What Is an Access Control System and How Does It Work?

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Security is a top concern for all businesses. If you deal with sensitive data or costly equipment, securing your company’s assets is crucial to its success. If you have 10, 10,000 or more employees an access control system allows or blocks access to your employees and allow them to leave where they are required to go.

Access control systems will simplify the lives of your employees, while also saving you money and ensure that your workplace is secured. If you’re a business owner looking at the advantages and disadvantages of access control systems, or an administrator searching for reasons to invest in one, this article has the answers.

What is the definition of an Access Control System and How Do They Perform?

A security system that controls access allows or blocks access to a structure, room, or other space. It is an electronic kind of physical security system that controls who is granted access to the area at a certain moment in time.

The User Experience

A person who needs to gain access to a restricted area must present their credentials. Credentials can be physical, like an access control key card or digital, for instance, data stored on a mobile device. An individual makes an unlock request through an access point that then transmits the details through the Access Control Unit, then authorizes the user, and causes the door to open.

Systems Manager: The Experience

On the administrative end the access control system comes with a management dashboard or portal. The portal lets offices administrators and IT directors, or security directors to define who is allowed access to the building and at what times. Managers can set up configurations based on shifts and times of the day, employees’ rank or title and many more. The system could also incorporate an element of physical form, such as the card-programming machine.

The System Infrastructure

The structure of an access control system includes card readers, electronic locks and door status monitoring for traffic, and request to leave devices that all report directly to the control panel, and the server.

Electric locks Fail safe locks that be locked when supplied with power as well as fail secure locks that will unlock when provided with power. These locks are essential for doors located on the route to escape from fire. Also, the fail-secure doors can be used ideal for rooms that must be secured during the case of a power outage like offices for IT. Fail secure doors require push bars that permit users to leave but not return in the event in an emergency.
Access control panel Control panel typically set up in a secure area like the IT area or electrical closet. When credentials of a person are checked and the result is transmitted to the control panel, which will then issue an authorization to open the door.
Access control servers: This server holds the data of the access control system and authorizations. This system determines if it is safe to unlock doors for a specific user and keeps track of the person who has access and at what time. Servers are usually located on a separate computer as well as a cloud-based service inside the reader within the reader itself.

Who is using Access Control Systems?

Access control systems simplify security in numerous ways. Anyone who has security requirements can benefit of an access management system. In a typical office space that is rented out the landlord has control over accessibility to his building while tenants are responsible for the access control of their own areas. There are many sectors that benefit from access control systems for instance:


Health professionals employ access control systems to comply with HIPPA guidelines for health data privacy. Insurance companies, doctors’ offices and hospitals too safeguard patients using security systems for access. Access control systems secure IT rooms and racks of equipment from access by unauthorized people and help keep data safe. They can also protect physical documents, examination rooms and equipment such as MRI machines.

If you keep chemicals in your storage facility or biomedical waste access control systems are able to stop untrained people from being hurt.


For state and local governments security is a top priority. The government buildings must be subjected to homeland security rules that may require limiting access to certain areas. Access control systems allow for the verification of employees’ identities and restrict access to specific departments, confidential information and other information, while allowing the public’s access to other areas.


Every business that processes and accepts credit card transactions must be compliant with PCI credit card data requirements. Access control systems may restrict the access of IT areas as well as servers. They are able to track who has access to specific data, and at what time they access it, further securing the data.


Schools, specifically universities with huge campuses, have multi-location security requirements. Systems for controlling access makes managing access easy. Access control is a great way to prevent students from the parking lot of faculty, and keep unauthorised people out of dorms and many more. If you own expensive equipment for labs or computers access control systems could be programmed so that only students who have been registered for the corresponding courses are able to access these areas.

Worship Centers

In spiritual and sanctuaries where everyone is welcome it is difficult to balance accessibility and security. isn’t easy. Access control can make it simple by keeping doors open during services , and locked during other time. Synagogues, temples, churches and mosques can monitor employee’s movements and activities. They also can keep certain areas like daycare centers, schools and offices safe while making sure that the remaining areas open to the public.

Small and Medium-Sized Business

Access control and key cards systems are used by many more companies than those which employ many thousands. Small and medium-sized enterprises are able to reap the benefits of the use of an access control system also. Access control is flexible and small companies are able to find solutions that work to their budget and size.

The best access control security system should be easy to use, meaning you’ll be able to safeguard your business with no background in security or technology.