Posts Tagged ‘ Fingerprint readers’



Designing Access Control

Written By:
Friday, July 18th, 2014
access-control

Determining the necessary equipment for building access can be confusing and one must decide if Access Control is the correct way to go.  I will point out what benefits an access control system will give you.

  • Access Control will simplify the way you gain entry or access your Building.
  • No more handing out keys that later Employees or contractors might lose.
  • Credentials can be given that are either permanent or temporary. Any guests, contractors or Employees can utilize these.
  • Typically if a key is stolen or lost there comes the daunting task of re-keying the whole facility to conserve security. The cost for lock cores can be between $30 and $75 or greater and a locksmith will charge for labor about $50 an hour or more. This can get really expensive with a location with multiple doors, especially if the key that was stolen or lost gives access to many doors.
  • Audit Trail: Using normal keys will not keep a log of who has gained entry to the building or location. A surveillance system will help but the daunting task of going over footage to find who gained entry is time consuming.
  • With the use of Keys in many facilities you are required to lock each door and unlock at every start and end of a business day.

What areas should I Secure?

After deciding as to why you want an Access Control System, you will ask yourself as to what assets to secure. You want to cover doors that will be used frequently. Doors that are not used frequently do not require hardware for access control unless there is are high value assets. These doors include areas such as a closet, non-critical offices, and mechanical spaces just to name a few.

Areas that Access Control is typically applied to are:

Exterior Doors:

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Typically exterior doors are the first to be secured. This greatly simplifies the access to your building and this also means that your staff does not require any keys, while also keeping unauthorized persons outside of all entrances except those who you specifically allow entry. Any type of Visitor will be directed to a certain area. Typically this is handled in different ways. The first is a remote scenario where the Visitors find themselves in front of an intercom in some occasions as well as in front of a camera where they can speak to a Manager or Security Staff who will then release the door and allow them entry into the facility.

In a scenario where the guests are greeted by staff usually the front door is left open or there is someone to open the door like a Door Person and then speak with someone at the Front Desk. Usually this person will give the guest a temporary ID that will double as a key to gain entry to key points of the facility.

 Gates:

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In most cases Gates are added to access control systems. This will create a perimeter from the front door. This is great for High security locations or in areas where there is higher crime rates. It is also paired with Surveillance equipment that will allow Security to view all areas of the Property as well as any entry points at the gates.

HR and Accounting Areas:

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These areas are key locations that will have sensitive information that need to be secured at all times.

Data Closets / Server Rooms:

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There is an increase need for network security, access control data centers and IDF’s [Intermediate Distribution Frame]. Consider the server room is often the brains of any organization. There are specialized systems that are manufactured for security cabinets in larger or often multi-user Data Centers.

Classrooms:

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With thefts of electronic equipment being more often in schools nowadays it is best to keep the classrooms locked. Having Electromagnetic Locks or Electronic Door Strikes to keep these secure provides a lock down capability Also in emergency situations these Doors and any door that provides exit to the outdoors will go from a locked position to an unlocked position to provide anyone the ability to exit the building without the need of interacting with the system.

Cabinets:

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There are specialized locks in the market that will allow these locks to be integrated into your access control system, this is done so the access control may be added to the cabinet instead of a door that does not need access control.

Key Control Cabinets:

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Many organizations will still keep keys in cabinets such as for their fleet vehicles, and other keys for cabinets etc. Often these keys are in an area where a criminal can gain access to them. Having access control on these cabinets will add an extra measure of security as well as keep a log of who has accessed the cabinet.

Forms of authentication and how many do you require?

The goal of Access Control is allowing the entry of people. To accomplish this you are required to choose how they are going to prove that they have legitimate access to gain entry. There are forms such as “Multi-factor Authentication” which is very popular among security installers. You can have your system setup where dual or triple mode authentication is needed where the users need a pin number and a card or the card and a finger print. If the two do not pass, the entrance to the location is denied. This is best since it makes it harder for the unauthorized user to gain entry. This can be inconvenient to users that misplaced their card or forgot their pin code. This will make the entry to this person a hassle each time they come in until they get a new card or a new pin code. Because of this, having multiple factor authentication will increase the overall level of security of the facility. For example condos are usually single factor, Military Bases are triple etc..

