Never Heard Of Access Control? Here’s What You Need To Know

Access control is the practice of defining and restricting access to physical buildings, or even virtual data, by drawing up protocol that allows the right people to access what they need, whilst at the same time keeping out staff who are unauthorised to enter rooms or servers that contain sensitive material and should only be accessed by certain people.

To take a real world example, tube tickets and Oyster cards are a form of access control. With an Oyster card or all-zones travel card you can go anywhere on the tube, over ground or buses, but if you only buy a restricted zone travel card you can only access transport within those areas. Of course, this is a personal choice based on where you actually want to go, rather than access being decided by someone higher up the chain, but it’s a useful comparison to understand the concept of access control.

Hospitals are another place where access control can be seen in action. If you go to A&E you can walk in to the waiting room with no issues, but to get into the areas where treatment is given, you have to go through access controlled doors. Each hospital will have a slightly different system, whether that’s a keypad access with a PIN code, or an RFID system with key tokens which allow certain staff to open certain doors. Maternity wards and Intensive Care Units often have a higher degree of access control to stop anyone strolling in. This is important because it prevents people who have flu or vomiting bugs from contaminating the ICU or Maternity wards where disease control is crucial.

Police stations also have access control systems to prevent people wandering around and accessing the custody suite, the evidence room or seeing sensitive information. Access to evidence rooms, for obvious reasons, is a highly restricted area and can often be time limited; secure hospitals also have stringent access control systems to keep people safe and secure, and prevent unauthorised access or even escape attempts.

We have extensive experience of designing and installing all types of access control systems in all manner of buildings, even older properties which require wireless systems. We typically use a computer based system which affords the administrator a high degree of control over the access of every staff member, which also removes the problems of lost or stolen key fobs, by allowing the administrator to disable those key fobs centrally. If staff are promoted or demoted and their access needs to be changed, this is easily done – no need for a new key token, once the permissions have been changed on the system you’re up and running. When a member of staff leaves employment, that key tokens can be re-assigned to the new starter, and when necessary extra key fobs can be ordered if you need more.

Businesses with multiple sites are no problem for us, as we can design a single system which covers several locations from one computer. This is great for businesses with diverse locations, because a single person can manage access for all sites from a single computer, thus keeping the business of access control under one person’s remit.

If you’re thinking of changing your access control system from manual keys to something more secure (keys can be stolen and copied, and they can’t be disabled centrally like RFID key tokens) then our access control products can help you move your security arrangements from basic to fantastic smoothly.