Send links for event access
    Schedule doors to unlock during regular hours
    Schedule automated send out of keys via directory
    Users can log out of their phone remotely for security
    Restrict phone use to only 1 phone per user to monitor device status
    Admins can remotely unlock to give access

    The purpose of access control is to grant entrance to a building or office only to those who are authorized to be there. The deadbolt lock, along with its matching brass key, was the gold standard of access control for many years; however, modern businesses want more. Yes, they want to control who passes through their doors, but they also want a way to monitor and manage access. Keys have now passed the baton to computer-based electronic access control systems that provide quick, convenient access to authorized persons while denying access to unauthorized ones.

    Access control is a way of limiting access to a system or to physical or virtual resources. In computing, access control is a process by which users are granted access and certain privileges to systems, resources or information

    In access control systems, users must present credentials before they can be granted access. In physical systems, these credentials may come in many forms, but credentials that can’t be transferred provide the most

    The Basic Parts of an Access Control System

    Today, instead of keys, we carry access cards or ID badges to gain entry to secured areas. Access control systems can also be used to restrict access to workstations, file rooms housing sensitive data, printers, as well as entry doors. In larger buildings, exterior door access is usually managed by a landlord, or management agency, while interior office door access is controlled by the tenant company.

    People new to access control may think the system is made up only of the card and the card reader mounted on the wall next to the door. There are a few more parts behind the scenes, all working together to make the magic of granting access to the right person. That’s what this guide is about. Reading it will give you a full and comprehensive understanding of how access control systems work and the language required to communicate with vendors.

    Is it absolutely necessary that you learn about access control yourself? No, definitely not. But it will save you time if, in the middle of your project, a problem arises or an important choice must be made. You can seek advice from the installers but they’ll likely answer in access control language; however, you don’t have to take a crash course or call a security-control consultant just yet. But when you do, it helps to have a basic grasp on the subject and your education is free when an online search turns up a resource like this.

    Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)

    When this paradigm is used, permissions are granted according to roles and roles are assigned to users. This model is user-friendly because administrators can centrally manage and administer roles.

    Mandatory Access Control (MAC)

    This is the opposite of DAC. When MAC is the paradigm, a policy, hardware component, or software component is used to restrict access. This can be a password or keypad.

    Discretionary Access Control (DAC)

    The user has direct control over all of the programs and files in the system, which is a complicated way of saying one method of access always opens all the doors.

    In our world of on-demand availability, access is extremely important and often assumed. While it’s easy to say, “I’d like to restrict and control access, that’s why I’m looking at access control,” the question should actually be, “How should we set up access control to least interfere with user behavior, yet provide the secure controls our business needs?” The answer is Kisi’s on-demand access. It gets everyone through the door while maintaining control.

    The Five Phases of Access Control Methodology

    The purpose of access control is, rather than allowing anyone off the street entrance to a facility, to make sure only people with permission can enter.
    01

    Authorization

    Access Authorization

    Stranger

    Member

    Authorization is the phase that turns strangers into members. The first step is to define company policy; determine what people can and cannot do. This should include who has access to which door(s), and whether members of the organization can share access.

    The next step is role-based access control (RBAC), as explained in the previous section. By assigning roles to users, they get a certain set of assigned privileges. This comes in handy for administrators since they don’t have to individually update every user, should something change.

    Most organizations use employee directories in tandem with RBAC, since these lists include all authorized employees as well as their access levels.

    02

    Authentication

    Access Authorization

    Member

    Validated
    Authentication goes one level deeper than authorization. In this phase, members present to a door reader whatever badge, token, or credential they were given upon being authorized. The reader will check its validation to determine whether or not it should unlock the electric lock on the door in question.
    03

    Access

    Access Authorization

    Val

    Access
    Now that the credentials have been authenticated, the access tools available at this stage make sure everyone gets in the right door, at the right time, faster and easier.
    Unlock:
    Upon validation, the presenter can unlock whatever she wants to access. This can happen by pushing a button, presenting an access card, fob, or badge that requests access.
    Trigger:
    Once the request to enter has been received by the access control system, the access is triggered, typically in the form of a door unlock.
    Infrastructure:
    If the door unlocks, multiple events are tracked at once: The user was correctly authenticated, the user triggered an unlock, the door opened and the door closed.
    04

