Access Control Explained

What is an Access Control System?

Access control refers to the ability to control the movement of individuals into or out of a building. Door access control systems are used in a variety of atmospheres; some are so fully integrated with the buildings themselves, they appear to blend in seamlessly. These control systems are critical in places where security is of high concern.

Airports, military buildings, jails, hospitals, and corporate offices—access control systems can be found nearly everywhere. In fact, more and more businesses and families in Chester County PA are choosing to install access control systems for their personal residences due to the substantially increased safety benefits.

Components of an Access Control SystemAccess Control Scanner

Generally speaking, there are two primary components of door access control systems. The first component is the control device itself, which is also referred to as the scanner. This piece of equipment is what communicates with the locking device. Scanners are designed in a variety of different ways and are typically installed on the wall next to the door.

    Part One: The Scanner or Control Device

    Methods of entry can include:

    • Swiping a smart card
    • Key fob
    • Manually entering a passcode
    • Having your fingerprint scanned (biometrics)

    Part Two: The Locking Mechanism

    Whichever method may be utilized, the end result is the same: the scanner controls the second component of the control system, which is the locking mechanism itself. The type of lock system that will be utilized depends on the kind of door being used. Electric strikes are often used for metal or wood doors. You can find these kinds of locking systems on doors that require an emergency push bar, or anywhere that you are “buzzed in” by someone already inside the building you are trying to gain access into. If you have a glass door, you may need to use a more complicated locking system that utilizes magnetic locks.

    More About Commercial/Corporate Access Control Systems

    Commercial Access Control SystemsHow much are the contents of your company worth to you? What would you do if you walked into your office tomorrow to find your computer stolen and your safe popped open and empty? If you have been considering upgrading the security of your commercial business locks, the time to get started is now.

    Petty thieves who randomly break into buildings that look unprotected are only one concern that many business owners and security personnel need to worry about; deliberate and well-planned thefts by those who make it their “careers” to steal sensitive or valuable data are another problem altogether. It is the latter category that often makes it necessary and worthwhile to invest in an access control system for your company.

    Access control systems give the power back to you, the owner or security manager, to help control the safety and security of your building at all times. The management software that typically comes with these systems can help you automatically log and track each person’s time and attendance, which can serve multiple purposes. You can set up schedules for your employees, granting them access only at specific times if so desired.

    Once the system is fully and professionally installed and all components are operating, the locksmith who performs the installation can simply hand everything over to the person or department that will be managing your security via control PC. Everything can be managed in “real time,” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    Commercial door access control systems come in a variety of sizes. For example, a small installation may only require one door to secure—perhaps the front door, or a door far in the back of the building that protects your valuables. This kind of an installation may only require a server room that uses an electronic keypad lock. Other companies may need to consider larger systems that lock multiple doors.

    Even if you do not yet need to lock 4, 6, 8 doors or more, you should ask yourself if the potential ever exists. Installed piecemeal as you flourish and expand as a company, it can become increasingly more difficult to link individual control systems together for easier control and use. Installed all at once, you can ensure you will have the security there when you need it, and accessible all in one place.

    More About Residential Access Control Systems

    Unless you own a very large mansion, many homeowners think of the term “door access control system” and immediately associate it with a word like “overkill” or “above and beyond what is necessary for our home.” Unfortunately, this way of thinking could be nothing further from the truth. When it comes to protecting your most important things in life, residential access control systems merely deliver an additional layer of protection to your home’s existing security features.

    As mentioned with commercial systems, you may be able to deter a petty thief with a home security camera or a sign in the yard. However, that may not always be the case, and if a criminal is intent on entering your home, a residential access control system may be the one and only thing that prevents this crime from occurring.

    The use of fingerprint scanning in biometric & keyless entry systems is becoming increasingly more popular for two distinct reasons:

    1. You can never again lose your keys—your fingerprint becomes your key
    2. A would-be intruder can no longer steal or duplicate your key

    Up until this point, the only thing stopping someone from entering your home or business is possession of a door key; if they have the key, then access is granted, whether you like it or not. With fingerprint scanning, you can ensure that the only people allowed to gain entry to your business or home are those you want there.

    There are certainly other types of residential control systems, with the more popular ones including keypad entry scanners. You have likely already seen these kinds of control systems installed in other people’s homes. As many residential control system designs are so contemporary and blend in easily with the exterior décor of the home, it is also likely you never even noticed them.

    Next Steps for Installing an Access Control System

    Contact Great Valley Lockshop! We are Chester County’s Access Control System installation experts, so use our extensive knowledge of door access control systems to make sure you not only choose the right system, but that it’s installed properly and up to code

    Not all locksmiths are created equal, and not all locksmiths are experts in these technologically advanced systems. Let’s talk about your commercial project! Give us a call at (610) 644-5334 or fill out our free, online estimate request form and one of our friendly representatives will contact you.

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