What is “access control”?
An access control system is a method for restricting access to certain areas while allowing access to others. A typical example would be an office building where some staff can access all areas, whereas others can only access certain rooms or areas. More sophisticated systems are computer controlled and can also keep logs of who has accessed each room and when, or allow access only between specific times e.g. for cleaning and maintenance staff during the night and office staff during the day.
When you think of access control systems you may think of mechanical code locks and card readers, but there are many different types:
Mechanical code locks
These types of locks are convenient for homes or smaller businesses. If the code is changed, it needs to be communicated to all staff, making it inconvenient where there are a large number of users. Additionally, even the best mechanical code locks are not generally suitable for extremely heavy use. This is generally the cheapest solution when it comes to access control.
Electronic code entry systems
Typically, an electronic code entry system has a numerical pad attached to the wall next to/close to the door being operated by the lock. A selected numerical security code is then entered onto the pad and this in turn, allows access to the person at the door. These systems, like the mechanical code locks, have a wide range of uses for commercial and residential settings. Examples of such locations might be office blocks, school buildings, apartment blocks and homes with disabled residents.
Card Entry Systems
For larger businesses with heavy usage (e.g. sports clubs, hotels and retail premises), card entry systems are more common. A key card can be programmed very quickly, and deactivated equally quickly.
Voice entry systems
These particular entry systems can allow those inside a building to grant access to those outside. This is particularly convenient when the person inside the building is far from the door! These are common in blocks of flats, buildings with multiple floors, and the homes of people who are elderly, disabled or have mobility problems. Video entry systems are also popular in these environments.
An extra layer of security to any commercial or residential property can be added by selecting to have a CCTV system installed. CCTV systems are particularly common in the retail sector, in a bid to help crime prevention in store. If you are going to install a CCTV system at home, do make sure that you are aware of the Data Protection Act (DPA) in relation to the cameras and the restrictions on running and operating such security at home. Further information can be found on the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) site.
As well as allowing and restricting normal access into rooms and buildings, access control is also important for allowing people to exit and emergency services to enter in the case of an emergency.
Fire door locks and other fire door furniture is an important element of access control in respect of having the appropriate door and locks fitted, to ensure safety should a fire break out. Discreet Security Solutions can advise you on the best option to suit your home and/or business.