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What is access control?


Access control is a form of both physical and network security that manages who has access to an area or data at any given time. Access control systems restrict access to unauthorized users and provides a means to keep track of who enters and leaves secured areas.


Electronic access control systems are widely used across industries, and include the implementation of electrified doors, turnstiles, guards and gates to keep an area secure. For example, in a door entry system in an access-controlled building, authorized persons use credentials (physical, digital via a mobile device, or biometric) to make unlock requests at readers, which send information to an Access Control Unit (ACU), also known as an access control panel or a controller. The ACU then triggers the electrified door hardware to unlock if authorized. This is also commonly referred to as a door access control system or door entry system.


A comprehensive access control security plan combines both technology and specialized hardware, the following information will discuss the primary types of access control systems and give you an overview of the latest access control technologies. Let's get started!


Understanding access control


Many access control models originated as network security concepts. These network security concepts controlled access to files on a network rather than entries in a building however are sometimes used in the context of physical security. The three most common models of physical access control security are:


  • Mandatory access control (MAC) - This model is often used in organizations that require a high amount of confidentiality. MAC utilizes a central authority to classify the access given to each employee through established guidelines. Large organizations, specifically in tech, may find MAC to be suitable for their company by having a Chief Security Officer in headquarters responsible for determining policy across many different locations. MAC enables companies to have consistent access control practices in place without compromising best practices.

  • Discretionary access control (DAC) - The business owner decides which people have rights to a specific area in a building through some type of control panel. It is the least restrictive model because business owners are not always security experts and may inadvertently provide the wrong level of access to an individual. Because it poses additional risk, this model is the least popular on this list.

  • Role based access control (RBAC) - Most of today's businesses deploy this model to segment access based on job titles. The system administrator will use practices such as "least privilege" and "separation of privilege" to ensure each role only receives access to the areas they need. Role-based access may incorporate rules such as when a group can enter the building. Some advanced access control vendors allow administrators to create rules for guests using a mobile device. Although RBAC might seem complex, it is relatively easy to implement and the most secure.

Employees are increasingly expecting their employers to accommodate flexible work schedules, automate everyday processes, and employ the latest hands-free technology. These requirements mean companies need to pay more attention to finding door security solutions that address both the needs of administrators and their employees. Thanks to advances in access control technologies, especially cloud-based solutions, it's never been easier to meet these challenges head-on. If you like the ideas we’ve discussed today, give us a call and we can help you take the appropriate measures to protect your staff, equipment, and customers. Providing you with peace of mind.


Does Business Security sound like the right solution for you? Contact HSI Security Today



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