Access Control

Having a secure electronic access control system that can manage the flow of people, monitoring who comes in and out of your application and control access as well as manage individual permissions, is what will make the difference to your corporation. It will determine whether you are really keeping your staff, your property and your buildings safe.

There can be no substitute for a good access control system to ensure that you know you have everything in place to keep your property safe. It doesn’t have to be a large integrated system, but can be a simple, basic system which allows you to know who is coming and going, or who you are going to let in, via video or audio access control.

The access control options are vast; from the most basic stand alone two door network card readers, to the huge biometric integrated systems that are now becoming ever more popular. Whatever your needs, please call us to arrange a no obligation site survey to see how we can help you turn your access control dreams into reality.

Below, you will find an overview of what some of the control systems are able to do, the types of readers they use, why they are used (as not all are used for controlling access) and what more they can give you. There are a variety of options available for actually gaining access on any door entry system whether networked, integrated or whether stand alone. We will assess your needs on an individual basis and will only recommend a solution that will work for you. Some of the solutions may incorporate biometric technology, smart card (or key fobs), proximity or contactless cards, as well as taking into account a possible need for long range remote operation for car parks.

The Basic Control System with Audio or Video capabilities

This can operate access to a single door with an entry system that has either audio or video capabilities. It will control the access either via a pin device or keypad. This type of control system usually works well in residential applications such as blocks of flats, small offices, schools and preschools. Relatively fast to install and easy to manage, they provide a low, yet effective level of security and are cost effective.

Networked Control Systems

Networked Control systems can either be integrated to an already existing or new security system, incorporating CCTV, security lights and intruder alarms, or can stand alone as its own network. The networked systems are PC based and have a front end PC connected via cabling to the door controllers and card readers. These network systems are often very large and are perfect installations for offices, individual units, hospitals, warehouses and universities. Not only will these networks keep sites free from intruders, but can also generate reports and release data information on the whereabouts of employees. A number of additions can also be secured in the networked systems, such as the use of Smart Cards that can be used not only for access but also for purchasing goods or gainging access to a PC network. All data can be collected, which includes Time and Attendance Management, an important aspect of payroll control.

There are a number of different types of access solutions that can be used with the networked control systems, such as the proximity or contactless cards, magstripes, keyfobs, as well as biometric technological advancements.

Proximity or Contactless Smart Cards

Proximity cards are very efficient as you don’t even have to get them out of your bag or wallet for them to work. They are incredibly robust and reliable and can be used within a 15cm range of the card reader unit. They are usually encapsulated in a very tough and reliable plastic and are therefore highly durable. Proximity cards can also be combined with biometric technology as well as keypads and can be used with all previously installed access control equipment.

Smart Cards

Smart cards are either cards or fobs and contain a microchip with the ID of the employee. The cards can be used to gain access control and can be programmed to the individual’s permission settings. They can also be used for purchasing items as well as for accessing a PC network as well as doors.

Biometric Technology

Why should you start thinking about changing your company's traditional security system to a biometric security system?

The study of biometrics has come an awfully long way in the last ten to twenty years. Not only has the biometric technology improved tenfold, but the cost of this technology has also become more affordable. It is no longer simply the large corporations, financial institutions, or airports that are using biometric devices for security. More and more smaller companies are becoming a part of the biometric revolution and choosing to protect their data more completely, more securely than ever before. So why is that? What does 'biometric security' mean and why should we start to think about moving from our traditional methods of keeping our companies and our data secure, to something that involves something as newfangled as biometrics?

First of all, what is the definition of biometrics? Biometrics is the study of measurable biological characteristics and means the authentication techniques that 'rely on measurable physical characteristics that can be automatically checked'. The areas that are usually used for authentication are the face, for face recognition and of course also fingers, for finger print recognition. You can scan the hand and evaluate it using hand geometry and you can scan the retina too, or use an iris recognition tool if you don't want your eye to be scanned (the two types of technology are different) and you can of course have your signature scanned and recognised or use a voice recognition device instead.

