Cloud-based, on-prem, controllers, HID readers — the list of access control jargon can seem like endless drivel. Combine the vocabulary with the fact that the origins of cloud computing date back to something called the “Intergalactic Computer Network,” and you may be ready to shut down your computer and say, “But, I like my locks and keys.” Nobody would blame you (except… maybe your boss). I mean, what happened to the simple days?
The days of offline, physical access control can be summed up in three words: They are gone.
Nowadays, modern security threats require modern solutions, and deploying modern solutions means upgrading to a system using the internet and intranet, known as a web-based access control system. These solutions provide robust security integrations with video and user management systems to ease the lives of personnel.
The result? The ability to save money, increase efficiency and optimize time. But first things first — how does web-based access control actually work?
What’s an Access Control System?
A web-based access control system is any system that communicates with a server. Advantages exist in choosing a cloud-based solution over one on-premise. These perks will be covered at the end of this article. For now, remember that any system sending access data (the opening and closing of doors) via the internet or an internal network for one business or a single building is known as a “web-based access control system.”
Parts are in a System
Though the process is more laborious than calling in a locksmith, installing web-based access control is easier than it sounds. Those considering installing a new system should familiarize themselves with the necessary components.
To help, we have given nicknames to each component.
Power aka “The Juice”
Perhaps the biggest drawback to web-based access control compared to physical access control is its need for electricity. Like electric vs. manual garage doors, when a power outage strikes, opening the door may prove impossible. Some systems, however, use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, enabling credentials to function even during a power outage.
Reader aka “The Greeter”
Those small, often black boxes located outside a suite or a building are readers. To gain access to the facility, users must wave a smartcard, key card, prox card or mobile device in front of the reader to gain access. The reader is where personnel and visitors interact with the system.
Request to Exit (REX)/Motion Sensor aka “The Alert”
When someone walks through a door, the motion sensor sends an alert to the master controller.
Door Position Switch (DPS) aka “The Watchman”
The DPS uses two magnets located on the door and the door frame. When the magnets make contact, they send a low electrical to the controller. The electrical signal indicates a closed door. When the door opens, the electrical current “breaks” and a timer starts.
Master Controller aka “The Decider”
The master controller, or “brains” of the operation, decides who enters the facility. It also stores the database, locally and reads keycard numbers, matching them to stored permissions.
For example, hardened thief Swiper McGee uses his fake key card to attempt access at a corporate office building. When he shows his poorly cloned card to the door reader, the reader passes the data to the master controller. Since Swiper’s card does not have the correct permissions, the controller will prohibit Swiper from entering.
Interface aka “The Middleman”
The interface functions as a bridge. It connects the physical world to the virtual. The physical parts of the system like the reader, DPS, and REX can communicate with the logical components, like the database because of the interface. After a controller determines valid or invalid credentials, the server receives the data. The database creates and stores an activity log.
Database aka “The Log” A database stores all the access information. It houses user credentials, including access privileges of employees, visitors, and other personnel. Additionally, databases sit on a cloud-based server (located away from the property) or an on-premise server.
The Advantage of Cloud-based Access Control
While cloud-based access control allows facilities to keep their data off-site, legacy systems with on-premise servers require IT and security teams to perform constant upkeep. Consequently, this siphons time away from other important tasks.
Additionally, on-premise servers limit business scalability. Cloud-based systems allow enterprises to centralize their access control. Teams can view multiple buildings, worldwide from one dashboard.
Genea provides customers with an easy transition from their current, physical access control system to a web-based solution. Its state-of-the-art software is compatible with non-proprietary hardware. Translation: You’ll never be chained to Genea’s software because of your hardware choice.
With diverse API integrations and frequent dashboard updates, Genea gives customers the flexibility and versatility to combat the latest security threats and rapidly changing future of access control. See how we can help you.