Restricting access to certain areas of your business facility by screening and identifying individuals before entry can significantly reduce incidents of theft, threats of terrorism, and violence in the workplace. Depending on the nature of your operation, some areas that may benefit from access control systems are high-value storage areas, safe/vaults, computer/telephone rooms, warehouses, or even entire buildings. With their stored data, these devices can provide instrumental area access reports in compliance with recent federal legislative mandates such as Sarbanes Oxley (SOX). These reports are utilized for purposes such as fraud reduction, policy enforcement, compliance auditing, and risk assessment.

Types of Access Control Systems

There are many different types of access control systems to choose from for your facility. These systems differ in their methods of identification, technical requirements, and number of entry points monitored. Their sophistication can range from simple push-button locks to advanced card access systems integrated with closed circuit televisions. Some of the access control systems often used in businesses are:

  • Standalone systems: These systems either work as one integral unit or two (a reader/keypad and a controller), typically do not require a CPU, and are used to control access at a single entry point.
  • Enterprise Security Systems: These systems work as part of a large network of readers on local door controllers that are connected to a workstation capable of monitoring activity at multiple entry points simultaneously.

Card Encoding Technologies

Another consideration with access control is which card encoding technology you should utilize. When choosing the proper card encoding technology for your business, some things to take into consideration are the cost (both initial and long term), the resistance of the reader to vandalism and environmental damage, and the level of encoding security in place. Some examples of card encoding technologies used in businesses are:

  • Magnetic stripe: This is the most widely used system, although it is subject to wear and can be easily counterfeited. It’s similar to that used on ATM cards and can be combined with a biometric device for high-security areas.
  • Infrared: This system reads a bar code written between layers of plastic by passing light through it. While costly, it is difficult to counterfeit and provides a high degree of security.
  • Bar code: This system is one of the cheapest and can easily be bought off the Internet. However, as a result, the encoding security is very low and the bar code strip can easily be damaged.
  • Optical storage: This system works by using a solid-state laser and card reader to read encrypted data stored on a card. It often requires a passcode before insertion. Due to its complexity, this type of system is more expensive and requires regular maintenance.
  • Proximity: This system only requires the card to pass near the reader and not through the reader, making it both easier to operate and longer lasting. The card is factory encoded, and thus is difficult to counterfeit.

The different systems listed above vary vastly and are only a sample of the technologies currently available for businesses. Each should be taken into proper consideration when managing security. All of these particular technologies can be combined with a number of other forms of surveillance to create the ideal security system for your business in terms of both quality and cost effectiveness.

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