Understanding Access Control

Understanding Access Control

Understanding Access Control

Each day, all of us need access to various physical spaces. Each of these areas has a distinct level of access regulation. Houses, apartments, garages, and gyms are a few samples of the restricted establishments we access regularly. A shared access point is an entryway to a facility where multiple people need access at various times throughout the day. Shared access points are ubiquitous. Parking garages, apartment building front doors, office building doors, and gated community gates are instances of shared access points that we confront regularly. Access control is the selective regulation of entry to these shared access points.

Gaining entry to a shared access point demands an entrant to present some kind of credential affirmed at the point of entry. Unlocking a shared access point requires an entrant to hold something or know something. If the entrant has a physical device that allows the opening of the entry point, they use that device, and entry is given. Instances of something you hold include:

  • Clickers to unlock gates in gated communities.
  • Key cards for door readers in an office building or parking garage.
  • Key fobs for office and apartment front doors.
  • Physical keys for locks.

Shared entry points can also require people to know something to gain entry. Illustrations of something you know include a four-digit pin entered on a gate keypad or for guests to a gated community with a security guard, the name, address, or apartment number of the person they are visiting.

Sharing entry is challenging. Each kind of access mechanism introduces its own problems when numerous individuals want entrance past a single shared entry point. Gates and garages opened by clickers require the entrant to bring the device within close range of an access point, as the device only operates in close proximity. Opening the gate or garage from beyond close range (remote open) is inconceivable due to the device's limited scope. Physical keys, key fobs, and key cards need to be carried around and have an even shorter range than clickers. None of these mechanisms permit remote opening of the entry point.

Sharing access through mechanisms that demand something you know is equally tricky and comes with further problems. First, the entrant must memorize the code in the matter of shared gate codes, which are punched into a gate keypad and are familiar in gated communities. Rare guests to a gated community often forget a 4-digit series of numbers, and codes are occasionally changed by the community owners. Most current keypad systems have one shared code for all residents, so sharing access is equal to giving a master key to any guest in the gated community.

Shared entry points and sharing access are formidable. Whether the access agent is something you have or something you know, each process has a distinctive problem in balancing convenience and safety. For example, physical entry devices like clickers, key cards, key fobs, or physical keys have to be carried around and have short contact points, making remote opening of shared entry points impossible. In addition, shared codes are challenging to remember, can be altered, and introduce several security risks as the code proliferates among entrants.

We hope this helps you better understand access control. Contact us to learn more about gatehouse software. We want to keep your community safe.

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