Now that we know what biometrics is, why should we be changing our traditional security installations to something that involves biometric security? The answer is simple – biometrics is even more secure than any of the other methods of security we have previously employed. There can be no doubt in anyone's mind that biometrics has to be the safest and most secure way to keep your organisation and its data, its employees and its buildings safe and free from intruders. Biometric scanners read the characteristics and analyses the data within seconds to authenticate the person immediately. Biometrics are very difficult to fake, so whereas some of our traditional methods of security might be the use of smart cards, pin numbers or passwords, the smartcards or keyfobs can be either replicated, stolen or lost, the pin numbers can be worked out, and the passwords can be hacked. As far as access control devices for doors are concerned, the use of physical access control biometrics will ensure that no intruders can enter. This means that a high level of physical security will be in effect. Places such as hospitals, military bases, financial institutions and the police, find the use of biometrics invaluable. In the same instance, biometrics will also reduce the risk of human error and data-loss when fitted to a PC or a network. You might have an institution that requires different levels of security within it and these can all be applied to the data attached to each person being scanned. With the use of this aptly termed, logical access controlled biometric security, you can even limit the data so that only those people, who have the authority to access it, will be able to do so. This type of security control increases the level of security, protecting networks and systems to a much higher degree than before.

In our traditional methods of access control security solutions we have already been able to see who is coming and going from our premises, what they have been logging on to, what work they have been carrying out and whether they turn up late. Time and attendance systems have been in use for decades, though the new biometrics finger print time and attendance devices can do a faster job, and can even be integrated smoothly into an existing system should you require it.

If you are a company thinking about introducing the use of biometrics, there are a few things you should consider initially before making up your mind. The most important thing is of course, whether or not you actually need a biometric security system. Is it really necessary? Do you have a great deal of data or a product or development that you want to keep completely away from prying eyes? If not, then you probably don't need to use biometrics. Sometimes, too much security and too much data gathering can also slow a company down, when the information and the security measures are not necessary. In order to be sure of the requirements of your company and whether it is financially viable for you to install a new biometric security system, you will need to do a cost benefit analysis comparison of the two whilst bearing in mind that if you don't mind losing your data information, you probably don't need a biometric system.

In 2005 the FBI wrote a report that stated that the greatest vulnerability in IT security came from people and not from faulty hardware or software. This is one of the main reasons why biometric security is becoming the ever growing, popular option. Some people may worry about the link to criminality with the use of fingerprint scanning for example, but the reality is that people soon get used to it. Once they have started to use the biometric fingerprint scanning technology, they quickly realise how much more secure it is and how liberating it is that they cannot be condemned for losing their smart cards. At this point, it might also be worth a mention that really the only downfall of biometric security is that if your finger has been wounded or it is moist or perhaps has some dirt on it, then the scanner may not work as well. This is a problem most people can eliminate quite easily. Some people also worry about having their fingerprint enrolled on a database and who might be able to get at that data. However, there are other ways of storing the data, such as on a smart card that can then be used alongside the biometric analysis for added security. Biometric security is easy to set up and doesn't require a whole new network put in place as it can easily be installed on top of your old pin or password locks, keypads or card readers.

It is not difficult to see how a change to biometric security for both physical access control such as doorways and entry points, as well as logical access control in securing your PCs or networks, could really benefit any company. It even used to be that biometric security was incredibly expensive, but these days it is very reasonably priced and has come down around 90% in price for some devices, in comparison to the cost of them in the 1990's. Another noteworthy element of biometric security systems is that if you only need a little bit of biometric security, you will only need a few devices and that too will keep the cost to an affordable minimum.

Last but not least, now that you are armed with a wealth of knowledge and you know which way to go, make sure that you don't wait to act upon it – you don't want to wait until a serious security breach occurs and you lose your most precious data, before you install your new biometric scanners.

Time and Attendance

One of the reasons why Access Control systems are so popular is their ability to collect data. These integrated and networked systems are able to collect a wide range of data about the attendance of employees including their sickness days taken, their holidays, and overtime. The data is collected automatically, saved for analysis at a later date. It is not simply the full time employees that this can be controlled for, but also the part time employees, the visitors, shift works, as well as those working variable hours. This information can be extremely important for the Human Resources and Accounts departments, saving time and money on a daily basis.

Visitor Management

Ensuring that visitors are dealt with professionally is one of the most important things for an organisation to do. It is vital that the receptionist is fully versed and a positive advert for the organisation. In the same way, being able to receive your visitors well, also means enabling a smooth registration process, ensuring that they have the access they require at the click of a button and that their pass or card is produced immediately. That is why it is essential for your customer facing employees to have a system they can work with that is intuitive, dynamic and efficient. The system will allow access to your company and log all of your visitors’ movements, if required.

Parking Management

Just like Visitor Management, Parking Management is essential for a company to work well. If you have a parking area you will want to be able to book its use for VIPs or for visitors, as well as ensuring that only those entitled to access are able to enter. The parking management system can be integrated with the rest of the networked access control systems but can also work gates, barriers, bollards and any other methods of parking control that you employ. You may also wish to employ a long range two button key fob or smart card option to remotely operate your barrier of choice.

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