Welcome to the third installment in our series on Levels of Security! In this series we will be investigating how different ID solutions fit different security needs. As we advise clients on the appropriate badge solution for their organizations, we’ve found that badging needs fall into five levels of security. We’ve categorized these by the appropriate solutions: printed PVC cards, barcode & magnetic stripe cards, proximity access devices, contact and contactless RFID cards, and bio-metric authentication.
Clients whose facilities need a moderate degree of security may find their best solution in proximity access devices. These items are available as cards, key-fobs, or stick-on (adhesive) disks, which are then issued to individual users. Each device includes a tiny computer-chip that houses a small amount of data that is custom programmed for a facility. These credentials allow an installed access control system to determine if the device holder has the required permission to access a facility.
Prior to the introduction of access-control systems, organizations would provide key copies to their employees, or have full-time receptionists, or employee security guards as ways to manage access. The benefits of using proximity devices are many:
- Unlike keys, access control systems can operate on schedules. For example, a given key-card or fob can be coded to allow access to buildings only Monday thru Friday from 8:00am to 6:00pm. Other devices and individuals can have their own unique schedules.
- Also unlike keys, with proximity devices, you can immediately and remotely “turn off” or modify access areas and times. This means that an individual who should no longer have access to one or more controlled entryways, or on certain days or times, can have that change affected quickly, and without affecting any other device holder. In the “old days”, if you lost an employee, or if an employee lost a copy of a building key, the locks were changed and new keys were issued – at considerable expense!
- If the proximity access device is in card form, it can double as the employee’s photo ID using any of our ID-card printing solutions. Doing so provides both a visual identity check, and a physical access-control check, further enhancing facility and organizational security.
- Proximity access device readers can be augmented with optional modules, such as numeric key-pads, requiring input of a second-form of authentication. These are often used on exterior doors to prevent unauthorized entry should someone find a lost credential.
As technology has developed, more secure options have been introduced which can store more data and are more difficult to be scanned and copied. We will explore those options in coming installments. But, for organizations with a need for flexible security controls, while maintaining relatively low or moderate costs, the access-control systems and proximity devices are the perfect solution.