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CCTV Switcher

Definition:

A device use by security camera systems to automatically switch between cameras in monitoring mode.


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Canceling Alarm

Definition:

An alarm that, upon arrival, deletes its corresponding initiating alarm.

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Card Coercivity

Definition:

A measurement of magnetic force in access cards.

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Card Encoder

Definition:

A device that encodes user information on plastic access cards.


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Card Number

Definition:

A unique ID number assigned to a cardholder’s badge.


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Card Types

Definition:

Different methods of access card encoding technologies, including magnetic, Wiegand, and smart cards.

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Cardholder Activation Date

Definition:

The date on which a card becomes valid.


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Centralized Access Control

Definition:

Centralized access control enables the user to access all applications, websites and other computing systems from a single profile, with the same credentials from any location. 

All information assets in control of the user are subject to unified identity management.

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Ceramic Read Head

Definition:

A magnetic card reader with a longer life than standard alloy readers.


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Check in Check out in Access Control

Definition:

A check-in check-out is a system used for tracking of assets such as rental or library items, tools, cars, office files or folders used by multiple people etc. With this system, you can find out who owns the item at the moment and when does it need to be back. 

Beyond the everyday tracking, check-in/check-out systems can also provide reports on asset usage such as: what’s used most and what’s used least to adjust your asset collection, which assets have been used most and need replacement, but most importantly, the system reduces the risk of having lost or stolen items.

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Cipher Mode

Definition:

A mode of operation used by readers with keypads that requires users to enter a master key before allowing card access.

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Ciphertext

Definition:

An unreadable message that must be decrypted before being understood.

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Cleartext

Definition:

A readable message that has been decrypted.


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Command Reader in Access Control

Definition:

A card reader equipped with a keypad that can mask and unmask alarms.


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Common Access Card

Definition:

A standard badge card issued by the U.S. government that is used to access secure facilities.

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Continuous Archiving

Definition:

The automatic process of sending video clips from selected cameras to a secondary location for storage.

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Delay Arm

Definition:

Arming a space with a delay.


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Diddle Count

Definition:

The number of consecutive swipes by an individual badge at a reader allowed before an alarm is triggered.

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Disarm Alarm in a Security System

Definition:

An action that prevents alarms in an area from being reported.

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Disposable Badge

Definition:

A type of paper temporary badge issued by an individual for a short period of time.


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Door Holder

Definition:

A mechanical device that holds a door open until instructed by the security system to change status.

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Door Strike

Definition:

A mechanical device that keeps a door locked.


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Duress Alarm Button

Definition:

Duress alarm (also known as ‘panic switcher’ or ‘panic button’) is an electronic device that is designed to assist in requesting assistance in case of an emergency situation. 

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Elevator Reader

Definition:

A reader with an output module that controls access to multiple floors via an elevator system.


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Entry and Exit Delay in Security Systems

Definition:

A period of time before an alarm is triggered that is granted to users who are entering or exiting the facility.


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Exit Reader

Definition:

A reader connected to an entrance reader that times how long a cardholder is in a space.


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False Acceptance Rate

Definition:

The frequency with which users who should be denied access to an asset are granted permission.


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False Reject Rate

Definition:

The frequency with which users who should be granted access to an asset are denied permission.


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Function Lists in Card Readers

Definition:

Keypad-activated commands that are entered into card readers.

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Group Account

Definition:

A collection of user accounts with the same access privileges.


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Held Open Time in Alarm Systems

Definition:

The length of time a door can stay open before triggering an alarm.


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How do Access Levels Work?

Definition:

How do access levels work and how should I assign them?


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Inclusion Group

Definition:

A collection of users who can access various card readers at certain times.


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Initiating Alarm

Definition:

An alarm that notifies system administrators of an issue or threat.


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Instant Arm

Definition:

An action that immediately arms an area.

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Intelligent System Controller

Definition:

Also called access panels, a device that can control up to 64 card readers in a space.

