What is Access Control System? How It Works?

In order to meet the various demand of modern offices and other premises access control systems are of great use. They are the techniques that are used for controlling the passage of an individual to and from any area. The simplest form of access control systems are the locks and keys that had been in use since ages.

With year the access control system has been innovated and have become sophisticated. Now they are more than just a lock and key and now they mainly refer to the electronic card access systems that are computer-based. Instead of the brass key, there are ‘access card’ which opens the locked door! The use of the access control system is not only limited to allowing entrance to any building but they can also be used to check the entry of individuals at any secured places. Those who are authorized to enter and pass the door can use their card reader for getting permitted through a building access control systems.

How does an access control system work?

There are different kinds of access control system and they perform differently. However, the basic structure of functioning of all the access control system is almost the same. In case of door access control systems, the access card should be swiped while in case of a proximity access control system the radio waves will read the cards and allow entry.

The total system in which an access control system works is divided into five phases.


When the access control system is installed it considered everybody as a stranger. Through the process of authorization, the strangers are converted into members. For doing that it is necessary to define the company policy. The rights of an employee should be determined and that includes that who will be the employees getting access to which door. Like, the main entrance of the building will be open for all but that is not true for others specific places.

It is necessary that every assignee has been provided a role and there should be role-based access control. It is mainly given to the administrator who can control the roles of every employee.


After the authorization process is complete the need of authentication arises. Every time a member wants to pass through the access control system need to authenticate themselves. They must present the door reader be it an access card, a badge or a token. After checking the credential at the token the reader will authenticate the user. Based on this process it will be decided that whether the lock will be opened or not.

The process of authentication is simple. After the system captures the code of the access card, whatever type it is, it matches that with the ones stored. There can be different criteria for this match like there may be a system where employees are permitted to enter the premises at any particular time period. They will not be allowed at any other time apart from that particular time period.


After checking the credentials the time comes when the member will be given access. The access toll must ensure that everyone gets at the right door at the right time.

The first step for getting access is to unlock the door. After the card is validated the member can do that. After the request is done the access is triggered and then the door is unlocked. When the door unlocks different events are tracked. Like, the user who is authenticated is recorded along with the time of authentication. The door opens and then the door closes.


This is not the usual working of an access control system. This step mainly helps the administrator for controlling the whole thing along with adding new members or removing someone. There can be any problem that can troubleshoot by the administrator. If required when the office premises is enlarged new access points may also be added. This is not for the regular members but for the management who wants to control the whole system according to the policy of the business.


Again this is another function that is not used regularly but can be very useful. Those access control systems that are used for maintaining the incoming and outgoing time of an employee will help in preparation of the payroll of the company, sometimes the payroll software is also installed along with. Apart from that different data can also be collected.

In order to meet the requirement of the business the whole access control system should be audited. It must be ensured that the access control system is working as it should. It is required to be checked that nothing tampers in the meantime. This control must be done at a regular interval or else the utility of the access control system will reduce.

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