Where computing and access meet
Security, by nature, has a tendency to slow down any channel it functions in. A locked office might be safer, but it’s also slower to gain access to and even slower to create keys for. That’s an area modern access control is trying to solve, and it’s computing that’s swooping to the rescue. PC-managed electronic turnstiles can adjust zone control on an hour-to-hour basis, allowing explicit access to precise control frameworks without requiring keys that can be lost and copied. Windows-based systems can be used to control zones and add access points in mere moments. Workers can travel between security zones without stopping, let alone slowing down. That means productivity, and the profits it produces, no longer need to be affected.
The mechanics of electronic entry points
Once upon a time, the only thing automatic turnstiles could do was channel crowds to prevent accidents and time-consuming incidents. Their goal was to restrict access to one person at a time. Today, the readers integrate with biometrics, software, and cards. That gives them a starring role in payroll reporting. Human resources teams can check attendance in mere moments, and their records are delivered in precisely the format they need, negating much of the data capturing work they usually have to do manually. No matter how inventive access control software has become, entryways still rely on mechanics and design, though.
The modern business isn’t just looking for a barrier, but an attractive barrier that serves their brand identity and the architecture that communicates it. Laser cutting and robotic bending have allowed manufacturers to craft sleeker products that are easy to customize. Programmable logic controllers are then added to simplify installation and allow for easy digital integration. That means that everything from prestige half-height products to full-height industrial options can interface with any digital access tools required. Flow systems have never been this convenient.
Smart cards and tokens
Contactless technology has filtered into the access control industry, bringing next-generation systems the encoding capabilities they’ve always needed. Now automatic entry points can integrate into a potent built-in reader that moves access management into the cloud. Web-based software is as slick and elegant as the contactless cards that rely on it. Operators can grant permissions configured by time, date, and zone, none of which need to be permanent. With standard cryptography, ethernet interfaces, and secure key management technology, an ordinary access point becomes a sophisticated tool that locks up your building tighter than Fort Knox—with no loss of access speed. Workers can enter your building without creating a potential viral hotspot. It’s considerably faster to tap a card than to swipe it but, more importantly, it’s safer. As the world marches beyond its first coronavirus vaccine, it will remain ever aware of the need for hygienic access control.
The power of biometrics is changing
Biometrics has pushed businesses into a new era of digital authentication. You can’t fake biological data, so fingerprint scanners and the like keep data on file while granting access through registration. Retina scanning has gone mainstream, too, replacing keycards that can be lost and passwords that can be guessed. Today’s facial screening technologies can even screen temperatures before granting access, keeping your offices COVID-free. Old-fashioned entry points have not been replaced, just empowered by better screening technology. That has unique impacts on different industries:
- The public sector can now offer different clearances without exposing private information to data theft.
- The healthcare industry can restrict hospital access and confine contagious patients.
- General businesses can shut off filing and document rooms while restricting unwanted visitors.
- Law enforcement stations and centers can keep the public safer by preventing prisoners from breaking out.
Access Control Strategy
Access control isn’t just a technical field. It’s a strategic one as well. With software access dominating the field, security personnel now need to come up with fast, efficient ways to grant access. There are four broad approaches:
- Discretionary: The business owner decides who to grant access to. This time-consuming method provides more end-user control than alternatives, so it’s only needed by businesses with high- security needs. With only one administrative role, however, malware can be catastrophic.
- Mandatory: Custodians manage access so that data confidentiality is tightly managed.
- Role-Based: Rule-based access control is one of the fastest strategies to execute. Here, access is granted to roles and job responsibilities rather than individuals. Security managers are usually put in charge of administration.
Rule-based access control is the simplest to automate for obvious reasons. It also lets management create stiff security roles for security teams to implement. There is, however, no reason for any business to use just one strategic approach. Each part of your building can have its own approach.