What type of lock should be used?

There are many types of locks that can be utilized for access control, all having their own application.

  • Electric Strike:  This type will replace the doors mechanism with its own. The plate is installed and once the strike is energized it will allow entry.
  • Electromagnetic Lock: This type of lock utilizes magnetism. It is also know as “MAGS”, it consist of a coil wire around a metal core which will produce a strong magnetic field. The magnetic field will attract both plates together enough to keep the door closed. This can be measured in pounds. Security Camera King carries MAGS from 600lb to 1500lb.

What Proximity Reader should be used?

The Proximity Card Readers allow users to send a request to unlock the door and they come in a variety of options.

Keypad:

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This is a very simple form for access control. The operator need to input his or her pin code to gain entry.

Card Reader:

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There are many types of cards with their own type of encryption. Currently in the industry there are two – contact and contact-less.

Bio-metrics:

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Typically there are many of these readers and the most used is the Finger Print reader. There are others such as Iris, Geometry of hand and of course retina.

Whichever technology you choose to utilize, Form factor should be taken into consideration. Remember when I spoke about 3 Factor and single factor. Depending on the application is the reader that you would need. There are for example 12 inch square reader that may be positioned at the parking garage or miniature or thinner readers on aluminum door frames. Generally speaking the distance at which the card can be read increases with the size of the reader and type of card.

How are the Readers Connected?

While the readers need to be located in entry and exit points they are required to send the data back to a panel or server which will handle the data and choose what to do with it. There are a few different ways to accomplish this. Some are TCP/IP while others require a serial connection. There are others that are wireless but they are not as efficient as a hard line.

Traditional Systems will use serial connections to link up the readers to the control panel. This is the most common but technology is changing and most boards will have their own Server built into them allowing the use of your existing network.

Do I need anything else at the doors?

When adding access control one thing to consider is your local safety codes. One that stands out is the use of push to exit or for example PIR that will notify the system someone is exiting. In the US, life safety code requires that there be a means to physically break power to the magnetic lock. In some facilities this is not used, as guests or personnel are required to utilize their Proxy cards or form of ID to exit the building .

What will Power my Devices?

Power supplies are a must when designing your Access Control System. There are different ways to tackle having a centralized power supply and this method is popular as it is easier to troubleshoot, but if the power supply goes bad the entire system does too. You can implement ways to have multiple panels for different sections to help with this scenario. There is also PoE (Power over Ethernet). A lot of devices nowadays are PoE compatible where only a Category 5 cable is needed to connect the device to the network and provide it with Power to operate.

Special Considerations?

In some occasions the use of access control is going to be different, here are some that you might run into:

Elevators:

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There are two ways to restrict access to elevators. Restricting the call button to a card. This method will call the car only when there is a valid card used. This method will utilize a single reader outside of the elevator. The second one is a reader inside of the elevator and this method will allow the user to certain floors. Once the user has presented their card or key FOB to the unit it will light the floors in which this person can access and the floors that are not will not be lit, preventing the user from going up or down to these. This requires an interface with the elevators travel cable and it also requires every floors input / output to activate and deactivate each of the buttons.

Harsh Environments:

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When utilizing access control in harsh environments the devices need to be explosion proof. This means that the device will not create a spark that can create an explosion. While there are many cards that are specifically designed for these environments, they are typically a reader inside of an explosion proof enclosure, readily available from electrical distributors, and easily fabricated in the field.

Mustering:

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This is a function of certain types of access control that will allow the count of employees exiting the building via a designated reader or group of readers. This is done in case of an emergency. Security and safety staff may see how many guests or staff is still in the building. There are also specialized wireless readers that will allow a security officer to swipe or read employees or guests credentials as they reach each mustering point.

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Biometrics and Security – It’s all about Access Control

Written By:
Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Biometrics is the measurable features or characteristics of a human. These traits can be used to identify people for access control to a building or devices and anything in between. In today’s tech-savvy world we use biometrics every day and may not even realize it. There are many ways to measure and record a human’s biometric information for access control.

