Access control is all about WHO, WHERE and WHEN. A key card access control system dictates who is allowed to enter or exit, where this person is allowed to ingress or egress and when they are allowed to do this.
In the past, access control was enforced through keys and door locks. A person with a key can enter a locked door. And that is about as far as access control went. There was no way to restrict people entering a building or property on specific times or dates; so long as a person possesses the key, they were in.
Nor did mechanical door locks and keys provide records on who used the keys and on what doors. You needed a security personnel with a logbook to do this. Looking back at it now, it all seems so ancient and prehistoric. But this is how access was controlled and restricted in buildings and facilities just a few decades ago.
The age of access control systems began in the 1960’s. Key card access control was an innovation that addressed problems associated with lost keys and enabled those in charge of security to add, allow, restrict or deny any person’s access to anywhere at any time. It also allowed for an audit trail that shows a report on people’s movements within premises. Installation of electronic access control
eliminated the use of mechanical door locks and keys through the use of computers.
How Does Electronic Access Control Work?
You need credentials for key card access control. No, this does not mean your educational attainment or your degree. A credential can be a physical or tangible object, a piece of knowledge or a facet of a person’s physical make-up that allows access by a person to a facility or property. A credential could be a PIN (personal identification number), a badge or a biometric feature such as a fingerprint. The most typical is an access card otherwise known as a key card.
In an electronic door entry system, credentials replaced mechanical keys. These are used to grant access. When access is granted, the door is unlocked for a predetermined time and the entry or exit is recorded. If access is denied, the door remains locked and similarly, a record is made of an attempted access. As an added security measure, the key card entry system will monitor the door and sound an alarm if a door is forced open or held open too long after being unlocked.
The Beginnings of Key Card Entry System - Swipe & RFID
Early versions of entry systems used keypads with PIN codes. This was replaced by “swipe” or insert cards that had magnetic stripes. These were called “card keys” or “key cards”. To this day, these terms are still in use. Swipe cards were replaced with non-contact “proximity cards” as RFID technology replaced the early versions in the late 1970’s. This was because magnetic stripe cards can easily be copied and also can stop working if the magnetic strip is damaged.
Card Key Systems Explained
Though there are many advances to the keycard lock access control system
and electronic door lock, the mechanics of how it works still remained essentially the same. The access key cards work with a card reader. This is connected to a door controller which contains stored programming information from the access control software. This contains information on WHO is allowed WHERE and WHEN. An audit trail is created by the system and this is used to generate management reports.Today, there are two common types of proximity cards:
- Clamshell - typically cheaper
- Printable - allow for double usage with one side being printed to be used as a photo ID
An alternative to key card with basic card reader is the key fob for keyless entry system
, which has the same function but can be bundled together with other keys instead of being stored in a wallet or purse.
The Advantages of Using Keycard Control Systems with Card Reader
Entry key cards are programmed for each individual. Key card entry system allows customized access for each person. A business can choose to grant full access or limit it during scheduled times. This has many practical applications. Just to cite examples: Managers may be given full access while limiting access for regular employees to just the office hours of 7:30 am to 5:30 pm. Or stock custodians may be granted access to storerooms but other employees may be restricted.
External control is practiced by businesses or organizations who want to limit people entering to their facilities. The external card key access control systems are usually installed in storage facilities, manufacturing firms or college dormitories. Other uses are for parking garages.
Key cards are installed for internal doors to control access to highly sensitive areas such as hospital supply rooms or IT areas where private information is stored. In some cases, they are used by schools for classrooms to prevent theft and restrict access to certain areas of the school such as the computer labs.
Hotels or apartment buildings also install and use internal card entry systems in elevators to restrict access to just the floor guests or tenants who are billeted or live in, and to the public areas of the building such as the lobby or the restaurant floors.
With a key card access system, audit trails are created and businesses can keep a record of persons who entered and the exact time they entered. This becomes especially useful if thefts or any incidents occur that can be narrowed down to a specific time period; records can be pulled up to determine who entered the building corresponding to the time period.
What information is stored by the system?
- Date and time card was read
- Name of card holder
- Unique ID number or badge number
- Name of door or reader being accessed
- Access granted/denied condition
This information can be stored in the access system up to several years.
Monitoring several properties, even overseas locations can be done from just one location or server. Businesses can monitor security control over several buildings located over a large area.
In the past when traditional door lock and key card system was used, in the event that an employee is terminated or a key is lost, the entire facility needed to be re-keyed to prevent any unauthorized entry.
With proximity cards, the process is simplified. An authorized person just needs to access the credentials record and it is just a matter of deactivating a card. It works the same way, too, when a new hire comes onboard. The credentials record just need to be accessed to add a card.
Video Surveillance For Hotel Door Locks
Often, as an added security measure, hotels and companies choose to pair key card door lock or access control system with video surveillance cameras to ensure that the person entering the building is really the authorized person not just someone using someone else’s credential. Once access is initiated, video surveillance is activated in the particular door being accessed and it becomes easy to verify if the person is authorized to enter or not.
Many businesses choose key card access control system to secure their facilities because of the convenience they afford. More importantly, they offer peace of mind because of many added security features.
Action 1st Loss Prevention offers a whole range of smart door locks for hotels and other businesses. Our hotel door lock
system delivers reliable locking solutions. We also offer key card access control systems and key fobs. Call us today for an appointment at (800) 675-3015
for electronic door lock installation services. Our experts will be happy to discuss your door lock needs and provide a free onsite survey and estimate.
Key Card Door Lock Installation for Businesses
Key cards are an excellent choice for businesses and large institutions to keep guests and employees safe and the property secure. Codes can be immediately and regularly changed, or even loaded onto a card for a one-time use, which many of our clients find convenient for visitors to their buildings.
Not only do entry cards increase the protection of your property, but they remove the need for traditional keys. Modern buildings are moving away from traditional keys and locks due to the risk these pose to the property. Traditional door locks are more prone to being broken or tampered with and keys can easily be copied. The key card access control systems offered by Action 1st are state of the art for commercial building security solution.
If you need to increase the safety of your building or property, contact us today
. We will arrange a complimentary onsite review to determine exactly what type of door lock and surveillance is the best fit for your needs. Following this, our door lock expert team will carry out the installation of key card access control with card reader so that you can be assured that your premises is protected from intruders.