In its original iteration, an access control system was conceived as a way to help minimize the problem of lost keys. These early systems often consisted of a numerical keypad and a mechanical locking mechanism, released when the correct numerical code was entered.
It didn’t take long for security management to realize the benefits of an access control system--or the vulnerabilities of a simple keypad and locking solution. It also seems to be that from that point in time forward, the development and mass market adoption of access control systems has been driven by technology integration.
One of the first major developments was the integration of identity management solutions with access control to address vulnerability issues. This new dual authentication approach required an identification card and corresponding card reader so the individual could be identified and authorized for access to the building or restricted area. Early systems managed the data at the card reader level while today’s systems offer integration with human resources and personnel software databases and even some visitor management applications. When an employee is terminated or their status changes, only one entry is required to make the change.
Today’s identity management/access control systems go far beyond those initial offerings and include biometric identification, multiple card and reader formats and smart card capabilities. The systems can be managed on a standalone data network or they can be deployed on the corporate computer network. Integrated with video surveillance systems, they become even more intuitive for the operator. If a door alarm is triggered, video is displayed on the screen and appropriate action taken in a much timelier manner.
Time and attendance, transactions, audits, forensics
Another early integration development was the capability for transaction recording through the use of basic management software. Time and attendance reports were the primary function but transaction recording has been greatly expanded in current systems to include automatically generated reports, audit trails and more recently, the move to forensic analysis. The information can also be integrated or correlated with other security systems such as video surveillance or visitor management, providing a more in-depth and comprehensive overview of a situation.
In addition to managing entry and exit activity, today’s access control solutions offer a range of features that are designed to add value by enhancing the security of a facility. For example, IDenticard’s PremiSys™ access control solution features options to prevent the reuse of a card to access the same area within a specified period of time, or until the card is used to exit the area.
The most recent industry statistics indicate that access control will further be influenced by the convergence of physical and logical access and credentialing of employees will be critical. There has been consistent and growing demand for more highly integrated security solutions built around the marriage of access control and video surveillance systems. The ease of use and capability to conveniently address and manage this element will surely continue to play an important role in the industry’s migration to a true enterprise level security system solution.
Ric McCullough is the sales manager for IDenticard Systems.