A lot of us now have smart phones. Both android and IOS came out with facial recognition to unlock the cell phone for use. That feature uses biometrics. Since most of us have different facial features this works fairly well in preventing others from using your cell phone. The software has been going through some refinements as people have found ways to spoof it. For example get a picture of the person then use that to unlock their phone. In this application the failing part is that the image used to set up facial recognition is 2 dimensional.  3 dimensional would be needed to add extra difficulty so spoofing would not nearly as easy with just a taking Polaroid picture.  Still it is amazing that you can now have access control set up on your own cell phone.

To secure a business the technology is now available to integrate access control with CCTV security cameras. Up until the 1990’s access control for most companies consisted of a security guard watching a TV monitor to verify an individual’s identification. Then that person got “buzzed” in. There are many places that still use that setup or something very similar to it. Sure it works and is easy to operate. However, it is archaic by today’s standard and if you are going for full automation that setup is not even close.

A standalone biometric controller can be utilized with a security camera Digital Video Recorder. Biometrics used in this application are typically for full automation while still logging everything in the access control authorization, so security audits can be done to verify the biometric scanner is functioning properly and only allowing individuals in and out that have been approved by the administrator.

An image of a Thumb print reader is the device used in verification of a person’s identity. The Key pad is used to program and initiate the log in procedure. At the top is the camera and at the bottom middle is the finger print scanner. The PIR sensor is on the lower right corner as you can see the or not see the sensor is hidden under the dark plastic.  This particular device can store up to 5 different prints from one person. When adding your user I would use both thumbs and pointer fingers. Just in case the user forgets what digit to use on which hand. The MAC1000SR has a built in camera and a PIR sensor or motion sensor.  Also there is a microphone built directly into the device. Our original intent is to use the microphone through phone systems using video phones so you can have two way communications with gate keeper and key master.

ACRS-MAC1000-SR

The MAC1000SR has a few different ways to activate recording as does your security DVR.  The main focus will be with the DVR as that device will be doing the recording. The DVR could be setup to record motion so when the camera picks up motion the DVR will start recording. There by allowing a recording of the person accessing the door. Another option is to use the alarm outputs on the MAC and connect them to the alarm inputs on DVR. That can tell the DVR to record when someone triggers the PIR sensor or when the user initiates the Biometric Check. The MAC does come with cables so you do not have to worry about acquiring a cable and figuring out how to make RJ59 connect to a circuit board.

Another option is to use the access card only or in conjunction with a finger print. When you use both finger print and access card that adds an additional layer of security. That way should a person lose or have their card stolen the card on its own is useless. The reader still needs a finger print to finish the authentication process to allow access. Two part authentication is as secure as it gets. The idea behind it is just like your own email account. You have a user name and a password without either you have no access. Every extra step you can implement adds another layer of protection. The great aspect of the technology is that even though extra layers of encryption and authentication are added the time it takes the reader to process the information is between one and two seconds.  That is amazing considering the amount of data processed, and it is faster than most people can pull their keys out of their pocket and turn the latch.

There are many real world applications for this technology in any business. In the military keeping the weapons accounted for one hundred percent of the time is mandatory, and easy with access control. In the police stations around the world from the holding cells to offices and more, this can make accountability a breeze. In businesses, allowing certain employees access to specific areas only such as keeping the sales people out of the warehouse or vice versa, access control is the way to go. Even something as simple as stopping customers from going into employee areas can be efficiently handled with these security system access controls.

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Understanding the Basics of Access Control

Written By:
Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Access control is a combination of hardware and software that controls access to entry points of a structure or property. It can be used for commercial or residential applications. The purpose of these products is to manage and grant access for individuals to specific areas on a predetermined schedule.

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An example of access control is the automated gate in front of a residential community. Usually they will have one side for “Residents” and one side for “Guests”. The resident side may open automatically when the system detects a special sticker or access card in the vehicle. That’s a “proximity Reader”. On the guest side you may have a keypad that you need to enter a code into then it will open the gate or dial the home owner and have them send a code to the gate.

Another example may be when you enter a high security facility where employees have a special access card to enter a certain area. Thats a “Card Reader”.

