By John McDowall
September 16, 2012
Thesis: The decisions that need to be made when determining the types of access control you will need, along with the types of access control systems that are available and how they are used. Table of Contents
II. The decision making process.
1. Do we need access control and why.
2. Access Control Functions.
III. Access control systems.
1. Types of systems.
2. Uses of different systems
3. Access control system components
4. Access control topology.
IV. Security risks
1. What are the risks vs. benefits
Going back hundreds of years, we have always recognized the need to restrict access to our homes, businesses, or any place that does not welcome the public as a whole. In the very early times, people might have used something very simple and basic such as a large rock or other obstruction to block the entrance to their home. In more modern times we use things like doors, locks, fences, gates, or any other number of obstacles to prevent entry of those who are not welcome. In today's world we consider access control as something that grants or denies entry to our homes and businesses using a system or device such as a key, access cards, security pins or even physical guards. Modern day systems can do much more than just restrict access to a given space, but their basic function is to do just that, restrict access.
The Decision making process
Do we need access control and why.
Think for a moment how many buildings or facilities that you know of that don’t have at least a lock on the door. In todays civilized society we unfortunately also have crime and lots of it. Because of this, we must have access control. The main reason for controlling access is to prevent someone from entering that may want to steal and damage property or cause harm to those on the property. Why there are also many social reasons for access control, many companies also employ access control to limit liability and improve productivity by allowing people to feel safer in their workplace knowing that not just anyone can come in. The decision to have access control ultimately depends on the needs of the property or people being protected.
Access Control Functions
The basic function of all access control systems is to grant or deny access into a facility you are controlling. In order to be effective, an access control system must use certain processes, these processes are: Identification, Authentication, Authorization, and Accountability. The Identification process gathers information on the person requesting the access. Authentication is used to prove or disprove identification, this can be accomplished by several methods, but generally something like an access code along with a smart card works well (something you have and something you know) Authorization is determined by rules that determine who can enter and under what circumstances. The final process is accountability, the process of reporting and logging who has requested access and the results of those requests. Types of systems
Starting with the basics, guards are a type of access control system that dates back to the medieval times. Even today, guards are still used to keep people out or at the least keep people under control. Locks and keys have also been around quite some time and are considered to be a reasonably good access control system. However, over time, criminals have learned how to get past everyday locks and use tools of the trade to circumvent the key locking systems or simply cut padlocks. PINs (Personal Identification Numbers) are also a type of security system, but since pins are often lost and can easily be stolen, they are not widely used by themselves as a type of access control. Smart cards, which are still widely used today, offer a form of...