Articles that Enrich and Expand on Physical Security Technologies

What is Access Control?

Physical access control is the restriction of access to a physical space, including a site, building, room, or cabinet. Access authorization may involve access for staff, contractors, or visitors and access points may accommodate individual walk-through or vehicle access.

The primary purpose of access control is to restrict access to unauthorized people and vehicles, while conveniently and efficiently providing access to employees, contractors, and visitors who are authorized.

Access control systems consist of access points, identifiers, readers/keypads, controls panels, and access control servers and may integrate into security management framework to extend security monitoring capability.

Access Control Components

Access Point

This is an entry point where a physical barrier is required to restrict entry to people and vehicles. Physical barriers may include security gates, turnstiles, and door locks.


Access authorization for employees, contractors, and visitors is provided by an identifier such as person ID cards, RFID cards, and smart cards.

Readers and/or Keypads

Readers and keypads are usually found at the access point and interact with an access control software/system (control panel) to authenticate the credentials of an employee, contractor, or visitor. Credential interaction could be a scanner for ID cards, a pin pad for manual entry, or a biometric (fingerprint, facial or retina scan) reader.

Control Panel

The Physical Access Control (PACS) control panel receives information from the reader/keypad at the access point and verifies if the credentials are valid. An access decision is made, and proper access authorization is transmitted back to the access point.

Access Control Server

The access control grants access to employees, contractors, and visitors. It also stores, registers, verifies and enrolls the credentials for employees, contractors, and visitors. The server can either be located on-premise or managed in a cloud environment.

Security Management System

Access control software/systems can be integrated with different systems that facilitate perimeter security and facilities monitoring. These include video analytics, video management, security management, alarms and alerts, and perimeter protection.

Industries That Require Access Control

Access control and access control software/systems are first-line defenses against unwanted intrusion and threat access. Here are some industries that benefit from access control systems:

Critical Infrastructure PortsHotels
Water utilities and damsManufacturingBanking & Finance
Cellular/telecom infrastructureMilitary, defense, and bordersRestaurants & Cafes
Data centers/datalines/data infrastructureAirportsCasinos
Oil and gas, including pipelinesSubwayEducation Facilities
Prisons & Correctional FacilitiesRailway StationsHospitals & Healthcare
Logistic Centers, Warehouses Government facilitiesMuseums & Art Galleries
Power PlantsConstruction SitesLeisure & Entertainment
Hydroelectric FacilitiesRetailSport Facilities
Safe & Smart CityBusiness Centers & OfficesParking Lots

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