Access control can be broken down into 5 main components.

1. Access Control Panels (The Brains)
2. The Readers
3. The Device Being Detected
4. The Entry and Exit Hardware
5. The Software

Access Control Panels

Access Control Panels are basically the brains of the of the system. Usually the panel is made up of  a circuit board inside of an enclosed box along with a power supply. Sometimes there is a battery backup as well.  How many access points or Doors you can control depends on the capabilities of the specific access control board you choose.

Many come as a standard configuration but can be upgraded as your needs change. For example you might buy a 4 door access control board that can be upgraded to control up to 8 doors at a later time.

 


Access Control Readers

RF Proximity, Card and Smart Card Readers.

  • These readers detect a person who has a compatible device on them, such as an access card or key FOB (keychain).  Depending on the equipment, it can detect the devices at varying distances. In some cases the user may have to physically swipe the card and in other cases it may be able to detect them at a distance.
  • Keypads
    Unlike Proximity readers Keypads require the user to type an access code directly into the unit.
  • Fingerprint and Facial Recognition Readers
    Also know as Bio-Metric readers these readers can recognize a users fingerprint or face and determine the appropriate access for that person. Many simply store and compare a photo of the persons face or fingerprint to the user. IDteck’s patented technology actually maps specific points on the users finger or face for much greater accuracy and security.
  • Long Range Readers
    These types of readers are typically used for outdoor applications such as vehicle access. They are capable of detecting a “Long Range Access Card” at much further distances than proximity readers.
  • Access Control Standalone Readers
    Many readers are required to be connected to an access control board and utilize software in order to function.  Stand Alone readers are just that, hardware, software and controller all in one unit.

Vandal Proof- Combo

It is important to mention that many of the readers mentioned above are also available in combinations. You could have a keypad reader that also has RF access card reading capabilities. You may need an even greater level of security and want Facial Recognition, Finger Print Scanner, Access Card and a Keypad all in one.

Many readers also come in a vandal proof version. Vandal proof models are resistant to vandalism and are usually weatherproof.

Time Management

Many companies also use there Access Control System as an employee time clock and payroll management system. It can record when an employee clocks in and out. Advanced features are available with additional time management software.


Access Control Cards, Fobs and other Detection Methods
  • Access Control Cards, Smart Cards and Long Distance Cards.
    Most commonly used as a detection device is the “Access Control Card”. Access Control cards come in many forms. All of the cards hold information about the user and there access rights. They communicate with the reader via an RF frequency.  The range that the cards can communicate and the amount of information that it can hold depend on the cars specifications.Smart cards are similar but can also hold extra information about the user, such as medical info or even be used as an employee debit card.
  • Fobs
    Fobs are basically the same as the access card but can be used as a keychain. Some even have LED lights and sounds that alert the user if they’ve  have been granted or denied access.
  • Stickers
    If you don’t want to carry an access card or you keys around all the time you could get an Access Stickers and just put it on the back of your phone or any other object you carry on you most of the time.

Entry and Exit Hardware

Once the reader has granted you access it must send a signal to the door and unlock it. In this case the door must be equipped with special equipment that works with the access control system. The two most common mechanisms are Electric Door Strikes and Mag Locks.

 

  • Electric Door Strikes
    These will replace your existing door strikes. They are electric powered and will automatically unlock when the user is granted access.
  • Magnetic Locks
    Mag locks are electric powered magnets that will hold the door closed until the system sends a signal to unlock the door, at which point the door will be unlocked.

Exit Buttons and Bars usually go on the other side of the door and allow a user to request exit from the secured area.

  • Request to Exit Buttons – Bars
    There is a variety of different style of exit buttons and exit bars. Some are a simple electric powered buttons, some are pneumatic.  Pneumatic buttons do not rely on power, so an exit is possible even when power isn’t available. There are also exit buttons with a delay for more secure areas where the user must wait a few seconds before a exit is possible.

Access Control Software

Although many Access Control Systems come with integrated software some may require additional software to run or use advanced features. The software is where you will manage the users, the user rights, schedules and more. Many systems have add-on software such as Time and AttendanceVisitor Management and Video management.

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