What is the best Access Control Option for you?

Posted October 15, 2021 | Eclipse IP

What is the best Access Control Option for you?

What is the best Access Control Option for you?

Over the last twenty years or so, we have seen accelerated progression of the development and use of Access Control Systems. Throughout these years we have witnessed a move from the 'classic' door lock to modern access control equipment. Modern access control equipment gives the user a more secure method of controlling who can enter and exit their premises. Modern access control has great benefits but with the different types how do you know which is right for you? 

Before choosing which method is best for you and/or your business you should make sure you have a knowledge of the different access control systems there are. 

Firstly, let's start with what access control actually is, access control is a security method that controls who can access the entry points of a building. Access control systems bring an entire building under one secure network of doors. These systems only allow entry to cards, fobs or biometrics that have been programmed into the system. An access control system supplies an oversight for main users by determining who is using their assigned cards, fobs or biometrics for entrance in and out of areas within the building. As a result of this, the systems 'control panel' holds specific data of all activity within the system. 

Access control systems are made up of four key elements, a reader, a card, fob or the physical features required for a biometric system, the control panel and an electric lock. The reader is used on or near the locked area, it works alongside the electric lock to allow entry to and from the locked area. A card, fob or physical feature is used on the reader to 'show your ID' and prove you have permission to enter the area. Lastly, the control panel records all data of attempted access on the system and sends directions to the reader to allow or deny access. 

The first access control system is a classic door lock, these are just mechanical locks. Mechanical locks are door locks containing a deadbolt and a matching key to allow access. All mechanical locks require a solid matching key to unlock the deadbolt. This is the best choice for homes and offices on the small side. Mechanical locks are the cheapest option of access control and aren't too complex to fit. However, a disadvantage of using a lock like this is keys may be duplicated, the outcome of this is, anyone with the correctly shaped key can gain access to the premises. 

The next method of access control is an electronic or digital lock. These are beneficial as they provide a more secure system than a classic door lock would. An electronic lock gives the main user power over who can enter the building or certain rooms within the building, these locks can be used with cards or fobs. Like classic locks, the cards or fobs may be copied but this can only happen with the main user's knowledge and/or the manufacturer's knowledge. Some software provided with these systems store 'reports' on doors and users. This means you can tell who has used their card or fob on a reader in the building. Additionally, you may be able to see if someone has attempted to enter an area without permission. Although this system has a higher cost compared to a classic mechanical lock it's not the priciest form of access control and it gives a more secure option. 

If you're in need of a high-security access control system the best option would be a biometric access control system. This system has an extra level of protection as it only allows access via an individual's physical features. The physical features used by biometric systems to verify someone's identity are faces, fingerprints, iris' or retina's. Over the last 20 years, there has been an increase in this type of technology being used as part of security systems around the world. One of the reasons it is a preferred choice globally is down to the swiftness and effortlessness of working on the system. Due to this, it could make biometric systems the best systems to use for access control. 

Before installing a biometric reader you should think about the following questions:

  • Why are you getting the system installed?
  • Who is going to be using the system?
  • Where will it be used?

If you are thinking about installing a biometric access control system you may want a bit of an understanding of Biometrics. Biometric sciences/technology were first recorded as being used during the 1800s in France by law enforcement to catch a criminal. However, these days biometrics are used throughout multiple industries to store details on employees' attendance. Due to the improvements in technology since the 1800s biometric readers can now be used to read fingerprints, faces, voices and eyes. Biometrics work with the human body to identify a person, for example, a biometric reader will read your face to confirm you are the correct person or in this case confirm you have permission to access the area you're trying to enter. 

The easiest biometric system to install is a fingerprint scanner, this could be down to the fact you get USB plug-in options. Biometric fingerprint scanners are the more favourable option in business settings no matter the size of the company. One of the reasons for this may be is the simplicity of using the system. To scan your fingerprint, you simply have to put your finger onto the scanning pad and it will do the rest of the work (if you're programmed into the system).

The next favourable option is facial recognition, compared to fingerprint scanning there is quite a difference in cost. The main reason for the higher cost is down to the increase and advancement in the technology being used. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, a noticeable increase has been seen in the demand for facial recognition systems, this is down to the need for contact-free access control. Again, with these systems they're simple to use once programmed into the system, you just have to let the reader scan your face and it will either allow or deny access. 

Another favourable option in biometrics is one used daily by a high number of people, voice recognition. Voice recognition is known for being used on smartphones through Apple's 'Siri', Amazon's 'Alexa' and Google's 'Google Assistant'. One reason this is a preferred option could be again, the ease of use. Similar to the cost increase from fingerprint scanners to facial recognition there is a costly increase because of the advancement in technology being used to make the system work. Whilst the voice recognition industry continues to grow and advance the cost will too. However, in the long run, the system may work out cheaper than its opposing systems. 

One more biometric option is eye scanners, these come in two different forms; Iris Recognition and Retinal Scans. Although these are both eye scanners of some form they have more differences than you may think, the first most obvious difference is how the scans are carried out. Retina scans are carried out by shining a reduced energy infrared light in the eye capturing an image of the retina. Special software will keep 'templates' of programmed retinas to allow or deny access into the area, if your retina matches one of the templates programmed for that area then you will be allowed access. Iris recognition is carried out with a camera that scans and takes a clear image of the eye. The image has to be extremely clear so the scanning software can see all the unique features in the eye. Once the scan has confirmed you have access to the area, you will be given access. 

A lot of biometric system manufacturers can make ranging systems with various methods of biometric access control to fit the customer's needs.

Overall modern day access control holds more benefits than classic access control methods, one of the most obvious benefits to modern day access control is the increased security control the main user has over the system. As well with the growing technology users are now not requiring fobs or cards and can be given access using their physical features with biometric readers. If you need a high-security access control system the best option would be a biometric iris scanner, these days Iris scanners are made with the ability to detect 'liveness'. This means if someone is trying to 'fake' their way in with a picture of an iris that has permission they won't get in as the picture is not 'live'. If you need an access control system but don't require a high level of security an electronic lock system would be best. Everyone is given their own fobs or cards to use on the readers and the main user is in control of who is programmed to enter each room

If any of the above modern day access control systems are the right choice for you, contact us on 03455 192130 or via our website here.


Gulgulia, D. (n.d.). Access control vs. traditional locks: which is better & how? [online] www.souresecurity.com. Available at: https://www.sourcesecurity.com/insights/access-control-traditional-locks-co-6184-ga.1633620003.html [Accessed 8 Oct. 2021].

Smart Eye Technology. (2019). How accurate are retinal security scans. [online] Available at: https://getsmarteye.com/how-accurate-are-retinal-security-scans/ [Accessed 13 Oct. 2021].

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