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Intrusion Detection

Definition:

Access control and Intrusion detection is a combined system of hardware and software components that lets the user control the physical access to the interior of a building, a room or another type of closed space, at the same time protecting the space from intruders who trespass or violate the physical perimeter in any other way from the outside.

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What Are Access Control Groups?

Definition:

A collection of users, computers, or contacts that can be used for security or distribution purposes.


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What are Cardholder Access Group?

Definition:

A collection of hardware access levels that have been grouped together for convenient use by one or more employees.


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What does a Conettix D6600 do?

Definition:

A communications receiver and gateway that improves multiple aspects of system communication.

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What is System Alarm Acknowledgment?

Definition:

The act of using software to respond to a triggered alarm.


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eCard in Access Control

Definition:

A file that specifies information such as a person’s name, organization, and any other personal information they wish to include.


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Legacy Access Control

Definition:

Applications and data that have been inherited from earlier technology, systems or techniques.


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Lightweight Directory Access Protocol

Definition:

A software protocol that is commonly used to interact with servers that store user information, allowing users in a network to locate resources.


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Lockdown and Lockout

Definition:

Lockdown and lockout are two different features within a standard response protocol every feasible access control plan should incorporate.

In brief, lockdown is a feature that is locking down doors, windows, or gates to prevent access to a certain room. Lockout is a feature that locks the outside perimeter of an area.

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Log Access Control

Definition:

A record of the events happening within a system.

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Main Alarm Monitor

Definition:

A window that displays alarms as they occur.

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Mantrap in Access Control and Physical Security

Definition:

A mantrap is an access control tool designed and restricted to a physical space, which is separated from the adjoining spaces (rooms) by two doors, usually an exit and an entry door that cannot be unlocked at the same time. 

Mantraps are like a double-door checking system that use either airlock technology or interlocking doors.  

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Mask Alarm

Definition:

An action that prevents alarms from being reported to the system.

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Master Arm

Definition:

An operating mode in which an entire area, including interior and exterior, is armed.

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Master Reader

Definition:

An intelligent card reader that contains its own database and is capable of granting access without pinging an access panel.


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Mean Time Before Repair

Definition:

A measurement of the reliability of a piece of hardware.


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Mean Time Between Failures

Definition:

A measure of a hardware product’s reliability that is calculated by predicting the amount of time between each individual failing.


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Monitor Station

Definition:

A computer that displays all of the alarm monitoring stations defined in an access control system.



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Monitor Zone

Definition:

An area and all its devices that are monitored from a single workstation.


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Monitored Table

Definition:

Any table in your records that is monitored for addition, modification and deletion of data.

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Motion Detector

Definition:

A device that detects movement within a space.

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Muster Mode

Definition:

An emergency mode of operation that requires cardholders to enter a safe zone.

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Muster Reader

Definition:

A card reader that acts as an entrance or exit to the muster zone.


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Muster Report

Definition:

A real-time list of everyone in a certain site.


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Muster Reset

Definition:

The act of leaving muster mode and returning to normal.

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Muster Zone / Muster Point

Definition:

Also known as a rally point, a designated area for everyone in the facility to meet in the case of an emergency.


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NFC Card Reader

Definition:

Near Field Communication (or NFC) is an evolution of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.

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ONVIF: Open Network Video Interface Forum

Definition:

ONVIF refers to Open Network Video Interface Forum, which is an open industry forum founded in 2008, aimed at facilitating the development and adaptation of a global open standard for the interface of physical Internet-Protocol (IP) based products.

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OSDP: Open Supervised Device Protocol

Definition:

OSDP stands for Open Supervised Device Protocol. It is a communication interface that connects a reader with a device it is linked to.

As its name implies, this protocol is open to all manufacturers of readers, controllers and software. Security Industry Association (SIA) recognizes OSDP as a standard interface along with Wiegand and Clock and Data.

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Pad Character

Definition:

A character used to fill empty space in a database entry.


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Parent Device

Definition:

A piece of hardware to which subsidiary devices are connected.


