How to Choose a Physical Access Control System
Every business that handles sensitive information or relies on expensive equipment should have a physical access control system in place to prevent unauthorized entry. Selecting an access control system can pose certain challenges, though, even for experienced security teams. Read on to find out how to choose the right one.
Determine the Facility’s Needs
Every access control system has a different strategy and mechanisms in place for implementing the business’s security policies. For new facilities, it’s always best to start by defining the company’s policies and the building’s basic access control needs. While it’s generally up to security personnel to determine which system will be the best fit, all of a company’s stakeholders should be consulted when it comes to defining needs.
There are three primary security concerns that most businesses face. External threats include unaccounted-for visitors with malicious intents, while internal threats can be either malicious or accidental. Stolen IDs, tailgating, and attendance manipulation all constitute internal threats.
Finally, security personnel should consider which assets are the most critical and will require the highest level of protection. These assets could include physical documents, computers, servers, other types of equipment, or even inventory.
Understanding Action Control Models
There are three main types of access control models:
- Discretionary access control
- Role and/or rule-based access control
- Mandatory access control
Each of these models uses a slightly different set of control mechanisms. Some feature RFID cards, while others use biometric scanners. Most access control systems offer remote access to electronic locks so that security personnel can exclude or allow individuals without having to be on the site.
Security Strategies and Access Points
The access points and level of security required for each area of a building will help to determine its hardware needs. In most cases, some personnel will have only basic access permissions, while others will be authorized to access even sensitive areas. Each access point should be secured appropriately, but the strategies used to accomplish this goal may differ depending on security needs.
The most common type of access control system relies on card readers and RFID chips. Security personnel can assign permissions based on each cardholder’s access level and alter them remotely as needed.
While RFID cards offer an adequate level of security for general use, many businesses are turning to more advanced solutions for securing vulnerable areas. Biometric scanners are becoming more common as advanced security measures because they don’t rely on cards that could be stolen or data that could be manipulated.
Crafting the Right Security Strategies
Meeting a facility’s access control needs is largely a matter of determining what they are and working to craft a security strategy that accounts for different levels of vulnerability. Keep in mind, however, that while security should always be the top priority, it’s a mistake to ignore other factors, such as convenience.
If a security system requires too much of personnel, for example, the chances of human error increase. Automating parts of the system help to reduce the burden on security staff, making it possible for them to focus on more critical aspects of their jobs.
There is no one access control system that’s right for every situation. Security teams must craft strategies based on each facility or area’s unique needs and explore options based on these predetermined requirements.