Historically, access control was partially accomplished through keys and locks. When a door is locked, only someone with a key can enter through the door, depending on how the lock is configured. Mechanical locks and keys do not allow restriction of the key holder to specific times or dates. Mechanical locks and keys do not provide records of the key used on any specific door, and the keys can be easily copied or transferred to an unauthorized person. When a mechanical key is lost, or the key holder is no longer authorized to use the protected area, the locks must be re-keyed.
With the advent of technology, electronic access control (EAC) uses computers to solve the limitations of mechanical locks and keys. A wide range of credentials can be used to replace mechanical keys. The electronic access control system grants access based on the credential presented. The door is unlocked for a predetermined time when access is granted, and the transaction is recorded. When access is refused, the door remains locked, and the attempted access is recorded. The system will also monitor the door and alarm if the door is forced open or held open too long after being unlocked1.
Depending on the modes and usability, access control can be segmented into four (4) different categories:
- Discretionary Access Control (DAC)
- Mandatory Access Control (MAC)
- Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)
- Physical and Virtual Access
Physical Access Control
Physical access control, as the name suggests, regulates access through physical entry points such as doors and turnstiles after identity authentication and authorization. Access to offices, buildings, rooms, and physical IT assets is restricted via physical access control.
Virtual / Logical Access Control
Virtual access control, or logical access control, is a critical aspect of modern security systems. It governs access or connection to computer networks, system files, and data. This form of access control is becoming increasingly important as organizations digitize and move more of their operations online. Organizations like OLOID are at the forefront of this shift, leading the unification of cyber and physical identities to enhance security and provide a better user experience. Their solutions transform every door, every turnstile, and every access point into a secure, smart, and digitally accessible point. This ensures the security of your organization’s data, automates business processes, and elevates the employee experience. For more information on how OLOID revolutionizes virtual access control, visit Cyber-Physical Access.
Why is Access Control important?
Most organizations set up on-prem access control systems with multi-factor authentication capabilities to secure their workplace. However, despite many measures, we frequently see reports of high-profile data leaks and security breaches. For instance, CSO Online provides a comprehensive list of some of the biggest data breaches in the 21st century, affecting millions of users. These instances highlight the importance of robust access control systems in protecting sensitive data.
On the face of it, access control is all about things like who gets access, when they get access, how they get access, and under what conditions. However, it’s not an easy task to accomplish. A robust and modern PACS must help secure the premises, provide audit trails, and help you identify the potential loopholes in the physical access space.
Modern access control solutions, like the M-Tag by a leading security solutions provider, help augment your existing PACS by converging the physical and cyber identities. These solutions leverage cloud-based security, data encryption, and enriching data intelligence to provide a secure and seamless access experience.
Regarding access control systems, what was once aspirational has become a must-have today. And therefore, it’s important that your PACS represent agile technologies and are mobile, scalable, and risk-averse.
Aspects of Access Control Systems
Your access control systems are foundational to your organizational security. To any PACS, there are three key aspects.
To create an effective PACS, you must first identify the individual. It is here that a badge reader, facial recognition, or biometric authentication panel can be installed. Facial recognition or a biometric system can record the individual’s name accessing a door or an endpoint. Most organizations prefer to use either one or more of these identification systems to control access in the workplace.
Once the system recognizes the individual trying to access it, their authenticity is assessed. Various methods can be used for authentication, such as – Facial Recognition, Biometrics, QR codes, Badges, Mobile Access, Single Sign On (SSO), and Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML). Most organizations prefer to use more than one or a combination of these modes to accomplish authentication. This ensures better security.
Using more than one authentication method to gain access qualifies as multi-factor or multimodal authentication.
Once the user’s identity is authenticated by the badge reader, he is authorized to go through the access point. This is an authorization system where individuals in the same building can access different rooms and spaces. In a logical space, this is a role-based permissions system.
These three aspects of the PACS work together to provide a robust security infrastructure. They work as designed and in a way that no unauthorized person can access the physical spaces under their purview.
Bypassing a well-built security system is not easy. Identification is required for accounting (i.e., recording user behavior) and providing anything to authenticate, for example, easy access to the common room, generally, or to the server room in more specific cases.
Authentication prevents an unidentifiable, unauthenticated person from entering the restricted areas.
A PACS is an essential component of providing physical access to an establishment. Advancements and innovations have led us to build systems with cutting-edge technologies to set up intelligent identification, authentication, and authorization systems.
What are the three (3) types of access control?
There are three main types of access control systems: Discretionary Access Control (DAC), Mandatory Access Control (MAC), and Role-Based Access Control (RBAC). DAC is the least restrictive and allows owners to control access to their own data. MAC is the most restrictive and does not allow owners to control access. RBAC assigns access based on the role of the user within the organization.
What are examples of access controls?
Examples of access controls include physical controls like locks and biometric scanners, and logical controls like passwords, network access control systems, and data encryption. More advanced systems may use multi-factor authentication, which requires users to present multiple credentials for access.
What are the five (5) areas of access control?
The five areas of access control are identification, authentication, authorization, access approval, and accountability. Identification involves recognizing an entity in the system. Authentication verifies the identity. Authorization involves granting or denying rights to access resources. Access approval involves the process of approving access to a system. Accountability involves tracking the actions of a user.