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Passive Infrared Sensor

Definition:

A passive infrared sensor is an electronic device that is designed to detect motion of a living being as the latter always presents a source of an infrared radiation. 

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Peripheral Device

Definition:

A device that is connected to a computer but external to its central processing unit (CPU).

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Pre-Alarm Feature in Alarm Systems

Definition:

An audible alarm that sounds 10 seconds before a door’s held open time has elapsed.


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Precision Access

Definition:

A special kind of software that allows administrators to choose individual readers to grant or deny access to specific badges separate from access level assignments.


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Track Magnetic Stripe in Access Cards

Definition:

A magnetic stripe is located on the back of a plastic badge (usually a magnetic stripe card) and contains encoded information which allows access to a secure area.

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What is Mandatory Access Control (MAC)?

Definition:

A type of access control that is controlled by system administrators and uses digital or physical restrictions to protect assets.


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Perimeter Arm

Overview:

A type of arming that shields a certain perimeter from generating alarms.


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QR Codes in Access Control

Overview:

The use of QR codes to grant access to certain resources within an office.

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Rally Point

Overview:

Also known as a muster zone, a designated area for everyone in the facility to meet in the case of an emergency.


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Request to Exit Button

Overview:

Request to exit (REX) devices are applied in access control to allow exit through a locked door.

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Role Based Access Control

Overview:

RBAC security approach relies on giving access to certain facilities or information based on a person’s role within an organization.

In other words, employees are only granted access to data and equipment that are needed to perform their job duties. A role is therefore associated with a set of access rights.

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Security Clearance Level

Overview:

The level of access granted to guards who will accompany certain tours through your space.

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Security Threshold

Overview:

A figure that represents the level of verification used to determine that a cardholder’s identity is correct.


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Shear Lock

Overview:

Shear lock is an electromagnetic lock that has a magnet mounted inside of a door frame and a plate affixed to the door edge. 

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Sign Out Visit

Overview:

An action that removes a visitor from your system and deactivates their access badge.

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Signature Tablet

Overview:

An electronic device that captures a user’s signature for identity verification.


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Simple Network Management Protocol

Overview:

An internet protocol of collecting, organizing, and modifying information about managed devices in a network.

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Slave Reader

Overview:

An unintelligent card reader that must consult its master reader to grant access to a space.


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Storeroom Function

Overview:

The storeroom function of a lock presupposes that the the door should always be kept locked.

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Tailgating (Security)

Overview:

Tailgating is a form of a security breach that occurs when an unauthorized person or a vehicle follows an authorized staff member or an automobile and thus intrudes on a secured premise. 

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Trace Alarm Monitoring

Overview:

The process of monitoring a single badge or device.


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Two-Card Control in Access Systems

Overview:

An operating mode that requires two separate cards to be swiped before granting access.

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Two-man Rule

Overview:

The simplest way to explain the two-man rule is to say that it’s a “Buddy System” for grownups. It’s a procedure in which two people operate together as a single unit so that they are able to monitor and help each other to ensure the work is finished safely.

The purpose of the two-man rule is to have control and a high level of security for especially critical material or operations (such as nuclear weapons, submarines, laboratories, aircrafts etc.).

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Uninterruptible Power Supply

Overview:

A device that continues to provide power to its attached devices even in the event of an outage.

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User Ingress

Overview:

The entry of a cardholder through a point.


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Video Capture Board

Overview:

A circuit board that scans an image, digitizes it, and stores its digital representation in a software system.


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Video Verification

Overview:

The process of comparing a live video image of a cardholder with a stored photograph of that person.


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Wiegand in Access Control

Overview:

Wiegand is a wire communication interface between a reader (i.e. a card-, a fingerprint- or other data capture devices) and a controller. It is widely used in access control systems.

On the physical level, the Wiegand interface consists of three conductors: Data0, Data1 (transmission wires) and Ground wire.

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vCalendar

Overview:

An industry standard of electronic calendars and schedules for groups.


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