Decoding Access Control: Understanding the Complex Lingo

What You’ll Learn

Get help deciphering the most head-scratching concepts in access control. In our June 2021 webinar, Genea gives a lesson on access control lingo 101. Brush up on vocabulary and develop a firmer understanding of what to look for when upgrading or purchasing cloud-based access control.

The Webinar in Detail

“We’ve learned that a lot of people aren’t familiar with the deeper nuances of access control,” said Robert Vail, Genea VP of Sales, as he began Genea’s Webinar. “So, we thought it would be a useful exercise to walk through the backend of how access control physically works.”

Vail joined Director of Access Control at Genea and Co-founder of Sequr, Mike Maxsenti, to introduce and detail the anatomy of an access control system, non-proprietary vs. proprietary hardware and credentialing.

Anatomy of Access Control: What Parts Make Up a System

Maxsenti began by breaking down the system into three parts door-side components, head-end components and the database/software. Beginning with the door-side components, he briefly mentioned maglock and door strike — two physical pieces that keep the door locked. Then, he introduced audiences to the door reader, also known as “The Greeter.” Door readers allow users to interact with the system. Readers come in many varieties, including proximity and biometric readers.

As Maxsenti continued, he journeyed to the head-end of the system. Here, the master controller or “The Brain” resides. The master controller contains a local copy of the database. If a power outage occurs or the internet goes off-line, the controller still maintains a functional replica of the database. Therefore, the system can continue functioning.

Also located at the head-end level is the interface. As the system middleman, the interface acts as a bridge between the head-end and door-side components.

Proprietary vs. Non-Proprietary Hardware: Using One Manufacturer is Problematic

The webinar next turned to non-proprietary and proprietary hardware. After defining non-proprietary and proprietary, Maxsenti discussed the advantages a non-proprietary system gives businesses. He gave an example of the hardware manufacturer Mercury. Instead of manufacturing its own hardware, Genea developed its software using a Mercury software development kit (SDK).

“What this means for customers that have Mercury hardware is that you have a choice between three dozen [software] providers,” Maxsenti said. “Whereas, if you have proprietary hardware, you can only use that one provider’s software and hardware.

Choices in Credentials: Is One Better than Another?

Next, Vail and Maxsenti turned to credentialing, or the way administrators assign access privileges to users. A series of numbers, known as a credential, gets stored in one of many mediums. These mediums include key cards, proximity cards, mobile phones, key fobs, biometric scanners and others. But the credentials remain inert until someone programs a language into the medium. The language, such as Bluetooth or NFC helps the credential interact with the door reader.

“Our system is built to support all of these systems of credentials…which is one of the huge benefits to our customers,” Vail said.

A White-Glove Approach: Customer Support Matters

The webinar concluded as Vail walked through the benefits of Genea’s cloud-based system.

Genea helps streamline provisioning globally across entire enterprises. By operating on cloud servers and through mobile credentialing, IT managers have the power to assign and remove credentials to any of their offices worldwide- all without leaving their office. Additionally, Genea also offers robust video and visitor management integrations to bolster security, along with 24/7 customer support.

“It helps make sure you’re taken care of,” Vail said about Genea’s unmatched, white-glove customer support. “But also from a product development standpoint, we get the best ideas for product enhancement from our customers.”

In July, Genea will partner with Cisco Meraki, a leader in video access management, to host the webinar Integrating Access Control and Video Management. Explore how combining video and access control creates the ultimate security solution.

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