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.

Access Card

Definition:

An access card is a component of an access control system which enables employees or visitors gain entry to business facilities or secure areas. 

Access restriction can be obtained by encoding data on the ID cards.

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Access Control Panel

Definition:

Access control panel is a controller that enables configuring, programming and monitoring an access control system. 

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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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Anti Passback

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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Biometric Readers

Definition:

Biometric readers arguably give the most secure level of access control because these devices authenticate users based on their unique physical characteristics such as fingerprints, finger- or palm- veins, retina or hand geometry.

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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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Check in Check out

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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Disarm Alarm

Definition:

Disarm alarm, or alarm deactivation, means turning the system off. 

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Duress Alarm

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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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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Lockdown

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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Magnetic Stripe

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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Mantrap

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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ONVIF

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

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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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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Personalized Cards

Definition:

Personalized cards for access control allow a reliable form of a person’s identification and authentication to enter certain premises or access data. They contain such holder’s information as name, date of birth, photo, employee ID, signature,  level of access control, etc.

Personalized smart cards store a lot of important data and foster an additional level of security at any organization.

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Request to Exit

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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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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Smart Card

Overview:

Smart card is an access control device with an embedded microprocessor or a computer chip that stores information. 

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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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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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Wiegand

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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