    Manage

    Access Authorization

    Access

    Monitor
    This phase helps the administrator meet several challenges, including adding new access points, onboarding and offboarding users, maintaining security, and troubleshooting problems. Let’s examine some advantages.
    Scale:
    Cloud-based access control systems can help startups and small businesses when they expand to new offices or additional offices by providing flexible and modular extensions of the existing setup.
    Monitor:
    Online access control systems send real-time alerts to administrators or security should any irregularity or attempted breach take place at any access point, allowing them to investigate immediately and record the event.
    Troubleshoot:
    Modern access control systems allow administrators to remotely configure permissions, or seek support from the vendor, should access points or users have issues—a huge advantage over locally-hosted systems.
    05

    Audit

    Access Authorization

    Monitor

    Audit
    Auditing physical access control is useful for all types of businesses. In addition, it helps certain sectors meet special requirements.
    Scale:
    Businesses can perform regularly-scheduled system reviews to make sure everything on the access control system is set up properly. It can also tell them if someone no longer employed by the company has been inadvertently left in the system.
    Suspicious Events:
    Since many access points are routinely tracked during any access event, auditing can prove useful to security officers when investigating unusual behavior. The data can be used to flag or highlight unusual access behavior or analyze it against historical data.
    Compliance Reports:
    Companies that process sensitive data like patient healthcare information, banking financial reports, or credit card payments must deal with audit requirements in the access control space when filing compliance reports in accordance with HIPAA, SOC2 or PCI. Some special categories like cyber security or ISO certifications also require managed and auditable access control. The audit phase can pull up the proper data for these periodic reports.

    The technology landscape is changing fast in the physical-security domain, where access control systems, based on newer technologies are mushrooming. This can create confusion for anyone charged with outfitting their facility with one—but if they take it step by step, everything will come together.

    The first step a company should take is obvious—do a count of all the doors that need to be secured; not just the entry doors, but also IT room doors where expensive equipment and security-related devices are installed, and for companies handling sensitive healthcare or financial data, the file rooms or offices where computers processing this data are kept.

    Once this has been done, a team should be charged with looking into options, researching vendors, and getting bids. A reputable vendor, before quoting prices, will want to set up a site visit to look at the facility, and the doors, in order to be able to give an accurate quote. There are many ways to  judge vendor or installer quality, and the quote is definitely one. Beware of any vendor who packs a lot of information into his quote but neglects to list line items.

    Properties of a Quote:

    1
    The type and number of locking devices that will be needed and where they will be installed.
    2
    An access control panel to connect the locks to the internet.
    3
    Wiring to connect everything and set up the system.
    4
    A software license for management and support, which often includes hosting and a few accessory-credential materials.

    It’s also important to make sure the quote includes a Certificate of Insurance (COI). Many landlords and building management companies require this because it ensures that any possible damages incurred in installation will be covered.

    And lastly, for those who want to go one step further with their access control education, we’ve provided a cheat sheet.

    What to Look for When Selecting an Access Control System

    • Compatible with third-party hardware and free from lock-in
    • Support logical security
    • Be in line with local regulations and standards
    • Be capable of integrating with surveillance and other security systems
    • Be capable of Integrating with existing hardware to reduce capital costs
    • Support modern modes of communication like cloud/mobile access and especially the Internet of Things (IoT)
    • Should be highly robust with reliable networks
    • Support modern wireless and wire-based technologies like Bluetooth, NFC, RFID, PoE, and others
    • Support multiple types of authentication input such as biometrics, passwords, mobile apps, cards, key fobs, two-factor authentication, and others
    • Latest end-to end data encryption during transmission
    • Easy to use and configure
    • Affordable and powered by professional-grade customer support
    • Support all configurable features, like zoning, time-based access, role-based access, level-based access, count-based access, and other factors.

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