We live in an inter-connected world. Solutions should be compatible and work seamlessly together. Integration has become so normal in our everyday lives that we hardly even notice it. Over the past decade, the “Internet of Things” (IoT) has revolutionized our daily lives: Google and many others have invested millions into making our lives easier.
Integration is everywhere: Parents can get notified when children arrive home from school. People get notifications on their phones and view live footage from CCTV cameras installed in their house. Electronic locks and even biometric readers are being installed in homes so that access can be controlled from apps installed on smartphones.
The corporate world is no different. When it comes to access control, organizations expect and demand integration. Access control systems are at the heart of building security. Traditional systems only manage individual user access to doors. Integrated access control connects other security applications to allow them to be managed from a single user interface. Today, most access control solutions integrate dozens of applications such as CCTV, intruder and fire alarms, ANPR cameras, visitor management, and more.
The next layer of security is to install a Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) solution. Many large organizations operate from a command center where a PSIM can monitor and control an entire estate, changing threat levels and responses in real-time as soon as information is available. For example, TBS terminals can be set to use single-factor authentication when a threat level is low. If the threat level increases due to an intruder or terrorist threat, the TBS devices can automatically be changed to require two- or even three-factor authentication (Biometric and Card and PIN). This adds an extra layer of security as and when it is needed.
Access Control with Biometric Integration
Access control essentially relies on two components:
- Identifying the person making an access request
- Confirming the person has access rights to the door/location at this specific time
The process of accurately identifying an individual is essential. Traditional access control systems do this by using a unique PIN to individuals or with a fob/card reader. While these technologies provide advantages over a lock and key, they do not provide any significant level of security. PINs and fobs or cards can easily be lost, stolen, or shared. This can compromise the integrity of an access control system.
Biometric access control eliminates the risk of fraudulent or accidental misidentification. There are many ways to biometrically identify individuals through their unique physical characteristics. We have many distinctive body parts: fingers, irises, vein patterns, face, or hands, to name but a few. Biometric devices capture an image of these areas. The image is passed to a sophisticated algorithm that converts it into a biometric template. This template is stored and used for comparison when an enrolled user subsequently presents themselves to the reader.
When the identity of the individual is confirmed, a token is sent to the access control system to decide whether that individual has sufficient access privileges. If so, the door will unlock. If not, the door will remain secure. In a world that demands the replacement of traditional authentication methods and a drive to digitalization, biometrics will continue to be a key validation element of access control.
Benefits of Integrated Access Control
There are many benefits to integrated access control. They increase security and efficiency, reduce costs, and significantly mitigate risks:
- Simple management of users tokens, access privileges, and biometric templates
- Events, alerts, and alarms can be monitored and controlled from a single application
- Access can be controlled for not just staff, but contractors and visitors can also be managed
- CCTV platforms can be integrated to provide a visual record of certain events
- ANPR and perimeter detection allows you to monitor the external boundaries of a site
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