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Learn About Access Control

I have provided this information to help customers understand terminology and possible system flaws about Electronic Access Control Systems. The information not provided as a self-installation guide, and I don’t recommend that any individual without qualification should attempt self-installation of any access control system.

Understanding Finger Print Readers

As we all know, a fingerprint reader is designed to read an individual's unique fingerprint to allow access to an area behind some form of physical barrier. To give you an idea about this technologies downfall think of this scenario. A staff member at a business with Fingerprint readers at the entrance doors has been renovating his home. Over the weekend he sanded and painted some doors, he goes to work on Monday to open the office. The Finger Print reader disallows access to the building due to variations in his fingerprint from painting and sanding on the weekend.

Understanding Access Control Door Monitoring

About more complexed forms of access control where door monitoring is crucial to protect personal and assets within an organisation, there are physical alarm inputs located at a door that is programmed to function in a certain way if opened when the door is in secure mode.

DOTL “Door Open to Long Alarm.”

This alarm results from a physical alarm input in the door frame on an access control doors opened for a period determined by door programming. I n other words if the door is open for more than 200 seconds the card reader will beep and an alarm will come up in the monitoring software so personnel can go and see why the door is open.

FD “Forced Door Alarm.”

Another physical input on a door programmed to a door input in head-end software. How it works is if the doors opened without the door software receiving a signal from an approved access card or an REX input on the inside of the door then the door has been forced open. The resulting alarm message is then transferred to the head end software so personnel can go and check why the doors forced.

REX “Request to Exit input.”

The inputs required where there is a reader or keypad on the outside of the door and the inside there is an exit button or handle on the door mortise lock to exit. It allows for the head end door software to receive the message that the doors opened by persons exiting so there is no alarm sent from the forced door input.

Key Override

In some cases a key override alarm is necessary. It works by having an alarm input in the lock so when persons insert a key in the lock and turn it the input opens causing a key override alarm to come up in the door monitoring software. You may say what’s the big deal but remember that access control is about who went where and when with the locks overridden with a key you don’t know who did it and why.

Understanding Anti-Passback

To create an access environment with Anti-passback, you need to install an access control system with doors that have a reader in and reader out. Having this Reader in out scenario sets up a situation where card users need to badge their access card in either direction to go through the door which allows for the system to know exactly which area the card readers located. The Passback scenario comes when an individual walks with another card user through a door into another area without badging their card at the doors reader so as far as the access system is concerned, they are still located in this sector. When this individual goes to go through another door, the system won't let them because there in the wrong location. Soft Anti-passback is usually used as a temporary system when staff have been trained to use the Hard Anti-passback system and are in the changeover stage to Hard Anti-passback so they get a warning that they have done the wrong thing.  

Understanding People Counting

Card user counting is tied in with Anti-Passback as it can't exist unless the access control system knows exactly how many card users reside in a particular area within the confines of the access system. Some systems will automatically arm as soon as the last card user exits the door leading out of the perimeter.

Understanding General Access Control System Security

Some pretty important systems need installing on an access control system. If these security systems aren't installed, it can leave the system vulnerable to power blackouts and unscrupulous individuals who want to bypass the system from the inside. These systems can be crucial as some access systems that are on a fire system are power to lock. In other words, if the power supply goes down all the doors will open.

Battery Monitoring

There should be an input attached to the access control system that monitors the status of the power supply backup batteries, and this will allow system monitors to know if a battery is getting old or faulty which could cause the system to collapse should there be a power outage.

Power Supply Monitoring

Monitoring the AC power of the power supplies will let system monitors know when there is a blackout so plans are made to uphold the integrity of the system while still locked by the battery backup system.

Tamper Alarm Monitoring

All power supplies battery cabinets and access control panel cabinets should have tamper alarm inputs; this will inform system monitors that enclosure, power supply, etc. has been opened. Without these inputs, individuals can tamper with system equipment to disable alarms and possible attempt to trick the system into not knowing the status of a door.

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