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What is Access Control?


OK, so let’s begin with the question, what is Access Control? It’s much more than just allowing people to access your building, home, or business. Access control systems are used to identify an individual and authenticate that person via a card, key fob, or other types of credentials. This factor of authentication then proceeds to give or deny access to the individual at the specific door or entry point.



For years in the locksmith and security industry, the gold standard was just a simple key and a locking deadbolt, but with such advances in technology, modern businesses want more. Although keys and locks are still very common and seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. The trend is that business and property owners want more features and flexibility. With the installation of an access control system business owners can not only control who passes through their doors, but they can also monitor and manage access to each individual access point. They can even control what day and time they want each individual to be able to have access that a specific door.

Types of Access ControlWhat is Access Control

There are two types in the security industry: physical and logical access control. Logical access control limits connections to computer networks, system files, and data. Physical access control limits access to doors on school campuses, rooms, businesses, elevators, stairwells, or any other access point. In this article, we will be focusing solely on physical systems and the components that each includes.

Physical Solutions

To simplify and discuss physical access control systems we will break them up into two groups: standalone and wired systems. Standalone access control is basically a single lock, keypad, or reader which encases all the components in one standalone unit. A wired system usually consists of multiple components wired and networked into one or multiple access control panels. Both standalone and wired systems have come a long way in recent years.

Standalone Systems

Due to such large advances in wireless technology in recent years. The features and capabilities of standalone have grown tremendously. Wifi and Bluetooth have given new life to the standalone access control world. These types of systems are very popular due to the fact that they’re more cost-effective. Not to mention that they are great for those hard-to-reach doors that you can’t get to with a hard wire.

Although standalone units are cheaper and involve much fewer labor costs than a wired system, they are more limited. The good news is that most standalone access control systems have more features today than ever before. Some standalone access control systems have a pin code, prox cards, phone apps, cloud-based access, role-based access control, real-time updates, and dual-factor authentication. Some of the newer standalone units have auditing, scheduling, phone apps, cloud-based access, and multiple user capability. One of the more impressive standalone units to be released to the market is the Schlage NDE.

Schlage NDE

Schlage’s NDE lock comes with ENGAGE technology and makes an easy transition from mechanical keys to an electronic credential. This lock is great and “stands alone” in the market in my opinion. The Schlage NDE is easy to install, easy to manage, easy to use, and is quickly becoming one of our favorite locks to sell to our customers. Solutions featuring ENGAGE technology can be customized to fit any size of business or budget. This allows the NDE to be one of the most flexible what is an access control systemstandalone units on the market. The NDE has the budget of a standalone unit and the sophistication of a wired access control system. The Schlage NDE can be installed into the standard cylindrical door prep of 2 1/8”, which makes it a quick install.

The NDE design packages the cylindrical lock, credential reader, and access control sensors together into a small footprint that is both easy to install and affordable. There are no additional holes to drill or wires to run the Schlage NDE is a hassle-free install. Since the unit is standalone and isn’t wired, it runs off of four AA batteries. Under normal usage, the batteries in a Schlage NDE should last nearly two years.

The NDE enables the use of both proximity (125 kHz) and/or smart (13.56 MHz) credentials which feature a much higher level of security and versatility. This allows the NDE to fit into the existing network architecture and can work in the same EAC system as other wireless locks including Schlage Control, AD-400, and LE. Use the ENGAGE Gateway for real-time connectivity and lockdown via IP PoE. The NDE can also be connected to a Wi-Fi network for automatic updates directly from host software. The Schlage NDE also has a physical security ANSI/BHMA rating of grade 1, which is the highest rating mechanical hardware can receive. The NDE wireless locks can also be integrated into popular electronic systems from Software Alliance members.

Wired Systems

If you want the best option available then a wired access control system is the system for you. With a wired system, all features that are on the market can be at your fingertips. A wired system works very well and is easier to manage than a standalone unit.

Unlike a standalone system, all your programming and data entry is done through access control software. The software is either installed on a computer, accessed through the web via a web portal, accessed through cloud-based software, or via a phone app. When having a system installed it is important to do your research and find a system that has the features that you want. Some of the factors one might consider when selecting a wired system include the nature or type of business, security procedures within your organization, and the number of users. Some of our preferred wired access control systems include Schlage Engage, Rosslare, CDVI, ZKTeco, and Paxton.

A typical wired access control system consists of the following parts:

  • An Access control panel
  • Some sort of management system software
  • Card readers, Prox readers, or Biometric readers
  • Credentials (Prox cards, Fobs, Access Card)
  • Electric Strikes
  • A Mag-lock or Magnetic Lock
  • A Power supply

As you can see; when it comes to selecting the type of system that is most suitable for your organization, there are a number of factors to consider. The use of keypads and proximity cards has grown exponentially over the past few years. Access control security systems are becoming more advanced and the features are incredibly useful for businesses of all sizes. Whether you have a small retail store that requires a standalone system or a larger business that requires a wired system we can help. If you’re thinking about upgrading your business’s security and are interested in getting more information feel free to contact Guardian Safe & Lock. We have specialists that are ready to come to your location and help you select the right system for you.

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