An Overview of Commercial Access Control Hardware
Which Type of Door Access Control System is Right for Me?
When considering access control hardware, you should focus on how you would like customers or employees to interact with the door. Consider different factors such as; would you like this door to be locked unless a user presents a keycard? Should the door open automatically when someone walks up to it? Should users request entry via an intercom? Understanding your own needs is crucial before purchasing access control hardware.
Electronic Access Control
Doors with electric strikes can only be opened by an electronic signal. These replace your standard door strike and are used in combination with keypads, card readers, or buttons operated by an employee or security. When the electric strike receives a signal that the correct code has been entered, card is read, or button is pushed, it will unlock the door for a specified amount of time.
Some businesses like grocery stores, convenience stores, and other commercial places of business enjoy having the functionality of doors that automatically open using request-to-exit motion sensors placed above the entryway. This is quite common in areas with shopping carts or other situations where a person’s hands are full and unable to operate a door.
Commercial buildings that are not open to the public but still expect a number of visitors may benefit from a business intercom system. These access control devices allow an employee or security officer to see the person requesting entry to the building and talk to them through a two-way intercom system.
To limit unwarranted access to certain areas of your facility such as secure areas in a hospital or tech company, proximity card readers or door card readers are an excellent option. These card readers allow you to secure and limit who can enter specific areas of a building or entry to the building altogether.
Frequently Asked Questions
The three types of access control hardware are discretionary access control (DAC), managed access control (MAC), and role-based access control (RBAC). DAC gives the business owner or manager the ability to dictate access rights over every employee or user. This is common in smaller businesses or low-scale operations that don’t require a dedicated high-level employee to oversee business security. MAC gives one person, such as a chief security officer or similar position, the ability to designate and enforce access permissions across the entire organization on a case-by-case basis. This is common in operations when a high level of security and confidentiality is required to compartmentalize knowledge or building access. RBAC is common among large businesses that want to restrict access based on the role of an employee or outside person. These roles are usually decided by a systems administrator. For example, a lower-level employee will have basic access to areas they need to complete their job while a higher-level executive will have near unlimited access across the building.
The best type of access control depends on your needs as a company. Different companies will benefit more from one type of access control over another. Identify your business’s personal needs and find the corresponding type of access control from above.
Fail-safe locking systems will unlock doors in the event of a power outage. Fail-secure access control systems will lock the latch in the strike during a power outage. Fail-secure locks are great at keeping areas with sensitive information secure in the event of a power outage but can cause safety concerns in other areas. Fail-secure locks can be a hindrance to egress in an emergency if used on emergency doors or in fire escape stairwells.
An electronic lock, also known as an electric strike, is typically fail-secure. They require power to unlock the door and in the event of an outage will keep the door securely locked until powered again. Magnetic locks, or maglocks, are generally fail-safe. Without power, the electromagnetic lock will not keep the latch locked in the strike and the door will be freely unlocked until power is returned to the device.