Building access control is a crucial component of your security system. How do you know who to let in? Can you keep the right people out? These days, a security guard just inside the door isn’t going to cut it. What if your key employee forgets his ID? What if someone loses an ID and somebody takes it?

Few people understand exactly what effective building access control looks like. Let’s take a deep dive into a building access control breakdown.

What Is It?

Building access control is the selective restriction of people into a building. When you think access control, think of the security guard at the gate of a military institution or the turnstiles at the subway station. While access control varies in terms of level of restriction based on what building someone is trying to access, it all follows the same basic principle of restricting who can come in. Clearly, the White House is going to have much higher security than a retail store that needs customers to come in and shop.

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There are many, many different forms of access control these days as technology improves and finds different ways to restrict access. Choosing which form is right for your company has a lot to do with convenience for your employees, budget, and with how much restriction you really need.

How Does It Work?

Building access control has evolved hugely since the days of a lone security guard sitting and watching the door. Now, there are developments like biometric security and keyless entry. Depending on how much security your building needs, how your building access control works can vary greatly. We’re going to go through just a few of the higher security options.

Biometric security works by scanning uniquely identifiable body parts. This can include finger prints, irises, or through voice recognition. A finger print scanner works by translating your unique fingerprint pattern into a series of numbers which are used for recognition. Because it’s never converted back into an image, your finger print can’t be copied.

Iris recognition is another form of biometrics security, but it uses your unique iris patterns to recognize who you are. While iris recognition was once limited to spy movies, it’s now become more commonplace and made its way onto your mobile phone. This form of biometrics security works similarly to fingerprint scanning, as the scanner decodes your iris pattern and compares it to a database.

Keyless entry is a new up-and-coming form of access control that combines convenience and security control. Most likely, you already use keyless entry every day when you lock or unlock your car using a remote key fob. When used as a form of building access control, keyless entry can work a little differently than your standard car key.

Keyless entry operates by using a short-range radio transmitter. Remote keyless entry devices emit a signal with a distinct code that allows a door to open or your car to unlock.

Hardware Breakdown

What hardware you need obviously changes based on what building access control system you use. If you have a low security building, a simple turnstile and keycard can restrict access to the building without using too much of your security budget. However, if you have a high security building and need a biometric setup, your hardware costs will be much higher.

For a biometric setup, you’ll need a scanner set up specifically for either iris or fingerprint identification. This hardware will have to be top quality to avoid accidental mis-scans or other issues that could hold up building entryways or allow unqualified persons into the building.

Keyless entry systems are simpler. For these you’ll need scanners at all building entryways and some sort of keycard or RIFP bracelet that’s coded specifically to connect with the scanners. Think of the keycards as your car’s remote key fob and the scanner as your car. In order to open the door, you’ll need both pieces of hardware to sync up seamlessly.

Software Breakdown

When it comes to software, some building access control systems have very little. A turnstile or a security guard checking IDs both require minimal software to none – unless you count the human brain as software.

However, a biometric security setup requires advanced technology to both maintain a database of recognized fingerprint or iris patterns and the software required to decode the body part and turn it into a series of numbers. At the moment there are four main types of biometrics security software. These include: fingerprint recognition, voice recognition, iris recognition, and facial recognition software. This software ranges from the most complicated to the more simplistic. Iris recognition software is regarded as generally more cost-effective than facial recognition.

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All biometric security software is set up to recognize either a person’s gait, heat pattern, iris pattern, fingerprint pattern, computer keystrokes, or palm print. Some biometric security software goes so far as to recognize a person’s body odor.

Keyless entry software is a little more simplistic than biometrics. A keyless entry system does have to be connected to your computer as it monitors who is entering and exiting the building at all times. Because of this, your keyless entry system will have software to transmit and monitor codes from the computer. Make sure the software you install to go along with your keyless entry system is set up properly to connect with your building access control hardware.

Building Access Control Done Right.

There are so many different factors that go into building access control. What’s your budget? Security level needed? Do you need to constantly monitor your security? How many entryways do you need to secure?

All of these factors affect what type of system you choose, how you set it up and what software and hardware you need. But at its most basic level, building access control is vital when keeping your building safe. And when it comes to the safety of your employees, clients, and sensitive information you need to make sure your building access control is installed right.

Medlin Communications knows building access control. We install security systems, including building access control, for companies of all sizes. From nationwide corporations to small business enterprises. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Get in touch and install your building access control today.